K-Pop Idols Born and Raised in America

Korean artists are creating a mark in the world through their addicting and infectious style of music. All over the globe, it is almost impossible to encounter a local who hasn’t seen or heard about Korean bands, groups, and soloists.

But did you know that some of the most popular Korean singers and K-Pop idols were actually born and raised outside of their ethnic origin? Find out who they are here!

Photo credits to Pinterest

Jessica and Krystal Jung – San Francisco, California

During their family trip and vacation in South Korea, an SM Entertainment representative came upon Jessica and Krystal Jung. Krystal was supposed to start training with the label at the moment, but Jessica was the only one who could start because their parents felt Krystal was too young. Krystal was also given the go-ahead to finally follow her aspirations some years later at the age of 12, while Jessica went on to make her debut as a member of SNSD. Krystal joined her sister at SM and made her debut as a member of f(x). While Krystal is currently concentrating more on acting, Jessica is now a solo artist.

Photo credits to IMDb

Amber Liu – Los Angeles, California

Amber Josephine Liu, is a Taiwanese-American singer, rapper, and songwriter. In September 2009, she made her debut as a member of the South Korean girl group f(x). She was just one of two candidates that made it into SM Entertainment in 2008 after passing a local audition. She later made her solo debut in 2015 with the release of her first extended play, Beautiful, becoming the first member of f(x) to do so. Since then, she has released solo singles in Korean, English, and Mandarin, and immediately rose to fame as one of the most adored individuals in the K-pop community.

Photo credits to Kpopmap

GOT7’s Mark Tuan – Los Angeles, California

Mark Tuan is an American rapper, singer, songwriter, and model. He was born in Los Angeles, California, and spent some time in Paraguay and Brazil before eventually moving back to the state where he was raised. He is Taiwanese and has one younger brother and two older sisters. In elementary school, he studied the violin and piano, then switched to the guitar in junior high.

Mark Tuan was scouted by a JYP Entertainment employee after seeing him go on top of a table during lunch at school and started dancing and acting silly with his friends. He later debuted as a member of the South Korean boy group Got7 in 2015.

Photo credits to UHD Wallpaper

SEVENTEEN’s Joshua – Los Angeles, California

Korean-American musician Hong Jisoo, also known by his stage name Joshua, is affiliated with Pledis Entertainment. He is best recognized as the lead singer of the Korean boy group Seventeen. He was born and raised in California.

Joshua has always had a great sense of music and got his start playing as a member of a praising team in their church in California. Later, while at a festival in the USA, a Pledis Entertainment agent spotted the young performer playing the guitar. They decided to get in touch with him to see whether he was interested in becoming a K-pop idol after watching him for about a month and giving it some thought. Joshua claims that music is his life, therefore he agreed to sign with them and moved to Korea.

Photo credits to Pinterest

SEVENTEEN’s Vernon – NYC, New York

Korean-American rapper Hansol Vernon Chwe, popularly known by his stage name Vernon, is based in South Korea. He was raised in Korea after being born in NYC to a Korean father and an American mother. He claimed to be a relatively normal kid back then with typical interests and friends. But as he rode the train home from school in his second year of middle school, he was noticed by an agent. He later made his debut in 2015 with Seventeen. Due in part to their original idea of being "self-producing" idols, the group went to the top of the K-pop charts quite rapidly.

Photo credits to SBS

NCT’s Johnny – Chicago, Illinois

At the 2007 SM Global Audition in Chicago, Johnny Seo, then 12 years old, submitted an application to SM Entertainment. He was eventually accepted after the audition and his training time started. He developed a following before making his formal debut thanks to his involvement with SM Rookies, a training group run by SM Entertainment that eventually gave rise to Red Velvet and NCT. He ultimately made his debut as a rapper and sub-vocalist of NCT 127 ten years after passing his initial audition. He was born in Chicago.

Photo credits to Daily K Pop News

BTOB’s Peniel Shin – Chicago, Illinois

Peniel Shin, also known by his stage name Peniel, is a South Korean-based American rapper, singer, songwriter, and host. He initially tried out for JYP Entertainment. He did a Chicago audition and was accepted by JYP, who then sent him to Korea for training. He remained with the company for two years, even making an appearance in San E's "Tasty San" music video, before leaving and signing with Cube, where he joined BTOB as the group's seventh and last member before their 2012 debut.


Marjorie Ann M. Patricio is a Digital Marketing and Brand Development intern of PS Media Enterprise. She is currently a 4th-year Communication Research student at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines, Sta. Mesa, Manila.



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K-Pop Idols Born and Raised in America
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