Definitions

boa

boa

[boh-uh]
boa, name for live-bearing constrictor snakes of the family Boidae, found mostly in the Americas. This family, which also comprises the egg-laying pythons of the Old World, includes the largest of all snakes, as well as many smaller ones. Members of the boa family have two functional lungs instead of one, as is found in other snakes, and vestiges of hind limbs; these primitive characteristics are indicative of their relationship to lizards. Each of the two tiny, internal leg bones ends in an external horny claw; the claws are much more prominent in males than in females. Boas capture their prey by striking with their teeth and simultaneously throwing their bodies in a coil around the victim. They then squeeze the animal so that, unable to expand its rib cage, it suffocates. Like other snakes, boas swallow the prey whole. Over 30 boa species are found from Mexico to South America, with the greatest variey in the tropics, and two in the United States. Boas may be terrestrial, arboreal, or burrowing. Some are brightly colored, like the green and white emerald tree boa of the tropics (Boa canina), or iridescent, like the wide-ranging rainbow boa (Epicrates cenchris). Best known is the boa constrictor (Constrictor constrictor), which lives in a variety of terrestrial habitats from S Mexico to central Argentina. It averages 6 to 9 ft (1.8-2.7 m) in length, occasionally reaching 14 ft (4.3 m), and has dark brown diamond markings on a lighter background. The South American anaconda (Eunectes murinus) is a semiaquatic boa that inhabits swamps and river shallows, catching animals that come to drink. The longest member of the boa family and the thickest of all snakes, it may reach 25 ft (7.9 m) in length and 3 ft (90 cm) in girth. The rubber boa (Charina bottae) is found in moist regions of the far W United States and extreme SW Canada. It is a burrower, about 18 in. (46 cm) long, with a narrow, blunt head, broad, blunt tail, and silver-green skin. It feeds chiefly on lizards and rodents. The rosy boa (Lichanura roseofusca) is found in chaparral in the SW United States and N Mexico; it grows about 3 ft (90 cm) long. It has large, dark brown spots on a lighter background. Several species of sand boa (Eryx) are distributed from India and central Asia to N Africa and SE Europe; all are burrowers in sand. There are also several boa species on Madagascar and several on Pacific islands. Boas are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Reptilia, order Squamata, family Boidae.
Boa Kwon (born November 5, 1986), commonly known by her stage name BoA, is a Korean singer, active in both South Korea and Japan. Born and raised in Gyeonggi-do, South Korea, BoA was discovered by SM Entertainment talent agents when she accompanied her older brother to a talent search. In 2000, after two years of training, she released ID; Peace B, her debut Korean album, under SM Entertainment. Two years later, she released her debut Japanese album, Listen to My Heart, under the Avex label.

BoA's multilingual skills (she speaks Japanese and conversational English along with her native Korean and has recorded songs in Mandarin Chinese) have contributed to her commercial success in South Korea and Japan and her popularity throughout Asia. She is one of only two non-Japanese Asians who have had million-selling albums in Japan and is one of only two artists to have six consecutive number-one albums on the Oricon charts.

Career

2000–2002: Debut

At the age of thirteen, after two years of training, BoA released her debut album ID; Peace B in South Korea on August 25, 2000. The album was successful, entering the Top 10 of the South Korean charts. Meanwhile, her Korean record label, SM Entertainment, made arrangements with Japanese label Avex Trax to launch her music career in Japan.

In early 2001, BoA released her first mini-album Jumping into the World. After its release, she took a hiatus from the Korean music industry to focus on the Japanese market. During this time she struggled to solidify her skills in Japanese.

BoA began her Japanese music career singing at the Avex-owned club Velfarre. In 2001, she released her debut Japanese single, a Japanese version of the song, "ID; Peace B" (originally from the eponymous album). The single reached the number-twenty position on the Oricon chart and was followed by "Amazing Kiss", "Kimochi wa Tsutawaru", and "Listen to My Heart"; the last became the singer's first single to enter the Oricon chart's Top Five. After the September 11, 2001 attacks, BoA recorded the charity single "The Meaning of Peace" with Kumi Koda as part of Avex's Song+Nation project to raise funds for the families of the attack victims. Her Japanese debut album, Listen To My Heart, was released on March 13, 2002. The album was a breakthrough in BoA's career: it debuted at the top spot on the Oricon and became an RIAJ-certified million-seller as well as the first album by a Korean artist to top the charts. A single, "Every Heart -Minna no Kimochi-", was released on the same day as the album. Later in 2002, BoA released two Korean studio albums, No.1 and the mini-album Miracle.

2002–2005: Commercial success and image change

BoA's second Japanese studio album, Valenti (2003), became her best-selling album, with over 1,249,000 copies sold. "Don't Start Now", the first single from the album, contained a Japanese edition of the promotional track of her Korean mini-album, Don't Start Now. "Valenti", the second single from the album, became a Top Five single for the artist, peaking at the number-two position on the Oricon. In support of the album, BoA launched BoA 1st Live Tour Valenti, her first Japanese concert tour. Later on that year, she released two Korean albums, Atlantis Princess and Shine We Are!. Her third Japanese studio album, Love and Honesty (2004) was a musical "change in direction" for the singer, as it contained a rock single ("Rock With You") and contained "harder" R&B. Though the album failed to match Valenti in sales, it topped the Oricon chart for two weeks and became RIAJ-certified triple-platinum. Her first compilation album, Best of Soul (2005), however, sold over a million copies, making BoA the first non-Japanese Asian singer to have two million-selling albums in Japan. In support of the album, BoA held a tour, Live Concert Tour 2004: Love & Honesty. The tour, which started in Saitama and ended in Yokohama, spanned nine performances and attracted approximately 105,000 attendants.

BoA reinvented her image on her fourth Korean album, My Name (2004); she left the "cute" and "youthful" style that had characterized previous years and presented herself as "sexy" and "sultry". Her fifth Korean album, Girls on Top, continued her image change. The album portrayed the singer as more "mature and self-confident"; the "bohemian" look of the cover photograph represented "freedom and depth", while music videos and album photographs that portrayed BoA in traditional Korean dress brought the "idea of Korean womanhood" into her music.

2006–2008: Decline in sales and continued image change

In 2006, BoA was mostly inactive in South Korea as she focused her attention on Japan; however, on September 21, 2006, she released her first digital single in Korea, a Korean version of "Key of Heart". Her fourth Japanese studio album Outgrow was released on February 15, 2006. The limited CD+DVD edition of the album contained music videos of the album's singles and a secret password to unlock a special version of the official website. The album reached the number-one spot on the Oricon chart for its first week of release, making it her fourth consecutive Japanese album to do so. It had low debut sales, however; with 220,000 copies sold, it became her lowest-selling first-week debut for a studio album at that point. "Do the Motion," the first single from the album, reached the top spot on the Oricon, making her the fifth non-Japanese singer to have #1 single, the first in over twenty-one years. "Merry Christmas from BoA", the last single from the album, was the singer's first digital single. In support of Outgrow, BoA launched a special Zepp tour, B0A The Live, on September 29, 2006. The tour, which lasted until October 29, started from Nagoya and contained twelve shows, two in each of the following cities: Nagoya, Fukuoka, Osaka, Tokyo, Sendai, and Sapporo. She staged her first Christmas concert on December 7 2006.

BoA's fifth Japanese studio album, Made in Twenty (20) (2007), continued her transition from a "teenage girl" image to a more mature image. The album, which contained R&B and dance songs as well as ballads, debuted at the top of the weekly Oricon charts, making the album her sixth in a row to do so. On March 31, 2007, she launched a nationwide tour of Japan in support of the album. The tour, which sold about 70,000 tickets, was, according to BoA, "the biggest concert" she had ever given. Two tracks from the singles of Made in Twenty (20) were used as theme songs; "Your Color", from the single "Nanairo no Ashita~brand new beat~ / Your Color" (2006), was used as the ending theme song for the Japanese release of the Xbox 360 game Ninety-Nine Nights. "Key of Heart", from the single "Key of Heart / Dotch", was the ending theme of Over the Hedge in Japan. She also released an English version of "Key of Heart," which was only available on the first press edition of the single. The album's last single, "Winter Love" (2006) became another number-one single for the artist.

Later in 2007, Anycall (a Samsung brand) signed BoA, Xiah Junsu (of DBSK), Tablo (of Epik High), and jazz pianist Jin Bora onto "AnyBand", a band created specifically to promote Anycall. The band released only one single, "AnyBand".

With her sixth Japanese album, The Face (2008), BoA took more creative control over her music. She began writing her own lyrics and co-composed one of the songs ("Girl in the Mirror"). Influenced by a The Jackson 5 album, BoA used mostly electro-pop in the album. Additionally, BoA included "happy spring" songs ("Sweet Impact" and its B-side, "Bad Drive" (2007), the album's first single), a guitar-driven "groovy dance" song ("Lose Your Mind" (2007)), and ballads. Lyrically, BoA focused mainly on love, though "be with you." (2008) was about a person's relationship with his dog. The album debuted at the top of the weekly Oricon charts, making BoA one of only two artists in Japan to top the Oricon weekly charts six consecutive times (the other being Ayumi Hamasaki, who has eight consecutive number-one albums). Following The Face, BoA released her twenty-sixth single, "Vivid", on June 4, 2008.

2008: U.S. debut

On September 2, 2008, BoA's Korean record label, SM Entertainment announced that she will make her American debut under SM's new subsidiary label SM Entertainment USA. A press conference was held on September 10, 2008 at the Seoul Imperial Palace Hotel, to clarify the details of her American debut, with the slogan "Best of Asia, Bring on America". SM announced that her debut single, "Eat You Up", would be released on October 14, 2008 on the internet via iTunes and many other online stores. However the single has been pushed back to October 21, 2008. The single will be released in stores on November 11, 2008; a remix of the song features rapper Flo Rida.

Image and artistry

BoA lists hip-hop as her main musical influence, though she also enjoys R&B. Her favorite musicians are Nelly, Britney Spears, Brian McKnight, Janet Jackson, P!nk, and Jay-Z; as a result, much of BoA's music is either dance pop or R&B. As she also sings ballads, she is often compared to Ayumi Hamasaki and Hikaru Utada. Her debut album, ID; Peace B, contained urban pop, "slickly produced" ballads, and "upbeat dance tunes". As her career went on, she began experimenting with different styles: Valenti contained mostly ballads; Love and Honesty was an experiment with "harder" R&B and rock music.

BoA has collaborated with "high-profile" artists. Among the Japanese artists she has performed with are the hip-hop group m-flo (for the single "The Love Bug"), Kumi Koda, and house DJ Mondo Grosso. She has performed with Western artists: the song "Flying Without Wings" from her album Next World was a collaboration with Irish band Westlife covering the original song; the Bratz single "Show Me What You Got" was performed with Howie D of the American band Backstreet Boys. Other artists she has collaborated with are the Soul'd Out, Dabo, Verbal (of m-flo), RAH-D, and Yutaka Furakawa (of the band Doping Panda). American rock band Weezer covered "Meri Kuri" on the album Weezer (The Red Album).

BoA is a "top artist" in South Korea and Japan; her popularity in the latter is attributed to her linguistic skills (she speaks and records in Japanese, Korean, and English) and a Japanese interest in Korean pop culture started in the early 2000s when the two countries began promoting cultural exchanges. BoA's popularity extends throughout Asia; she has fans in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore. She has expressed plans to enter a global market; she stated in an interview, “I will [...] get recognition in the U.S. and Europe to become a world-renowned Diva. In June 2006, the music video of her Korean song "My Name" became the first music video ever shown on MTV K, an MTV music channel directed at Korean Americans.

Because of her wide appeal, BoA has appeared in advertisements for many brands. Among the brands she has promoted are Olympus, Nike, L'Oreal, Japanese cosmetic company Kosé, Sketchers, and GM Daewoo. Three of her songs have been used as themes. "Every Heart" was used as the theme for the anime InuYasha; "Key of Heart" was the theme song for the Japanese release of Over the Hedge; and "Your Color" was the theme song of the video game Ninety-Nine Nights. Her widespread popularity has also made her a "cultural ambassador"; she has represented South Korea in inter-Asian musical events and has appeared in an Oxford University Press English-language textbook.

Other activities

From 2001 to 2007, BoA hosted Beat it BoA's World, a radio program on the Japan FM Network. In September 2004, BoA instigated controversy in Japan when she donated ₩KRW50 million to a memorial project for Korean independence activist and nationalist An Jung-geun. BoA voiced Heather the opossum in the Korean and Japanese version of Over the Hedge. In 2008, Korean jewelry brand Ramee released Ramee by BoA, a line of jewelry designed by the singer herself. On June 9, 2008, BoA and nine other artists from around the world recorded an English cover of Wei Wei's "Dedication of Love". Produced by Roald Hoffmann and Brian Alan, the single was used to raise funds for victims of the Sichuan Earthquake.

Discography

Korean studio albums

English studio albums

  • 2009: Look Who's Talking

Japanese studio albums

Japanese compilation albums

Japanese remix albums

Awards

References

See also

External links

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