Entertainment

Meet the Korean-Mexican Hearthrob Topping The K-Pop Charts

Meet Samuel Arredondo Kim — or Samuel, as he’s better known in South Korea where he’s currently a K-pop idol. Yes, you read that correctly. There’s a Latino K-pop idol.

Credit: Brave Entertainment

While there have been other half-Latino figures in Korean entertainment industry in the past – like the Korean hip-hop pioneer Carlos Galvan (Mexican/Korean-American) of the ’90s group Uptown and Tia Cuevas (of Puerto Rican descent) from the now defunct K-pop girl group ChoColat – Samuel is the most prominent and only current figure since Hallyu (Korean wave) exploded worldwide.

Born in Los Angeles to a Korean mother and Mexican dad, the 15-year-old made his solo debut this past August with the electro bubblegum pop jam “Sixteen” and gave us major Justin Bieber “Baby” era vibes.     

Korea calculates age differently, making people one or two years older depending on the month they’re born. That’s why Samuel sings about being 16.

The  singer speaks English, Korean and poquito Spanish.

However, he has said he feels weird speaking English since he’s lived in Korea for so long.

Since he was very young, Samuel exuded star potential. He got his start making extremely cute commercials for a Volkswagen dealership in Bakersfield, which the internet speculates is owned by his family.

And because all that talent couldn’t be wasted, Samuel moved to Korea at 11 years old and started training to become a K-pop idol at Pledis Entertainment. 

Pledis Entertainment

He was initially part of the original lineup of the now very successful boy band SEVENTEEN, where he was the maknae, or the youngest member of the group.

SEVENTEEN trained for many years together, gearing up for debut as a 17 member band. However, the wait was long and some members ultimately left, including Samuel, citing personal reasons.

But this wasn’t the end of the road for Samuel. He soon joined another Korean company, Brave Entertainment, and debuted as the hip-hop duo 1Punch.

He performed under the moniker Punch along with another member, One. He was 13-years-old and One was 20.

While cringey and hella problematic, “Turn Me Back” and “Nightmare” gave us the first results of his training. The boy had not only grown in dance, but was also singing and rapping. 1Punch didn’t last long though, and One soon left to join YG Entertainment, the entertainment giant home to acts like PSY, Big Bang and 2NE1.

Punch gave it another go, though, and released an East-meets-West collaboration with the “Watch Me (Whip/Nae Nae)” singer Silentó.

Even though the song won the Global Collaboration Award at the Seoul Music Awards earlier this year, “Spotlight” didn’t lead to much success for Samuel. And yet, he persisted.

Samuel joined the second season of the competition show Produce 101 in early 2017.

Produce 101/Mnet

On Produce 101, participants competed against each other through a series of performances in hopes of making it into the 11-member supergroup lineup. The participants were all trainees of different South Korean entertainment companies, and most (though not all) had yet to debut. Viewers served as “producers” and voted for their favorites to make it onto the top 11. By the end of the show, the group Wanna One was formed. Because the show turned out to be a smash hit, they group is the most popular K-pop act of the moment.   

Throughout the show, Samuel was considered as one of the top contenders for the win. He immediately gained attention for his dance skills and the fact that he co-choreographed most of his teams’ performances. Samuel continuously placed within the top spots and was among the most popular trainees.

But in an unfortunate twist of events, he ended up placing at number 18 on the final and didn’t make the group. Fans were livid, especially the ones outside of Korea who weren’t allowed to vote, and even set up a petition seeking justice.  

International fans were especially invested in seeing Samuel win, in part, because they wanted to see a Latino thrive as a K-pop idol.

But not making the cut actually turned out to be a blessing for the singer. Within days of the show’s ending, the head of Brave Entertainment released a statement announcing his solo debut, “Sixteen.”

Upon release, the first batch of physical albums sold out, with many of the copies being shipped overseas. “Sixteen” reached number one on the iTunes worldwide albums chart in countries like Vietnam and Indonesia, and placed within the top 10 in Singapore, Thailand and other countries.

Your Moment of Kpop/tumblr

The K-pop industry is oversaturated and cutthroat, so the fact that Samuel is still standing and thriving at such a young age is nothing short of amazing. Hard work pays off, and after a successful debut EP, Samuel will be coming out with a full album in October. And if it’s anything like “Sixteen,” we’re surely in for a treat of pristine pop perfection.


READ: There’s A New Frida Kahlo-Inspired Makeup Compact Made By A Korean Beauty Brand

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Jose Arredondo, Father Of K-Pop Star Samuel, Was Found ‘Beaten To Death’ In Cabo San Lucas, Mexico And Fans Are Devastated

Entertainment

Jose Arredondo, Father Of K-Pop Star Samuel, Was Found ‘Beaten To Death’ In Cabo San Lucas, Mexico And Fans Are Devastated

its_kimsamuel / Instagram

There is terrible news coming out of Mexico this week as media reports say Jose Arredondo, a U.S. citizen and father of K-Pop star Samuel, was reportedly beaten to death in Cabo San Lucas. The 58-year-old, who is the well-known owner of a car dealership in Bakersfield, California, was found dead on Tuesday morning in a condominium with “signs of blunt force trauma,” police said. According to a local media outlet, Tribunal de Los Cabos, Arredondo was discovered “laying on the floor with several wounds caused by a knife in the back.” 

This story is shocking on many fronts as authorities try to uncover more details on how this all could have happened.

Credit: Twitter/@kmusicinsider

Arredondo was a revered family and community member in the Bakersfield area who came to the United States at the age of 11 from the Mexican state of Michoacan. He would work his way up to own several local dealerships after starting off washing cars in Los Angeles. Arredondo would be promoted to become a salesman that would be the start of a career auto retail industry. 

One of Arredondo’s closest friends was Rev. James Ranger, the lead pastor at New Life Church, where he attended for 20 years. Ranger told Bakersfield.com that Arredondo was “the real deal” and an individual would constantly give back to the church, this included donating brand-new cars to the church for fundraising. 

“He was tough as nails but he had a beautiful heart,” Ranger said about his good friend. 

While Samuel’s father came from Mexico and his mother from Korea, he was born in the U.S. Samuel, whose full name is Samuel Kim Arredondo, rose to stardom at a young age. He would appear in many of his father’s car dealership commercials and sing. He would also appear on the online show Seventeen TV before making it big on the K-pop scene. 

There has been much support and condolences that have been pouring in since the news broke.  

Credit: Twitter/@crzylslr

Many of Samuel’s fans have taken to social media to share their thought and deep condolences for the tragic news of his father’s passing. “My condolence. I hope that you are surrounded by your loved ones and I know it’s hard but please stay strong, you’re not alone Samuel #StayStrongSamuel,” one user wrote on Twitter

Another fan took the time to write out a short personal message for Samuel. She said that many of his fans are standing right there with him during this difficult time. 

“Dear Samuel, I know you’re not fine right now… What you’re facing is so hard and depressing but always remember… We-your fans- will always be here with you. We had your back. Always. Sending all the love I can give. Louise Lazaro. Your fan.”

This untimely death has struck the Bakersfield community as much as it has many of Samuel’s fans. 

Credit: Twitter/@bluerabbyblue

Arredondo played a huge role in his community and many have shown their support and how he affected their lives personally. Besides being a car dealership owner, Arredondo played a pivotal role in encouraging children to stay in school and pursue higher education. He also was a big supporter in feeding farm labor workers in the nearby Central Valley.

Francisco Duran, who was a fan of Arredondo growing up, wrote on Facebook that the news hit him hard. He was one of those that was personally touched many of his positive car commercials. 

“Sad news. I was thinking about quitting Bakersfield College back in 1995 when I saw him on TV. He was encouraging kids to stay in school. He changed my mind about quitting.”

John Pitre, the chief operations officer at Motor City Buick GMC and Motor City Lexus of Bakersfield, told the Bakersfield.com that the untimely death was a “tragic event.” Pitre noted that Arredondo played a big role in the car dealers business. 

“He was a valuable member of our community and we’re certainly going to miss him,” Pitre said. “We’re certainly in mourning and we’ll say a prayer for him.”

While there are still many questions about the case there are still no suspects that have been identified at this time, investigators said.

READ: Korean Boy Band BTS Opened A Pop-Up Shop In Mexico City And The City Lost Its Mind

Korean Boy Band BTS Opened A Pop-Up Shop In Mexico City And The City Lost Its Mind

Entertainment

Korean Boy Band BTS Opened A Pop-Up Shop In Mexico City And The City Lost Its Mind

goldenclosetmx / Instagram

So BTS is a big deal. And in Mexico it’s no different, the country is home to some seriously dedicated fans.

Chicos and chicas alike are obsessed with the Korean boy band but sadly the group has only given one concert in Mexico City, back in 2015.

So this was the announcement that everyone had been waiting for.

Credit: TheMostWantedMX / Twitter

Though for those not living near CDMX, they were disappointed the collection wouldn’t immediately be available online.

But now the BT21 store is officially open in Mexico City and people are losing their minds.

Credit: @glossjn / Twitter

Many on Twitter we’re anxiously waiting in-line and live-Tweeting the play by play for those of us that couldn’t be there.

There was already a lot of hype leading up to the actual opening.

Credit: BT21 / Instagram

Like they had to tweet out this reminder to stay calm, bring water, and be prepared to wait.

Pretty much everyone agreed that the line for the pop-up shop was bigger than the lines to go to an actual BTS concert.

Now imagine the line at Mexico’s next BTS concert. But it’s obvious their fans in Mexico are dedicated and come hail, sleet, snow, or rain, it wouldn’t matter, they’d still show up in droves.

People were taking photos and posing with whatever they could.

And thankfully, the shop thought ahead and provided plenty of life-size cutouts of each of the singers along with all sorts of cute decorations.

But most were after the dolls created by each member of BTS.

Tata, RJ, Mang, Chimmy, Cooky, Shooky, Koya are the names of the animated characters created by Jungkook, Taehyung, Jimin, Namjoon, Jin, Hoseok and Yoongi, members of the K-Pop band.

Many took to Twitter to share their hauls from the pop-up.

Credit: @BeyondTheSweett / Twitter

How cute is this stuff?!

Some realized that the Mexico City store even had things that other stores didn’t.

Credit: @glossjn / Twitter

Translation: “oooh they have things that they don’t have in the Times Square store! Kinda jealous but Mexico deserves it.”

Many on Twitter were just speechless that a BT21 store had arrived in the Mexican capital.

Credit: @LeslieAhe / Twitter

After nearly four years without a BTS concert in the city, many were shocked that they would open up a shop in the city.

The fact that BTS had chosen Mexico City as the first location for a pop-up in all of Latin America lends some serious cred to the city.

Credit: @music_is_bts / Twitter

The all boy Korean band has only been to Mexico City once before but they’ve played Sao Paulo several times.

Many from outside the country may not have realized but BTS is basically at the level of la Virgen de Guadalupe in terms of fandom.

Credit: @carimegalaxxy / Twitter

And few would actually line up in numbers like they did for this pop-up shop.

Which leaves us wondering, when will BTS do their next show in Mexico?

READ: BTS Is Making Millions Of Dollars On Their Career But Groups Are Sharing Stories Of The Abuse Rampant In The K-Pop Industry

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