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22 Americans Who Are Killing It In The K-Pop Industry

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but these multilingual stars should definitely be on your radar.

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1. Mark — GOT7

mark_tuan / Via instagram.com

Hails from: Los Angeles, California

Most recent release: Flight Log: Turbulence — title track: "Hard Carry"

Why he's killing it: Mark co-produced three tracks on Flight Log: Turbulence: "My Home," "Let Me," and "No Jam!" GOT7 also had their first world tour in 2016 with 21 sold-out shows in Asia and the U.S., and while they were in L.A., they also appeared in a BuzzFeed video where they surprised fans who thought they were just there to take a quiz (*cue squeals*).

2. Tiffany — Girls' Generation & TTS

xolovestephi / Via instagram.com

Hails from: San Francisco, California

Most recent releases: "Don't Speak" (English track with Far East Movement & King Chain) and "Sailing" (Girls' Generation single)

Why she's killing it: In addition to being in Girls' Generation since 2007, Tiffany was the second member to have a solo debut with I Just Wanna Dance in 2016. She wrote the lyrics for "What Do I Do" in English and Girls' Generation groupmate Sooyoung translated the lyrics into Korean.

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3. Jay Park

jparkitrighthere / Via instagram.com

Hails from: Seattle, Washington

Most recent releases: Everything You Wanted — singles with both Korean and English versions: "All I Wanna Do" and "Me Like Yuh"

Why he's killing it: Jay is the founder and CEO of hip-hop record label AOMG (which is home to artists like Gray and Loco), as well as one of the first members of Seattle-based b-boy crew Art of Movement.

4. Amber — f(x)

ajol_llama / Via instagram.com

Hails from: Los Angeles, California

Most recent releases: "Heartbeat" (with f(x) groupmate Luna) and "Borders" (English solo track)

Why she's killing it: In an industry that can be somewhat narrow-minded about appearances and public image, Amber always sticks to her gut and constantly defies K-pop idol stereotypes just by being her awesome self. She was the first member of f(x) to release a solo EP with Beautiful. She also let BuzzFeed cameras follow her around for a day, and she recently wrapped her own 20-episode KCON TV series called Ranting Monkey!

5. Krystal — f(x)

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Hails from: San Francisco, California

Most recent releases: "Cowboy" (Japanese f(x) track) and "All Mine" (Korean f(x) track)

Why she's killing it: In addition to being a member of f(x) for the past seven years (in October 2016, they became the third K-pop girl group to reach 100 million views on Youtube with their "Electric Shock" music video), Krystal made her film debut last year in a Chinese-Korean rom-com called Unexpected Love, starring alongside fellow SM labelmate Lay (EXO). She has also been a spokeperson for brands like Giordano and Etude House. Fingers crossed for a solo debut sometime soon!

6. Joshua — Seventeen

pledis_17 / Via Twitter: @pledis_17

Hails from: Los Angeles, California

Most recent release: Going Seventeen — title track: "Boom Boom"

Why he's killing it: Seventeen is known as a "self-producing" idol group with all of the members actively participating in songwriting, composition, and production. They recently won Bonsang awards at the 2017 Golden Disk Awards and Seoul Music Awards for their first studio album Love & Letter. Joshua is part of Seventeen's vocal unit (his voice is nicely showcased in this duet). Vernon and Joshua also did an interview with K-Popular, an English radio show based in Seoul.

7. Vernon — Seventeen

pledis_17 / Via Twitter: @pledis_17

Hails from: New York City, New York

Most recent releases: Going Seventeen (title track: "Boom Boom") and "Check-In" (Seventeen's hip-hop unit's track)

Why he's killing it: Vernon co-wrote lyrics for "Shining Diamond," "Ah Yeah," and "Jam Jam" off of Seventeen's debut EP, 17 Carats, and has contributed to more on their subsequent EPs (including lyrics for 12 out of 15 songs on the repackaged edition of Love & Letter).

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8. Eric Nam

realericnam / Via youtube.com

Hails from: Atlanta, Georgia

Most recent releases: "Cave Me In" (English track with Gallant and Tablo), "Body" (English track with Timbaland), and "Hello" (feature on Seohyun's track)

Why he's killing it: Here are 16 reasons. Eric was also named one of GQ Korea's 2016 Men of the Year, and the award he's holding in the photo is Best Couple from the 2016 MBC Entertainment Awards, which he and Solar (from Mamamoo) won from their extremely-loved stint on We Got Married.

9. Ailee

aileeonline / Via instagram.com

Hails from: Denver, Colorado (but grew up in New Jersey)

Most recent releases: "I Will Go to You Like the First Snow" (Guardian OST) and A New Empire (title track: "Home" ft. Yoonmirae)

Why she's killing it: In addition to her powerful pipes and well-respected career in Korea, Ailee has made her U.S. debut under the alias A.Leean (though an ~official~ statement hasn't been made yet) with a catchy single titled "Fall Back."

11. Peniel — BtoB

btobpeniel / Via instagram.com

Hails from: Chicago, Illinois

Most recent releases: BtoB's New Men mini-album (title track: "Pray (I'll Be Your Man)") and Homesick solo mixtape

Why he's killing it: In addition to his busy schedules with BtoB (they also performed at KCON NY 2016), Peniel has his own YouTube channel where he regularly vlogs about his trips back home, BtoB music video shoots, and overseas promotions.

12. Yoonmirae

yoonmirae / Via instagram.com

Hails from: Fort Hood, Texas

Most recent releases: "Fighter" (English track with Far East Movement and Autolaser) and "JamCome On Baby" (Korean solo track + English version here)

Why she's killing it: Yoonmirae is one of the most well-respected rappers in the game, and in addition to her solo music, she's also a member of hip-hop trio MFBTY (which stands for "My Fans [Are} Better Than Yours") with Tiger JK and Bizzy.

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13. Kevin — U-Kiss

kevin_woo1125 / Via instagram.com

Hails from: Danville, California

Most recent release: Stalker — title track: "Stalker"

Why he's killing it: In addition to being a member of U-Kiss for the past eight years, Kevin has done a lot of MC-ing for English shows and he's been a co-host of After School Club since February 2014.

14. Jae — Day6

day6kilogram / Via instagram.com

Hails from: Long Beach, California (born in Argentina, moved to the U.S. when he was five)

Most recent releases: "You Were Beautiful" and "I Wait"

Why he's killing it: Jae studied political science at California State University until he auditioned for SBS's reality competition show K-Pop Star (finished 6th), which led to a contract with JYP and his eventual debut in Day6, the label's first rock band. Day6 has especially ambitious plans for 2017 with monthly releases and concerts, which is already off to a explosive start. He's also a co-host of After School Club alongside Kevin.

15. Jessi

jessicah_o / Via instagram.com

Hails from: New York City, New York (grew up in New Jersey)

Most recent releases: "Don't Make Me Cry" (solo track) and "K.B.B" (collab with Dumbfoundead, Lyricks, and Microdot)

Why she's killing it: In addition to her fire rapping skills, Jessi placed second in reality competition show Unpretty Rap Star in 2015 and was a regular cast member on an all-female variety show called Sister's Slam Dunk in 2016.

16. Benji — B.I.G

BIG_GHofficial / Via Twitter: @BIG_GHofficial

Hails from: Indianapolis, Indiana

Most recent release: Aphrodite — title track: "Aphrodite"

Why he's killing it: Benji has been playing the violin since he was four and even attended Julliard for a while, and he still uploads violin covers of popular songs like Big Bang's "Fxxx It" and Major Lazer and Justin Bieber's "Cold Water." B.I.G also recently performed at Kore Asian Media's 15th Annual Unforgettable Gala, marking their first stage in the U.S.

17. John Park

johnparkgram / Via instagram.com

Hails from: Chicago, Illinois

Most recent release: "Thought of You"

Why he's killing it: While attending Northwestern University as an econ major, John was a semi-finalist on season nine of American Idol, as well as a runner-up on Superstar K2.

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18. Kevin Oh

kevinoh_ / Via instagram.com

Hails from: New York City, New York

Most recent release: Stardust EP ft. "Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow"

Why he's killing it: Prior to his music debut, Kevin graduated from Dartmouth College, co-founded a headphones company with his dad and sister (Axel Audio), and won Superstar K7. Wow.

19. Sam Kim

leegititssam / Via instagram.com

Hails from: Seattle, Washington

Most recent releases: "Think About Chu" ft. Loco and "Who Are You" (Goblin OST)

Why he's killing it: Sam finished second on K-pop Star 3 and released his debut EP I am Sam last April. He just has a killer voice, which is clearly evident on his many English covers like "Closer," "Treasure," and "Love Yourself."

20. B.M — K.A.R.D

bigmatthewww / Via instagram.com

Hails from: Los Angeles, California

Most recent release: "Oh NaNa" (K.A.R.D Project, Vol. 1)

Why he's killing it: Co-ed groups are pretty rare in K-pop, so K.A.R.D's looking to stir things up a bit. Their second single, "Don't Recall," will be released on February 16th! As for B.M, he participated in K-Pop Star 1 and also has a Soundcloud account (which he'll hopefully continue to upload songs on!).

21. Alex — High4 & High420

HIGH4_NAP / Via Twitter: @HIGH4_NAP

Hails from: New York City, New York

Most recent releases: "HookGA" and "Weekend" (as part of High4's subunit High4 20)

Why he's killing it: In showing his commitment towards living in Korea and being a Korean singer, he acquired Korean citizenship shortly after his High4 debut. Alongside his good friend Amber, he's also outspoken about individuality and self-expression (the pair's kind of hilarious catch-phrase), which you can hear more on Ranting Monkey. High4 will release a new mini-album (crowdfunded last year via Makestar) on February 27th.

22. Eddy — JJCC

jjcc_eddy_oh_jjcc / Via instagram.com

Hails from: Los Angeles, California

Most recent releases: "Freedom" (Japanese JJCC track) and "ToDay" (Korean JJCC track)

Why he's killing it: JJCC is the first K-pop group formed by Jackie Chan's label, and while they haven't released an EP since 2015, Eddy has been keeping busy as a host of Arirang TV's Pops in Seoul, an English program that covers the latest K-pop news.

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