Happy Birthday to the Billboard K-Pop Hot 100 chart, which launched a year ago on Aug. 25, 2011! All this week, we'll honor the occasion with profiles of hot artists, exclusive videos and photos and features marking the year's biggest moments in Korean music.
On August 25, 2011, the main page of Billboard.com, featured an extended article on power quartet, SISTAR, in their colorful, sparkly mini-dresses under the headline, "SISTAR Tops Our New K-Pop Chart." It marked the inaugural day for the Billboard K-Pop Hot 100 chart and the SISTAR track that has the honor of debuting at No. 1? "So Cool."
The Korean music chart has since skyrocketed in impressions and popularity in South Korea as well as other parts of the globe with K-Pop fans. A Billboard staff member commented, "The rise of K-Pop Hot 100 is resplendent. We've launched charts from different countries during various times, but this is the first time that a foreign chart has taken off so rapidly."
SISTAR, "So Cool"
In the first week of the launch, SISTAR appeared on Billboard.com as well as in that week's issue of the magazine. The international exposure the girls received on the back of the K-Pop chart launch allowed SISTAR to effectively springboard into the global music scene.
The girls expressed their astonishment regarding their No. 1 ranking in a new interview.
"When we first heard we took the No.1 spot on the first Billboard K-Pop chart, we couldn't believe it. Our reaction was 'REALLY?' Every time we would go overseas to perform afterwards, we gave our utmost while remembering that we were one of the representative faces of K-Pop to the international community."
SISTAR's career took off immediately after entering Billboard's history books. Their first album, "Alone," released earlier this year, dominated the K-Pop Hot 100 for four straight weeks starting in late April. Thereafter, SISTAR's summer special album's title track, "Loving U", snatched the No. 1 spot, and has been charted within the Top 3 for seven straight weeks. When asked what their last 12 months was like, member Soyoo replied, "It was a time of ripening," while Bora said, "I think we learned how to enjoy the stage."
SISTAR, "Loving U"
We worked harder after taking the No.1 spot. There wasn't a day that we weren't worried about losing our fans during our hiatus, so we just practiced harder. But we matured a lot without even realizing it."
Then Bora added, "We used to be intimidated by the audience, but soon the crowds started actually cheering us on. Our confidence level went up… Learning how to enjoy the stage was probably the biggest transformation we made in the past year."
SISTAR released their debut effort, "Push Push," in June 2011 and instantly grabbed the spotlight in the local Korean music scene. Since, then they've scored numerous hits, including "Like You," "My Boy," "So Cool," "Alone," and "Loving U."
SISTAR, "My Boy"
"I think we got lucky. It isn't easy to make it even if you've given your all. We never thought for a second that we have reached the pinnacle of our careers," says leader Hyorin. "I think music listeners and fans started liking our energetic stage persona and wholesome image."
When asked what made them different from other groups, after pondering the question, Soyoo replied, "I think it's because we have a way of making people feel comfortable around us; I don't think any girl group can come close to us when it comes down to friendliness with the fans."
She added, "Often times we use the waiting room with other artists when we are set to perform on TV. We aggressively approach other musicians and befriend them with small talk. We are not shy and we don't hesitate to approach anyone, even if they are older. I don't think anyone creates a comfortable and lively environment like we do."
SISTAR cemented their international success during "2011 Billboard K-POP MASTERS" at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on November 25 and 26. The event was held to commemorate the launch of the Billboard K-Pop Hot 100. The girls have also headlined K-Pop concerts in California and France.
SISTAR will hold their first exclusive concert in Seoul, Korea, on September 15.