Sweetbox singer gets award for downloadsAmong the fans of Sweetbox, otherwise known as Jade Villalon, SK Communications was probably the most overjoyed by the appearance of the German pop singer in Korea last week.
During the previous year, Sweetbox’s songs have been downloaded more than 1.5 million times by blog users here for Cyworld, a blog service run by Korea’s largest telecommunications company.
Of the 1.5 million Sweetbox downloads, 350,000 were of “Life Is Cool,’” 320,000 of “Don’t Push Me,” and 180,000 of “Cinderella.” Each download cost five dotoris, a mock online currency used in Cyworld, which is a close equivalent of 50 cents.
As a result, her songs ranked first in the most popular foreign singers category on Cyworld and the company was willing to repay the appreciation. It presented her last Monday with a “Digital Award,” for the songs most downloaded, the first such award.
The singer seemed hesitant at first when asked how she felt about being the “first digital star” but she said she was “honored.”
“I never expected this to happen when I first started music as a pop artist,” she said. “But the downloading business developed in a unique way I never thought [of].”
Villalon said when she started performing music, downloading was “considered a bad thing.”
On the same day of the Cyworld award ceremony, Sony BMG also presented her the Gold Award to mark the sales of over 15,000 copies of “Addicted,” an album released on April 20.
Sweetbox used to consist of several female singers, whose songs “Booyah Here We Go” and “Shakalaka” were popular in clubs throughout Europe and New York.
In 1997, Tina Harris became the frontwoman of the group and their first hit single, “Everything’s Gonna Be Alright” was released, entering 10 different European Top Ten charts and receiving two Japanese Grammies. Later that year the album was released in 47 countries.
In 2001, Sweetbox was re-formed again and Villalon became the frontwoman. The group’s music also changed from the club and dance genre to a more pop style that occasionally sampled classical music. In “Addicted,” Vivaldi’s Four Seasons was sampled, and “Life is So Cool” features Pachelbel’s Canon in D. Such music is fast gaining popularity and Sweetbox profited from that.
“I don’t think there is going to be a change in my music anytime soon,” Villalon said, explaining that she spends hours listening to classical music to choose the right samples to match her songs.
“I did not go through the proper education to know classical music,” she said. “Instead I have tons more [classical music] to listen to so I can find the right music for my next song,” she said.
Meanwhile, at her showcase in Hongdae, her Korean fans went wild when the singer said she would be cheering for the Korean team at the upcoming World Cup soccer matches. She then sang ABBA’s “The Winner Takes It All,” which is a bonus track on the Korean published version of the “Voices from The FIFA World Cup” album.
“I like ABBA and I like the Korean soccer team,” she said.
by Lee Min-a