EDITORIAL: 2011 in Kpop debuts
With new groups and solo artists rising up from everywhere during the past year, I didn't think it would be shocking to reveal that I counted a little over 130 different debuts this year, including new groups, solo artists, solo debuts from group members, and many more.
This editorial is set to give you a walk-through to this year's debuts, and see whichever artists you started following or have completely overlooked.
While pop group and artist debuts are easy to spot, new rock bands or underground hiphop artists might start out without having a big release. Which means that this list, however, isn't fail-proof. Although many debuts are gathered here, a few might have slipped from our radars.
At the start of the new year, K-Pop fans were met with the debuts of two new girl groups, Dal Shabet and Piggy Dolls. While Dal Shabet went on to release a series of mini albums throughout the year, getting their name known with the Korean public, Piggy Dolls disappeared for a while after getting criticized for their appearance. Months later they re-appeared with their first full length album "Hakuna Matata."
Park Jungmin and Seungri, who both made fame through their respective groups SS501 and Big Bang, made their official solo debuts with their own releases early this year. Though both of them had already recorded songs for previously released albums before, their 2011 releases meant the official start of their solo careers. The Boss's first subunit Popsicle also made its way to the Korean music scene with the release of their first single "I'll Love You Until It Snows in the Middle of a Summer Day."
Solo artists Hangroo, who is currently focusing on her acting career, and Alou also joined the ranks of 2011 debuts with their first releases last January.
While January had been calm for debuts considering the rest of the year, February gave us three new girl groups, Co-ed's girl unit group, a female soloist, and two girl group members' solo debuts.
Earlier it was revealed that Core Contents Media had been planning to split up their mixed gender group Co-ed into sub-units. Their first one called 5dolls debuted in February of this year. Along with them, three new girl groups by the names of LA.G, Coin Jackson, and BBAN released their first songs. Though LA.G and BBAN have been randomly releasing new material, it was revealed that Coin Jackson's members have gone their separate ways, with one of them already having had her solo debut later the same year.
Secret's Song Jieun shocked fans by showing up with her own solo track which featured upcoming boy group member Bang Yongguk, an underground rapper. After School's oldest member and leader Kahi also took a shot with her solo debut after the group had already debuted their first sub-unit Orange Caramel earlier on.
New female artist Ye Ara joined with the other artists to make the debuts of February come to an end, making way for the upcoming few months to see an influx of boy and girl groups.
While SS501's maknae Kim Hyungjun celebrated his solo debut alongside other solo artists Huh Gong and Lita, the month March was mainly dominated by groups.
Girl groups INY, Bella, Leader's, and Chi Chi were joined by boy group G.IAM, which up until today, still hasn't had its official debut. More recently Leaders' was revealed to be part of a bigger group as one of its units, and they will most likely debut other units next year. INY had a line-up change and was said to have been planning for another release soon. Chi Chi also lost a few members, and added a new one, after which they started preparing for their Japanese debut next year.
March also had the debut of project group Clover and Handsome People, among others.
Solo singer Kim Greem released her first single during April and was followed by Koyote member Kim Jongmin's solo debut. After that, we had a bit of an alternative feel with the debut of girl duo SpinEL.
Cube Entertainment's sub company A Cube also revealed their first produced girl group A Pink, garnering success for their girl-next-door and old school debut concept. They were closely followed by Brand New Stardom's highly anticipated Block B. While A Pink just recently had their comeback mini released, Block B is set to make a return early 2012. Together with Block B, April also noted the debut of two other boy groups, X-5 and B1A4. While X-5 is known as Open World Entertainment's 2nd boy group as well as the tallest idol group with an average of 185cm; B1A4 immediately grabbed attention with their boy-next-door and cute looks. Their debut mini album, as well as their second one later the same year made them into one of the most popular 2011 debuts so far.
With the debuts of girl groups such as Brave Brothers' Brave Girls and Rania, solo artists Jay Park, Jang Jaein, ReBorn, Kim Jisoo, and Hip-Hop artist Jtong, lots of attention was divided and many artists ended up not being noticed.
May is known as the month for girl group debuts with no less than six of them. Including Blady, Swan.B, BGHto, Swincle, Ei-yo and SISTAR's subunit, SISTAR19. At the same time, SISTAR's company Starship Entertainment had been preparing the debut of their first boy group, which was named Boy Friend in the end and debuted in May as well.
Next to Boy Friend, May also had the debut of another boy group with the name of N-Train. Though they initially planned to make a comeback later the same year, it was postponed for unknown reasons.
The fifth month of 2011 also brought the solo debuts of SS501's Heo Youngsaeng and Paran's Ace, next to new artists A-Narin, And You, and Heora.
June in itself brought four solo debuts. With solo releases by After School member UEE, and SS501 leader Kim Hyunjoong, as well as new artists Shin Goeun and AB.
Ballad groups Eye to Eye and Moden were joined by Alternative releases by Polacostic and female rock band Wind Hold Venus who got attention for their idol group/band mash up, much like LEDapple did before them.
After the debut of Block B earlier in the year, many fans were anticipating the upcoming debut of one of its original line-up members through ballad group BoM (Blooming of our Music). Together with boy group HITT, female duo HARASORA and girl group Black Eye, they were the only group debuts in July 2011, the month where solo artists reigned.
MBLAQ's G.O revealed his first digital solo single, while upcoming male singer Gyro released his first song through the soundtrack for the movie "Bada/Themselves."
Male solo artists Foley and Ju Heon, as well as female singers Go Jungin and Ram, rounded out the debuts for July.
In August 2011, the anticipated solo debut of 2AM's maknae, Jinwoon, added a little rock touch to the pop focused idol world. Together with the solo endeavors of Jinwoon, however, multiple new rock bands popped up, such as female rock bands Sweet Revenge and Super 8 Bit.
The ever growing idol scene also got a few new groups to handle as multiple girl groups joined the artists' ranks. Mixed-race girl group Chocolat debuted with much anticipation, while Swing Girls got known as one of the groups with the oldest members. After a girl duo was revealed under the name of Elizabeth, Shinhwa's Eric Moon was responsible for another addition to the list when four member group Stellar debuted through his agency.
August also ended up to be a month with many ballad oriented group debuts as S.L.I.M, BB.Boys and mixed gender group RH (Real Heart) came into the music industry. Boy group Twi-light, which had members who ended up separating from the initial idea of a 20 member boy group 20star, also released their debut track during the summer month of August.
Just as any other month, solo debuts included Haro, El, Yang Jungmo, and the most known of them all, Bang Yongguk. The latter had already been revealed through Secret vocalist Song Jieun's solo stage earlier in the year. For his first solo track, he worked together with BEAST vocalist Yoseob, who sang the chorus for the rap track.
After A Cube Entertainment signed Super Star K winner Huh Gak, many were anticipating his debut. In September, he finally released his first ever mini album and scored top positions on the charts with its title track.
In the same month, girl group April Kiss, as well as female solo artists Nikita, Purple Sweet and Fat Cat, and male soloists Park Seongmin, Ahn Jisong and Kang Hyun, debuted their first songs.
Next to Huh Gak, the most anticipated debut that month was that of SS501's Kim Kyujong. As the fifth and last member to have his solo debut in 2011, he debuted with a mini album release.
October signaled the debut of Korea's Most Incredible Bastards, M.I.B, a new rap and hip hop group consisting of four members. They were soon joined by girl groups C-Real and Hashina, as well as various other artists.
On the day of Hwanhee's departure to the army, MYNAME, also known as Hwanhee Boys, debuted with "Message." But they weren't the only boy group to debut in 2011's tenth month as both M.Peror and N:SONIC also released their first songs.
There were various solo debuts by idol group members, including one of Coin Jackson's members, who came back to the music scene with a release under the name Honey Rabbit. 2PM's Junsu released his first solo track, "Alive," as Jun.K, and Supreme Team's Simon D added to the hip-hop scene with his first official solo album.
Solo artists Ho, Yuria, Zeen and Jeongku, as well as alternative rock groups Clinah and P-Peach, also joined the ranks with their debuts.
With lots of debuts every month, lots of them end up flying under the radar. After a series of solo artist debuts with Lee Soorin, QJ, Yeon Jihoo, DanDi and Dae Eul, November's addition to the idol world included boy group TAKEN and girl group May Queen.
Just as with ballad group BoM, the release of Phantom's first single was highly anticipated by people who had been following Block B since before their debut, as Phantom member Hanhae was in Block B's line-up for a certain time. Together with Sanchez and Kiggen, Hanhae is a member of this three member hip-hop group. Mixed gender group WE also added to the hip hop scene with their first release.
November's most widely anticipated and liked debuts were without a doubt the debut of boy group Double A, also known as AA, as well as Woollim Entertainment's solo singer Baby Soul. While Double A will be releasing their first mini album soon, Baby Soul appeared earlier through labelmate Infinite's first full length album, "Over the Top." For the release, she collaborated with the boy group's rappers, Dongwoo and Hoya, as Infinite H. Baby Soul is set for a debut through a girl group in 2012.
Being the end of the year, the amount of debuts subsided to a small amount with only a few solo debuts by Agia, Suyeon, Do.E, and LJ.
Ballad project group M Signal, formed under CNBLUE and FT Island's label, FNC Music, officially debuted with a mini album, while TS Entertainment's upcoming boy group was supported by the official debut of a subunit called BANG&ZELO. BANG&ZELO, formed by rapper Bang Yongguk and 15 year old Zelo, are set to debut by the end of January through B.A.P with another four members.
Be sure to tell us what your favorite debut of 2011 was and why! And if any artists are missing from this list, don't hesitate to name them!