After School (band)

After School (band)
After School
Origin Seoul, South Korea
Genres Pop, Dance, Hip Hop, R&B
Years active 2009 (2009) – Present
Labels Pledis Entertainment (South Korea)
Avex Trax (Japan)[1]
Associated acts AS Red
AS Blue
Orange Caramel
Son Dam Bi
Namie Amuro
Happy PLEDIS
Website Korea Official Website
Japan Official Website
Taiwan Official Website
Members
Kahi
Jung Ah
Joo Yeon
Uee
Raina
Nana
Lizzy
E-Young
Past members
So Young
Bekah

After School (Korean: 애프터스쿨; Japanese: アフタースクール, AFTERSCHOOL in Japan) is a South Korean girl group formed by Pledis Entertainment in 2009.[2] They are the first group to debut with a unique admissions and graduation concept in Korea, where members are added or withdrawn in a “natural” manner. [3] The current band consists of 8 members: Park Kahi, Jung Ah, Joo Yeon, Uee, Raina, Nana, Lizzy and E-Young. Soyoung has since withdrew from the group in fall 2009 and Bekah has been officially graduated from the group in July 2011.[4][5]

The group had their first performance alongside label mate Son Dam Bi in 2008 and their official debut occurred on January 2009 with the song "AH!". The group became popular with the release of their hit single, "Because of You", which attained No. 1 and a triple crown on SBS's Inkigayo. After School went on to win various awards at the Billboard Japan Music Awards and the Seoul Music Awards.

Other hits by After School include "Diva", "Bang!" and "Shampoo". Three members of After School also formed a sub-group with a different concept known as Orange Caramel.

The group began a foray into the Japanese music scene in 2011 under Avex Trax with a remake of their Korean hits "Bang!" and "Diva". Their debut in Japan[6][7] was quite a success, as the group managed to enter the Oricon Weekly Chart at 7th.[8] Prior to their Japanese debut, After School collaborated with Namie Amuro for the song, "Make It Happen".

Contents

Career

2009: Debut and Diva

After School, as a group, made an unofficial first appearance on December 29, 2008 at the SBS Song Festival, performing "Play Girlz" with Son Dam Bi. In the beginning on 2009, a few days before After School's debut, Pledis Entertainment officially announced that the group's music concept is heavily influenced by the Pussycat Dolls.[9] On January 15, 2009, Pledis Entertainment released a 30-second teaser video on Gom TV, reaching 100,000 views on the first day.[10] Consequently, the group released their debut single, "AH!" alongside their EP, New Schoolgirl on 15 January'.[11][12] On 17 January, After School made their live debut on MBC's, Music Core[13]

During the month of April, the group announced a new member joining the group, Uee.[14][15][16][17] Alongside the announcement, the group released the second single, "Diva"[15] on April 9, 2009.[16] The group performance on 9 April 2009 on M!Countdown.[18] On May 21, the group released their third single, a cover of Morning Musume's "Love Machine", entitled "Dream Girl".[19] In July, it was announced that the group would collaborate with popular artist, Son Dam Bi,[17][20] for digital single, "Amoled", which was released on the 16th, which was also part of promotions for Amoled, Samsung's phone.[21]

2010–2011: Because of You and Bang!

On 29 October 2009, Yoo Soyoung officially withdrew from the group to become an actress. Two new members were added to the group, Raina and Nana.[11] After School made their comeback on 25 November 2009 with their single, "Because of You",[11][22] with teasers being released a day before.[23] Marking a change for the group to a more mature and sophisticated concept,[11] the song became popular, winning three Mutizen awards[24][25][26] and topping various online music charts.[27] A remixed version was released later on.[28]

On 17 March 2010, details surrounding new member, Lizzy, were announced,[29] following the release of the group's concept photos for the single album, Bang!. Pledis Entertainment simultaneously announced that the album would be released on 25 March 2010.[29]

On 6 December 2010, Pledis Entertainment released After School's comeback album Happy Pledis 1st Album that consisted of 4 tracks, "Love Love Love" as their album single, "Someone Is You" and 2 instrumentals of the two songs. Pledis had planned a series of "Happy Pledis" albums with their artists After School, Son Dambi and Orange Caramel as a surprise gift for the fans. A portion of the profits from the "Happy Pledis" albums would be donated to the “Save the Children” organization. Bekah did not take part nor participated in the promotions for this album due to her two month break in Hawaii visiting her parents.

2011–present: Virgin, Japanese debut, and line-up changes

On the 27 January, Pledis Entertainment stated that they had signed a contract with a Japanese record label in order to begin activities in Japan by the end of March.[30] After School then kicked off their Japanese activities by collaborating with Japanese singer Namie Amuro; featuring in the song 'Make It Happen' for her collaboration album.[31]

Pledis Entertainment announced on 13 April that After School would be making a comeback later that month with a full-length album; the title track being composed by Japanese producer Daishi Dance.[32] Teaser photos for the comeback album were subsequently released on the 18th; the first of the photos were of newcomer to the group E-Young. Pledis Entertainment also said the release date of the album would be on the 29th.[33] A second photo was released a day after, featuring Lizzy, Raina and Nana (who were dubbed the 3rd generation), and a third featuring Uee (second generation). On the 20th, the album's full tracklist was released along with the title track titled 'Shampoo' and the final teaser photo of the remaining original members.[34] An music video teaser was uploaded onto the Pledis Entertainment Official YouTube channel on the 25th, and the full audio track for 'Shampoo' was uploaded to the internet two days later. After School's first album Virgin was released on the 29th, with the full music video for 'Shampoo' being released later that day. The music video for 'Let's Step Up', the intro track for the Virgin album was released with After School performing a tap-dance routine, which was praised internationally by tap dancers such as Joseph Wiggan.[35][36] After School began promotions for the song 'Shampoo' starting with KBS's Music Bank.[37]

It has been recently revealed that After School will officially debut in Japan on 17 August, with a Japanese version of 'Bang!'. They will also perform a solo concert on 17 July at Akasaka BLITZ in Tokyo.[6] However, Bekah left the group prior to the Japanese debut to become a designer, and has since released her graduation work, a solo track titled Take Me To The Place.

In July, Pledis announced that After School will be separated into two sub-units, AS Red and Blue as part of the group's second comeback project for the year.

The group made their spectacular debut in Japan on 17 August 2011, with the release of their first Japanese album, Bang!, which peaked at 7th on the Oricon Weekly Chart.[38] After School participated in the prestigious 'a-nation' concert tour as part of their Japanese promotions.[39]

Members

After School have a admission-graduation system, where members are added or withdrawn in a “natural” manner.[40]

  • Park Ji Young, better known by her stage name Kahi, was born on 25 December 1980 (1980-12-25) (age 30), and is the leader of After School. She is the Lead Vocalist, Main Rapper and Main Dancer of the group. Prior to her debut in After School, she started her career in the entertainment industry as a professional dancer for artists under SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment and JYP Entertainment,[11] most notably for BoA. Park was also part of a Korean American girl group called S.Blush,[41] whose first digital single peaked at No. 2 at the Billboard Hot Dance Chart.[41] Since her debut, Kahi has released a solo album,[42] and was cast in the reality-variety series Yeongunghogeol (영웅호걸, "Heroes").[43]
  • Kim Jung Ah was born on 2 August 1983 (1983-08-02) (age 28). She is the Main Vocalist of the group. Jung Ah was a member of former girl group Kiss Five. She has participated in the soundtrack for SBS's Pasta, titled You're Cute.
  • Lee Jooyeon was born on 19 March 1987 (1987-03-19) (age 24). She is a Vocalist in the group. Jooyeon is an ulzzang and was featured in Tony Ahn's Yutzpracachia and Taegoon's Betrayed music videos as well as various commercials. She made her acting debut with the drama, Smile, Donghae and was a member of G7 in the variety show Invincible Youth. She is the leader of the Blue sub-unit.
  • Kim Yu Jin, better known by her stage name UEE (or also spelled U-ie), was born on 9 April 1988 (1988-04-09) (age 23). She is a Vocalist and Rapper of the group. Uee was a member of girl group Five Girls, along with G.NA, Wonder Girls’s Kim Yubin, Secret’s Hyosung and former T-ara member and actress Yang Jiwon, but the group disbanded right before their scheduled debut in 2007 due to financial troubles.[44] Uee joined the group in April 2009[45] with the release of the single, "Diva". She has since been cast in various dramas, including the historical drama Queen Seon Duk, You're Beautiful (TV series) and Birdie Buddy. Uee also joined the reality show, We Got Married and was paired with Park Jae Jung.[46] Uee made her debut as a solo artist[47] with the release of her solo track, Sok Sok Sok.
  • Oh Hye Rin, better known by her stage name Raina, was born on 7 May 1989 (1989-05-07) (age 22). She is the Main Vocalist of the group. Raina joined After School in November 2009 with the release of the single, "Because of You". Raina is one of the three members in After School's sub-group, Orange Caramel. She is also a lyricist, having written the lyrics for 이곳에 서서 (Standing Here), Not Yet in Orange Caramel's second mini-album and the Happy Pledis single, Love Love Love.[48]
  • Im Jin Ah, better known by her stage name Nana, was born on 14 September 1991 (1991-09-14) (age 20). She is a Vocalist and Rapper for the group. Nana joined After School in November 2009 with the release of the single, "Because of You". Nana is one of the three members in After School's sub-group, Orange Caramel. Prior to her debut in After School, Nana was a contestant in the 2009 Asia Pacific Super Model Contest. While in Japan promoting 'Bang!', Nana was also chosen as a main model for 'Tokyo Girls Collection'. She has her first solo song for Orange Caramel Shanghai Romance single album called 눈을 감아 (Close Your Eyes).
  • Park Soo Young, better known by her stage name Lizzy, was born on 31 July 1992 (1992-07-31) (age 19). She is a Vocalist and Rapper of the group. She joined After School in March 2010 with the release of the single, "Bang!" and is one of the three members in After School's sub-group, Orange Caramel. Lizzy was a former long-term guest of the popular variety show, Running Man[49] and is currently a regular in the MBC sitcom, All My Love.[50] She participated in the soundtrack for the sitcom itself, titled Beautiful Girl.
  • Noh Yi Young, better known by her stage name E-Young, a multi-instrumentalist, was born on 16 August 1992 (1992-08-16) (age 19) and is a Vocalist and Maknae of the group. E-Young first performed with After School on 31 December 2010 at the MBC Song Festival.

Former members

  • Joo So Young, better known by her stage name Soyoung, was born on 29 March 1986 (1986-03-29) (age 25), and was a vocalist for the group. Soyoung joined After School in its' debut with the release of the single, "AH!" and also participated in the group's subsequent single, "Diva". Soyoung "dropped out" from After School on 29 October 2009. She is currently an actress and has been cast in KBS's daily drama Women Of Our Home.[51]
  • Rebecca Kim, better known by her stage name Bekah, was born on 11 August 1989 (1989-08-11) (age 22) and was the main rapper and vocalist for the group. Bekah is a Korean American born and raised in Hawaii. She debuted with After School with the release of the single, "AH!". She was featured in Seo In Guk's song, At First Sight, Lee Hyori's Bring It Back, along with 4minute's Jiyoon, and Tei's Mr Lonely. On 16 June 2011, Bekah announced that she will be departing from the group in order to fulfil her dreams of being a designer[52][5] and officially graduated from After School on 1 July 2011. However, she hopes to design an album for After School in the future.[53]

Sub-units

Pledis Entertainment announced on June 2010 that After School will be forming sub-groups for future promotions.

Orange Caramel

Orange Caramel was the first sub-unit of After School to debut and it consisted of Raina, Nana, and Lizzy. The group released their first mini-album, on June 2010 with the title track, Magic Girl. Orange Caramel subsequent hit songs include A~ing! and Bangkok City. Orange Caramel to make a comeback in October. A representative for Orange Caramel claimed, “Just like how we showed off different concepts with every promotion, we will differentiate ourselves from After School’s powerful and sexy image. ”Orange Caramel will promote their new album for one month before rejoining their sisters in Japan, just in time for their second Japanese single, “Diva“. It’s being said that After School will kick-start their overseas promotions into high gear following Orange Caramel’s wrap-up of their Korean promotions.Orange Caramel has just announced they will be releasing their new single on October 13th, entitled “Shanghai Romance“! A continuation of their ‘One Asia Project‘, which they kick-started earlier this year with their sleeper hit, “Bangkok City“. This time, they’ll be showcasing one of China’s most vibrant cities as their next destination.

AS Red & Blue

On 4 July 2011, it was announced that After School will be splitting into 'red' and 'blue' units as a part of their comeback project. They also revealed that fans who will attend After School's next showcase will get a chance to vote on which members they want to be on each unit.[54] The 'red' sub-unit will feature a firm, powerful sexy concept, while the 'blue' sub-unit will have a cute and bright concept.[55] The unit line-ups were finalized on 11 July 2011.[56] The members of the Red unit are Kahi, Jung Ah, Uee and Nana. The blue unit are Jooyeon, Raina, Lizzy and E-Young. Kahi is the leader of AS Red and Jooyeon is the leader of AS Blue.

AS Red and Blue released their 4th mini-album on 21 July 2011, with title tracks In The Night Sky and Wonder Boy respectively. The music videos for the two songs were released soon after.

Discography

Korean discography

Studio albums
  • Virgin (2011)
Single albums

Japanese discography

Single albums
  • Bang! (2011)
  • Diva (2011)

Filmography

Reality shows

  • 2009: MTV Diary of After School
  • 2010: Playgirlz School

Awards

Years Award Category Result
2009 Cyworld Digital Music Awards Rookie of the month (April)(Diva)[57] Won
Mnet Asian Music Awards Best New Female Artist Nominated
Korea Lifestyle Awards Best Style Icon[citation needed] Won
2010 Billboard Japan Music Awards K-Pop New Artist of the Year 2009[58] Won
19th Seoul Music Awards Best Newcomer Award[59] Won
11th Korean Visual Arts Festival Photogenic Award (Orange Caramel)[60] Won
2011 Korean Popular Culture and Arts Award Cultural Minister of Finance Award Won

Music programs

Inkigayo

Year Date Song
2009 20 December Because Of You
27 December
2010 24 January

References

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