Sugar (South Korean band)
Toy's Factory (Japan)
|Website||Official Japanese homepage|
|Members||Ahyoomee, Lee Ha Rin|
|Past members||Hwang Jung Eum, Park Soo Jin|
Sugar (슈가) was a Korean girl group. Their 2003 singles "TAKE IT SHAKE IT" and "real identity" were the opening and ending theme songs respectively for season 1 of the highly popular anime "Kaleido Star". However, they had mediocre success in the South Korean market. Their last album has seen them go through an image and style change, as members have been changed. The album had less "cute pop" material and instead focused on rock songs and midtempo ballads. However, their albums did not have high sales. Since then, Soo Jin has left the group, and Hwang Jung Eum has gone on to have a solo career. On December 20, 2006, KBS World Radio announced that the group had officially disbanded. All members have since branched into acting and musical efforts.
Sugar debuted at the end of 2001 with their first song "Sweet Love". "Sweet Love" failed to make any waves but their second song "Tell Me Why" was received with much more warmth. Though new, the group was not afraid to tackle live performances, something that many female pop groups at the time were notoriously bad at. In addition, despite (or perhaps because of) her poor Korean language skills Japan raised member Ayumi, garnered the attention of fans with her cute personality on talk shows and variety shows. Sugar was most often compared by fans to the groups M.I.L.K. and Shinvi for their similar styles and cute images. During a time when many girl groups released only one album and then disappeared, some wondered which amongst the three groups would actually succeed. Because the other two groups were promoted by the famous SM Entertainment, many thought of Sugar as the underdogs. However, in the summer of 2003 Sugar made a comeback with their second album, SHINE, a feat which the other two groups never achieved. For their second album member Sae Byul changed her name to Hye Seung, her real first name.
With Korean stars gaining fame in Japan such as BoA with the "Korean Wave", Sugar began to try and tap into the Japanese music industry as well. After releasing their second Korean album SHINE, Sugar debuted in Japan releasing two songs for the anime Kaleido Star soundtrack. They went on to release a mini-album titled Secret in South Korea and the rest of that year, in 2004, Sugar concentrated solely on the Japanese market releasing 3 singles that lead up to their first album entitled Double Rainbow. Double Rainbow like their career in South Korea was met with moderate success reaching #84 on the Oricon Charts and charting for 2 weeks only. The singles released for the album were moderate successes, their Japanese debut single, "GO THE DISTANCE" reached #96 on the Oricon charts and charted for 2 weeks, their second Japanese single "All my loving / Sakura Ressha" reached #40 on the charts, and their third Japanese single "Kaze to Hanataba / Present / Heart & Soul" reached #32 on the charts.
Jung Eum Withdraws & Harin Joins
After the release of Sugar's mini album Secret and a third Japanese single, Jung Eum decided to leave the group and pursue a solo career in the entertainment industry. Jung Eum left Sugar as a trio and not a quartet as the group originally started out as. Soon after Jung Eum's departure Sugar welcomed her replacement member Lee Harin, a singer of Japanese ancestry unlike the rest of the group. Regardless of the sudden change of the line-up Harin fit in with the rest of the group and Sugar continued without their former member.
Colors 4 wishes
With the new line-up in place, Sugar released their fourth Japanese single "Heartful". The ballad didn't fare so well on the charts reaching the #97 position and charting for only 1 week. It took six more months for Sugar to release their fifth (and last) single entitled "Himawari / LOVEACCELE". The single did much better than the "Heartful" ballad reaching the #29 position and charting for 7 weeks. After the release of their fifth Japanese single Sugar decided to release another Korean album after their year long hiatus in the Korean music industry. Sweet Lips was released and two months later they released their second Japanese album titled COLORS 4 WISHES. Their second album didn't fare as well as their first not even cracking into the top 100. The album peaked at #138 and stayed on the charts for 2 weeks.
After the release of Sugar's third Korean album and the second Japanese album, SooJin announced that she would be leaving the group in 2006. SooJin stated that she wanted to pursue a career in acting once her contract ended with SM Entertainment and Toys Factory. Sugar again was without a fourth member and were left as a trio. After the promotions for the latest albums were done Soo Jin bid farewell to Sugar.
After the release of COLORS 4 WISHES, Sugar released a DVD titled 7 STARS; the DVD contain all of their music videos released in Japan. Soon afterwards Ahyoomee embarked on a solo career in South Korea in July 2006. During the months that followed, Sugar remained in undefinable hiatus with fans and the media speculating about the new member that would fill in SooJin's place. As November rolled by and Sugar condition was still not announced, rumors of the group disbanding began to circulate among fans and the entertainment industry with Ahyoomee now concentrating solely on her solo career. On December 20, 2006, the expiration date of their contract with SM Entertainment, KBS World Radio announced that Sugar had disbanded. They stated each of the current members wanted to embark on solo careers and the company decided not to renew their contract with the members. "Sugar came to the point of disbanding after 5 years since their debut. The group's contract will end at the end of December and aside from Ahyoomee, who has already pursued a solo career, other Sugar members, Hye Seung and Haleen decide to take on solo careers. The contract of Sugar, who debuted in December 2001, will expire soon. Because other members chose to go on solo careers, the management decided for the group to disband". Star World, the group's label, revealed on the same date: "Ahyoomee will sign again a contract in Star World. Hye Seung plans to be an actress while Haleen, who is presently living in Japan, wants to start a music career in the said country".
- (2002.03.13) Tell Me Why (sold over 200,000 copies)
- (2003.06.18) SHINE (sold over 180,000 copies)
- (2005.09.22) Sweet Lips (sold over 90,000 copies)
- (2004.10.08) Secret (sold 100,000 copies)
- (2004.02.04) Double Rainbow (February 2004)
- (2005.11.02) COLORS 4 WISHES
- (2004.02.04) GO THE DISTANCE
- (2004.03.10) All my loving / Sakura Ressha (サクラ列車; Cherry Blossom Train)
- (2004.07.22) Kaze to Hanataba / Present / Heart & Soul (風と花束; Bouquet in the Wind)
- (2005.02.16) Heartful
- (2005.08.24) Himawari / LOVEACCELE (ひまわり; Sunflower)
- (2003.06.18) Kaleido Star ~The First Mini Album~ (#1 TAKE IT SHAKE IT, #5 real identity)
- (2004.04.26) 7 STARS
- "KPOP News: Sugar disbands officially". KBS World Radio. 2006-12-20. Archived from the original on 2007-07-13. Retrieved 2013-01-25.
- "Hwang Jung Eum reveals why she left Sugar". Allkpop. 2012-01-07. Retrieved 25 January 2013.
- "SUGAR's Lee Harin releases a new song". StarN via Yahoo!. 2012-05-26. Retrieved 25 January 2013.