Everyone knows the names BTS and Blackpink, and that’s thanks to the spread of K-pop, which has grown far beyond its South Korean origins into a truly global phenomenon.
What is it about the pop-heavy genre that draws so many fans of all stripes? Catchy hooks, ear-splitting melodies, synchronized choreography and impeccable production value do justice to the formula. But no matter how much training some of these future idols have, the X-factor these artists possess is something that cannot be fabricated.
The numbers don’t lie: BTS’ 2020 hit “Dynamite” racked up 1.5 billion views on YouTube, while the band’s 2021 hit “Butter” slid smoothly to No. 1, where it parked for eight weeks .
Overall, K-pop acts helped bring the entertainment industry a whopping $5 billion for South Korea.
So who are the next music stars? Ahead of this weekend’s KCON convention, here are 10 K-pop groups making a name for themselves.
Formerly known as Mystic Rookies, Billlie is the newest girl group from Mystic Story Entertainment (a subsidiary of SM Entertainment). Comprised of seven members — Moon Sua, Suhyeon, Haram, Tsuki, Sheon, Siyoon, and Haruna — Billlie made an impact with his debut EP The Billage of Perception: Chapter One in November. The success continued in February with the second EP “The Collective Soul and Unconscious: Chapter One”.
Since debuting in April 2020 with the EP Season 1. Hideout: Remember Who We Are, Cravity (pictured above) has been breaking records and earning the title of Super Rookies in K-pop. Formed by Starship Entertainment, the nine-member group — Serim, Allen, Jungmo, Woobin, Wonjin, Minhee, Hyeongjun, Taeyoung, and Seongmin — takes its name from an amalgamation of the words “creativity” and “gravity.” This year there was an EP in March and more music is planned for September.
The seven members of ENHYPEN – Jungwon, Heeseung, Jay, Jake, Sunhoon, Sunoo and Ni-Ki – take direct inspiration for their name from the hyphen, which refers to the undeniable bond the boys share as they continue to grow.
The group materialized in a survival/competition show called “I-Land” where they immediately captured audiences with their looks, choreography and vocal performance. They released their debut album Border: Day One in November 2020 through Belift Lab, a joint venture between CJ ENM and Hybe Corp. (BTS label).
IVE, meaning “I have,” serves as the nickname for Starship Entertainment’s six-member girl group — the company’s first since WJSN in 2016. “complete girl group” since its inception, say members Yujin, Gaeul, Rei, Wonyoung, Liz and Leeseo. Her latest “Love Dive” is a chart topper.
Hybe’s newest girl group is the five-piece LE SSERAFIM, whose name serves as an anagram for “I’m Fearless”. This ethos aims to inspire fans to have the power to pursue their dreams, as LE SSERAFIM members – Sakura, Kim Chae-won, Huh Yun-jin, Kazuha and Hong Eun-chae – did by making their debut -EP released. “Fearless”, in May. The five-track project was produced by Bang Si-Hyuk (executive producer of BTS and founder of Hybe, formerly Big Hit Entertainment) and achieved massive sales in May.
NMIXX is the premier girl group from JYP Entertainment, a premier K-pop label that has popularized acts such as JY Park, Rain, Wonder Girls, 2PM and 2AM and is home to the sub-label SQU4D. The group’s seven members — Lily, Haewon, Sullyoon, Jinni, Bae, Jiwoo, and Kyujin — burst onto the scene in February with the album “Ad Mare,” a smash hit that achieved the highest-selling debut album by a girl group in the history of K-pop, according to JYP, which also boasts an ongoing alliance with Republic Records in the US
Also under the Hybe banner – via independent label Ador – comes rookie act New Jeans. The girl group has five members — Minji, Hanni, Danielle, Haerin, and Hyein — whose dancing skills made them stand out on TikTok, while their song “Attention” debuted just last month. The number of new jeans is growing. Their self-titled album has amassed more than 2 million streams, 226,000 cumulative listeners, and 88,000 followers on Spotify alone, making them one of the K-pop girl groups gaining the most momentum this year.
Spanning the genres of hip-hop, R&B and pop, the group P1Harmony is best known for showcasing each member’s individual singing, dancing and acting talents. On his second EP, Disharmony: Break Out, via FNC Entertainment, the six-man act – Keeho, Theo, Jiung, Intak, Soul and Jonseob – helped launch a feature film, P1H: The Beginning of a New Year World.”
STAYC, an acronym for Star to a Young Culture, is the title of the girl group’s debut feature-length. The six members – Sumin, Sieun, ISA, Seeun, Yoon and J – came together under the Highup Entertainment umbrella and recorded their biggest song, “ASAP,” which became a viral phenomenon thanks to a TikTok dance with millions of views.
TNX – for “The New Six” – is the first male group to debut under P Nation, the label founded by Psy (the “Gangnam Style” superstar). Consisting of six members – Woo Kyung Joon, Choi Tae Hun, Jang Hyun Soo, Cheon Jun Hyeok, Eun Hwi and Oh Sung Jun – TNX also grew out of a reality competition – the series Loud, produced by JYP Entertainment and P Nation was created. The program included 75 participants from different countries, all competing for a place in one of the two groups. TNX debuted the sampler Way Up in May, which topped the South Korean charts.
https://variety.com/2022/music/news/k-pop-groups-to-know-kcon-1235344226/ Ahead of KCON 2022, 10 emerging K-pop groups you should know about