Carnegie Mellon University
February 25, 2011

News Brief: K-pop Star

Chemical and biomedical engineering major Chris Hong is just as likely to be found in College of Fine Arts' recording studios as he is in the College of Engineering's labs.

The first-year student records Korean pop music, known as "k-pop," in his spare time.  This weekend, he's traveling to Vancouver, British Columbia, as one of 14 finalists in Cube Entertainment's first Global Audition. More than 3,000 people worldwide auditioned for the contest.

"The finalists are the opening acts for G. NA, a major k-pop entertainer born in Vancouver," said Hong. "The winner lands a contract with Cube Entertainment, one of the industry's biggest agencies."

Hong's YouTube audition, featuring his rendition of Still PM's "Sorry," is posted along with the other finalists' video on, a popular English-language k-pop website. His video is filed under the name exPop21.

Interested in learning more about the k-pop industry? Bloomberg's Feb. 17 edition of "Monocle" reports: "In the global soft power stakes, Korea's pop industry is perhaps the country's most potent export." The hourlong, weekly briefing on global affairs, business, culture and design, featured the genre's global explosion. The segment begins at 10:40.

Abby Houck