KINGDOM, Ciipher: K-pop rookies seek to break into mainstream

Asia's Tech News Daily

By Dong Sun-hwa

It is certainly not a piece of cake for rookie singers to survive in the K-pop industry, where around 100 groups debut every year. Nonetheless, K-pop’s global ascent is attracting more and more newcomers, who are seeking to write their own stories with their distinctive character. Among these rookies are KINGDOM, Ciipher and LIGHTSUM.


KINGDOM, Ciipher: K-pop rookies seek to break into mainstream

K-pop boy band KINGDOM / Courtesy of GF Entertainment

One of the most high-profile acts is KINGDOM. The group, which debuted with the EP, “History of Kingdom: Part 1 Arthur,” in February, has been the talk of the town lately, thanks to its “fantastic universe.”

In their fictional universe, the seven members ― Dann, Arthur, Mujin, Louis, Ivan, Jahan and Chiwoo ― represent seven different kings from world history. Arthur, for instance, is named after the mythical British king who fought against the Saxons in the late 5th and early 6th centuries, and Jahan is named after Shah Jahan, the Mughal emperor of India who built the Taj Mahal, one of the country’s most famous landmarks.

The group previously hinted that it will recount the stories associated with the seven kings in its first seven releases and bring all of them together in the eighth release. For each EP, one member will be a protagonist ― in the case of KINGDOM’s first mini-album, the main character is Arthur, and the title of the lead track was “Excalibur,” the name of the sword he used.

On Oct, 21, KINGDOM is set to drop its third EP, “History Of Kingdom: Part III IVAN,” which will bring member Ivan to the forefront.

“Through the launch of KINGDOM, we want to present various cultures in a K-pop style,” GF Entertainment, KINGDOM’s management company, said in a statement.

Among all the K-pop boy groups that have debuted this year, KINGDOM is the only act to have made into the Billboard’s World Digital Song Sales chart. The septet achieved this feat in July with “Karma,” the lead track off its second mini-album, “History Of Kingdom: Part II Chiwoo.”

“We think our distinctive universe and music are our unique edges,” KINGDOM said in a statement. “This year, we want to win Rookie of the Year awards and earn nicknames like ‘super rookie.'”

2. Ciipher

KINGDOM, Ciipher: K-pop rookies seek to break into mainstream

K-pop act Ciipher / Courtesy of Rain Company

Ciipher is another much-anticipated rookie band that has burst onto the K-pop scene this year. The seven-member group, comprising Tan, Hyunbin, Hwi, Keita, TAG, Dohwan and Won, is the first K-pop boy band produced by Rain Company, the record label established by singer-actor Rain in 2015.

After making its debut with the mini-album, “I Like You,” in March, the septet returned with the new EP, “Blind,” Sept. 28, which is fronted by the namesake lead single. The members participated in the creation of all five of the tracks included in their fresh release, just as they did with their debut EP.

“The lead single revolves around a man trying to confess his love,” Won said during an online press conference, Sept. 28. “It is a follow-up to our debut track that highlights our maturity.”

Reflecting Ciipher’s growing popularity, the “Blind” music video had surpassed 3 million views on YouTube as of Thursday.

During the media event, Ciipher did not shy away from revealing their ambitions, with member TAN saying that he hopes his group can become either a runner-up or a winner on a music show.

“We also want to receive Rookie of the Year awards and enter the Billboard charts,” he added. “And I hope that the public will be ‘blinded’ by us.”


KINGDOM, Ciipher: K-pop rookies seek to break into mainstream

K-pop girl group LIGHTSUM / Courtesy of Cube Entertainment

Numerous K-pop girl groups have made their debut this year, too. Among them are LIGHTSUM, an act produced by Cube Entertainment, which manages other prominent K-pop stars, including BTOB and (G)I-DLE.

LIGHTSUM is made up of eight members: Sangah, Chowon, Nayoung, Hina, Juhyeon, Yujeong, Huiyeon and Jian. The octet debuted in June with the song, “Vanilla,” and is poised to release the new EP, “Light a Wish,” on Oct 13. The upcoming release will be led by “VIVACE,” a tune with a dreamy synth sound.

It has taken about three years for Cube to form a new girl group, since (G)I-DLE in 2018. During the first week of its release, LIGHTSUM’s “Vanilla” sold 19,000 copies, signaling a good start.

During an online media event on June 10, LIGHTSUM said that it also wanted to clinch the Rookie of the Year awards, adding that it will spare no efforts in spreading the group’s positive energy.

“LIGHTSUM is a team with bright and positive energy, but we can also pull off powerful choreography, like the other singers represented by Cube,” Juhyeon said.

On top of that, a legion of other rookie bands has arrived on the music scene this year, including Hot Issue, OMEGA X and LUMINOUS. The competition to break into the K-pop mainstream is expected to be stiff, but fans around the world are thrilled to meet more gifted stars.

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