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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

TIME Asia: A Korean Force of Nature

Monday, Sep. 12, 2005

In just three years, Korean pop star Rain has built a huge domestic following of (mostly) female fans with a string of chart-topping singles, and now he's ready to branch out overseas. Rain picked up MTV Asia prizes this year, played his first solo concert in Japan in July and has lined up sold-out gigs in Hong Kong and Tokyo. But the engine of Korean pop-culture dominance in Asia is the soap opera, which is why Rain is forecast for TV this fall. The decidedly boyish singer will play a macho K-1 fighter who falls for his brother's lover in a series tentatively titled A Love to Kill. Though the show is set to air first in Korea this October, the astounding popularity of Korean TV dramas around the region means that the pop star could soon become a familiar face throughout Asia.

But why stop there? Rain's managers believe he could be the first Korean star to break into the U.S. market. Park Jin Young, the pop impresario who discovered and trained Rain, is a talented dancer and songwriter who has worked with U.S. artists like Mase and Will Smith. Since setting up camp in Los Angeles last year, Park has been shopping his protégé around to U.S. production companies. Rain almost managed to score a track on rapper Lil' Kim's latest album—but the plan fell apart after Kim was convicted of perjury and had to start serving a jail term, according to Jimmy Jeong, an executive at Rain's management company. Just a minor setback, says Jeong: "We're targeting the global market. Rain's too big for Asia."


From the Sep. 19, 2005 issue of TIME Asia Magazine,13673,501050919-1103646,00.html


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