Music

This South Korean Immigrant in Colombia Is Going Viral for His Música Popular Songs

Lead Photo: Courtesy of Instagram/@zionhwang_.
Courtesy of Instagram/@zionhwang_.
Read more

A South Korean social media influencer is making waves in Colombia. Zion Hwang, a social media personality, restaurant owner, and now artist, is turning heads with his take on Colombian folk music, also known as música popular in the region.

Hwang has lived in Colombia for about seven years since he was 19 years old. He originally moved to the Latin American country to study Spanish after his father encouraged him to move with his father’s best friend. One of the stories he often tells media outlets is that he was robbed the first night he moved to Colombia, yet he fell in love with the culture and people. 

His first TikToks from 2021 feature him dancing to Sech’s “911,” singing in Spanish, and talking about his life in Colombia. The South Korean went viral with his first original song “¿Culpa de Quien?,” which has garnered over 3.9 million views on YouTube since its release in Sept. 2023. The ranchera captured the attention of many social media users who have praised the artist for admiring the country’s regional music in his own way. “I liked it! He has a very beautiful and impeccable voice,” a YouTube user, @rosagonzalez2634, wrote. “Koreans are gaining ground! It’s great that they like our music and that they have learned Spanish very well.”

The song got so much attention that it also gained support from Jessi Uribe, a popular Regional Mexican singer from Colombia. The two artists ended up making a remix of the song together, and Uribe eventually invited him on stage for his first-ever performance to sing their official remix of “¿Culpa de Quien? (Remix).”

His latest? Another música popular track, “Costumbre,” which was released on July 4. The new song is a cumbia that features an exciting electric guitar solo and heartfelt lyrics about a breakup. A YouTube user, @soniatorres3926, wrote: “Hi Zion you are a very lovely Korean, because of you I started to like música popular, I love the way you sing, continue to be beautiful inside and out, you are a very special human being.” An Instagram user, karenalexismontoyacorrea, commented: “What a character to put out such good and catchy songs …. Songs that are worth it.” 

Besides his music, the South Korean social media influencer is also known for his TikTok videos that explore his Colombian experiences, like making arepas. TikTok users often praise the social media user-turned-artist for his Colombian accent, his Spanish skills, and his appreciation of the culture.

Watch the new music video for “Costumbre” below.