10th Korean Music Awards Nominees : Artist of the Year

After having a look at the nominees for Album of the Year and Song of the Year in this year’s Korean Music Awards, we’re ready to move on to an introduction of the artists nominated for Artist of the Year.


3rd Line Butterfly

3rd Line Butterfly formed in 1999 and while the members have changed over the years, leader and guitarist Sung Kiwan has been around from the start just like vocalist Nahm Sang Ah. After releasing debut album Self-Titled Obsession in 2000, in 2002 3rd Line Butterfly rose to relative fame after providing the music for Lee Na Young‘s on screen band in the excellent drama Ruler of Your Own World (네 멋대로 해라) with “꿈꾸는 나비” in particular becoming a favorite with many. A couple of years later, in 2004, came the band’s third full-length album Time Table and for many years it seemed like it’d be their last. However, come 2009 3rd Line Butterfly returned with EP Nine days or a million effectively reclaiming their position as one of Korea’s best indie bands.

In spring 2012 3rd Line Butterfly toured North America as one of the Seoulsonic bands, among other stops playing both SXSW and Canadian Music Week. For the tour they’d made an international album with English lyrics, Ice Cube, on which they also included some of the songs that would later make it to their fourth full-length album: Dreamtalk. Released in October it has been very well received among fans and critics alike, not just getting nominated for Album of the Year and Best Modern Rock Album for 2013 KMA, but also gaining 3rd Line Butterfly a nomination for Artist of the Year while album lead track “헤어지는 날 바로 오늘” is nominated both for Song of the Year and Best Modern Rock Song.

This is not the first time we get to see 3rd Line Butterfly in the KMAs. Back in 2005, during the second ever Korean Music Awards, Time Table too got nominated for Album of the Year and Best Modern Rock Album while 3rd Line Butterfly got nominated for Group of the Year. Five years later, for the 7th Korean Music Awards, “A Heavy Night Fog” off Nine days or a million. Regardless of what happens with 3rd Line Butterfly during the KMAs this year we’re sure to hear more of them as they’ll also be returning to SXSW 2013.


Busker Busker

Busking band Busker Busker is the brainchild of leader Jang Bum Joon, who with a rotating set of members performed primarily around the streets of Cheonan. In 2011 Busker Busker auditioned for talent show Superstar K3 with the three members that happened to be available and finished second, just behind vocal group Ulala Session.

Before long the trio had become one of the most popular acts in Korea and when the self-titled debut album was released in March 2012 their songs could all be found at the top of the charts for weeks out-selling most of the idols. When Busker Busker’s “wrap up” EP was released a few months later, the feat was repeated. As the Korean awards season started Busker Busker again proved their surprising popularity, among others sweeping home the award for Best New Male Artist at MAMA and Album of the Year at the Melon Music Awards.

Now Busker Busker have a shot at one of the most prestigious awards in Korea. With a total of six nominations – more than any other artist this year: Artist of the Year, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, Best Pop Album, and two nominations for Best Pop Song. Although agent less and on a hiatus since the summer, Busker Busker have said to return to music this year.



The son of an affluent family, Psy opted for a career in music both singing and writing songs. His first album Psy from the Psycho World came out in 2001 and saw some controversy because of blunt lyrical content. By 2002 his third album was released and with the song “Champion” he became a household name in Korea.

In 2010 Psy joined YG Entertainment, releasing his fifth full-length album the same year. Appearing on YG Family concerts Psy attracted rave applauds and screams as none of his label mates even before the release of the first part of his sixth full-length album in July 2012. 싸이6甲 Part.1 included the song “Gangnam Style”, that with it’s humorous video became a worldwide sensation and granted him a contract with the label of Justin Bieber‘s manager Scooter Braun.

The success of “Gangnam Style” led to the release of the second part of the sixth album being postponed till some time this year. Meanwhile Psy continues to tour the world and rake in awards, among them New Media Award at the American Music Awards and Best Video at the MTV Europe Music Awards. In addition to the nomination for Artist of the Year at this year’s KMA of course also “Gangnam Style” has been nominated for both Song of the Year and Best Pop Song.


Jeong Cha Sik

Formed in 1997, Jeong Cha Sik first made a name for himself as the vocalist of Rainy Sun. Although the band continuously experimented with new styles, Jeong Cha Sik’s original vocal style kept it all together whether grunge, excursions into trip hop or anything in between. Rainy Sun’s fourth full length album Origin was released in 2009 and featured more of a straightforward rock sound.

In 2010 Jeong Cha Sik released his first solo album under the name [Ten]Go, which instead of showing more of his vocal capacity primarily consisted of instrumental tango tracks. A year later came his first solo album under his own name, much to the appreciation of Korean music critics. 황망한 사내 ended up nominated both for Album of the Year and Best Rock Album at last year’s KMA but won neither.

This year it’s time for 격동하는 현재사 – Jeong Cha Sik’s second full-length album – to try out for the same categories. Whereas Jeong Cha Sik himself is up for Artist of the Year, album opening track “풍각쟁이” fights for the title of Best Rock Song. The album was released in January 2012, but anyone looking to hear more recent works of his may look up any of the soundtracks to which he’s contributed, most recently for Alice in Cheongdamdong.


Choi Baek Ho

Veteran singer Choi Baek Ho launched his musical career in 1976 with his first album released a year later. He remained active for decades to come, releasing his eighteenth album in 2000 with “낭만에 대하여” from 1995 being the song for which he was best remembered. Choi Baek Ho also did a bit of acting, becoming popular with his role in mid-90’s drama Men of the Bath House (낭만에 대하여). A younger audience got to acquaint themselves with his acting talent in 2009 drama Triple, where he played the father of the main character.

Although not releasing any new music Choi Baek Ho continued to do the occasional performance. In October 2012, twelve years after what seemed to have been his last album, Choi Baek Ho returned with album number nineteen, 다시 길 위에서. For his comeback he has been trying out new genres, offering his audience jazz, tango, latin music and more. To perfect the execution he took help from some of Korea’s most prominent musicians in the field, there among jazz songstress Malo and former KMA winners such as guitarist Park Juwon, harmonica player Jeon Jeduk and jazz tango band La Venata.

With a new album under his belt Choi Baek Ho is nominated not just for Artist of the Year, but also for Best Pop Album from which lead track “길 위에서” is nominated for Best Pop Song.

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