KMA2018: Mini-Interview with KMA President Kim Chang Nam

February is my favorite time for blogging as I can’t help but get excited over the Korean Music Awards. To me, one of the strengths of the KMAs is how it recognizes a majority of the many kinds of music that Korea has to offer while continuously adapting to changes. I greatly appreciate how it highlights some of my favorite music–exposing it to a wider audience–while also serving to inform me about the best music from genres I otherwise rarely take time for. Further, having a dedicated committee deciding on the winners seems all the more important with every year.

This year, the more I’ve been listening to and reading up on the various nominees for the 15th Korean Music Awards, the more questions have popped up. Fortunately KMA president Kim Chang Nam was willing to once again satisfy my curiosity.

This year it seems as though all the idol music that would previously be spread over the Pop and Dance & Electronic categories has been concentrated to the Pop category. What was the reason behind this change?

There has always been dispute on dance and electronica genre. Whether Idol music and underground electronic music should compete on one category is questioned. In particular, as great deal of good productions are being made in the electronic scene recently, claims have been raised that there should be two separate categories. But still, we came to the conclusion that we should wait and see. The reason why Idol music is excluded is because critics decided that there weren’t any extraordinary ones last year, in contrast to those from electronic scene. No particular intentions.

With the launch of the Korean Hip Hop Awards last year and an overlap in nominees, what have the discussions been around the future for the Rap & Hip Hop and R&B & Soul categories?

Although we have a few committee members in common, Korean Hiphop Awards is in no way related to Korean Music Awards. It does not affect KMA. We will maintain Rap & Hip-hop, R&B & Soul categories.

The introduction of the Heaviness category was welcome, with fans abroad expressing envy that Korea now has metal and hardcore music recognized as part of a well-respected, general music award. With a few years behind it, has there been any re-evaluation of the original decision to only focus on albums and instead also acknowledge individual tracks? Have there been any similar considerations for the Jazz and Crossover categories after the Jazz & Crossover singles category was removed?

For Metal & Hardcore, committee members agreed that general color and achievement of an album are important, whereas single track isn’t. The same goes for Jazz and Crossover.

With the new political climate, do you have any hope for government support for future Korean Music Awards?

As new government established, We hope that governmental support for KMA be resumed, though it is not for me to decide.

Many thanks to professor Kim for taking the time to answer the questions! Realizing that Hiphopplaya‘s awards had taken a new, more professional form with the Korean Hiphop Awards I was worried that would force a change for KMA, but given how many of the more idol oriented awards can co-exist that seems silly in retrospect.

The winners of the 15th Korean Music Awards will be announced during the awards ceremony on February 28th. The ceremony will be held at the Guro Arts Valley Theater with Yoon Dukwon of Broccoli, you too? as the host. Former KMA winners 9 and the Numbers, ABTB, and jeebanoff will be performing during the event, as will Jo Dong Hee, the sister of last year’s Album of the Year winner, and since departed, Jo Dong Jin.

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