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)
After School
Hangul
Revised Romanization Aepeuteoseukul
McCune–Reischauer Aep'ŭt'ŏsŭk'ul

After School (Hangul: 애프터스쿨, Japanese: 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 #1 on multiple music charts.

The group began a foray into the Japanese music scene in 2011 under Avex Trax with a remake of their Korean hits "Bang!", "Diva", "Shampoo" and "Because of You". The group also released an original Japanese song titled "Rambling Girls" in January 2012. Their debut in Japan[3][4] was quite a success, as the group managed to enter the Oricon Weekly Chart at number seven.[5] 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 the Brave Brothers for their 10th anniversary project.[6]

Career[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 together they planned to produce a new group.

The first member other than Kahi was Bekah, who was a trainee at the time Kahi was in S-Blush; who was strongly recommended by the CEO due to her sexiness, bringing her from Hawaii to Korea. They were then introduced to Junga, before joining the group, followed by the admission of Juyeon 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 when former leader Kahi and current leader Jungah performed "Play Girlz" alongside Son Dam Bi. The remaining members, Soyoung, Jooyeon and Bekah served as backing dancers for Son Dam Bi's performance at the event.

2009: Debut, "New Schoolgirl", Soyoung's graduation, "Diva", "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] Consequently, 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 to broadcast because a single word of profanity was in the lyrics.

During the month of April, the group announced a new member joining the group, Uee.[12][13][14][15] Alongside the announcement, the group released the second single, "Diva"[13] on 9 April 2009.[14] The group first performed the song on 9 April 2009 on M!Countdown.[16] The single then 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,[15][19] for digital single, "Amoled", which was released on the 16th, which was also part of promotions for Amoled, Samsung's phone.[20] The group were also 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, Yoo 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 made their comeback on 25 November 2009 with their single, ""Because of You",[9][22] with teasers being released a day before.[23] Marking a change for the group to a more mature and sophisticated concept,[9] the song became popular, winning three Mutizen awards[24][25][26] and achieving a real-time, daily and weekly "all-kill" on various online music charts and the song also topped the Gaon Monthly Singles Chart for December 2009, which was a rarity for rookie groups.[27] A remixed version was released later on.[28]

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.[29][30] On 17 March 2010, details surrounding new member, Lizzy, were announced,[31] 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.[31]

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 wanted to do a marching band concept ever since she took to the stage as an After School member. The group practiced playing the drums for five months with a trainer for the concept. 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 copies sold.

Members Raina, Nana, and Lizzy formed a sub-unit Orange Caramel and released their first mini-album on June 2010. 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 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: Virgin, Bekah's graduation, Japanese debut, A.S. Red/Blue and Happy Pledis 2011[edit]

On 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.[32] After School then kicked off their Japanese activities by collaborating with Japanese R&B superstar Namie Amuro; featuring in the song 'Make It Happen' for her collaboration album.[33] 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.[34] 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.[35] 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.[36]

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 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.[37][38] After School began promotions for the song 'Shampoo' starting with KBS's Music Bank.[39] On 23 July 2011, the album was released in the Philippines, along with Bang! and Happy Pledis 1st Album, and the album debuted at number one on the Philippines AstroChart with Bang! debuting at number two and Happy Pledis 1st Album debuting at number three.[40]

It was revealed that After School would 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.[3] However, Bekah graduate 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 That Place.

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

The group made their debut 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.[41] After School participated in the prestigious 'a-nation' concert tour as part of their Japanese promotions.[42]

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".[43]

Happy Pledis 2011, a follow-up of "Happy Pledis" charity single, was released on 1 December 2011. It is a family album that features all Pledis artists, including Son Dambi and an yet-to-debut band named Pledis Boys. A portion of the 'Happy Pledis' earnings will be donated to UNICEF to help look after those in need, and the album is also a gift to the fans who have shown the artists so much love and interest.[44] The group will team-up with SHIBUYA109 for a "Christmas Campaign", which includes an upcoming concert.[45][46][47]

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.[48][49]

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.[50] Since then, the single has gone on to sell over 17,000 copies in Japan.

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 6 original Japanese songs. The regular edition of the album also includes a Japanese version of Orange Caramel's, a sub-unit of After School, "Shanghai Romance" as a bonus track. On 29 February 2012, After School digitally released a promotional single, "Just in time", to promote the new album which was released the following month.[52] "Just in time" is also used in a Samantha Thavasa commercial featuring After School themselves. After School are also models for Samantha Thavasa.[53]

On 14 March 2012, After School's first Japanese album, Playgirlz, was released in Japan. 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.[54] The album debuted at number eight on the Oricon Weekly Album Chart with sales of 16,000.[55] Following the release of their first Japanese album, After School started their promotion tour for the album titled Playgirlz in late April. With a total of four dates, the tour kicked off at the Zepp Tokyo on 27 April, followed by the 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 former leader Kahi performed with the group.

On 9 April 2012, Pledis revealed a brand 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.[56] It was also confirmed that After School would release their sixth Korean single, in the Autumn but plans for a sixth single were cancelled for reasons unknown.

Avex Trax announced through After School's official Japanese website on 23 April 2012, that they will 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.[57] 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.[58][59] As of the end of 2012, the single has sold over 17,000 copies in Japan.

It was later officially confirmed that Kahi would officially graduate from the group to pursue a solo album, as well as studying acting. She stayed with the group until September, at which point she departed from the group.

On 11 June 2012, the first teaser image, featuring all members, for the comeback was released.[60] 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 third generation member Lizzy, which portrayed that the group are returning to their sexy concept as Lizzy was seen wearing black mesh clothing and was in a seductive, sultry pose.[61] 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 revealed on 16 June 2012 which gained over 100,000 views in less than 24 hours. The music video was unveiled at midnight on 20 June 2012 along with the maxi single being released online.[62] The title track, "Flashback", went onto achieve an "all-kill" by topping all major online music charts in South Korea.[63]

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

Pledis originally stated that After School would make their comeback with their sixth single in Korea in the fall of 2012, but the comeback was cancelled for reasons unknown. There have been several instances of members confirming their fall comeback however such as Uee stating while emceeing on Music Bank that After School would be coming back soon following Orange Caramel's goodbye stage.[64] However, JungAh confirmed in December that they were preparing for their next album and Raina also stated she was in the studio practicing for their comeback in early 2013.[65][66] 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 because of the host. 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 is to also hold a fan meeting in Taiwan on 30 March.

On 14 February, Jooyeon revealed that After School will be making a comeback in April. Pledis managing director Jason Jejoon Park revealed via his Twitter page that After School is working with Brave Brothers for their comeback. It was also announced that it will be the first comeback without the admission of a new member. The group are also scheduled to release their first compilation album, THE BEST OF AFTERSCHOOL 2009–2012 -Korea Ver.-, on 27 March alongside their first DVD, AFTERSCHOOL First Japan Tour 2012 -PLAYGIRLZ-.

On 30 March, After school held their first Taiwanese 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.[67] A total of 1,000,000 Taiwan dollars was raised for charity.

On 12 May, Pledis managing director Jason Jejoon Park announced that After School would release their sixth maxi single, which would have a duet song included. On 27 May, it was confirmed that the group would make a comeback on 13 June.[68] 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 was produced by Brave Brothers. This single marks the first time in four years that the group last worked with the producer after Because of You in 2009.[69]

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

2014–present: Orange Caramel Comeback, Dress To Kill, After School Beauty Bible[edit]

On December 19, the group released their sixth Japanese single music video "Shh" on their YouTube channel. "[70]

On January 9th, 2014 the group announced they will release their 2nd full length Japanese album ‘Dress to kill’ on March 19, 2014. Their 2nd full length Japanese album 'Dress To Kill' will include 12 tracks such as Heaven, Shh, Miss Independent, Overtune, Interlude and more having 'Miss Independent' as their title track. The album will be released in three versions; CD + DVD version which includes their MV for Heaven, Shh, Diva, Flashback and more along with special video of their fanmeeting; CD version with a bonus track for the Japanese version of 'Flashback' and another CD version (Mu-mo special) with a bonus track 'Lucky Girl'.[71]

On February 22, 2014 it was announced that their single Week scored #1 on various music charts.[72]

With the new year 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, ranging from makeup to style and trends. The show became quite successful and now airs in over 100 countries.

Orange Caramel made their 2014 comeback on March 12 with their 3rd single 'Catallena'[73] They also released a music video for their follow-up single, Abing Abing, on May 20.[74]

After School Beauty Bible was announced to have a second season,which will start airing in September.

Orange Caramel will return with their 4th single titled "My Copycat" on August 18.[75]

Controversy[edit]

Fanclub[edit]

Pledis Entertainment has 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 May 26, 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 quite a way and waited a long while 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." [76][77][78][79]

Following this, as well as probable communication between the agency and the fan sites, on May 29, the fan clubs that had come together posted an official apology: “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.” [80]

Members[edit]

After School has an admission-graduation system, where members are added or withdrawn in a “natural” manner.[81]

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 on June 2010.
AS Blue Jooyeon
Raina
Lizzy
E-Young
Jooyeon 2011 NU’EST and SEVENTEEN's Seungcheol served as back-up dancers in the music video and during live performances on stage. Grouped by fan voting to promote "Wonder Boy".
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]

In Japan, they've collaborated with Hello Kitty for the release of their Japanese debut single "Bang!", and again in 2012 for their first Japanese album, Playgirlz. After School were 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,[82] which featured a preview of After School's fourth Japanese single, "Dilly Dally".

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 will be the endorsement models for Mixxo in the Korean, Chinese, and Japanese markets.[83]

Discography[edit]