BoA's Early Career:
BoA, born Kwon Boa November 5, 1986, became a Korean pop star almost by accident. At the age of 11 she accompanied her brother to an audition for SM Entertainment, a corporation specializing in creating pop stars. Although she was not there to audition, talent scouts noticed her and signed her to a contract the same day. After two years of extensive training, including learning the Japanese language for future appeal to the Japanese pop market, BoA's first album ID; Peace B was released in South Korea in August 2000. It reached the top 10 as did a follow up EP Jumping Into the World. However, it was decided to have BoA focus on the Japanese market next.
Success in Japan:
Following a string of singles, BoA's first Japanese album Listen To My Heart was released in March 2002. It was an instant smash hit debuting at #1. It was the first album by a Korean artist to open at the top of the chart in Japan. Ultimately, Listen To My Heart sold over one million copies in Japan alone. BoA's follow up, 2003's Valenti was an even bigger Japanese hit opening at #1 again with more than 600,000 copies sold in its first week. While her focus was on the Japanese market, BoA continued to release albums at home in South Korea and they topped the charts there as well.
BoA's Maturing Style:
Through the middle of the decade BoA's pop style began to evolve. She moved from teenager to adult and consequently her music began to incorporate a variety of styles including rock and her image changed into a more mature adult artist. To expand her fan base, BoA recorded a few songs in Mandarin Chinese in addition to her Korean, Japanese, and English songs. BoA's fourth consecutive Korean album to hit #1, 2005's Girls On Top, sported images of BoA in traditional Korean dress representing her evolution into Korean womanhood. By 2008's Japanese album The Face, her sixth consecutive #1 Japanese album, BoA began to take more creative control over her music.
BoA Music Videos:
Launch In the US:
By the end of the decade an effort was made to break BoA into the US pop market. The single "Eat You Up" was released in October 2008. The Swedish producer Henrik Jonback worked on the record. It failed to make a mainstream pop impact, but the song went to the top 10 on the US dance chart. It was followed by the English language album BoA in 2009. The album includes collaborations with Bloodshy and Avant, best-known for their work with Britney Spears, and Sean Garrett. The album only reached #127 on the chart, but it provided an introduction to the US pop market.
BoA's Current Success and the Future:
BoA returned to the Japanese market in early 2010 with her album Identity. It only reached #4 on the chart and ended a streak of six consecutive #1 studio albums. Her first Korean studio album in five years met with a better fate. Hurricane Venus debuted at #1 in South Korea in August 2010 and included two top 10 pop singles. It is unclear what the focus of BoA's career will be for the future, but she is one of the most successful Korean pop artists of all time. Her popularity has spread throughout East Asia and she has a toehold in English language markets.