If someone asked me when I was 10 years old what music would be like now or who would be the most popular, I probably would not have said virtual singers from a video game! K/DA is a virtual K-Pop/Pop inspired girl group consisting of four themed champions from the MOBA League of Legends – Ahri, Akali, Evelynn, and Kai’Sa.
So, who or what are K/DA?
The champions are voiced by actual singers respectively: Madison Beer (Evelynn), Jaira Burns (Kai’Sa), Miyeon (Ahri), and Soyeon (Akali). K/DA was developed by Riot Games, the company behind League of Legends, and they were unveiled at the 2018 League of Legends Championship with an augmented live performance of their first song, “Pop/Stars”. A music video of the song was uploaded to YouTube and subsequently went viral, reaching over 438 million views to this day. This was then followed up with the release of an EP in 2020, entitled “K/DA: ALL OUT” and featured 5 new songs, most notably the title track “More” as it has received over 93 million views as of May 2021.
Is this concept new or are we just not paying attention?
Now, this is not the first time that a virtual persona hits the screen instead of a live person. Take the alternative pop-rock group the Gorillaz for example, who made a lot of waves in the real world with virtual members in 1998. Then fast forward to 2008 where Hatsune Miku appeared made by Crypton Future Media. Most believed the concept of a twin-tailed blue-haired 16-year-old J-Pop star to be bizarre. However, in 2014 Lady Gaga who everyone knows is no stranger to being bizarre, legitimized Miku by ‘going on tour’ with the holographic phenomenon.
Where do we go from here?
Going back to K/DA, their songs are an interesting blend of English and Korean. This makes them stand out massively in the music industry and reaches out to different audience tastes. With real-life groups like BTS and Blackpink dominating the charts and defining the ever-evolving K-pop sound, who could ever really try to challenge that? Well, I think K/DA has a chance as they are fiercely taking a step into establishing who they are as a musical group and leaving us wanting MORE. So, what does the future hold for music? Will we see more virtual bands/groups hitting the big stage?
Honestly, these ideas are exciting to think about. So, maybe in ten years’ time something extraordinary will happen and just like with virtual bands, we would never have seen it coming.