aespa and BTS won big at the 2022 Korean Music Awards

The 4th generation K-pop girl group aespa became the main character at the 19th Korean Music Awards (KMA).


aespa won three awards at this year’s awards ceremony held at Nodeulseom Live House in Seoul on the afternoon of March 1st.
In particular, aespa drew attention by receiving “Song of the Year” (Next Level) and “Best New Artist.” The group also received Best K-pop Song, which was first established this year, for “Next Level.” The song, which was a remake of the OST of the same name from the movie “Fast and Furious: Hobbs và Shaw” (2019), received favorable reviews from critics for its attractive hip-hop, e-girls and cyberpunk elements.


If the Old Testament of SM Entertainment begins with H.O.T., aespa will mark the company’s beginning of the New Testament. Following its debut song “Black Mamba,aespa opened K-pop’s “Cyberpunk” trend with “Next Level” and completed another chapter in KPOP’s history with its first mini-album “Savage.” 

Folk singer-songwriter Lee Rang won two awards, winning one of the overall fields, Album of the Year (Daesang) and Best Folk Album. Lee Rang‘s third full album “There is a Wolf,” is considered a masterpiece. In an unusual way in the Korean pop music industry, his album is a clear statement about reality and that the songs have an appeal and solidarity that triggers change.


In addition, the global supergroup BTS received Musician of the Year (Daesang). BTS topped the U.S. Billboard’s main single chart Hot 100 for a total of 10 weeks last year with its global hit “Butter,” making it one of the world’s top groups in fame and achievements. BTS has been nominated for KMA for five consecutive years since 2018, and has been recognized for its popularity and musicality at the same time.

Along with this, the alt electronic duo Jellyfish took home two awards, Best Electronic Album and Best Electronic Song.


Along with the Best K-pop Song Award received by aespa, the newly established Best K-pop Album Award went to “Querencia” of Chung Ha, a solo singer and former member of the project group I.O.I.

The selection of KMA includes 25 categories in a total of three areas. Singers who were active  and released albums and songs from December 1, 2020 to November 30 last year, were targeted. A total of 59 people, consisting of critics, music reporters, and music broadcast PDs, participated as selection committee members.

The awards ceremony was sponsored by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, the Korea Creative Content Agency, and Nodeulseom. Last year, in the aftermath of COVID-19, only online live broadcasts were conducted without any spectators, but this year, a small offline event was conducted along with live broadcasts on YouTube. 

Here is the list of winners of the 19th Korea Music Awards:

Musician of the year: BTS

Rookie of the year: aespa’s “Next Level” and “Savage” 

Best Pop Album: IU’s ‘Lilac’ (2021)

Best Pop Song: AKMU (Lee Chan-hyuk and Lee Su-Hyun) for “Nakka” ft IU

Best K-Pop Song: aespa’s “Next Level”

Best K-Pop Album: Soloist Chungha for “Querencia”

Special Achievement Award: Devils

Best Jazz Album: Jihye Lee Orchestra Daring Mind

Best Rap and Hip-Hop Song: Changmo Taiji

Best Jazz Vocal Album: Maria Kim With Strings: Dream of You

Best Modern Rock Song: Silica Gel Desert Eagle

Best Rap and Hip-Hop Album: Choi LB Independent Music

Best Modern Rock Album: Wings of the Isang The Borderline Between Hope and Despair

Best Rock Album: Soumbalgwang Happiness, Flower

Best Metal and Hardcore Album: Agnes Hegemony Shif

Best Rock Song: Soumbalgwang Dance

Best R&B and Soul Album: Thama Don’t Die Colors

Best R&B and Soul Song: Sumin & Slom The Gonlan Song

Best Folk Album: Lee Lang’s “There is a Wolf”

Best Electronic Album: Haepaary Born By Gorgeousness

Best Electronic Song: Haepaary Go to GPD and Then

Best Folk Song: Chun Yong-sung Barley Tea (ft Kang Mal-geum)

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