While bands from South Korea may now rank among the biggest and most reliable hitmakers in the music business, with names like BTS, Blackpink and many others landing major smashes on important rankings all around the world, it’s still relatively uncommon for solo acts from that part of the globe to release songs that become charting hits in Western markets. This week, one musician collects her first win on her own, and in doing so, she makes U.K. history and joins a very exclusive club.
Lisa, better known as one-fourth of the band Blackpink, starts her debut single “Lalisa” at No. 68 on the weekly ranking of the most-consumed songs in the U.K. The tune instantly makes her the second-ever solo female musician from South Korea to chart in the country (she’s originally from Thailand, but her professional career kicked off in South Korea), but when the list expands to include all solo acts, a few other stars join in on the fun.
Psy is the dominant force when looking at South Korean solo musicians who have charted hits in the U.K., no matter how one looks at it. The artist’s “Gangnam Style” was the first track by an artist from the Asian nation to land on the songs ranking in the U.K., and to this day it remains the only one to rise all the way to the summit. Impressively, Psy is still the sole South Korean act to reach the top 10, which he managed twice, as his follow-up cut “Gentleman” bolted to No. 10. The viral sensation is still the only South Korean star working on his own to place more than one tune on the tally.
Two members of the all-male South Korean vocal act NYS followed in Psy’s footsteps, though a number of years separated their hitric wins. J-Hope recruited Latin/pop singer Becky G for the collaborative and multi-lingual “Chicken Noodle Soup,” which once climbed all the way to No. 82. Just last year, he was joined in this feat by bandmate Agust D (known as Suga when recording with BTS), whose solo smash “Daechwita” peaked at No. 68. Coincidentally, that’s where “Lalisa” begins its time on the list this frame.
Earlier in 2021, another Blackpink singer, Rosé, saw her debut single (without her fellow band members) “On the Ground” open at No. 43. That quick win made her the first South Korean solo female to chart in the U.K, and she almost reached the important top 40 region with her first smash.
As a member of Blackpink, Lisa has already appeared on the U.K. singles chart with seven different songs, half a dozen of which broke into the top 40. Half of the band’s wins are solo cuts, while the others succeeded thanks in part to the inclusion of fellow beloved musicians like Lady Gaga, Dua Lipa and Selena Gomez.