2NE1 performing at Clarke Quay in November 2012
From left to right: CL, Dara, Minzy, Park Bom
|Origin||Seoul, South Korea|
|Genres||K-pop, Hip hop, R&B, electronic, dance, urban, electropop|
|Labels||YG Entertainment (South Korea)
Avex Group (Japan)
will.i.am Music Group (USA)
|Associated acts||Teddy, Big Bang, YG Family, will.i.am, PSY, Se7en|
|Website||Official Korean website
Official Japanese website
2NE1 (Korean: 투애니원; pronounced To Anyone or Twenty One) is a four-member South Korean girl group formed by YG Entertainment in 2009. The band consists of CL, Minzy, Dara, and Bom. The name 2NE1 combines the phrases "21st century" and "new evolution" (NE).
First appearing in "Lollipop", a commercial campaign with Big Bang for LG Electronics, 2NE1's debut single "Fire" was released on May 6, 2009. Since then, the group has released two extended plays, 2NE1 and 2NE1 2nd Mini Album, and one studio album, To Anyone. Their first EP, 2NE1 spawned the number-one single "I Don't Care", which won them the "Song of the Year" award at the 2009 Mnet Asian Music Awards. Their follow-up singles, such as "Go Away", "Lonely" and "I Am The Best" were similarly successful, with "I Am the Best" winning 2NE1 their second "Song of the Year" award in 2011.
2NE1 officially debuted in Japan in September 2011 with a mini album titled NOLZA, which contained re-made versions of the Korean songs featured on the group's 2nd Mini Album. Since then, the group has released one studio album, Collection, and two physical singles in Japan. 2NE1 are set to debut in the United States in 2013, with work on the group's debut English studio album beginning in 2010 with producer will.i.am. In 2012, The New York Times named 2NE1's performance at the Prudential Center in New Jersey as one of the "Best Concerts of 2012". As of 2013, the band has 400 million video views on YouTube as well as 27 million digital singles sold.
2NE1 was first mentioned by South Korean press in late 2004 before YG Entertainment announced in early 2009 that the group would consist of four members and debut sometime in May of that year. The company stated that the group had trained for 4 years, and that their debut album would contain songs produced by 1TYM's leader Teddy Park. The group's name was initially announced as "21"; however, due to the discovery of a singer with the same name, the group was quickly renamed "2NE1".
2009: Debut and first Korean EP
In collaboration with Big Bang, 2NE1's first CF song "Lollipop", was digitally released on March 27, 2009. The song was created for LG to promote their Cyon phone. The music video was released on March 28, 2009. Although it was not a promoted single because it was an advertisement (there were problems with network chart eligibility), "Lollipop" went to number one on various online charts and topped the online chart of music television network Mnet for four weeks in a row.
On April 30, YG Entertainment's CEO Yang Hyun Suk revealed that 2NE1's debut song would contain elements of hip-hop and reggae, and that it would be digitally released on May 6, 2009. Titled "Fire", the song was written and produced by 1TYM's Teddy Park. Teasers of the song were released on their official website at the beginning of May, with a 20-second clip released on May 1.
"Fire" was released as planned on May 6, with two versions of the music video — a "space" version and a "street" version — released on the same day. Within the first 24 hours of release, the videos each received over one million views. The group held their first performance of "Fire" on May 17, 2009, on SBS's Inkigayo, marking the start of the group's activities. A reality show, 2NE1TV, was also launched in May 2009 to assist in the group's debut promotions.
Both the song and the group became popular online: "Fire" topped Mnet's online chart and 2NE1 became a popular search term. The group was awarded three Cyworld Digital Music Awards; "Lollipop" and "Fire" both won "Song of the Month" award and the group won "Rookie of the Month" for May 2009 2NE1 received their first Mutizen award after their fourth stage performance in SBS's Inkigayo (Popular Song) on June 14, 2009. They received their second Mutizen award on the same show on June 21, 2009. Two days afterwards, 2NE1 signed a deal with Fila to become the models for the company's new commercial campaign.
"I Don't Care" was released as the group's second single on July 1, 2009 along with the group's first mini-album. Promotions for their new release officially commenced in early July. Yang Hyun Suk stated that the song would demonstrate a softer, more feminine image of the group than illustrated by "Fire". A reggae version of "I Don't Care" was debuted with a performance on SBS's Inkigayo in September 2009, signaling the end of promotions for the song. Due to the remix's popularity, it was released to digital outlets on September 3, 2009, and became their next digital single.
In August, after finishing "I Don't Care" promotions, 2NE1 took a temporary hiatus with each member releasing their own solo singles. Sandara Park was the first to release her own digital single, titled "Kiss", in September 2009. The song featured fellow member CL as a rapper and was used in a commercial for CF Beer. Park Bom's single "You and I" was released next in October 2009; it proved to be the most successful of the group's solo singles, peaking at the top of the GaOn chart. CL collaborated with Minzy in the following month for their single "Please Don't Go".
Along with three other groups representing Korea, 2NE1 performed in the 6th Asia Song Festival in September 2009, where they received the 2009's "Asian Newcomer's Award." 2NE1 received many year-end awards, including Best Rookie Award and Song of the Year Award. Their hit single "I Don't Care" was named 2009's Best Selling Song on music sites Mnet, Bugs, Monkey3, and Cyworld and second in MelOn. Their debut EP also reached a milestone of 100,000 in sales by the end of the 2009 year.
2010: To Anyone
On February 9, 2010, without previous announcement, "Follow Me" (Korean: "날 따라해봐요", "Nal ddara haebwayo") was released to digital outlets and used as the promotional song for Samsung's Corby Folder. Over the summer of 2010, 2NE1 traveled to Los Angeles and London in order to record English songs for an American debut album with The Black Eyed Peas's member and music producer will.i.am. The group recorded a total of 10 songs in their initial sesions.
The group's first full length album, To Anyone, was released on September 9, 2010 and proved to be a huge success. Upon release of the album, it achieved an all-kill as all 6 new songs in the album stayed in the Top 10 on various music charts for one week. The album also charted at #1 on the iTunes Hip-hop chart, #7 on Billboard World Albums Chart, #1 on HMV Japan, aside from topping various charts in Korea. Prior to the release of the album, it had already received 120,000 pre-orders. The album eventually sold 150,000 copies by the end of the year.
The album contains 12 tracks, including three title tracks, "Clap Your Hands" (Korean: "박수 쳐"), "Go Away" and "Can't Nobody", which were promoted simultaneously. 2NE1 won first place on Mnet's M! Countdown for "Clap Your Hands" on the day of their comeback, followed by a K-Chart win the next day on KBS Music Bank for "Go Away", and a Mutizen a week after for their SBS Inkigayo performance of "Can't Nobody". Overall, 2NE1 won first place eleven times on various music shows throughout the promotional period for To Anyone.
To promote the album, the group made its first entertainment show appearance as a group on KBS variety-talk show Win Win while also airing the second season of 2NE1TV.
On October 21, Yang Hyun Suk announced that 2NE1 would be releasing a follow-up single on October 31, later revealed to be "It Hurts (Slow)" (Korean: "아파"). It was first performed on SBS's Inkigayo. The music video was directed by Kim Hye Jung, who also directed G-Dragon's "Butterfly." The music video was released on November 1 and utilized a Halloween theme.
In addition, on October 28, it was revealed that 2NE1 would release Japanese material under the Avex Group, and that To Anyone would be re-released in Japan on December 8, 2010. However, the release was later delayed to early 2011. Other non-Korean promotions took place in Thailand, where To Anyone was released on October 28, 2010. On November 26, 2NE1 released the single "Don't Stop the Music" as a "special gift for Thai fans" and as the promotional accompaniment to the group's Yamaha Fiore endorsement.
At the end of 2010, 2NE1 took home the "Artist of the Year" award and the "Album of the Year" award at the 2010 Mnet Asian Music Awards, thus making them the only artist to win all 3 grand awards at the said award ceremony.
2011: Second Korean EP and Japanese debut
On January 19, 2011, "Can't Nobody (English Version)" was released on the Japanese digital retailer Recochoku as a ringtone and ringback tone. On February 2, the "Can't Nobody (English Version)" music video was made available for download through iTunes Japan. On February 22, Avex announced that 2NE1 would release their Japanese debut single "Go Away", previously used as a Korean promotional single, as a ringtone on March 9, 2011. It was later announced to be the theme song of Japanese television program Mezamashi TV. On March 16, the group released 2NE1, their first extended play, in Japan, with no promotions because of the Tōhoku Earthquake and tsunami. It debuted at #24 on the Oricon charts, selling 3,860 copies in its first week of release. 2NE1 initially planned to make their official Japanese debut live on Music Station, but instead postponed their debut to the fall of 2011 due to the earthquake. 2NE1 participated in the Naver "Pray for Japan" campaign alongside many other Korean celebrities, helping to raise funds for earthquake victims.
On April 18, 2NE1 announced their plans for a Korean comeback, pushing the release of their second mini-album, 2NE1 2nd Mini Album, forward from the fall to "May or June". Park Bom's second solo single, "Don't Cry", was unveiled on April 21, 2011. The song climbed to the top of the charts and achieved an "All-Kill" on Korea’s real-time music charts (Bugs, Melon, Soribada, Monkey3, Dosirak,) within 24 hours of its release. Later on, the song went on to achieve an perfect all-kill.
After Park Bom concluded her solo promotions by singing an acoustic version of "Don't Cry" on YG on Air, the group officially confirmed that a new single titled "Lonely" would be released on May 12, 2011. A behind-the-scenes video of "Lonely" was shown on the second episode of YG on Air, with the full music video being released on May 11, 2011 on 2NE1's official YouTube account. The song enjoyed similar success to "Don't Cry", ranking #1 on live, daily, and weekly music charts. The music video also garnered over 4 million views over the course of four days and ranked #1 on Korean video portals like Gom TV. Later on, the song achieved a perfect all-kill.
On June 24, 2NE1 released a single produced by Teddy Park at midnight, titled "I Am The Best". Within 24 hours of release, "I Am the Best" topped all the major Korean charts, except for Monkey3 where the song was ranked second. As the day progressed, the song ultimately became first and was certified as another "perfect all-kill" for the group. On July 21, 2NE1 released an animated music video directed by Mari Kim for their next single, "Hate You", which proved to be another success for the group, peaking at #3 on the Gaon Chart. On July 28, along with the release of the full mini-album, the single "Ugly" and its music video were released, and again 2NE1 topped all major Korean charts with the single. The album itself was also a major success, topping the Gaon Chart and selling over 85,000 copies by year's end and over 100,000 copies by September 2012. 2NE1 became the first K-pop artist in history to release and reach five straight "all-kill" singles. Promotions for 2NE1's second Korean mini-album officially concluded in late August. Following the end of promotions, 2NE1 held their first sold-out solo concert at the Olympic Hall in the Chamsil Olympic Park on August 26, 27 and 28 in Seoul, South Korea.
After concluding Korean promotions for their second mini-album, 2NE1 made their official debut in Japan in September 2011. They kicked off their official debut by releasing their mini-album, ‘NOLZA‘, which was promoted by the release of various singles throughout the summer of 2011 – including Japanese versions of "I Am the Best", "Hate You", and "Lonely". On the day of its release, 2NE1 scored high points on various music charts, and landed in second place on the Japanese iTunes chart and fourth place on the Oricon charts. They began their Japanese debut tour "‘2NE1 First Japan Tour – NOLZA" on September 19 and 20th at the Yokohama Arena, attracting a combined total of 10,000 fans. Altogether, 2NE1 held six concerts during their ‘2NE1 First Japan Tour – NOLZA’ at three locations, including Yokohama Arena (9/19 – 9/20), Kobe World Commemoration Hall (9/24 – 9/25), and Chiba’s Makuhari Messe Hall. The concerts attracted an impressive figure of 70,000 fans and marked a strong debut in Japan.
2NE1 released their first official Japanese single, a Japanese version of "Go Away", on November 18, 2011 in three versions, following their September 2011 Japanese mini-album promotions. The music video for the Japanese version of "Go Away" showcased the JS Collage Wings x 2NE1 sneakers designed by American designer Jeremy Scott, who has been a contributing factor in their style and global attention.
In October 2011, MTV Iggy, an international branch of MTV that promotes new international music, held a global competition with 10 bands from all around the world who competed in a voting competition for the "Best New Band". With their song "I Am the Best", 2NE1 were crowned winners of this title on November 10, 2011, making this their first US Award. 2NE1 performed at Times Square New York in December 2011 to accept the honor.
2012: Collection, I Love You & New Evolution
On March 28, 2012, 2NE1 released their first full-length Japanese album titled Collection along with their second Japanese single "Scream". The album includes Japanese remakes of their Korean songs such as "Love Is Ouch", "Fire", and "I Don't Care", and a cover of Madonna's 1984 hit song "Like A Virgin". Multiple editions of the album were released to include a DVD containing the groups Japanese and Korean music videos, according to Oricon's music website. The album peaked at #4 on the Oricon Daily Chart and went on to sell over 40,000 copies in Japan.
The group and their fellow label-mates Big Bang were invited to perform for the first time at 2012's Springroove festival in Japan alongside some of the top American and Japanese hip hop artists. The previous year, 2NE1 and GD&TOP were invited, but due to the Japan tsunami and earthquake tragedy, the festival was cancelled.
The group collaborated with Japanese hip-hop group M-Flo for the song "She's So (Outta Control)", which was featured on the Japanese group's sixth studio album Square One. The song was released as the leading track from the album, two weeks before the album's release on February 29, 2012. The song reached number 43 on the Billboard Japan Hot 100 chart.
On June 6, 2012, the group released a promotional single for the Intel Make Thumb Noise Project, titled "Be Mine."
2NE1 performed at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards Japan, which took place on June 23, 2012 at the Makuhari Messe, to conclude initial Japanese promotions. They also won the 'Best New Artist Video' award for their song "I Am The Best". The group served as the public speakers for the 59th ‘Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival’ in France in June 2012, along with the nation’s top advertising agency "Cheil Worldwide", after having been picked as the favorite K-pop group by French Hallyu fans. The seminar they gave was titled, “Korean Wave Through Digital Wave.”
Also confirmed in June 2012 was that 2NE1's first world tour, the New Evolution World Tour, would begin in Seoul, South Korea on July 28 and visit New Jersey and California in the United States in the following month before a September Japanese leg. Jeremy Scott designed the costumes for the concert, with Divinity Roxx assisting in music for the concert.
On September 26, a Japanese-language version of "I Love You" was released as the group's third official Japanese single.
In August, 2NE1 embarked on the US leg of their New Evolution tour. On August 24, 2NE1 held an independent concert at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. 6,680 of the 6,714 tickets put on sale were sold, bringing in a gross sales of $653,716, and ranking at #29 on Billboard’s Current Box Score. This made 2NE1 the first girl group to rank on Billboard‘s Current Box Score.
In late summer of 2012 the group appeared alongside Nicki Minaj and other artists including Big Sean and athlete Derrick Rose promoting their own line of Adidas, marking their first entrance into American pop culture. The full video features them dancing in the heart of Tokyo having an impromptu concert for surprise fans. 2NE1 has their own line of Adidas with Jeremy Scott.
In December, 2NE1 and Big Bang made MTV Style’s list of ‘Best Band Style of 2012′. The two YG Entertainment groups are the only Asian artists to make the list of 10, which includes One Direction, The Wanted, Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, Destiny’s Child, Fun and No Doubt.
Initially, the group's second full-length Korean album was due to be released in July 2012, but was delayed until October 2012, but was delayed again for a scheduled release date of early 2013. YG cited potential stresses on the group as a result of its New Evolution Global Tour for the reason behind the delays.
2013: English releases, Solo projects, 2NE1LOVES and comeback
While in December 2012 the entertainment agency's CEO officially confirmed 2NE1's new activities in the first half of 2013, stating in a press release that the company will "be focusing on the album production and promotions for 2NE1," there has been no official announcements regarding a comeback since the announcement.
On February 18, 2013 group leader CL shed some light on the group's scheduled comeback. She revealed that the group's comeback is set for sometime in April, with a lead single and concept still to be chosen.
On March 14, 2013, "Take The World On," the group's English collaboration with Will.i.am for the Intel Ultrabook Project was finally released, almost a year after a behind-the-scenes video featuring the group recording the song was released.
On March 21, 2013, CL confirmed that there are currently no plans for the group to release an English album, as the group wants release to a few more songs in English before feeling comfortable enough to record a full length album. She did reveal that an English version of "I Love You" was almost recorded, but scrapped due to conflicts with the group's New Evolution World Tour.
Towards the beginning of May, YG Entertainment released a teaser image saying "Who's Next? 2013.05.28"; the surrounding text were names of all of the label's current artists, two of which being 2NE1 and CL. During this time, a mysterious site with the title 2NE1Loves.com appeared, containing a video teaser of CL, with an instrumental version of the group's song "I'm Busy" as the backtrack. The teaser was uploaded to vimeo.com under the username 2NE1Loves with the title "2NE1 LOVES Vol.1 - CL LOVES". Later, another image was released with a similar format, however, with the names of 2NE1, CL, Taeyang, and few others highlighted, narrowing the possibilities. 2NE1Loves was further updated with a second video teaser of Dara, "2NE1 LOVES Vol.2 - DARA LOVES" YG released yet another image, this time only the names of 2NE1 and CL remaining, while teasers for Bom and Minzy appeared. The project was later revealed be to 2NE1 Loves Shinsegae, an endorsement for a department store and brand Chrome Hearts. Finally, YG announced that CL would make her solo debut with a digital single originally titled "Bad Girls", later changed to "The Baddest Female", on May 28. The song is said to have a slow tempo with a hip-hop sound.
On 17 June 2013, it was announced that 2NE1 would make their return in the end of July with a single called "Falling in Love". It was also revealed that they will release at least four new songs in total from July to October.
|Stage name||Birth name||Position||Date of birth|
|CL||씨엘||Lee Chaerin||이채린||Leader, vocal, rap||February 26, 1991|
|Bom||봄||Park Bom||박봄||Lead vocal||March 24, 1984|
|Dara||다라||Park Sandara||박산다라||Vocal||November 12, 1984|
|Minzy||민지||Gong Minji||공민지||Vocal, rap||January 18, 1994|
Artistry and influences
2NE1 debuted with a strong hip-hop sound in "Fire," a song that topped Korea's monthly chart.
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In 2NE1's debut EP 2NE1, the group was noted to have a distinct, mixed style. While "Lollipop" was categorized as for pop, debut single "Fire" is predominately influenced by hip hop. "I Don't Care," however, was intended as a song with a reggae feel.
Their comeback album, To Anyone, was marked by a strong shift into electronic music. "Go Away", the most successful promotional single from the album, is classified as dance. However, songs like "It Hurts (Slow)" are R&B, another style that also characterized their first EP. The three title tracks, "Clap Your Hands," "Go Away," and "Can't Nobody" were noted for their lasting impressions, as they topped music charts weeks after release.
Thematically, 2NE1's music explores independence and female empowerment, such as in songs like "Go Away" and "I Don't Care".
2NE1 is known for a "unique and edgier style". During their debut single, the group was noted for being "hip-hop warriors" and the female counterpart to Big Bang but changed this perception with "I Don't Care" into strong, feminine women. During the "It Hurts (Slow)" music video, the members were noted for their Gothic, black attire and strange hair and wigs. Zack Greenburg from the American business magazine Forbes described 2NE1 as a pop group characterized by bold, bright outfits and big, catchy hooks punctuated by rap verses and an "in-your-face swagger". He also considers the group to be "bigger than Psy", singer of the worldwide hit single Gangnam Style.
Styles and themes
Park Bom cited American singers, Beyoncé and Mariah Carey as her main influences because of their strong vocals and powerful performances. She has listed hip hop and R&B as her favorite music genres. Youngest member Minzy cited famous entertainer Michael Jackson, Kelly Rowland, while leader CL said producer Teddy Park and American entertainers Madonna, Lady Gaga and Lauryn Hill are her role models. Dara states that singer-actress Uhm Jung Hwa is her inspiration, and idolizes Regine Velasquez. She also enjoys Britney Spears's style and music, citing her as a role model whose songs she often sang to while growing up during American interviews stateside for their New Evolution World Tour stop in California.
- The Party in Philippines (2011)
- NOLZA (2011)
- NOLZA in Japan (2011)
- New Evolution World Tour (2012)
- YG Family Concert (2010)
- YG Family 15th Anniversary Concert (2011–2012)
- 2009 Style (cameo)
- 2009 Girlfriends (cameo)
- 2009 2NE1TV
- 2010 2NE1TV Season 2
- 2011 2NE1TV Live: Worldwide (season 3)
Awards and recognition
When the group debuted, their song "Fire" and the subsequent live performances were dubbed unconventional and impressive. They won many awards on the weekly music shows, such as The Music Trend and Music Bank. "Fire" also brought them the Song of the Month and Rookie of the Month awards for May. "I Don't Care" brought them similar success and recognition and led 2NE1 to win the Song of the Year award at the 2009 Mnet Asian Music Awards. The same year, the group earned Cyworld Digital Music Awards for Top Selling Artist, Best Rookie Group, Bonsang Award, and Best Song for "I Don't Care". The group was also nominated at the 2009 Golden Disk Awards for the Popularity Award, Rookie Award, and the Digital Bonsang. At the Melon Music Awards, the group was one and the only rookie of the Top 10 artists in South Korea and the Best New Artist. They won This Year’s Stage, This Year's Album, This Year's Song on 2009 GQ Awards. They received 4 out of 10 nominations on Rhythmer Awards 2009 including Rookie of the Year, R&B Artist of the Year, R&B Single of the Year for "I Don't Care" and R&B Album of the Year for their 1st Mini Album. Rhythmer.net is famous for hip-hop and R&B promotion for both mainstream and underground Korean music.
2NE1 won their first Artist of the Year and Album of the Year award for To Anyone at the 2010 Mnet Asian Music Awards, in addition to awards for Best Female Group and Best music video for "Can't Nobody". They are the first artist who has won all 3 grand awards at Mnet Asian Music Awards.
On November 29, 2011, 2NE1 won the Best Vocal Performance by a Group for their song "Lonely" and was awarded their 2nd Song of the Year for "I Am the Best" at the 2011 Mnet Asian Music Awards. After 2011, 2NE1 has won the most grand awards in MAMA history with 4 wins (2 Song of the Years, 1 Album of the Year and 1 Artist of the Year).
- "2NE1 Comes Out on Top at Music Bank". The Korea Times. July 18, 2009.
"2NE1 officially to land to Vietnam on November 18", Thanh Niên, by: Hà Uyên, date: 2011-11-11.
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- "The Best Concerts of 2012, as Seen by Times Critics". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 January 2013. "This was the year K-pop arrived — not in the form of “Gangnam Style,” which was everywhere and yet completely evanescent — but in these arena shows, which were full of thousands of young, paying fans eager to see the girls of 2NE1 and the boys of BigBang, groups with zero American hits between them, but rabid American followings all the same."
- "2NE1 – YouTube". YouTube. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
- Greenburg, Zack. "Bigger Than Psy: 2NE1 And The Future Of K-Pop". Forbes Magazine. Retrieved 25 January 2013. "Known by many as the Korean version of the Spice Girls, the group has sold 27 million digital downloads to date, including the single “I Am The Best,” which moved 4.5 million units"
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- (Korean) 양현석 "2NE1 데뷔곡은 레게풍 힙합곡" (Yang Hyeon-seok "2NE1's Debut Song is Reggae/Hip-Hop Song"). SBS News. April 30, 2009. Retrieved May 6, 2009.
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