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Big Mama

Big Mama

ProfileBig Mama (???) have made a name for themselves in Korea, as well as attracting attention abroad, due to their vow to concentrate more on their music than their appearances. Their debut came as a shock to many pop fans because the line-up was made up purely of overweight (by Korean music standards) ladies with amazing vocals. They have been reasonably successful within Korea but are still regarded by many as one of the most underrated artists in music at the moment.BiographyBefore the formation of Big Mama, the members had been active within the music scene due to their vocal abilities. Shin Yeon Ah made her debut in the pop circuit by winning the black prize at the Riverside Song Festival in 1995. From that point onwards, until Big Mama’s debut, she worked as a lyricist and vocalist on radio, dramas and commercials. Lee Young Hyun won a prize at the same festival in 2000. Lee Ji Young had worked as a backing vocalist for the Han Sang-won band.When M Boat, a sister company of YG Entertainment, decided they wanted to form another girl band, most dismissed it as being nothing special. It was decided that they would form a group made up of women for their vocal abilities; regardless of their appearance or age.Yang Hyun-seok, former Seo Taiji & Boys, discovered the four girls and brought them together to form a group with beautiful voices that don’t necessarily have images which are considered traditionally beautiful. It has even been reported that a clause in their contract forbids them from having plastic surgery. Originally, singer Gummy was asked to join Big Mama but M Boat decided that she should debut as a solo performer.The video for their first single, Break Away, was a unique one. The video was mostly made up of traditionally pretty and thin Korean singers miming to the song. It is later revealed that the actual members of Big Mama are singing behind a screen. The video is an attack on the generally shallow Korean pop market and is the group’s way of saying that when it comes to music, talent should be appreciated over someone’s appearance. The single was a huge success and helped their first album, Like The Bible, sell over 100,000 copies.Their second album, It’s Unique, was released in May 2005. The album was reasonably success although it did not have the same impact as their debut. Their first Christmas album,Big Mama’s Gift, released in November 2005, was met with critical acclaim and the public responded in kind with very strong album sales in spite of the seasonal nature of the release.In 2005, American boy band Boyz II Men invited them to perform at a concert with them. Despite problems finding a time when both groups were available, the two performed together at a few select locations within Korea by November 2005.In 2006, Big Mama released their third album, For The People, as well as a second Christmas album, For The Christmas, following the success of their first festival album. The lead single from For The People, Never Mind, was met with mixed reactions from their fans due to the video. The video features a noticeably slimmed line-up, which appeared to go against what the group was about.In 2007, Big Mama changed record labels from YG Entertainment to Manwalldang, due to a lack of publicity from YG Entertainment. This move paid off with the release of their fourth full length album, Blossom, selling 60,000 copies in the first day alone and more than securing a place at the top of the album charts and confirming them as one of the most popular girl groups in Korea at the moment (Source: Kome World).Big Mama’s 5th studio album was originally to be released in 2009 but was delayed due to conflicts with their record company over creative control. Manwalldang wanted to make the group more commercially viable by forcing them to become more pop friendly, which caused tension between the two. After half a year of stalemate, two members of the group Lee Ji Young and Lee Young Hyun left for a new label while Shin Yeon Ah and Park Min Hye stayed behind. Later that year, Lee Ji Young became the first member to release a solo album under the new label while the status of Big Mama became more and more uncertain. In 2010, however, it was revealed that all four members of the group have signed under Tailruns Media and their fifth album was soon released on March 23rd, but was not promoted.After 8 years together, the group disbanded in 2011.


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