U-KISS

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U-KISS
유키스
U-Kiss Dream Concert 2013 Source-K-Soul Magazine.jpg
From left to right: Eli, Dongho, Hoon, AJ, Kiseop, Kevin and Soohyun
Background information
Origin Seoul, South Korea
Genres K-pop, pop, synthpop, dance-pop, R&B, dance
Years active 2008–present
Labels NH Media (South Korea)
Avex Trax (Japan)
Associated acts PARAN, uBEAT, XING
Website u-kiss.co.kr u-kiss.jp
Members Soohyun
Kiseop
Eli
AJ (Inactive)
Hoon
Kevin
Past members Alexander Lee Eusebio
Kim Kibum
Dongho

U-KISS (Korean: 유키스, Japanese: ユーキス) is a South Korean boy band formed by NH Media in 2008. Their name is an acronym, standing for Ubiquitous Korean International idol Super Star.[1] The group consists of Soohyun, Eli, Kiseop, Kevin, Hoon and AJ.[2]  Their breakthrough hit was Man Man Ha Ni (2009) from their EP ContiUKiss. They released their first full-length album Only One on February 3, 2010. In September 2011, U-Kiss released their second full-length album, Neverland. They made their formal debut in Japan in 2011 with the release of the single "Tick Tack".[3]  The second single is entitled "Forbidden Love" while their first Japanese full-length album was A Shared Dream (2012). Since their debut, the group has released three full-length albums, seven extended plays and various singles. The group also participated in various TV reality shows and films.

Life and career[edit]

2008: Pre-debut and Debut[edit]

U-KISS was first formed as a six member boy-group in 2008. Kim Kibum and Kevin Woo were members of the boy band Xing but left the group in early 2007. The other four members were all individually selected by NH Media through auditions. U-KISS debuted in Japan on August 15, 2008 at the Power of Atamix 08. The group debuted in South Korea on August 28, 2008 with a release of their first mini album, New Generation, (N-Generation) on September 3, 2008 and a live performance of their first song Not Young on Mnet.[2]  Even though they are new comer in the industry, U-KISS was considered for Japan-Korea collaborative project. A popular entertainment company, Yoshimoto Group in Japan, invested 150 billion KRW to groom U-KISS as an internationally known group. The reason behind this is their quality as a group with multilingual members: Alexander can converse in seven languages including Spanish, Portuguese, Cantonese, Japanese, Mandarin, Korean and English; Eli is fluent in English, Korean and Mandarin; the maknae Dongho can talk in Korean and Mandarin; Kevin in English while Kibum can speak Japanese.

2009–10: Only One, variety shows and first major concert[edit]

U-KISS released their second mini-album Bring It Back 2 Old School on 2009 with its title song, I Like You which made them popular in Thailand.[4][5]  The third mini-album titled ContiUkiss launched Lee Kiseop as the seventh member of the group. The title track "Man Man Ha Ni" was released following a change in their line-up.[6]  The fourth mini album Break Time was released on 2010, along with their title track "Shut Up!.[7] The group's first full-length album, Only One, was released on February 3, 2010 spawning their highest chart-topping single in the Philippines, Bingeul Bingeul.[8] The album also topped Hanteo Charts, Hot Tracks, Syn-nara Records and Evan Records in just one day.[9] U-KISS then played in Malaysia, Mongolia and Japan to promote the album.[10] U-KISS promoted the album in the Philippines through series of mall show, wherein they sold more than 1,000 copies in one day which breaks the record of the highest sales in a launch, earning them a million pesos.[11] Due to the said success, the group had their first major concert in the Philippines dubbed as U-KISS First Kiss Tour in Manila.[12][13][14][15][16][17] Aside from their music career, U-KISS also starred in their own variety shows, All About U-KISS , ‘’UKISS Vampire’’ and ‘’Chef Kiss’’ while the members also appeared on other shows. Kevin Woo and Alexander Lee Eusebio joined Arirang's radio show Pops in Seoul hosting the 'All About You' segment and were also featured on Brave Brother’s song, Finally.[18][19] Kim Eli also became an emcee of MBC's show, Fusion. The new member Lee Kiseop appeared in a variety show known as Uljjang Shidae 2 (Pretty Boys and Girls Season 2) . Shin Dongho also made many appearances on shows, The Invincible Baseball Team, Idol Maknae Rebellion and My Black Mini Dress.[20] Kibum along with Eli, also starred in the Thai drama Autumn's Destiny wherein their voices were dubbed due to the fact that they cannot speak Thai.[21]

2011–2012: Japanese career, Neverland, Tour and DoraDora[edit]

U-KISS in 2011

A US album was cancelled due to member termination of contract.[22] Alexander and KIbum left the band on 2011, and were replaced by former ‘’Paran’’ member Kim Jae Seop ( AJ) and a former solo artist, Yeo Hoon Min(Hoon).[23][24] The new U-KISS released their fifth mini-album, Bran New Kiss, and a new ballad song, "0330".[24] U-KISS released their second full-length album, Neverland, in September with their singles "Neverland" and "Someday".[25] A DVD, U-KISS Days in Japan, debuted at No. 8 on the Daily Oricon Chart published in March 30, 2012.[26] A compilation album called First Kiss placed second on Oricon daily charts on the day of its release. They also released the Japanese version of Bran New Kiss on August 24, 2011.[27] The group released their first Japanese album, Tick Tack,[28] and their second Japanese album, Forbidden Love, simultaneously with their first Japenese full-length album, A Shared Dream.[29][30][31][32] The album peaked at No.6 and No.2 respectively.[33]

On 2012 they participated in the Music Bank concert held in Paris, France.[34][35][36] The group became the first K-Pop group to perform in Colombia in line with the celebration of 2012's Los 40 Principales along with international star Shakira.[37][38]

The group had their sold-out[39] concert tour dubbed U-KISS 1st Japan Live Tour 2012 in March that was held in Zepp Hall all over Japan.[40][41] The tour lasted from March 2, 2012, to March 25, 2012.[42] In the second week of June, two additional shows were sold-out.[43]

This year, U-KISS has been chosen as Number 1 Hallyu group to watch out in Japan, while Kevin was chosen as Luckiest Hallyu Star of 2012.[44]

They released of their 6th mini-album in South Korea, DoraDora on April 25, 2012.[37][45] On May 2012, DoraDora gained first spot on Germany's German Asian Music Chart.[46] The group also releases their 7th mini-album or the special album, The Special to Kissme on June 5.[47] The second single "Te Amo" was released on June 1, 2012 on various music sites that immediately placed No.4 on 'Soribada'. The group released their third Japanese single, "Dear My Friend" on July 5, 2012. It was used as a theme song for a Japanese anime, Stormy Night (Secret Friends).[48][49][50]

Aside from album releases, the group is also set to perform along with Girls Generation and Shinee at the K-POP Nation Concert in Macao 2012.[51] Member Kim Jaeseop (AJ) was admitted at Columbia University of United States in 2011.[52] It was made announced on July 29, 2012 in their Japanese Live Tour that AJ will be in hiatus for 5 months and will no longer attend activities of U-KISS starting August to concentrate on his studies.[53] According to NH Media, AJ will return in early 2013, meanwhile, U-KISS comeback in September will only feature 6 members.[54] Before AJ's temporary departure from the group, the group attended the A-Nation opening ceremony at the Tokyo National Stadium.[55] On August 9, 2012 they are expected to represent Korea in the Asia Progress M, part of the A-Nation's activities, the biggest music festival in Japan.[55][56] The group also performed on August 26, 2012 with Hamasaki Ayumi, M-Flo and Big Bang at the Ajinomoto Stadium.[55][57]

U-KISS had the last leg of their Japan Tour in Budokan wherein they garnered 10,000 audience, their biggest to date.[55] Meanwhile, the group released their fourth Japanese single, One of You on September 5, 2012.[58][59] On its first week, it peak to No. 1 at the weekly chart of Tower Records.[60] On September 20, the group released their 7th mini album "Stop Girl" and planned to actively promote it in 10 countries including Thailand, Philippines, United States and China.[61][62]

U-KISS received a special achievement award in recognition for their contribution to the Hallyu Wave.[63] The group attended Arirang TV‘s celebration event for their milestone of reaching over 100 Million clients.[61] At the event, U-KISS was awarded the "Special Hallyu Achievement Award" from the minister of the Ministry of Culture, Sports, and Tourism.[63]

U-KISS released their fifth Japanese single, "Distance" on December 12, 2012.[64]

2013–present: fourth visit to Manila, Collage and the first sub-unit "uBEAT", U.S. Tour[edit]

U-KISS participated in the Dream KPOP Fantasy Concert in Manila, Philippines on January 19, 2013.[65][66] AJ, who was previously on hiatus, returned to U-KISS on February 16 to attend their Valentine's Day event. U-KISS will also release their first remix album on March 27, 2013.[needs update] Alone was released on February 13, 2013, and was used as the theme song for Japanese broadcasting channel NHK's drama Bookstore Worker Michiru’s Personal Story.[67] U-KISS released their third full-length album, Collage, featuring AJ, on March 7, while the lead single "Standing Still", composed by Ryan Jhun, was released on March 6.[68][69] It features Kevin solo song, "My Reason" and Eli-AJ composed duet "Party All the Time" and Soohyun-Hoon's "More Painful than Pain".[70][71] The lead single "Standing Still" was first performed in Show Champion on March 6, a day before its release date.[72] The group also performed at the "Formula 1" event held at the Petronas Tower in Malaysia on March 22, 2013, wherein KPOP group 2NE1 and American artists Backstreet Boys and Demi Lovato shared the same stage with U-KISS.[73] The group stated during the press conference, "...while we went on foreign performances, we were on stages with famous stars, but this performance feels different [...] this will be so much more meaningful because we can stand on the same place as Backstreet Boys, who we really respect. We’re so honored that U-KISS was invited to a place where people all over the world gather, and we’ll put on a great performance as the Korean representatives."[74]

Along with the album release, U-KISS will also embark on a Zepp Tour, dubbed as "U-KISS Zepp Tour 2013", during the summer. The expected tour attendance was to be exceeding past 60,000 peoplel. Soohyun and Kevin were also announced to be a part of the musical adaptation of Summer Snow, along with Super Junior's Sungmin.[75][76][77] U-KISS also released a dating simulation mobile game, "U-KISS 365" in Japan, published by Mobage.[78][79]

On April 8, NH Media confirmed "U-KISS’ first sub-unit 'uBEAT' will debut at the end of April." The sub-unit is composed of members Eli and AJ with Kevin featuring on the title track as the main vocalist.[80] The sub-unit is also said to have its title track produced by the Brave Brothers, who previously produced their hit "Man Man Ha Ni" and uBEAT is set to release a mini album with 2 or 3 new songs.[81]

Avex Trax announced that U-KISS were to release their second full-length Japanese album, "Inside Of Me", on July 24, 2013. The group would promote the album through their national tour. The group also are all featured on their own "U-KISS Visa Card", making them the first Korean artists to appear on a Visa card for one of the three major banks, Sumitomo Mitsui, in Japan. Fans who use the "U-KISS Visa Card" will get points towards exclusive U-KISS items. U-KISS will also attend A-Nation 2013 as part of the Asia "Progress".[82][83][84]

On October 16, 2013, it was announced that member Dongho will be leaving the group due to health and personal issues.[85] A U.S. tour was announced in December, and will make stops in San Francisco, Los Angeles and New York in January.[86] The group also released a hybrid clothes album allowing fans to scan t-shirts made exclusively by the members to get access U-KISS album "Only You".[86] They met relative success with their tour as they ended up on media outlets such as "Fuse",[87] "Good Morning America"[88] and the "New York Post".[89] At the New York concert U-KISS announced that fans should look forward to a ballad sub-unit soon.[90] Currently U-KISS is gearing up for promotions of their 8th Japanese Single "Break Up"[91] as 5 members due to AJ returning to study at Columbia University.

Members[edit]

Stage name Birth name Date of birth[92] Position[92]
Romanized Hangul Romanized Hangul
Soohyun 수현 Shin Soohyun 신수현 (1989-03-11) March 11, 1989 (age 25) Leader, Main Vocalist
Kiseop 기섭 Lee Kiseop 이기섭 (1991-01-17) January 17, 1991 (age 23) Sub-Vocal
Eli 일라이 Elison Kim Kyoungjae 김경재 (1991-03-13) March 13, 1991 (age 23) Rap
Hoon Yeo Hoonmin 여훈민 (1991-08-16) August 16, 1991 (age 22) Vocal
Kevin 케빈 Kevin Woo Sunghyun 우성현 (1991-11-25) November 25, 1991 (age 22) Vocal

Inactive members[edit]

Stage name Birth name Date of birth[92] Position[92]
Romanized Hangul Romanized Hangul
AJ 에이제이 Kim Jaeseop 김재섭 (1991-06-04) June 4, 1991 (age 22) Rap

Former members[edit]

Philanthropy[edit]

On June 7, 2011, U-KISS along with other K-Pop groups like 2NE1, MBLAQ, 4Minute, FT Island and BEAST held a special show dubbed as Seoul-Osaka Music of Hearts to raise funds to help the victims of the 2011 Japan earthquake.[93][94] The group also became the first K-Pop Idol to hold a fan-meeting in Cambodia held on June 18, 2012 dubbed as Share The Love Charity Concert.[95] The fanmeeting leads to a charity organization in a nearby school wherein the members interacted with the kids and passed out baseball bats and other baseball equipment for the children.[95][96] The show, as a part of the benefit project was sponsored by famous Cambodian people and was even attended by the Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen.[95][97][98]

On February 1, 2013, Soohyun and Kevin hosted a charity event for Jakarta after the heavy flooding. Soohyun and Kevin auctioned 2 CD's which they interacted with to raise the value, along with clothing that they've used. The two members also held a press conference explaining why their showcase would be postponed to April. Along with the press conference, they also visited Pluit where they held the charity session and interacted with kids who were affected by the flooding.[99]

Discography[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Reality shows[edit]

  • 2008: You Know U-KISS
  • 2009: All About U-KISS
  • 2009: U-KISS Vampire
  • 2010: Chef Kiss
  • 2012: K-Pop Tasty Road (Eli with UKISS as guest)[100]
  • 2012: Saturday Night Live Korea (Dongho)[101][102]
  • 2013: U-KISSme?
  • 2013: Kanzume!! TV Magazine Show
  • 2014: UKISS no Teatarishidai
  • 2014: "Go U-KISS!"

Dramas[edit]

  • 2010: I Am Legend (UKISS) (Korea)[103]
  • 2010: Autumn Destiny (Eli & Kibum) (Thailand)
  • 2011: Royal Family (Korea) (Dongho)[104]
  • 2011: Real School (Dongho,Kiseop & Eli) (Korea)[105]
  • 2012: Holy Land (Dongho & Hoon) (Korea)
  • 2012: The Strongest K-POP Survival (cameo) (Korea)
  • 2013: Beautiful Man (Hoon) (Korea)

Films[edit]

Musicals[edit]

  • 2010: On Air Live (Kevin)[109]
  • 2013: Summer Snow (Kevin & Soohyun)[110]
  • 2013: When A Man Loves (Hoon)[111]
  • 2013: Goong (Kiseop & Hoon)

Awards and Nominations[edit]

References[edit]

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