After School (band)

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After School
After School in AfterSchool's Beauty Bible.jpg
Background information
Origin Seoul, South Korea
Genres K-pop
Years active 2009 (2009)–present
Labels Pledis Entertainment (South Korea)
Avex Trax (Japan)
Avex Taiwan (Taiwan)
Gold Typhoon (China)
Associated acts A.S. Red & Blue
Orange Caramel
Happy PLEDIS
Website a-school.co.kr (Korean)
after--school.jp (Japanese)
Members Jungah (2009-)
Jooyeon (2009-)
Uee (2009-)
Raina (2009-)
Nana (2009-)
Lizzy (2010-)
E-Young (2011-)
Kaeun (2012-)
Past members Soyoung (2009)
Bekah (2009-2011)
Kahi (2009-2012)
Korean name
Hangul
Revised Romanization Aepeuteoseukul
McCune–Reischauer Aep'ŭt'ŏsŭk'ul

After School (Hangul: 애프터스쿨, Katakana: アフタースクール, often stylized as AFTERSCHOOL, abbreviated as A.S.) is a South Korean girl group formed by Pledis Entertainment in 2009,[1] with an admissions and graduation concept.[2] The band currently consists of eight members: Jungah, Jooyeon, Uee, Raina, Nana, Lizzy, E-Young and Kaeun. After School officially debuted in January 2009. Later that year they released "Because of You", which was ranked number 1 on multiple music charts.

The group debuted in Japan in 2011[3][4] under Avex Trax with a remake of their Korean hits "Bang!", "Diva", "Shampoo" and "Because of You". Their Japanese debut was successful, and they entered the Oricon Weekly Chart at number seven.[5]The group also released an original Japanese song, "Rambling Girls", in January 2012. The group's debut Japanese album, Playgirlz, debuted at number eight on the Oricon Weekly Album Chart.

On 20 February 2014, the group released a single titled "Week", in collaboration with Brave Brothers for their 10th anniversary project.[6]

History[edit]

Predebut[edit]

After School was first formed following Kahi's departure from Korean-American girl group, "S-Blush". Kahi contacted friends at Pledis Entertainment where they planned to produce a new group together.

The first member other than Kahi was Bekah, who was a trainee while Kahi was in S-Blush. Bekah was brought from Hawaii to South Korea, and had been strongly recommended by the CEO due to her sexiness. Before joining the group, they were then introduced to Jungah, followed by the admission of Jooyeon and Soyoung to form a five-member group.

After School, as a group, made an unofficial first appearance on 29 December 2008 at the SBS Song Festival where Kahi and Jungah performed "Play Girlz" alongside Son Dam Bi. The remaining members, Soyoung, Jooyeon and Bekah served as backup dancers for Son Dam Bi's performance at the event.

2009: Debut, "New Schoolgirl", Soyoung's graduation, "Diva" and "Because of You"[edit]

In the beginning of 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.[7] On 15 January 2009, Pledis Entertainment released a 30-second teaser video of their debut single "AH!" on Gom TV which reached over 100,000 views on the first day.[8] The group released their debut single alongside the rest of the single album, New Schoolgirl, on 15 January.[9][10] On 17 January, After School made their live debut on MBC's, Music Core.[11] Following promotional activities for "AH!", After School planned to continue to promote New Schoolgirl with "Bad Guy", the third track from their single. However, the track was deemed unsuitable and was banned from broadcast because a single word of profanity was in the lyrics.

During the month of April, the group announced a new member, Uee, was joining the group.[12][13][14][15] The group released their second single, "Diva"[13] on 9 April 2009.[14] They first performed the song on 9 April 2009 on M! Countdown.[16] The single went on to win the "Rookie of the Month" award for the month of April 2009 at the Cyworld Digital Music Awards.[17]

On 21 May, the group released their third single, a cover of Morning Musume's "Love Machine", entitled "Dream Girl".[18] In July, it was announced that the group would collaborate with popular artist, Son Dam Bi for digital single, "Amoled".[15][19] It was released on the 16 July, and was part of promotions for Samsung phones.[20] After School was the opening act for The Pussycat Dolls's 2009 Doll Domination Tour along with label-mate Son Dam-bi for the Asian dates of the tour.[21]

After School in 2009.

On 29 October 2009, Soyoung officially graduate from the group to pursue an acting career. Two new members were added to the group, Raina and Nana.[9] After School had a comeback on 25 November 2009 with the single "Because of You".[9][22] The song marked a change for the group to a more mature and sophisticated concept.[9] "Because of You" became popular, winning three Mutizen awards[23][24][25] and achieving a real-time, daily and weekly "all-kill" on various online music charts. The song also topped the Gaon Monthly Singles Chart for December 2009, which was a rarity for rookie groups.[26]

2010: "Bang!", Orange Caramel and Happy Pledis 1st Album[edit]

At the start of the year, After School won the best rookie award at the Billboard Japan Music Awards and Seoul Music Awards.[27][28] On 17 March 2010, following the release of the group's concept photos for the single album, Bang!, details surrounding new member, Lizzy, were announced.[29] Pledis Entertainment simultaneously announced that the album would be released on 25 March 2010.[29]

The single's concept displayed the group wearing sexy marching band outfits, and it was later revealed that Kahi was the mastermind behind the concept. Kahi stated after watching the American film Drumline, she fell in love with the marching band style and had wanted to do a marching band concept ever since she took to the stage as an After School member. For this concept, the group practiced playing the drums for five months with a trainer. It was the first release to feature third generation After School member Lizzy. The title track reached number twenty-nine on the Gaon 2010 digital yearly charts with 2,374,731 digital downloads sold.

In June 2010, Raina, Nana, and Lizzy formed a sub-unit, Orange Caramel, and released their first mini-album. Orange Caramel's concept is more lighthearted and sweet unlike many girl groups that have recently taken on darker, sexier concepts.

On 6 December 2010, Pledis Entertainment released After School's comeback album Happy Pledis 1st Album that consisted of four tracks: the title song "Love Love Love", "Someone Is You", and instrumentals versions of the two songs. Pledis had planned a series of "Happy Pledis" albums with their artists After School, Son Dam Bi 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 participate in the promotions for this album due to her two-month break in Hawaii visiting her parents.

2011: Virgin, Bekah's graduation, Japanese debut, A.S. Red/Blue and Happy Pledis 2011[edit]

On 27 January, Pledis Entertainment announced 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 started their Japanese activities by collaborating with Japanese R&B superstar Namie Amuro; featuring in the song "Make It Happen" for her collaboration album.[31] In March 2012, the song was nominated for Best Collaboration at the MTV Music Video Awards Japan 2012.

Also in 2011, After School made a cameo as a female idol group, PURE, in the Korean horror film White. They performed segments of their hit song, "Bang."

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 29 April.[33] A second photo was released the next day, featuring Lizzy, Raina and Nana (third generation members), and a third featuring Uee (second generation). On 20 April, the album's full tracklist was released along with the title track, "Shampoo", and the final teaser photo of the remaining original members.[34]

A sample of the album's lead single, "Shampoo."

Problems playing this file? See media help.

A music video teaser was uploaded onto the Pledis Entertainment Official YouTube channel on the 25 April, and the full audio track for "Shampoo" was released two days later. After School's first studio album Virgin was released on the 29 April, with the full music video for "Shampoo" being released later that day. The music video for "Let's Step Up", the intro track on the album, featured 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 "Shampoo" starting with KBS's Music Bank.[37] On 23 July 2011, the album was released in the Philippines, along with Bang! and Happy Pledis 1st Album, and it debuted at number one on the Philippines AstroChart, while Bang! debuted at number two and Happy Pledis 1st Album debuted at number three.[38]

In July, Pledis announced that After School would separate into two sub-units, A.S. Red & Blue as part of the group's second comeback project for the year.

After School officially debuted in Japan on 17 August 2011, with the release of their first Japanese single, "Bang!", which peaked at number seven on the Oricon Weekly Chart.[39] After School participated in the prestigious 'a-nation' concert tour as part of their Japanese promotions.[40] They held a solo concert on 17 July at Akasaka BLITZ in Tokyo.[3] However, Bekah graduated from the group prior to the Japanese debut to become a designer, and has since released a solo track titled Take Me To That Place. After School's second Japanese single, "Diva", was released on 23 November 2011. The single was accompanied with a new Japanese song called "Ready to Love".[41]

Happy Pledis 2011 was released on 1 December 2011. It is a family album that featured all Pledis artists, including Son Dam Bi and an yet-to-debut band called Pledis Boys. A portion of the "Happy Pledis" earnings were donated to UNICEF, and the album was also a gift to the fans.[42] The group also partnered with SHIBUYA109 for a Christmas campaign, which included a concert.[43][44][45]

After School ended the year by headlining the MTV EXIT live concert along with American band The Click Five on 17 December 2011 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.[46][47]

2012: Playgirlz, Japanese tour, "Lady Luck/Dilly Dally", Kahi's graduation and "Flashback"[edit]

After School's third Japanese single was a double A-side single consisting of two songs, "Rambling Girls" and a Japanese remake of their 2009 hit "Because of You". The single was released on 25 January 2012, and debuted at number six on the Oricon Daily Singles Chart. The single then debuted at number seven on the Oricon Weekly Singles Chart with sales of 12,110.[48] Since then, the single has sold over 17,000 copies in Japan.

On 29 February 2012, After School released a promotional digital single, "Just in Time", to promote the new album which was released the following month.[49] "Just in Time" is also used in a Samantha Thavasa commercial featuring After School, who are models for the fashion company.[50]

After School's first Japanese album, Playgirlz, was released on 14 March 2012.[51] The album contains all their Japanese singles plus a Japanese version of their latest Korean single, "Shampoo", and six original Japanese songs. The regular edition of the album also included a Japanese version of Orange Caramel's "Shanghai Romance" as a bonus track. The album debuted at number six on the Oricon Daily Album Chart, with estimated sales of around 11,000 on the first day, and number nine on iTunes Japan.[52] The album debuted at number eight on the Oricon Weekly Album Chart with sales of 16,000.[53] After School started their promotion tour for the album in late April. With a total of four dates, the tour kicked off at Zepp Tokyo on 27 April, followed by Zepp Nagoya on 28 April and Namba, Osaka on 30 April. The tour finished on 17 June at Tokyo Dome City Hall which was also the last time Kahi performed with the group. It was later officially confirmed that Kahi would graduate from the group to pursue a solo career, as well as to study acting. She stayed with the group until September, at which point she departed from the group.

On 9 April 2012, Pledis revealed a new member would be added to the group. The following day, the member was officially revealed to be Kaeun, who would join them for their fifth single, released on 21 June 2012.[54] It was also confirmed that After School would release their sixth Korean single in the Autumn, but plans for a sixth single were subsequently cancelled.

On 23 April 2012, Avex Trax announced that After School would release their fourth Japanese single, "Lady Luck/Dilly Dally", on 13 June 2012. The single is a double A-side single and the regular edition also contains an additional track, "Slow Love", which is the song used on the Eyefull Home commercial.[55] The single debuted at number 3 on Oricon's daily Singles Chart with sales of 7,648 and at number 6 on Oricon's weekly Singles Chart with sales of 13,424 respectively.[56][57] As of the end of 2012, the single has sold over 17,000 copies in Japan.

On 11 June 2012, the first teaser image for the comeback, featuring all members, was released.[58] Later that day the title of the maxi-single was revealed, "Flashback", along with the tracklist. The following day, a second teaser picture was released featuring Lizzy in a sultry pose wearing black mesh clothing, which showed that the group were returning to their sexy concept[59] The individual member teasers then continued with teaser pictures from Uee, Jungah, Nana, Raina, Jooyeon, E-Young and Kaeun in that order. A music video teaser was released on 16 June, which gained over 100,000 views in less than 24 hours. The music video and maxi-single were released at midnight on 20 June.[60] The title track, "Flashback", went on to achieve an "all-kill" by topping all major online music charts in South Korea.[61]

2013: Fan meetings, "First Love" and Japanese comeback[edit]

Pledis Entertainment and several After School members had confirmed that the group would make their comeback with their sixth single in Korea in the fall of 2012, but the comeback was cancelled for unknown reasons.[62][63][64] After School and Son Dam Bi were to perform at the K-pop Heart Concert in Australia, but the concert was cancelled on 4 February. After School held a fan meeting in Thailand on 23 February and performed in front of over 3,000 fans. Due to the success of the fan meeting in Bangkok, After School held another fan meeting in Taiwan on 30 March.

On 14 February, Jooyeon revealed that After School would make a comeback in April. Pledis managing director Jason Jejoon Park revealed via his Twitter page that After School was working with Brave Brothers for their comeback. It was also announced that it would be the first comeback without the admission of a new member. The group released their first compilation album, The Best of AFTERSCHOOL, on 27 March along with their first live DVD of their Playgirlz Japanese concert.

On 30 March, After School held their first fan meeting in Taiwan. This meeting was also held as a charity event with the proceeds from the ticket sales going to children in need.[65] A total of 1,000,000 Taiwan dollars was raised for charity.

On 12 May, Jason Jejoon Park announced that After School would release their sixth maxi-single, which included a duet. On 27 May, it was confirmed that the group would make a comeback on 13 June.[66] The first teaser photos for the single's music video was unveiled on May 30. It was also revealed that the title track would be called "First Love" and it was produced by Brave Brothers. This single marked the first time the group had worked with the producer since "Because of You" in 2009.[67]

On 8 August, the group announced that their fifth Japanese single "Heaven" would be released on 2 October 2013. "Heaven" debuted at number 6 on the Oricon Daily Singles Chart with over 18,596 copies sold during its debut week.

On 19 December, the group released the music video for "Shh", their sixth Japanese single, on their YouTube channel. "[68]

2014: Dress to Kill, After School Beauty Bible and "Dress to SHINE" Japanese tour[edit]

On 9 January 2014 the group announced they would release their second full-length Japanese album Dress to Kill on 19 March. The album has twelve tracks including "Heaven", "Shh", "Overture", "Interlude", and "Miss Independent", the title track. The album was released in three versions: a CD + DVD version which includes music videos a special fanmeeting video, a CD version with a bonus track of the Japanese version of "Flashback", and another CD version (Mu-mo special) with the bonus track "Lucky Girl".[69]

On 20 February, After School released a single titled "Week" in collaboration with Brave Brothers for his 10th anniversary project. On 22 February it was announced that the single scored number 1 on various music charts.[70]

At the beginning of 2014, After School began filming their new show After School Beauty Bible, which focuses on the members becoming Beauty Editors and providing the viewers with information and tips about Korean beauty, with topics ranging from makeup to style and trends. The show became quite successful and aired in over 100 countries. The second season of the show began airing in September.

After School's second Japanese tour, "Dress to SHINE", is scheduled to begin on 21 November in Tokyo.

Controversy[edit]

Fanclub[edit]

Pledis Entertainment made an official apology to After School's fans after major fan clubs complained about the members ignoring them at the Idol Futsal Championships, filmed on 26 May 2014. According to reports, the members didn't greet the fan clubs when they entered nor did they stay for the ending filming. Considering that many fans came from far away and waited a long time just to cheer the group on, the fan clubs were not happy with the situation and were angry that the agency didn't notify them that the members would not be participating in the end portion of filming. Pledis Entertainment stated,

"Regardless of the situation at the time, we have no excuse and apologize to the fans and members for not properly handling it. We apologize to the fans for causing concern due to our inability to handle the situation properly. We understand the dissatisfaction that the fans have concerning Pledis. Through this incident, we're so sorry, and we will find a way to communicate as fans would like and respond in a realistic way that includes continuous feedback. We'll create communication channels, so we can come up with ideas alongside fans. We will make efforts so something like this doesn't happen again and consider the fans and members' perspectives more."[71][72][73][74]

Following this incident, as well as probable communication between the agency and the fan sites, the fan clubs that had come together posted an official apology on 29 May:

"We sincerely apologize to any After School members who were affected due to our misunderstanding."

"What started the boycott was the 'Idol Futsal World Cup', which happened recently, and it was before fans knew about what happened before and after the recording. Because we were just relying on what the agency had said, we became angry at the After School members. We have now found out that the After School members did try to meet us, but because of miscommunication through Pledis, it didn’t happen."

"We initially expressed our position unilaterally, and realize there must have been a misunderstanding in our explanation of events. Because of this, the incident blew out of proportion, and we apologize for not catching this earlier and diffusing the situation before it got out of hand."[75]

Members[edit]

After School has an admission-graduation system, where members are added or withdrawn in a "natural" manner.[76]

Current Members
Stage name Birth name
Romanized Hangul Romanized Hangul Hanja
Jungah 정아 Kim Jung-Ah 김정아 金廷娥
Jooyeon 주연 Lee Jooyeon 이주연 李周妍
Uee 유이 Kim Yujin 김유진 金幽珍
Raina 레이나 Oh Hye-Rin 오혜린 吳慧璘
Nana 나나 Im Jin-Ah 임진아 林珍兒
Lizzy 리지 Park Soo-Young 박수영 朴修映
E-Young 이영 Noh Yi-Young 노이영 盧俐英
Kaeun 가은 Lee Ka-Eun 이가은 李佳恩

Graduated members[edit]

Graduated Members
Stage name Birth name
Romanized Hangul Romanized Hangul Hanja
Soyoung 소영 Joo So-Young 주소영 朱小英
Bekah 베카 Rebekah Kim 레베카 김 -
Kahi 가희 Park Ji-Young 박지영 朴祉映

Timeline[edit]

Sub-units[edit]

Sub-Unit Members Leader Year Notes
Orange Caramel Raina
Nana
Lizzy
Raina 2010–present First sub-unit of After School. Debuted in June 2010.
AS Blue Jooyeon
Raina
Lizzy
E-Young
Jooyeon 2011 Grouped by fan voting to promote "Wonder Boy". NU'EST and SEVENTEEN's Seungcheol served as back-up dancers for the music video and during live performances on stage.
AS Red JungAh
Uee
Nana
Kahi (Graduated) 2011 Grouped by fan voting to promote "In The Night Sky" which was composed by Brave Brothers.

Endorsements[edit]

After School collaborated with Hello Kitty for the release of their Japanese debut single "Bang!", and again in 2012 for their first Japanese album, Playgirlz. They were also models for SHIBUYA109, starring in a Christmas campaign commercial which featured their third Japanese single, "Rambling Girls/Because of You". In 2012, the group were representatives for the Japanese food company Hanryuen, and starred in a commercial for the deodorant brand Rexena, which featured a preview of After School's fourth Japanese single, "Dilly Dally".[77]

On February 2013, After School and their label-mate Son Dam Bi became the new faces of the women's SPA (Specialty Private Apparel) brand ‘Mixxo‘! They were the endorsement models for Mixxo in the Korean, Chinese, and Japanese markets.[78]

Discography[edit]