Yazhou was in Hong Kong.
Maybe you grew up with this technology, but for those of us who grew up in the twentieth century, it’s positively amazing. It’s kind of like asking my mother what it was like before television, I couldn’t fathom it. And now I’ve lived through a revolution myself, a technical revolution, the internet. It’s commonplace. Even the government has you fill out forms online. Twenty years ago people were afraid to enter their credit card number, now we live on our phones and…
My phone said Portland, OR. I don’t know about you, but this past week I’ve been inundated with calls talking about taxes and social security. I’m savvy enough to know they’re scams, but the worst thing is if only a few people bite, they make their numbers. So they keep dialing, and I keep blocking. But then they call on other numbers. It’s a cat and mouse game I tell you.
Usually my junk calls come from Gardena, CA. Have you been to Gardena? The odds of me knowing someone from there are…nil.
So I don’t pick those up anymore.
And to tell you the truth, I don’t get many phone calls to begin with. I rarely talk on the phone. So if someone is dialing me, is it important?
You know, you wait all day for a call and then a number comes up that’s not in your address book and you decide to let it go to voice mail and then you can’t call back, you can’t connect, it drives you nuts.
But this call from Portland, OR… No message was left, but there was a text, it was Deborah from CNNi. Now I know if they’re looking for me they want me to come on, but I’m out of town, I can’t go to the studio. So we’re texting back and forth and we agree we’ll Skype and dial in the time and…
This is for real business. Oftentimes I deal with companies that are untogether. But they’re gonna test the connection a half hour before and that’s when I get the text from Yazhou.
Now at this point in time, unique names are not uncommon, you don’t think much about it. And a young woman comes on the Skype screen and she has me adjust the angle of my laptop and close the door behind me and we discuss some technical stuff, and then she asks me what I thought about BTS on SNL.
Now I start to wax rhapsodic, telling her I loved the first number, but not the second, where they rapped. And I figure Yazhou was gonna give me the inside spin, being from the demo, and that’s when she tells me she’s in Hong Kong, and that SNL is blocked there.
Now Yazhou goes on to testify about BTS. Smiling as she says that America finally gets it. And I start to kvell. I’m sitting in a condo on a laptop using hotel wifi talking to a young woman in Hong Kong, who’s just doing the technical work, the actual show is gonna be done in Atlanta.
And she speaks English perfectly. I figure she’s doing time over there, paying her dues. But she says she’s Chinese! I can’t believe it, I ask her if she was born in the U.S.A. Nope. But she did spend a few years in school over here, but only a few.
And I’m intersecting with the Chinese miracle on my laptop. Here’s this educated young woman confident in her skills and… Forget all the xenophobic Americans, I can’t fathom it. How did this happen? We feel we can contact anybody in the world whenever we want to. And thirty years ago we thought fax was a breakthrough!
And then I’m connected to Atlanta and we have fun talking about BTS. The anchor asks me if I really think BTS on SNL was better than Gary Clark Jr on the same show, and I say DEFINITELY! Because Gary Clark, Jr. can’t write a song to save his life. He’s an excellent guitar player, but they don’t let the Korean boy/girl bands out in the world until the songs are perfected.
And I’m going on how New Kids On The Block was the progenitor. Oh, don’t e-mail me about some act from the sixties, I get it, you’re a muso and I must be wrong. And then Lou Pearlman perfected the formula, with the dance moves and better songs/production, i.e. Max Martin. And then came One Direction, from a TV show, but they famously didn’t dance. But their career was driven not by radio hits, but online mania. And now BTS has the songs, the dance moves, the meaning, yes, there are messages in their music, just ask their fans, and once again, it all happened online, the traditional music business was caught flat-footed. Yes, the album’s coming out on Columbia, but they’re at the end of the food chain, this was built by people who’d been doing it a long time who were confident in their endeavors and knew it was just a matter of time until the U.S. caught on.
And then John asked me about Blackpink, and I said it was a veritable movement. And it’s so exciting, these Korean acts breaking the hip-hop/pop hegemony. They could have been created in the U.S., but NO!
This shows you what the internet can do.
And I’m still amazed.