Pan-Asian girl band looks to Snoop Dogg for help

Mon Oct 24, 2011 11:53pm EDT
 
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By Kevin Lim and Cerelia Lim

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - The pan-Asian "girl band" Blush has been around for only 11 months but already has a track record more established groups might envy -- a single that hit number three on the U.S. dance music charts and rapper Snoop Dogg in one of their songs.

This week, the English-singing group, whose members hail from Japan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Korea and India, will open for the Black Eyed Peas at their Manila concert. They appeared at a Justin Bieber concert in Hong Kong earlier this year.

"The goal for Blush is to become really the first Asian singers to make it big in the West," said John Niermann, a former president of Walt Disney Co's Asia-Pacific unit, who brought the band together last year after a broad talent search.

"The idea started several years ago when I was curious why an Asian singer had not really made it to the top of the charts in America," he told Reuters in Singapore.

The group is made up of Japan's Natsuko Danjo, Victoria Chan from Hong Kong, Korea's Ji Hae Lee, Alisha Budhrani from India and Angeli Flores from the Philippines.

Ranging in age from 19 to 28, most of the stylishly-slender group members sang and danced from childhood, dreaming of stardom, according to the group's website. But the 26-year-old Lee only began singing seriously after graduating from Korea's Hoseo University -- with a degree in law.

"Manufactured" pop groups have been around for over 20 years. But Blush is the first to be made up entirely of singers from across Asia who perform in English, in an attempt to broaden their global appeal. Blush is also unusual among Asian performers in the sense that it hopes to make it big in the United States before becoming popular in its home region.

To help the Hong Kong-based group gain a following, Niermann hired songwriters and producers who worked on tracks by artistes such as Bon Jovi and the Spice Girls.   Continued...