The majority of South Korean musicians who have made a noticeable impact on the American Billboard charts (aside from the World Digital Song Sales ranking, which seems to regularly be dominated by the biggest names from that part of the world) are groups, though just a handful of soloists have also landed successful songs and albums. In just the past few years, a number of names have started making noticeable appearances on the most important lists, such as the Billboard and Hot 100, as well as genre-specific tallies.
This week, one South Korean star appears on a Billboard radio ranking reserved for the biggest pop musicians in the business, which is now a title that fits him as well.
Suga, known primarily for his work as one of seven members of BTS, earns his first hit on Billboard’s Pop Songs chart this time around, and by doing so, he makes history among his countrymen.
The singer-songwriter joins collaborator MAX on the track “Blueberry Eyes,” which this frame arrives at No. 40 on the 40-rung tally which ranks the cuts that reach the largest audience on a number of Top 40 radio stations across the U.S. The tune isn’t yet a massive hit on the tally, but by appearing at all, Suga has doubled the number of South Korean solo musicians who have landed on the list at any point.
The only other South Korean artist working on their own who has reached the Pop Songs chart is Psy, who broke barriers with his world-dominating viral sensation “Gangnam Style.” That song, which helped introduce millions of people to the electronic pop music coming out of the Asian nation at the start of this past decade, once lifted all the way to No. 10 on the ranking.
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“Gangnam Style” still stands as the highest-ranking track among solo South Korean acts in Pop Songs history. Just one other single by any act from the country has pushed further, as BTS’s “Dynamite” lifted to No. 5 earlier this year.
Psy and Suga will surely be joined by other South Korean solo musicians at some point in the future, but for the moment, the two sit alone in this very special, very exclusive club.