Psy's ascent to global stardom has now been immortalized in full colour in a comic book.
Psy’s ‘Gentleman’ video sets world record
When South Korean pop star Psy, whose real name is Park Jae-sang, vaulted to worldwide fame in 2012 with his satirical song ‘Gangnam Style’ no one could have predicated that the song would become YouTube's most-viewed video at 1.5 billion. While the song and Psy’s much-mimicked horse-riding dance was catchy and upbeat, even Psy is at a loss to explain why his over-the-top music video went viral around the world.
“I think this is all about luck. They say some philosopher said, ‘when effort meets chance, then there is luck.’ That’s what I heard from my fans in Korea. Chance was YouTube and effort my last 12 years because I’ve done these kinds of dance moves and video and songs for 12 years. So I really agree with the philosopher,” said Psy in an interview with time.com. “Right now, my music video is more famous than I am. If I say, ‘Hey, I’m Psy.’ ‘Psy?’ ‘The guy from the video on YouTube?’ ‘Oh.’ I hate that. I’ve got to be more popular than the video. So I need to keep promoting myself.”
With fame coming so quickly and on such a massive scale, pundits were quick to surmise that Psy would become something that’s dreaded in the music business – a one-hit wonder. Psy’s fears of being so labelled were instantly allayed with the release of his latest track, ‘Gentleman,’ which shattered the record for most YouTube views in a single day, and has since racked up over 200 million views in total.
"I honestly changed this song so many times until the very last moment. I was not excited, I was terrible; I was so nervous," Psy told mtv.com. "My only goal was to avoid being called a One-Hit Wonder. So that was a very nervous moment right before the premiere; and in two weeks, with 230 million views, I'm not a One-Hit Wonder. I'm really happy and relieved about that!"
Psy released ‘Gentleman’ early in April and says he certainly felt the pressure of trying to follow up one of the hugest hits of all time.
"I released it on April 12, and on April 13 I had a huge concert in Korea ... so that week, it was like hell," he told MTV News. "On Friday, I had to release the single, and on Saturday, I had to release the video, and I had to do a 50,000-person stadium concert. And that same week, on Monday and Tuesday, I did the shooting [of the 'Gentleman' video]. And I was done with the shooting on Tuesday, and on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, we were editing, and I was rehearsing and I was memorizing all the choreography. So that week was like the worst time ever in my life."
Even with the success ‘Gentleman’ has enjoyed so far, Psy is not expecting his new release to top ‘Gangnam Style.’
“I cannot beat ‘Gangnam Style,’ I don’t think so. And the thing is, it's too much pressure to overcome 'Gangnam Style.' It's really hard. I cannot predict that it’ll be stronger than the ‘horse,’ but still, I’ve got a really nice feeling about the choreography.”
As the first Korean solo artist to have a top-selling U.S. single, Psy is proud of what he’s accomplished so far, but he remains humble and realistic when it comes to his contribution to culture in his home country.
“Everybody is describing me as a worldwide phenomenon, so especially for Korea, they are thinking of me as representing our country for the new history, for the K-pop history, so they are cheering a lot here. I don’t want to represent my country like a sports player. I’m just an artist. But everything I’m doing from now on is a first for Korean culture. So I’ve got to be good. But if I meet Britney Spears or Katy Perry or whoever, I don’t get panicked, because I’m still a nobody here. I’m just enjoying the situation. I'm pretty sure that people across the globe will love the K-Pop genre more and more.”
Psy’s next big live performance will take place in the UK on June 9 when he performs during the Capital FM Summertime Ball 2013 at Wembley Stadium alongside Justin Timberlake, Robbie Williams, Taylor Swift, and Union J.