Korean rapper Psy, center, teaches hosts, from left, Al Roker, Natalie Morales, Savannah Guthrie and David Gregory some of his signature dance moves before performing his massive K-pop hit “Gangnam Style” live on NBC’s “Today” show, Friday, Sept. 14, 2012, in New York. (Photo: Jason DeCrow/Invision/AP Images)
When Korean rapper Psy appeared on the NBC Today Show on September 14, he spoke in Korean during an interview with the show host. He later said he was overwhelmed with emotion due to the fact that he was speaking in Korean on a live American television show. Psy’s phenomenal success in the last few weeks has not only helped him to achieve international stardom but also given a boost to the proliferation of the Korean language within its pop culture.
During the interview, Psy shouted “Daehanminguk Manse” meaning “Long live Korea”, before he took to the stage and showed off his famous horse-riding dance to the song “Gangnam Style”. Fans attending the outdoor live taping of the Today Show, one of the most popular morning shows in the United States, erupted with cheers.
Psy also spoke Korean during the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards on September 6. He appeared with American actor Kevin Hart before they started doing the horse-riding dance together.
When Hart asked how he felt about the number of hits for the music video surpassing 100 million on YouTube, Psy said, “Most of all, it is really great and I am very happy. I have always wanted to speak Korean on this stage. Juk-i-gi (‘It is really awesome’ in Korean)”.
Psy held a press conference on September 25 to mark his return following a three-week tour of the United States. Hundreds of reporters including NBC and reporters from France and Singapore showed up.
Psy explained what happened. “Before the Today Show, I asked if I could speak in Korean and they gladly said it was okay”, he said during the press conference. “I was overwhelmed with emotion when I spoke Korean on the American shows. Speaking Korean twice is in a way a small move but it was a big dream of a Korean singer like me”.
The “Gangnam Style” music video has gone viral worldwide since being uploaded to YouTube. Now the song is ranked first on the iTunes chart in more than 30 countries. The number of hits for his music video surpassed 341.9 million on YouTube as of October 2, and it rose to second on the Billboard Top 100 music chart on September 26.
During the press conference, he said there were two most frequent questions asked of him: what is Gangnam and how to do the horse-riding dance. Gangnam is an affluent district located in southern Seoul and the word has become one of the most popular words in show business.