K-pop star Psy stopped by Rolling Stone headquarters this week to chat about “Gangnam Style,” his unexpected success and his famous sunglasses. As he revealed, his breakout single was never intended for an international audience; Psy uploaded it to YouTube for the site’s huge Korean pop fanbase. “I was not important, I was not famous,” he says of that moment. “Some celebrities like Katy Perry and Britney Spears, they started to tweet my video… CNN and ABC reported about me at the same time, and the LA Times, the New York Times, Wall Street Journal – that all happened at the same time in the same week. I don’t know why.”
From there, the song and his style were a sensation. “I can’t take off [my] sunglasses right now,” he says with a laugh. In fact, the shades are such a signature part of Psy’s look, he was even recognized by Jon Bon Jovi in Las Vegas. “He said, ‘Hey, let’s take a picture.’ We took a picture, and he uploaded the picture to his Facebook and he said, ‘Guys, look who I’m with right now.’ So I was like, ‘Wow, that’s Bon Jovi, and he recognized me, and he asked me to take a picture. Wow. I’ve loved him since ‘You Give Love a Bad Name.'”
Though he’s quite goofy and humble now, Psy admits he wasn’t always that way, often skipping class as a student at Berklee College of Music. “Class was too early, so I didn’t go there,” he says. “I was too young and what I thought was I could not learn any [creativity] from others.” Playing hooky can really pay off.