Psy Of “Gangnam Style” And New Hope


In 2012, Korean singer, Psy released his song, “Gangnam Style,” which took the world by storm; everyone was gripped in Gangnam Style” fever. No matter where you went, you could hear “Gangnam Style,” being played. You could also often see people mimicking his dance. However, people don’t seem to know that behind Psy’s great success is a story of tough times. This column discusses how Psy reached this point of success and how it was not merely by coincidence. Psy was an ordinary solo singer in South Korea who started a singing career in 2001, with the debut song “Sae” (which means ‘bird’ in Korean). However, his singing career didn’t go smoothly. He couldn’t continue his career because of many rumors and a drug issue. What’s worse was that he had to take a five-year career break as he had to serve in the compulsory military service (approximately two and a half years) twice, even though the majority of Korean men serve only once. According to Psy, these were very tough times for him, indeed. Leaving behind a wife and two little twin daughters while at the same time trying to financially provide for his family was challenging. He felt great despair and frustration. After his debut, his days just seemed to pass without any spotlight. A year and a half ago, he decided to earnestly begin his singing career again. His efforts paid off in 2012 when he released a song that succeeded as no one would have ever imagined.


For the first time, a Korean song hit no.2 on the Billboard Chart for 8 weeks and hit all-time no.1 viewers on YouTube (also recorded in the Guinness Book of Records), and broke many other records, too. In an interview on a Korean TV program, Psy said this: “I didn’t know ‘Gangnam Style’ was going to become this successful all around the world.”

However, insiders in the entertainment industry say his success is not a coincidence at all. Psy, himself, also relayed in an interview that he really missed his singing career and cried often while spending a long five-year period in the military. He added that he hadn’t realized at that time how precious the experience of singing on stage at the beginning of his career had been. He hadn’t known its value. He said that he was full of conceit, that he was disappointed when many people didn’t come to his concerts, and that he even loathed fans who didn’t like him.

According to him, he became rather modest after going through so many tough experiences. The circumstance hindering him from his singing career gave him a chance to reflect on himself. He then resolved to appreciate his fans, even if he only had one fan, to write songs with utmost sincerity, evenif he only got to write just one song, and to practice dancing to his full capacity…  When he restarted his singing career, his coworkers were surprised by his change.

Also in South Korea, Psy is well known for being the hardest-working singer. An insider reveals his concerts always last more than 5 hours, while other singers, say, give two-hour concerts. But this doesn’t mean that his concert tickets are more expensive. His vision is to make his audience feel they made a worthwhile buy. He truly wishes them to have fun and enjoy his concerts so that they wouldn’t feel any loss from attending. Likewise, Psy worked much harder than others did, so every concert he held was a success. In addition to the fact that his concerts last longer than 5 hours, Psy doesn’t want his fans to have to wait for scene changes throughout the concert. So he wears many layers of clothes in advance before coming out to the stage, or continues his performance soon after getting changed quickly while his dancers are dancing, whereas other singers have longer breaks between songs to get changed. His only intention is to give his audiences exclusive enjoyment. So how could anyone resist going to Psy’s concerts? His co-workers aren’t surprised by his success at all. He went through a rather long and rocky period, and now that he overcame such difficulties, he is so focused and determined that he now refuses to be shaken by any curveballs that are thrown his way.  Most importantly, he came to know how happy he is to live as a singer…

After reading Psy’s story we learned and can empathize: life will always be full of ups and downs. Currently, your life might not be going according to your will, or it might be just plain tough. However, you should always remember that although you undergo those hard times, it doesn’t mean that you have to suffer a loss from them. As they say, “Misfortune is a blessing in disguise.” Meanwhile, your mind will become resolute, as solid as a rock, and capable of handling tougher obstacles. So like Psy, if you take advantage of every single moment, every opportunity, in the end, a time will come when your dreams will become reality.

If the life you are struggling to lead feels impossible, look at Psy’s “Gangnam Style.” Look at his innocence…

Psy, who now smiles brightly, was once filled with deep despair and frustration… But, seeing Psy who overcame everything and has a bright, energetic smile of triumph, you’ll soon realize the tribulation you are now facing can also be conquered.

Let’s make 2013 a year to gallantly move forward while listening to Psy’s “Gangnam Style.”