From Nichkhun (2PM) to Lisa (BLACKPINK) – how successful have these Thai idols been in the Kpop industry?
Thai idols in Kpop groups were not only popular in Korea but also have a great influence in their homeland.
Kpop has never been an easy path for those who choose it. Behind the spotlight on stage, there are countless pressures that idols have to overcome. That becomes even more difficult for foreign artists. Differences in language, culture… make foreign idols have to use 200% effort to reach their dreams.
Even so, these challenges cannot obscure the inherent light of these jewels. Foreign idols have more and more opportunities to operate in the Kpop market, in which Thailand is home to many famous and influential group members and contributes to bringing Kpop to the world. There are many Thai artists who have come and shined in Korea, showing how Kpop is a “fit” for Thai idols, that they have successed even though they are far from home.
Referring to Thai artists, it is impossible not to remember Nichkhun – the first Thai idol of Kpop. It is not natural that fans call Nichkhun the name “Thai prince”, because he has everything from handsome, educated, famous, and comes from a rich family when both his parents are famous businessmen.
In 2008, he debuted as a member of the group 2PM and worked as a visual, sub rapper, and subvocal. It can be said that Nichkhun is the most successful foreign idol in the time when Kpop Gen 2 flourished. Nichkhun’s beauty once “caused nostalgia” for countless fans’ hearts. Thanks to his visual, he was named as 2PM’s top “fan-catcher”.
Not only succeeding in group activities, but Nichkhun also has outstanding individual activities. He made his solo debut in Japan and Korea. He also participated in composing and writing lyrics for some of the group’s songs, and also knew how to play the piano and guitar.
Besides music activities, Nichkhun is also active in acting and entertainment. He has appeared in more than 20 dramas and movies throughout the Asian market from Korea, Thailand to China. Nichkhun is also a “foreign language saint” when he knows basic Korean, English, Chinese, Japanese, and French.
From his debut until now, because of his good-looking face, Nichkhun has become an advertising model for many product brands, both domestically and internationally. In Thailand, Nichkhun is the pride of the people here. In his heyday, 2PM was prioritized everywhere because of Nichkhun. The advertising image that he represented appeared everywhere on the streets of Bangkok.
As one of the first generation foreign idols, Nichkhun has a great influence not only in Kpop but also in the Asian market more broadly. Currently, with nearly 13 years of career, the guy is still operating stably in the harsh Kpop entertainment industry. It is not an exaggeration to say that he is the one who opened the way to set an example for Thai idols in the future.
Following Nichkhun, BamBam is the second Thai trainee who debuted under JYP. JYP apparently matches well with Thai idols when BamBam is also currently one of the outstanding artists in Kpop.
Before coming to Korea, BamBam entered Thai showbiz when he was a kid. He used to appear in many commercials and films. BamBam won many dance awards, including the first prize of the Rain Cover Dance contest and the second prize of LG Entertainer.
In 2014, BamBam officially debuted in the boy group GOT7 after more than 3 years as a trainee. GOT7 is famous for their quality songs and talented members. In the group, BamBam takes on the role of dancer and sub-rapper. During his active years with GOT7, BamBam managed to showcase his ability and fun, dynamic personality, thus attracting a large number of fans.
Notably, although BamBam is mostly active in Korea, he is also very popular in Thailand. BamBam’s popularity in his home country is acknowledged by the male idol himself when his billboards appear everywhere in Thailand.
In early 2021, BamBam and other GOT7 members officially terminated their contract with JYP. After that, he joined ABYSS and is currently active as a soloist under this agency. On June 15, BamBam’s album riBBon was officially released and achieved impressive achievements. Thanks to riBBon, BamBam became the first male solo artist in 2021 to achieve a roof-hit on Genie. Moreover, the riBBon MV also crossed 10 million YouTube views in the first 24 hours.
With such a good new start, the Kpop career of the Thai male idol in Korea will definitely continue to last for a long time.
Most Kpop fans are probably familiar with the friend duo BamBam – Lisa. Before debut, Lisa and BamBam were both members of the dance crew We Zaa Cool in Thailand. They both had big dreams of becoming celebrities in Korea and now have achieved certain successes.
Lisa is currently a member of the top Kpop group BLACKPINK, which has a large global fan base. Lisa is considered the most famous Thai idol today with worldwide influence.
Lisa’s talent is undisputed. Before debuting in BLACKPINK, she participated in a YG audition held in Thailand. Out of 4,000 applicants, Lisa was the only one who passed the audition to become a trainee in Korea. In 2016, Lisa officially made her debut as the main dancer and lead rapper of the YG girl group.
Lisa is honored as one of the most powerful and beautiful artists because of her doll-like visuals, ideal body and unique aura. Every time she performs on stage, she makes viewers unable to take their eyes off her thanks to her stunning appearance and eye-catching movements.
Lisa is also known as the “international little sister” because of her global popularity in music, television and fashion. Lisa is the first member of BLACKPINK to become a mentor on the popular Chinese survival show Youth With You. She is the ambassador of many luxury brands such as Celine, Bvlgari… Moreover, Lisa is famous for her ability in languages because she is fluent in Thai, Korean, English and even knows some basic Japanese.
Of course, in her home country Thailand, Lisa’s popularity is no joke either. She is called the pride of Thailand along with Nichkhun (2PM) and BamBam (GOT7). Lisa’s billboards can be spotted everywhere and each event that Lisa attends in Thailand is like her solo concert.
Together with BLACKPINK, Lisa has achieved many successes, becoming a global idol, breaking various world records. In her latest solo debut with LALISA, Lisa set a series of solo world records such as the highest MV views in the first 24 hours of a soloist, the fastest solo artist to reach 100 million views… The Thai female idol’s achievements always make fans proud.
Ten (NCT, WayV, SuperM)
NCT Ten is also a member of the Thai idols group of friends together with Lisa and Bam Bam. What made Ten the first Thai idol of SM? The first thing that must be pointed out is his outstanding visual. Ten attracts many fans with his white skin, big eyes, and bright smile. His face has an aura that got the fangirls to fall for him.
However, what amazes everyone is his talents. Ten became familiar with music ever since he was a kid. In 2010, Ten participated in a competition called Teen Superstar aired on Thailand’s television channel and got the 1st prize. Therefore, he refused the chance of signing a contract with Starship Entertainment and spent all the prize money he received from the contest to donate to an orphanage in Thailand.
In 2011, Ten joined YG Entertainment’s audition and was accepted. However, at that time, Ten’s parents didn’t let him go to Korea to become a trainee. In 2013, Ten tried again with SM Thailand Global Audition and won 1st place. This time, Ten’s parents agreed with him and allowed him to come to Korea and become a trainee under SM Entertainment.
In 2016, Ten debuted as a member of NCT U (a unit of NCT). The multilingual idol Ten, who is able to speak Korean, English, and Chinese fluently, later joined some other unit groups, such as WayV (active mainly in China) and SuperM (SM’s global boy group). In particular, whatever group he is in, he is always in charge of important positions, including the main dancer, vocal, and sub rapper.
Being able to perform all 3 skills (sing, rap and dance), Ten is recognized as one of the all-rounder idols of KPOP. In fact, dancing is this Thai idol’s most outstanding skill. Ten received many compliments for his technical yet flexible dancing. Moreover, he also creates the choreography himself. A dance expert once commented that Ten is one of the most excellent “dancing machines” in the KPOP industry.
The first Thai idol of SM, Ten, is on his way to get more achievements as a member of his groups or as Ten himself. It is expected that he will proceed more in his journey being an idol.
Minnie is the only Thai member of the idol girl group, (G)-IDLE. She joined CUBE after winning the Cube Star Audition 2014 held in Thailand. Debuted in 2018, Minne is in charge of the main vocalist position along with Miyeon. She is known for having a unique, attractive, and soft voice.
However, Minnie’s popularity only rose after the group competed in Queendom (a survival show in Korea). During the first stage, the audience was overwhelmed by the introduction part of Latata when Minne performed in Thai. As a result, she received enthusiastic responses from Korean and Thai viewers.
In addition, Minne is also an excellent pianist, composer, and songwriter. Minnie has participated in composing many songs for her group. Moreover, like other Thai idols, language ability is Minnie’s strength, and she is able to communicate fluently in Thai, Korean, and English. In fact, she also knows basic Japanese and Mandarin.
Especially, although coming from 2 different companies, Minnie and Lisa were born in the same year (1997), and they are known as close friends. With lots of talents, many people expect Minnie to have a solo debut so that she could shine more in the future.