Check out these 7 Korean indie artists who aren’t part of the K-pop scene


With the global frenzy surrounding BTS and BLACKPINK’s recent wins at the E! 2019 People’s Choice Awards, it’s no surprise that K-pop has made its way into the mainstream music industry around the world. And while I love catchy pop tunes, perfectly timed dance numbers, and mind-blowing music videos, there are plenty of underrated gems in Korean music outside of K-pop. If you’re new to the Korean indie scene, you’ve come to the right place. It’s time to spice up this playlist with these incredible artists.


Although he doesn’t associate himself with the K-pop genre, Dean has become a big name in the South Korean music industry. His velvety voice and incredible talent for writing and producing quality songs made him a popular solo artist with a number of record hits. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s nice to look at.

2. Love x Stereo

This synth-loving duo from Seoul is a dream team made up of Toby Hwang (guitars, synth) and Annie Ko (vocals). Although they are based in Korea, they sing the majority of their songs in English. With dreamy vocals, atmospheric background music and plenty of groove, their music is perfect for midnight commutes.


It’s impossible not to smile and feel uplifted while listening to OOHYO. Not only is she making waves in Korea, but she frequently performs overseas and collaborates with British and Scottish bands. Her sweet, melodious vocals and contemplative music are reason enough for you to hold this queen of indie.


In the independent R&B sphere, offonoff is the real deal despite only debuting in 2016. They have already released numerous collaborations with other top R&B and hip-hop artists such as Dean, Tablo by Epik High and Punchnello. This duo is quickly gaining popularity with their lo-fi beats and soothing melodies, so keep an eye out for them.

5. Black skirts

Jo Hyu-il, better known as The Black Skirts, is a one-man band that has been around for 12 years. This veteran artist is known for his folksy, soulful ballads that are perfect for crying over a breakup. And if you’re single (raise your hand), then that’s all the more reason to sit down and immerse yourself in his beautiful music.

6. Suran

Some of you may have already heard of this rising star through his single “Wine”, made famous by his co-producer, BTS’s Suga. Suran’s funky, upbeat style and strong, nasal voice are reminiscent of American indie pop artists like Misterwives. Songs like “1+1=0” and “Surfin'” will have you wanting to slide around your house in your socks and dance like nobody’s watching, à la Tom Cruise in “Risky Business.”


Last but not least, perhaps the most revered Korean indie band in the industry: HYUKOH. Composed of 4 members, this group has an international and cult audience. It probably helps that the leader and lead vocalist, Oh Hyuk, is fluent in Korean, Mandarin, and English. With songs in all three languages, HYUKOH’s lyrics are often considered to be deep and uplifting, while their music has moved many fans around the world.


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