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Influential Tunes: K-pop group SEVENTEEN helped me traverse a new _World

Moving from the Philippines to the U.S. in 10th grade, I had to adjust to a completely new world of language, cultures and a new relationship with my own identity.

In this process of adjustment and change, I felt as though I was losing parts of my “real” self. During a brief period, I even rejected parts of my culture in hopes to behave more “American” in a society unfamiliar to me.

Music, like always, helped me find something to confide in, something to express the loss I felt. In those moments, I stumbled upon the K-pop group SEVENTEEN and their song “Home.”

Lit up with English translations of the song, my computer showed the lyrics: “Though we’re far away, the memories bring us closer,” and “Because I’m your home, a place you can come to.”

Immediately, I felt a sense of comfort in my situation. The song talks about how finding belonging with those you care about, although afar, can bring warmth to even the coldest of winters.

SEVENTEEN, a 13-member K-pop group performs at Kia Forum in their "Ode to You" Tour in 2019.
SEVENTEEN, a 13-member K-pop group performs at Kia Forum in their “Ode to You” Tour in 2019. Photo credit: Maureen Linzaga

As I immersed myself more in their music, engaging more with their fan base and reconnecting with my Asian cultures, I, too, found this type of belonging.

I slowly learned that being prideful about my identity and diversity is one of the best things I can do for myself as an immigrant.

One of their members, Vernon, shared the same experience. As an Asian-American himself, he mentioned in an audio collection called Mindset that making music as part of SEVENTEEN also helped him feel “grounded” in his identity.

SEVENTEEN return to Los Angeles&squot; Kia Forum during their 2022 "Be the Sun" North America tour.
SEVENTEEN return to Los Angeles’ Kia Forum during their 2022 “Be the Sun” North America tour. Photo credit: Maureen Linzaga

Now, it has been four years since I immigrated to America, and SEVENTEEN recently wrapped up their North America tour “Be the Sun” where I was able to see them in concert for the third time in Los Angeles.

As they performed their latest single, “_World,” I was reminded once again of how we have control of our own “world”, as long as we surround ourselves with things that give us a sense of belonging and empower our identity.

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