If there’s anything I’ve learned from covering pop music for over a decade, it’s that songwriters and collaborators are just as important as the artists themselves. Though they often work behind the scenes, this feature is a chance to shine the light on some of k-pop’s most innovative and accomplished producers and composers.
Years active: 1993-present
Associated Acts: TVXQ, Super Junior, Shinee, Shinhwa, H.O.T., S.E.S, EXO, BoA, Girls’ Generation
His sound: Hyper rhythmic, with experimental song structure and bombastic production flourishes. It often features prominent electric guitar, robotic beats and diverse stylistic shifts.
Why you should love him: Though he’s had an on-again, off-again career as a soloist, it’s hard not to consider Yoo Young-Jin one of the architects of modern k-pop. He found breakthrough success producing for SM Entertainment’s earliest acts in the late 90’s, including H.O.T, S.E.S and Shinhwa. He then went on to craft an incredibly successful string of hits for Super Junior and TVXQ, including some of the most iconic, enduring tracks in all of k-pop. He brings a needed sense of drama, and a dense, challenging production style. Though he hasn’t been as active of late, his inimitable material stands apart from everything else in the genre. It’s a large reason why I became interested in k-pop in the first place.
Examples of his best work: