The K-Pop industry is not slowing down any time soon. In fact, it has become a churning factory of talent and visuals. It continues to create groups after groups and debuting them with different concepts – some even chartering into more bizarre and never-before-seen themes. And from the cute girl groups that have long been dominating the k-pop scene, fans of the industry are seeing more of girl crush concepts.
We’re talking about K-Pop so it’s safe to say that we are already in for something we don’t definitely expect.
While the staple superstars like EBS (EXO, BTS, Seventeen), Blackpink, Twice, Red Velvet, IU, and Hwasa are still on the forefront of the KPop wave, these rookie K-Pop acts might soon steal some spotlight!
Top 6 Rookie K-Pop Acts
Here are the 6 K-Pop acts that have made every single list of K-Pop groups to watch out for this 2021. While they might have debuted last year, they’re still visibly conquering the arena with their new music and tantalizing visuals. Gear up and get to know them more before they start making their comebacks.
Weeekly has been constantly making noise after debuting last June 30, 2020 with their official debut title track ‘Tag Me (@Me)’ under their first mini album We Are. The group was confirmed last May 2020 when they were still known as Play M GIRLS under Play M Entertainment.
The group consists of seven members namely Soojin, Jiyoon, Monday, Soeun, Jaehee, Jihan, and Zoa. Although they might not be part of the big 3 labels who have an almost foolproof formula for girl group popularity, Weeekly has APink as their sunbae.
But of course, Weeekly’s charm and popularity is mostly owed to their talents and visuals. They released their second mini-album We Can with title track ‘Zig Zag’ back in September. And this March, Play M Entertainment confirmed a comeback with their mini album titled We Play.
Previously known as TREASURE 13, TREASURE debuted last August 7, 2020 under YG Entertainment. YGE is home of Big Bang, 2NE1, Winner, iKON, and Blackpink who are all known for their charismatic performances and global popularity.
TREASURE started out as a survival show named YG Treasure Box with a total of 29 trainees. In a cutthroat competition, TREASURE was finally created with the member line-up consisting of Choi Hyunsuk, Jihoon, Yoshi, Junkyu, Mashiho, Yoon Jaehyuk, Asahi, Bang Yedam, Haruto, Doyoung, Park Jeongwoo, and So Junghwan.
Early last year in January, the group released a performance film titled ‘Going Crazy’ before their official debut track ‘Boy’ from the single album, The First Step: Chapter One. This was the first installment to The First Step series which surpassed over 170,000 pre-orders marking their launch as a global success.
After a long wait, FNC Entertainment who debuted FTISLAND, CNBLUE, N.Flying, and SF9 launched their new boy group last October 28, 2020. P1Harmony, also known as [P]1H, is a 6 member boy group consisting of members Keeho, Theo, Jiung, Intak, Soul, and Jongseob.
They officially debuted with their title track ‘Siren’ under their first mini album Disharmony : Stand Out. They also unveiled their box office movie P1Harmony: New World Begins with Amazon Music which was a fusion project between K-Pop and K-movie. And true enough, they have successfully marked themselves in K-Pop as incredible talents.
The group’s debut was nearly derailed due to Keeho’s racist issue which plagued social media. FNC Entertainment already issued a statement and the group has overcome the challenge. With their clear charm and undeniable talent and visuals, they’re sure to make a name in the industry!
One of the most talked about debut tracks of 2020 was STAYC’s So Bad. And this year, it still remains phenomenal. STAYC or formerly known as HIGHUP Girls stands for “Star To A Young Culture”. They debuted under Highup Entertainment with known producer duo Black Eyed Pilseung last November 12, 2020. STAYC is the first girl group to debut under the label.
The group which consists of Sieun, Seeun, Sumin, J, Isa and Yoon is truly a force to be reckoned with this year. Their pre debut videos have already grabbed millions of views. Not to mention that Sieun (main vocalist) first started as an actress and idol under JYP Entertainment (home of Wonder Girls, Miss A, Twice, and ITZY) while Seeun was also an actress and trainee under Play M Entertainment before they debuted with the group.
The members with their highly-coordinated moves, excellent vocals, and top-of-the-line visuals are sure to grab more attention this year.
“Be my ae! Hi, we are æspa!”
aespa (에스파) or more iconically known for their stylized name æspa is a 4 member South Korean girl group who debuted last November 17, 2020 under SM Entertainment. Of course, when it comes to top k-pop girl groups, SM Ent. has always been vying for the top rank producing the nation’s GG SNSD, the barrier-defying group F(x) (which is now disbanded), and the real visual group Red Velvet.
Their pre-debut teasers have made impactful rounds thanks to their Avatar concept (‘æ’ was derived from ‘Avatar X Experience’ & ‘aspect’). The group’s theme is ‘Experiencing a new world via the encounter of the ‘avatar’, your other self’.
With their powerful debut track ‘Black Mamba’, members Karina, Giselle, Winter, and NingNing have truly impressed everyone with their skills. And just this February, they released their new single ‘Forever’. Watch them switch from powerful to sweet, truly a girl group of premium calibre!
If you’re an ARMY and a Carat, then you definitely know ENHYPEN from the reality survival show I-Land. BTS and Seventeen have visited the boys during the show prompting even more attention before they debuted. IU has also featured in the show with the song ‘Into the I-LAND’.
ENHYPEN is a seven-member boy group with members Heeseung, Jay, Jake, Sunghoon, Sunoo, Jungwon, and Ni-ki. They debuted last November 30, 2020 under Belift Lab, a joint label created by Big Hit Entertainment (home of BTS and TXT) and CJ E&M Entertainment. Their name was defined as “just like hyphens connect different words to make new meanings, the members will connect, discover each other, and grow together”.
The group successfully debuted with their official debut track ‘Given-Taken’ under their first mini album Border: Day One. And with all-rounder members (sing, rap, and dance), this group is bound to skyrocket in popularity just like their sunbaes.
On the Lookout: Top 3 Groups to Debut This 2021
It’s also worth noting which groups we should set our eyes on next. We understand that stanning too many groups can be a pain but being a fangirl or a fanboy isn’t an easy lifestyle. Plus, these groups are getting hyped up and they’re definitely worth checking out.
If you’re a fan of vocally-acclaimed group MAMAMOO then meet their sister group under RBW Entertainment, Purple Kiss. Watch out for Park Jieun, Na Goeun, Dosie, Ireh, Yuki, Chaein and Swan who have already hearts swooned over them with their pre-debut single ‘My Heart Skip A Beat’ last November 6 which they also choreographed themselves.
And just last February 3, they unveiled another pre-debut track titled ‘Can We Talk Again’.
Formerly known as LIONGIRLS and TRI.ANGLE, Tri.Be is a 7-member girl group under TR Entertainment in Korea and Republic Records in the US. The group consisting of SongSun, Kelly, JinHa, HyunBin, Jia, SoEun, and Mire debuted last February 17 with their debut single album TRI.BE Da Loca.
Everyone who is into K-Pop surely knows Rain. If you don’t then you might be new and it’s worth your while to check him out. After MBLAQ, Rain has now produced his second k-pop boy group and first of his Rain Company.
Ciipher is composed of former contestants from idol survival programs ‘No Mercy’, ‘YG Treasure Box’, ‘Produce X 101’, and ‘Under Nineteen’. You might be familiar with the lineup with Hyunbin, Tan, Hwi, Keita, Tag, Dohwan, and Won. They’re set to debut on March 15 with title track ‘Won’t Feel Small’.