10 years after ‘Gangnam Style’, Psy is happier than ever

10 years after ‘Gangnam Style’, Psy is happier than ever

10 years after ‘Gangnam Style’, Psy is happier than ever

Ten years after “Gangnam Style” became a global phenomenon, South Korean rapper Psy is living his best life, proud of his “greatest trophy” and free from the pressure of repeating that unprecedented success.

Uploaded to YouTube on July 15, 2012, the song’s wacky music video became a runaway megahit, with its trademark horse-riding dance spawning thousands of imitations, spoofs and spinoffs.

It was the first YouTube video to reach one billion views, and with it, Psy attained what K-pop acts before him could not: global recognition.

At the peak of the song’s popularity, he was everywhere, sharing the stage with Madonna, leading a flash mob in front of the Eiffel Tower, and performing before then U.S. president Barack Obama.

But the success of “Gangnam Style” was a double-edged sword with fame came pressure to deliver another huge hit. Psy once described it as one of the most difficult periods of his life.

Things became “heavier and harder because... every time I (had) to have that kind of strong song”, Psy told AFP in an interview last week.

“I had a huge dependency on the song... But you know, it’s 10 years ago, so right now I’m really free.”

“Gangnam Style” transformed not only Psy’s career but the music industry too, demonstrating how an artist not performing in a dominant language such as English could reach international audiences through the internet.

It also prompted a change in how music charts were compiled, making Billboard take YouTube views and streams into account.

K-pop acts “are very huge on YouTube, they are getting a lot of views”, Psy said. “If Billboard didn’t change, it wouldn’t be that easy,” the 44-year-old added.

Psy, whose real name is Park Jae-sang, was a superstar in South Korea well before “Gangnam Style.”

Since the explosive success of “Gangnam Style”, Psy has put out three albums.

The latest, “Psy 9th,” was released in April by P NATION, the record label and artist agency he founded in 2019.