Despite obstacles like ‘K-pop quota,’ band’s international manager hopes to break boundaries in music
You might not have heard of Eshy Gazit, but it’s a safe bet you know one of the artists he has worked with: BTS.
In February, Gazit announced that his time with Big Hit Entertainment had come to an end. Having departed with nothing but good memories, he’s now Monsta X’s international manager, in charge of the group’s activities in North America, South America, Europe and Australia.
Gazit is the founder of Gramophone Media, a music company based out of New York and Los Angeles, and has been in the game for some time. After taking on the new project, his typical day now entails working with team members on the other side of the world in Korea.
While the time difference and busy schedule mean his days and nights get mixed, he’s excited to work with Monsta X as he sees great potential in them.
“After I concluded my time with Big Hit and BTS, I was looking to find a new partner that I really believe in and I feel I can make a difference with. I met Monsta X for lunch and immediately fell in love. I can tell right away if someone is a star and I knew right away they are all stars,” Gazit said in an exclusive interview.
The group announced in late May the inking of a deal with Epic Records, which houses the likes of Mariah Carey and Camila Cabello.
“We are thrilled to join the Epic Family alongside some of the artists we admire the most. This is like a dream come true and we still can’t believe that this is happening to us,” the group said in a statement.
Though the seven-piece group released the new single “Who Do U Love,” featuring French Montana, soon after the news released, the song is just the latest in a series of projects Monsta X has been involved in. The group collaborated with Steve Aoki on “Play It Cool” and appears in animation series “We Bare Bears,” as well.
With the international audience on his radar, Gazit says the group is finding time in its busy schedule to study English through conversation. Though many K-pop groups are doing well singing in Korean, he believes singing in English is also important.
“Every group is different. Many groups sing multiple languages,” he said. “Did you know, by the way, that almost every Disney song is sung in almost every language out there?”
When asked about what makes Monsta X special, he says it’s their authenticity.
“What I can tell (is) that Monsta X members are very authentic and what you see is what you get on stage (and) off stage. I think that it makes a big difference for people and that it helps them connect.”
Though K-pop has certainly garnered attention in the last couple of years in the West, he adds that promoting K-pop acts is still no easy job.
“I believe that breaking the ‘K-pop quota’ is one of the main challenges right now. (People should) judge every artist for its own thing no matter where they are from, rather (than) saying, ‘my K-pop quota for this year is full, I already had X and Y on my show.’”
His experience with the K-pop quota comes against a backdrop of the growing popularity the genre has enjoyed over the last few years in the US, which saw groups like BTS and Blackpink appear on a number of high-profile TV shows like “Good Morning America.”
This is why Gazit wants to pitch Monsta X as “an amazing pop band that happens to be from Korea.”
“I believe that there used to be a stigma, and probably still is there for some, about K-pop. I think it’s important to actually realize that every band is different and every artist is. I am a big believer in breaking categories for music, people and so on.”
Monsta X is currently touring the world, stopping at 18 cities across Asia, Europe, Australia and North and South America. In September, the group will become the first K-pop act to perform at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas.