Variety‘s Hitmakers Group of the Year, Jisoo, Jennie, Rose and Lisa — better known as Blackpink, broke big in the U.S. this year thanks to a high-profile Netflix documentary, “Light Up the Sky,” directed by Caroline Suh, as well as several successful singles.
Their arrival was well-timed. After becoming the first K-pop girl group to perform at Coachella, the girls took to collaborating with such A-list artists as Lady Gaga — their sweet duet, “Sour Candy,” appears on Gaga’s “Chromatica” album — and Selena Gomez, both label mates at Interscope.
Their latest music video, “How You Like That,” garnered 86.3 million views in 24 hours on YouTube when it debuted in June, setting a record. It’s also the first track on their new LP, which features snappy synths and undeniable hooks. Simply titled “The Album,” it bowed in October, coinciding with the documentary release. Cardi B and Gomez make appearances in support of the quartet and its songs of self-determination and empowerment.
The eight-song collection topped the iTunes chart in 57 regions around the world and made Blackpink the first-ever million-selling K-pop girl group — a quarter of those album sales coming from the U.S. (Blackpink is signed to YG Entertainment in Korea.)
Speaking to Variety, the group members, who prefer to be quoted collectively, say they are thrilled about the album’s debut. “Releasing our first full-length album to the world was our proudest moment of this year. We were so happy and excited to release our album after a long time of contemplating and working on it!”
In fact, “Ice Cream,” Blackpink’s joint single with Gomez, has found a welcoming home on Top 40 radio, where it’s amassed more than 40,000 spins since its August release. It’s no wonder listeners are so easily hooked on “Ice Cream” — it was co-written by Ariana Grande and collaborators Tommy Brown and Victoria Monét. “It’s a song with a bubbly and lively charm,” says the group, throwing down a lyric from the delectable tune. “We think people enjoy it because it’s an easy song to just chill out to!”
With live music appearances on hold until it’s safe to gather again, the group is anxious to get back on the road so it can deliver for its fans, known as Blinks. Adds Blackpink: “We want to communicate and enjoy our music with them. It’s sad — we haven’t been able to directly meet our fans, but we have been trying to make memories with them through different platforms. Blinks, thank you for loving our music and always being there for us! We love you!”
The group’s meteoric rise continues, and Suh’s documentary offers Blackpink’s fan base and new listeners an inside look at the artists. “I hope it’s inspiring in its message,” she says. “It’s a story about these girls who come from different backgrounds and all worked hard and didn’t give up, and now they’re living this