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How League of Legends K/DA took the K-Pop world by storm

How League of Legends K/DA took the K-Pop world by storm

The League of Legends Universe is a video game turned multi-entertainment brand that tries to latch itself in the tendrils of mainstream media.  And, surprisingly, it more or less succeeded! Riot Games evolved from making cinematics to creating a metal album, comics, and even an animated Netflix series. But, among their creations stands K/DA, a K-POP-inspired in-game cosmetic line that soon became a worldwide sensation. Learn more about the divas of League of Legends and how they impacted the K-POP community!

The origins of K/DA

Riot Games

K/DA is a virtual girl group created by Riot Games for Worlds 2018. K-POP inspired the team behind K/DA, as the location for the annual E-sport tournament will be held in South Korea. The team used the old Popstar Ahri skin theme to create a new band inspired by Western beats and Eastern vocals. K/DA came to life, with brand new visuals for Ahri along with three other members. 

Meet the popstars

In the K/DA alter-verse, Ahri (voiced by (G)I-DLE’s Miyeon) founded the group after deciding to quit being a solo act. She serves as the leader of the group, as well as being the main visual, lead vocalist, and face of K/DA. She reconnected with Evelynn (Madison Beer), the girl boss diva. Evelynn can best be described as an unapologetic artisan of music, a sassy pop icon.

Kai’sa (Jaira Burns) snagged the spot as the group’s main dancer and alternate rapper. She choreographs the dances to be performed by the girls on stage and on camera. Finally, Akali ((G)I-DLE Soyeon) serves as the main rapper of the group. The punk ninja’s hard-hitting verses and neon aesthetics became viral and were one of the main reasons for K/DA’s surge in popularity.

POP/STAR

K/DA debuted with the song POP/STAR at the Worlds 2018 Opening Ceremony. At the same time, the music video for their song was streamed on YouTube. The opening ceremony performance of K/DA stole the attention of the crowd. Alongside the voice actresses and performers of K/DA are their virtual counterparts using augmented reality (AR). Overnight, K/DA popped everywhere on social media. POP/STARS music videos have 13 Million Views in less than 48 hours, and 100 million in a single month. The hit single also became #1 on World’s Digital Song Sales, #5 on Apple Pop music charts, and #1 on Apple KPOP Charts.

ALL OUT

Two years later, K/DA came back with a bang, with new visuals and an EP with five new songs. The pre-release single The Baddest heralded the new album, featuring the original (G)I-DLE members along with Bea Miller and Wolftyla. MORE, however, dominated the album upon release. By November 2020, the music video collected 27 million streams on YouTube. Like its predecessor, MORE also topped Apple’s K-Pop Chart and #2 on the Pop chart. It features Lexie Liu as Seraphine, the indie-pop singer invited by K/DA for a collaboration. The EP includes solo performances for each popstar, like Villain for Evelynn, Drum go Dum for Kai’sa, and I’ll Show You for Ahri.

Impact on the K-Pop Community

The supposed experiment of Riot Games became a celebrated icon online. While POP/STARS cemented the group’s fans in the player base, ALL OUT went further beyond. Not only that Riot employed K-Pop stars (G)I-IDLE in their main roster, but they also collaborated with TWICE for I’ll Show You.

This move, along with million-dollar advertisements and interactivity via Seraphine’s online persona, allured fans that haven’t even played League of Legends. To this day, even after 2 years of inactivity, K/DA has 3 million monthly listeners and a lively fanbase that eagerly awaits their return.

Virtual bands did not start from K/DA. Gorrilaz rocked the world with their music since ‘87. Hatsune Miku pioneered holographic performances for virtual personas. The concept might be not foreign, but K/DA definitely put a new standard for the genre. The pop stars proved that music can bring people together, despite their differences.

Two years have passed since K/DA’s last big project, but the dream and the dreamers remain, awaiting their glorious return. Want to read more articles like this? Click here!

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