National Post (National Edition)

Get ready for T-pop


BANGKOK • Move over K-pop. Here comes T-pop.

Thai female band Lyra, backed by the world's biggest music label Universal Music Group (UMG), is hoping to harness its devoted fan base and match the success of South Korean artists who have turned K-pop into an internatio­nal phenomenon.

“We have high expectatio­ns. We want to introduce ... T-pop music to the world,” said 20-year-old Lyra member Jennis Oprasert.

Last year UMG partnered with Thai firm Independen­t Artist Management (iAM), to launch the six-member group, after auditionin­g some 80 girls and young women from the popular idol group BNK48.

“It's a bet,” said Paul Sirisant, who heads UMG in Thailand. But he believes originalit­y will drive the band's success.

The group trained for months remotely via Zoom and later lived together in a house after plans to go to Los Angeles were interrupte­d by the coronaviru­s pandemic.

“We saw them transform into their individual artistic selves, which is great, but there were many tears,” Sirisant said.

Navigating the shift from BNK48's musical style was not always straightfo­rward.

“It's not an easy ride at all,” said 18-year-old Natticha `Fond' Chantarava­reelekha.

“The dancing, the music genre is different. I've never done it before, but even though it's hard, I've loved (doing), it since I was a kid, so I'm ready.”

Their eponymous debut single has over 6.5 million views on YouTube after about two months online.

“We incorporat­ed Thai elements by including sounds from two traditiona­l instrument­s,” another member, Punsikorn `Pun' Tiyakorn, 20, who also came up with the group's name.

Fans at home and abroad have been supportive.

“I will support them until the end,” said 23-year-old Danaiphat Singto, as he watched a video of a performanc­e by the band in Bangkok. “I really want them to reach global audiences.”

The band is part of a wave of Thai musicians gaining attention from audiences and investors abroad.

Thai-German singer Jannine Weigel was the first artist to sign with RedRecords, a venture between UMG and low-cost carrier AirAsia.

Early signs of success already have labels planning new groups.

“We plan to have more bands with Universal,” chief operating officer at iAM, Nataphol Pavaravadh­ana, said.

“It will be different from Lyra for sure. Maybe indie. Stay tuned.”

INDEPENDEN­T ARTIST MANAGEMENT ?? Members of Thai band Lyra rehearsed for months
over Zoom.
UNIVERSAL MUSIC THAILAND & INDEPENDEN­T ARTIST MANAGEMENT Members of Thai band Lyra rehearsed for months over Zoom.

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