It’s no easy feat putting together a global arena tour, especially when it comes to curating one for possibly the biggest girl group on the planet. That’s the tremendous task of creative director Amy Bowerman, who has been working with BlackPink to bring the Born Pink tour to life – the largest tour of its kind for a female K-Pop group.
Working closely with the quartet – made up of Jisoo, Jennie, Rosé, and Lisa – Bowerman based the tour’s concept around the band’s hit single “Pink Venom”. Envisioning an idealistic world which is quickly eclipsed by new, strange lands, Bowerman and YG entertainment have crafted one of the most impressive arena shows in recent memory.
As the band prepare to play their second sold out show at London’s O2 Arena this evening, we catch up with Bowerman to chat through the tour’s creation.
What was your initial reaction when you learnt you were creatively directing BlackPink’s Born Pink tour?
“I was incredibly excited and felt very fortunate to be approached by YG. Working in K-Pop was definitely a bucket list moment for me. It is pretty daunting working in such a different part of the industry in a different part of the world but the whole process of connecting and meeting the wider team was such a fun and welcoming process.”
What sort of undertaking goes into creatively directing an arena tour?
“Creatively directing any tour has to take all elements of what you see, hear, feel and even smell into context -– music, staging, lighting, choreo, styling, special effects etc. We always start with the core message and values of the show, then move into forming a narrative around this. From there considering how each element supports or leads this narrative. There are a lot of different components to consider at once and we went through hundreds of sketches, renders, decks and storyboards before stepping foot in a production space.
“Collaboration with all of the teams is so crucial to this process and luckily we were working amongst the best – the YG production team, AEG, YGX, Tait, Possible, Omar Dominick.”
How did the collaborative process work between yourself and the band?
“It was a very inspiring process. The band are very connected to their work and working with artists that are so switched on to how the music needs to feel to their audience or how they should move across the stage or how they see the use of colour in the show. It not only makes the creative process a lot easier but also means that the presentation of them to the audience is more true to the artist’s intent.”
How did you go about translating the girls different personalities into the show?
“Each member of BlackPink has their own solo projects that they work on. This gave us a very natural way to offer the audiences an intimate moment with the members individually. The solo section of the show positions each member on stage with their own music and their own presentation which allows the audience to focus in on them and their solo voice. I think that having this specific time within the wider show which is very much about the strong group identity is such a special moment that offers up something so unique and exclusive.”
What was the most challenging element of creatively directing the tour?
“To be very honest, juggling planning meetings with all of the teams across the globe was the most brutal part of the process. With different teams in Korea, NY, Atlanta and LA, my alarm would go off at all hours of the day and my sleep schedule was completely crazy.”
What has been the most rewarding element?
“There are always two rewarding moments of any show. The first is that point where the drawings and storyboards start to come to life. There is always that one day you go into production and the staging, choreo, content and music come together and you really see the show and know that the artist gets to give this to their audience. There is always such a buzz in the room that day.
“The next moment is always when you see the audience in the room for the first time and you see the purpose of all of the planning, the artists’ long nights in choreo, all of the rehearsals and redos. It all becomes worth it when you see the excitement and with the BlackPink show there is the added bonus of the notoriously dedicated K-Pop fans.”
What, in your opinion, is the highlight moment from the show?
“This one is just too hard to answer. There are so many – “Pretty Savage” has this incredible group choreo thanks to the YGX team, the “Kill This Love” entrance is so powerful and the solo section feels like an exclusive moment with each of the members… I could go on. Even the moments between the songs where the members directly address the audience just feels so human and is really special.”
What do you hope people take away from the tour?
“The show is a high energy party and a celebration of everything BlackPink. I would love for everyone in the room to feel the joy and connection that the artists bring to their performance. If everyone in the audience, whether a preexisting fan or not, can feel the electricity in the room that the group creates then our job is done.”
Photography courtesy of BlackPink.