The leading Western U.S. newspaper published an article on Jan. 1 about SM Entertainment president Lee Soo-man and his efforts to find new potential stars to lead the Korean pop culture in the U.S.
The LA Times reported on the audition that SM Entertainment held in the city in the article entitled "Called to Star in Asia", where a picture of Lee was also posted, courtesy of the JoongAng Ilbo U.S.
"The language doesn't matter. We can teach them that", the paper quoted Lee. "What we need is people who understand American culture. That is what will make them stars in Asia".
The newspaper said that SM has held auditions in 11 U.S. cities for the past several years to search for aspiring singers, actors and models who can make their way to stardom in Asia. Some of them have found real success to become celebrities in Korea, meeting Korea's demand for stars familiar with American culture.
The paper cited Francis Hur, the president of SkyLight Entertainment, a Los Angeles company promoting Korean music, as saying, "[Korean youths] can't rap. There are just things that only Americans can do".
Timothy Tangherlini, a UCLA Korean culture professor, told the paper, "There's been a strange inversion, an almost fetishization of the foreign, whereas before it was almost shunned. The 'street cred' in Korea, the new types of voices and styles, are all coming from L.A. now".