In the K-Pop scene, hopeful individuals undergo extensive training before even having a chance to be able to become a singer. The training period spans from a short to a long period of time. Yein from Lovelyz as an example, trained for only eight months before debuting, while Min from miss A took a good seven years before she got the chance to debut. Although it may be seen through talents, the certainty of a debut relies mostly on luck.
After rigorous training, with a mix of luck, an idol will finally be able to debut. But it doesn’t end there… for some already-debuted artists fall into the pit of namelessness. There are lots of groups that debuted unknown, and remained unknown until disbandment. However, one takes great passion and will power to be able to stand up after the hardship of failure.
These three lasses will inspire you with their stories of passion and not giving up their dreams, debuting multiple times before finally being in a where they truly belong.
(Puretty – I.B.I – April)
First up is Yoon Chaekyung who is known for being one of DSP Media’s top visuals. In 2012, DSP Media formed a girl group called Puretty, which is supposed to be the successor of the popular DSP girl groups KARA and Rainbow. Since their company seniors have a very huge fanbase in Japan, they released their first single in the country first. The song was titled “Cheki Love” which was soon used as a soundtrack for the anime Pretty Rhythm: Dear My Future.
Albeit planned to debut in South Korea, plans fell which lead to the disbandment of Puretty in 2014. The members parted ways; Chaekyung, Shiyoon, and Somin remained with DSP while Hyein and Jaeeun left. The three remaining members then participated in the survival show KARA Project with hopes on becoming a member of KARA. However, currently solo artist Heo Youngji won the competition, leaving Chaekyung and the others on the backburner.
On 2015, Chaekyung along with Shiyoon auditioned and became a contestant of the well received survival program Produce 101. She made it up to the final episode, but unfortunately, she was five places short and failed to become a member of IOI. Amidst the post-PD101 hype, rumors emerged about a potential girl group consisted of Produce 101 members that wasn’t able to succeed. Rumors were shut when the formation of IBI was announced whose member line up included Chaekyung. They debuted on August 2016 with the light and refreshing Mollae Mollae.
“Mollae Mollae” was well received, but since the members were still under contract with their respective agencies, they eventually separated.
Prior to IBI, Chaekyung became a part of CIVA, who was an unofficial girl group of the mockumentary comedy show God of Music 2. She became a member along with co-IBI member Sohee. Although the group was just a part of the show, they released a single titled Why?. She also released a collaboration track with April member and Chaekyung’s co-KARA Project contestant, Chaewon.
In the span of four months, Chaekyung became part of three singles. One as a member of IBI, one as a member of CIVA, and one collaboration. However, these are just one time happenings and thus, fans became worried of Chaekyung’s future path, especially since DSP won’t be debuting another girl group since April just debuted at the time. Months after, her fans rejoiced upon the announcement of Chaekyung’s addition to April after ex-member Hyunjoo’s departure. The next year, on January 2017, the group released their first mini album with Chaekyung titled Prelude with title track April Story.
Finally, she became a part of a group that will definitely last. Since her addition to April, they have seen improvements and are slowly but surely walking to the path of success. April recently concluded their promotions for their latest album The Blue with title track The Blue Bird.
(Kiss & Cry – Solo – Matilda)
Lee Haena started her career as a singer on 2014 as she debuted as a member of Kiss & Cry. The group’s debut song Domino Game gained a huge amount of feedback not only from the local public but also from the international K-Pop fanbase. They were praised for their amazing vocal prowess which is reminiscent of another girl group, Spica.
Kiss & Cry was a hit in the making, but sadly, due to poor management skills and poor decision making of their company, they disbanded much to their fans’, including my, dismay. According to Haena, the group was disbanded by their company because of the response not matching up to their expectations. She announced the group’s disbandment herself when she participated on Superstar K season 6. She managed to make it through the auditions stage and was a part of the top 11 finalists. Sadly, she got eliminated on the first live show and lost her chance of emerging as winner. She then embarked on her solo career the next year with a digital single, Not So Pretty Ending.
Her short-lived solo career came into a halt as she finally debuted in the girl group Matilda. Their debut song “Macarena” showed the group’s vocal talent, which is now reminiscent of Haena’s former group, Kiss & Cry. Matilda gained attention for their vocals and even appeared on popular music shows such as Yoo Hee Yeol’s Sketchbook and Immortal Songs. They are also known by their fans for having cheerful and dorky personalities.
The group grew even more popular after the four members joined KBS’ idol rebooting show, The Uni+, where group members Semmi and Dana emerged to become a part of the top 18. Haena got the spotlight for being a powerful vocalist throughout the show. I can say that when Matilda finally has a comeback, they will experience a different level of popularity and results than they used to.
(Puretty – April – KARD)
Last for this list is Jeon Somin of who became part of several DSP Media groups. Just like Chaekyung, she debuted in Puretty, wherein plans fell that caused the group’s disbandment. Also like Chaekyung, she competed in KARA Project, where she became a finalist, but still not winning the show. However, unlike Chaekyung, Somin was constantly pushed and promoted by their company. She, along with co-KARA Project contestant Chaewon, were titled as DSP Girls, the company’s pre-debut trainee girl group. As part of DSP Girls, they participated in DSP Friends’ special Christmas single, White.
Few months after, the debut of April was announced with the two DSP Girls included. Somin was appointed the leader as well as the main vocalist of the six membered girl group. April released their debut track Dream Candy on 2015 that despite being a good song, attracted negative feedback for the group. A lot thought that the innocent & cute concept was over-used and Somin specifically is too old for the image April is going for.
This time, the drive was not about failure, but self-identity. Somin shocked April’s fans when she announced her departure from the group with a hand written letter. Fans were initially sad and disappointed about the revelation but the majority already know for a fact that Somin did not blend in well with April to begin with. Good thing though, if Somin never left the group, we wouldn’t have the current superior April lineup and the next group we will be talking about.
If Somin did not fit in the innocent and cute group, then most likely she will be better off showing her mature and sexy side. Which was then utilized upon the formation of the now immensely popular co-ed group KARD. The group released their pre-debut track Oh Na Na which gradually gained popularity for the freshness of a co-ed group as well as good music.
The group continued with their pre-releases consistently building up a bigger and bigger fanbase until in July 2017, they debuted with Hola Hola. KARD became known for their tropical house genre releases which soon became their signature sound. The famous co-ed group’s second and latest comeback was four months ago titled You In Me.
As our parents may have taught us in our childhood, there is a plan for everyone in this world. We may start a failure but we can also grow and learn from that failure to become a success. Like the passion and will power of these three amazing female idols, we should learn that success comes at a deserved price. Let us continue supporting April, Matilda, and KARD in the future!