Red Velvet (group)

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Red Velvet
Red Velvet at the August 2019 Soribada Awards From left to right: Joy, Yeri, Irene, Seulgi and Wendy
Red Velvet at the August 2019 Soribada Awards
From left to right: Joy, Yeri, Irene, Seulgi and Wendy
Background information
OriginSeoul, South Korea
Genres
Years active2014 (2014)–present
Labels
Associated acts
Websiteredvelvet.smtown.com
Members

Red Velvet (Hangul: 레드벨벳) is a South Korean girl group formed and managed by SM Entertainment. They debuted on August 1, 2014 with the digital single "Happiness" with the four-member line-up of Irene, Seulgi, Wendy and Joy. Yeri joined the group in March 2015, following their first major release, Ice Cream Cake. Musically, Red Velvet employs a unique dual sonic concept that reflects their own group name: their predominantly-pop "red" side experiments occasionally with electronic, funk and hip hop, while their "velvet" side focuses on '90s-influenced R&B with elements of ballad and jazz.

The group's Korean-language discography includes two studio albums, one reissue album, one compilation and nine extended plays—eleven of which topped South Korea's Gaon Album Chart. Hit singles "Red Flavor" and "Power Up" charted at number one on the Gaon Digital Chart; with other singles charting in the top five, including "Happiness", "Ice Cream Cake", "Dumb Dumb", "Russian Roulette", "Rookie", "Peek-a-Boo", "Bad Boy" and "Psycho". The group ventured into the Japanese music scene with the extended plays #Cookie Jar (2018) and Sappy (2019).

Red Velvet has received numerous accolades throughout their career, including the 2015 Golden Disc New Artist Award, the 2017 Mnet Asian Music Award for Best Female Group, 2018 Korean Music Awards Best Pop Song for "Red Flavor" and 2019 Song of the Year Award at the Asia Artist Awards for "Umpah Umpah". The group is widely praised for their diverse discography and "hook" songs, being the fifth most streamed K-pop artist on Spotify as of February 2020. Nationally, they are recognized as one of most powerful celebrities in South Korea by Forbes Korea in 2018[2] and 2019.[3] Internationally, they are named one of the most popular K-pop groups by Time and Billboard, and are often cited for contributing to the spread of the Korean wave and Korean culture.

History[edit]

2007–2014: Formation and pre-debut activities[edit]

Red Velvet began forming in 2007 when Seulgi was cast as a trainee by SM Entertainment via audition. Irene was cast in 2009 and Yeri in 2011. In 2012, Wendy and Joy were cast through the SM Global Auditions in Canada and Seoul, respectively.[4] Preparations for Red Velvet's debut began in late 2013 with the introduction of Irene and Seulgi in December 2013 and Wendy in March 2014 through SM Entertainment's trainee group SM Rookies.[5] Irene and Seulgi made cameo appearances in the music videos for "1-4-3 (I Love You)" and "Fantastic", respectively, by then-labelmate Henry; Seulgi also featured in Henry's "Butterfly".[6][7][8] In March 2014, Wendy, then credited as a member of SR14G, was introduced through the release of "Because I Love You", her first solo soundtrack for the Mnet drama Mimi.[9] Rumors of a group debut gained traction in July, which was subsequently confirmed by SM Entertainment.[10][11][12] With the addition of member Joy, the quartet went on to debut in 2014 as SM Entertainment's first girl group in five years and first idol group since 2012.[13]

2014–2015: Debut, addition of Yeri, and breakthrough[edit]

Red Velvet at KCON 2015 in Los Angeles

Red Velvet made their official debut stage on August 1, 2014 on the program Music Bank.[14] Their debut single, "Happiness", was released digitally on August 4.[15] The song, an urban Europop song with "strong synth sound" and "African tribal beat",[16] was penned by Yoo Young-jin and composed by Will Simms, Chad Hugo (The Neptunes), Chris Holsten, and Anne Judith Wik (Dsign Music). The original music video for "Happiness" gained more than 2 million views on YouTube in its first 24 hours of release before being removed due to controversy over problematic background images and replaced with an edited version. "Happiness" was the second-most viewed K-pop music video worldwide for the month of August in 2014.[17] Red Velvet became the first K-pop girl group to chart their debut single to the Billboard World Digital Songs chart, where it peaked at number 4.[18] The group released their second digital single "Be Natural" on October 13, 2014.[19] The song, which includes a rap verse by then-SR14B member Taeyong, was a remake of the 2000 same-name single by S.E.S., SM Entertainment's first girl group.[20] The music video for the song was directed by Kwon Soon-wook and Shim Jae-won, choreographed by Kyle Hanagami, and featured original choreography seen in a pre-debut SM Rookies teaser of Irene and Seulgi.[21][22] The group began promotions on October 9, making their first appearance on M Countdown.[23] The song peaked at number 33 on the Gaon Digital Chart and at number 6 on the Billboard World Digital Songs chart.[24][25] Red Velvet went on to win "Rookie of The Year" at the Golden Disk Awards and the Seoul Music Awards.[26]

Red Velvet at the Incheon Hallyu K-pop Concert in October 2015

Following news reported that the group was filming in a desert just outside of Palmdale, California in February 2015, SM Entertainment announced that former-SM Rookies member Yeri would officially join the group on March 11, 2015.[27][28] Yeri had been one of the remaining SM Rookies female trainees to appear in the group's music video for "Happiness" and was first introduced to the public through a Rookie Station video and a group performance on SM Town Live World Tour IV.[29] Preceded by the release of "Automatic", the group's first mini-album, Ice Cream Cake, was released on March 17, 2015 to critical and commercial success. The album's second single, "Ice Cream Cake", marked their commercial breakthrough.[30][31] On March 19, the group held an album showcase on Ice Cream TV, a program streamed through Naver Music and hosted by Shinee's Minho.[32] On March 27, they won their first music show trophy on KBS's Music Bank, and the album became the best-selling album by a girl group in South Korea for the first half of 2015 on the Hanteo Chart.[33] In August 2015, Red Velvet held their first U.S. performance during the annual KCON convention and music festival in Los Angeles, California.[34] The group released their first full-length album, The Red, on September 9, 2015 to critical and commercial success.[35] Billboard's Jeff Benjamin described The Red "an impressive, solid debut album", stating that it "indicates big things for the act that needs to follow in the footsteps of their beloved female label mates Girls' Generation and f(x)."[36] The album debuted at number one on the Billboard World Albums Chart and South Korea's Gaon Album Chart,[37] and appeared on Billboard's list of the "10 Best K-Pop Albums of 2015".[38] Lead single "Dumb Dumb" peaked at number two on the Gaon Digital Chart and number three on the Billboard World Digital Songs chart, while topping the list of the "Top 20 K-pop Tracks of 2015" by Dazed.[39] The music video for "Dumb Dumb" was included as the only non-English language entry in Rolling Stone's "10 Best Music Videos of 2015".[40] Red Velvet went on to take part in the SM Entertainment's special Christmas project Winter Garden, which also saw the participation of labelmate f(x) and BoA, releasing a digital single titled "Wish Tree" on December 18, 2015.[41][42]

2016–2017: Commercial success[edit]

Red Velvet on stage at the Myongji University Festival in 2016

Red Velvet's second mini-album The Velvet was intended to be released on March 16, 2016; however, SM Entertainment announced that the music video and album's release would be delayed "to guarantee a high quality of work".[43] The album and its title track "One of These Nights" (Korean title: 7월 7일) was only released on March 17.[44] The album showcases the smooth R&B-influenced "velvet" side of the group's concept and is a direct follow-up album to The Red, which highlighted the group's bright and bold "red" persona.[45]

The group released their third extended play, Russian Roulette, on September 7, 2016.[46][47] The album consisted of seven tracks, with the lead single titled "Russian Roulette".[48] On September 13, 2016, Red Velvet took their first music show win for Russian Roulette on The Show.[49] The track peaked at number two on the Gaon Digital Chart and Billboard's World Digital Songs chart, making it their highest rankings on both charts at the time.[50][51]

On February 1, 2017, Red Velvet released Rookie,[52] an EP that consisted of six tracks and featured the title track "Rookie" and a solo track by Wendy titled "Last Love" (마지막 사랑). The album topped the weekly Gaon Album Chart as well as the Billboard World Albums Chart.[53] The group took their first music show win for "Rookie" on The Show on February 7, followed by wins on Show Champion, M Countdown, Music Bank, and Inkigayo.[54][55][56] On March 31, the group released the first single for SM Station 2, titled "Would U".[57] From July 27 to September 10, Red Velvet starred in their first reality television program, Level Up Project, which showcased footage of their trip to Thailand. The show aired for 23 episodes and was shot without member Joy, who was filming the drama The Liar and His Lover where she was the female lead.[58]

Red Velvet attending the Idol Star Athletics Championships in 2017

On July 9, 2017, Red Velvet released their first summer extended play, The Red Summer, with the title track "Red Flavor" (빨간 맛).[59][60] The EP was a commercial success, topping the Gaon Album Chart and the Billboard World Albums Chart. This was their third number one release and set the record for most number one albums on the chart by a K-pop girl group.[61] Additionally, "Red Flavor" debuted atop the Gaon Digital Chart, with the other four songs from the EP also charting in the Top 50.[62]

On August 18, the group held their first solo concert titled "Red Room" to an audience of 11,000. Although it was initially planned to be a two-day concert, another day was added due to demand.[63] On October 4, SM Entertainment announced through their Japanese website that the group would have their first showcase in Japan.[64] "Red Velvet Premium Showcase F'U'N Room Reveluv-Baby Party" took place at the Yebisu The Garden Hall in Tokyo on October 23.[65] They performed the Japanese versions of their Korean songs "Dumb Dumb" and "Red Flavor" for the first time.[66] After wrapping up the showcase, it was officially announced that Red Velvet's concert "Red Room" would take place in Japan in 2018.

Red Velvet revisited their "velvet" image by releasing their second full-length album, Perfect Velvet, on November 17, 2017 with the lead single "Peek-a-Boo".[67] Unlike their first "velvet" release, the album and single were both commercially successful.[68] The album peaked atop Billboard's World Album Chart. "Peek-a-Boo" peaked at number 2 on Billboard's World Digital Songs chart, tying with their 2016 single "Russian Roulette".[69] In South Korea, the album and the single "Peek-a-Boo" both charted at number 2 on the Gaon Album Chart and Gaon Digital Chart.[70][71] Through the release of Rookie, The Red Summer and Perfect Velvet all in the same year, along with the popularity of the single "Red Flavor", and the success of their albums overseas, Red Velvet achieved a "top girl group" status in South Korea; their status was further cemented when Perfect Velvet sold over 100,000 copies and "Peek-A-Boo" won first place on the music program Inkigayo on their last day of promotions for the song, proving its longevity on the charts.[72][73]

2018: Japanese debut and touring[edit]

The group released a reissue of Perfect Velvet, The Perfect Red Velvet, on January 29, 2018. It included five new tracks in addition to all the songs from Perfect Velvet, with the single "Bad Boy" promoted as its title track.[74]

The album topped the Gaon Album Chart upon its release while "Bad Boy" debuted at number 2 on the Gaon Digital Chart.[75] The Perfect Red Velvet also charted at number 3 on Billboard's World Albums chart while "Bad Boy" debuted at number 2 on its World Digital Songs chart. Red Velvet also entered the Top 10 of Billboard's Social 50 chart for the first time, charting at number nine.[76] The album also marked the first time the group has appeared on the Canadian Hot 100 and charted at number 87, becoming only the seventh K-pop artist and the third female K-pop act to appear on the chart.[77] Red Velvet promoted the song on various South Korean music shows, earning their first music show win for "Bad Boy" on February 8 on Show Champion.[78] In December, Billboard chose "Bad Boy" as the best K-pop song of the year.[79]

Red Velvet at Dream Concert on May 12, 2018.

Red Velvet's solo concert "Red Room" was held in Tokyo, Japan on March 28 and 29 at the Musashino Forest Sports Plaza, a 10,000-seat capacity venue used for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.[80] On the second day, the group announced that they would be officially debuting in Japan in July.[81] On May 29, 2018, Red Velvet performed alongside other selected South Korean artists for an inter-Korean concert in Pyongyang, North Korea,[82] making them the first artist from SM Entertainment in fifteen years since Shinhwa to perform in North Korea.[83]

On April 29, 2018, Red Velvet held their first fan meeting at the Rosemont Theater in Chicago, to an audience of 4,000.[84] This event was first solo performance from a female K-pop group in the United States since 2016.[85] The group later toured six Japanese cities in May and June, reaching a total audience of 20,000.[86] Their debut Japanese EP, titled #Cookie Jar, was released on July 4, 2018 by the label Avex Trax, and included six new songs including the Japanese versions of "Dumb Dumb", "Russian Roulette" and "Red Flavor". The other songs were "#Cookie Jar" ,"Aitai-tai", and "Cause it's you".[87] The EP debuted at the third spot of the Oricon Weekly Albums chart and sold 26,124 copies on its first week of release in Japan.[88]

On July 19, 2018, Red Velvet announced that they would be making a comeback, and they had filmed their music video outdoors in Gyeonggi-do. The songs from the new album were performed at Red Velvet's second concert "Redmare", held in Seoul on August 4–5.[89] On August 6, Red Velvet released their second summer EP, Summer Magic, containing eight tracks, including one bonus track and one iTunes exclusive track.[90] Its lead single "Power Up" earned the group a "perfect all-kill" for the first time in their career when it topped all of South Korea's real-time, daily and weekly music charts upon its release.[91] The music video for "Power Up" went on to be the only K-pop music video to be included in Billboard's list of 50 best music videos of 2018.[92] In September and October, the group's Redmare concert series was taken to Bangkok, Taipei and Singapore.[93]

Red Velvet released their third album in the year and their fifth EP overall on November 30. The EP, titled RBB, includes six tracks. The lead singles were "RBB (Really Bad Boy)" and its English version.[94][95][96]

2019–present: Continued touring, and first sub-unit[edit]

Red Velvet at Dream Concert on May 18, 2019.

On January 6, 2019, Red Velvet released their first Japanese digital single, titled "Sappy".[97] The group released another Japanese single, "Sayonara", on February 20.[98] Both singles are included in their second Japanese EP, Sappy, which was released on May 29; the EP also includes Japanese versions of "Peek-a-Boo", "Rookie" and "Power Up" as well as a new song called "Swimming Pool".[99] In February, Red Velvet embarked on the North American leg of their Redmare Tour. They went on to hold shows in Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, Chicago and Newark in the United States and Toronto and Vancouver in Canada, becoming the first K-pop girl group to hold a North American tour in three years.[100][101] On April 5, Red Velvet were featured in a remixed version of "Close to Me" by Ellie Goulding and Diplo, with members Yeri and Wendy contributing Korean lyrics to the song.[102] The song won Choice Electronic/Dance Song at the 2019 Teen Choice Awards.[103]

On June 19, Red Velvet released their sixth Korean EP, titled The ReVe Festival: Day 1,[104] which featured the lead single "Zimzalabim" and was the first entry of The ReVe Festival trilogy, followed by their seventh EP, The ReVe Festival: Day 2, and its lead single "Umpah Umpah" on August 20.[105] The single won Song of the Year at the 2019 Asia Artist Awards on November 26. The final release of the trilogy, The ReVe Festival: Finale, was released on December 23, led by the single "Psycho".[106][107][108] To promote The ReVe Festival trilogy, the group embarked on their third tour, La Rouge, which began in Seoul on November 23 and 24.[109] In early 2020, La Rouge continued as an arena tour in Japan without Wendy, who was involved in a stage accident during her solo stage rehearsal at the 2019 SBS Gayo Daejeon on December 25. After three dates in Japan, the final two La Rouge concerts at Yokohama were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2020, Red Velvet were featured in the animated musical film Trolls World Tour, representing the K-pop trolls, with their song "Russian Roulette" also being featured in the film. The film had the biggest digital debut of all time and broke streaming records.[110] On April 21, SM Entertainment confirmed that Irene and Seulgi would form Red Velvet's first sub-unit and that the duo was in preparation for their first major release in around June 2020. The release was eventually delayed, and Red Velvet - Irene & Seulgi released their first extended play, titled Monster, on July 6.[111] On August 21, Red Velvet released their SM Station single, a cover of BoA's "Milky Way", as part of a project celebrating BoA's 20th debut anniversary.[112] This also marked Wendy's partial return to the group 8 months after her stage accident.[113]

Artistry[edit]

Red Velvet's music and public image play on contrasting "red" and "velvet" sides. The "red" half showcases an intense and captivating image, while their "velvet" side is more feminine and soft. Their recent work mixes the two sides together to convey sensuality, colour, and sophistication.[114][115][116][117] Musically, the "red" side is predominantly of the pop genre, and their "velvet" is primarily R&B and ballads; however, the group also experiments with other genres.[118][119] Red Velvet's dual concept also affects the members' styling. In their "red" concept, they are usually dressed in colorful, traditionally girlish clothing, such as pastel sweaters and skirts in "Ice Cream Cake" and the red doll outfits in "Dumb Dumb".[120][121] They are dressed more maturely for their "velvet" side, such as their suits in "Be Natural".

Public image and reception[edit]

Red Velvet have been lauded for breaking stereotypes among popular girl groups in South Korea, who tend to fall under either "cute and pure" or "sexy". In a country where girl groups' fanbases are mostly male, Taylor Glasby of Dazed Digital noted that the majority of Red Velvet's fans are young women.[124][125][126] IZE Magazine named the group as one of the successful female figures who helped transform the "passive image" of South Korean women.[127] Billboard reported that Red Velvet were the overall favorite K-pop group of the year among every gender and sexual identity on the popular internet forum Reddit.[128]

Red Velvet's musical versatility has led to recognition by Time magazine as one of the world's best K-pop groups.[129] Red Velvet were also praised for their brand recognition and marketing power, having topped the 'Girl Group Brand Power Ranking' published by the Korean Corporate Reputation Research Institute several times.[130] In November 2019, Billboard crowned Red Velvet as "the best idol group alive" and named "Red Flavor" as the second-best K-pop song of the 2010s.[131] Red Velvet's performance in Pyongyang in 2018—which made them the seventh idol group to perform in North Korea and the first since 2003[132][133]—was part of a wider diplomatic initiative between South Korea and North Korea[134][135] and earned the group a commendation from South Korea's Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism for their contributions in spreading South Korean popular culture.[136] Discussing the Korean Wave in 2018, the director of the Korea Foundation for International Cultural Exchange cited Red Velvet as a major contributor and one of the country's most talented idol groups who have "largely promoted K-pop" around the world.[137]

Members[edit]

Discography[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Reality show[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Note Ref.
2015 SMTown: The Stage Themselves Biographical film [138]
2020 Trolls World Tour The K-Pop Gang Computer-animated, musical comedy film [139]

DVDs[edit]

  • Red Velvet DVD & Blu-ray Red Velvet 1st Concert "Red Room" in Japan [140]
  • Red Velvet DVD & Blu-ray " Red Velvet 2nd Concert "REDMARE" in Japan [141]

Concerts and tours[edit]

  • Red Velvet 1st Concert "Red Room" (2017–2018)
  • Red Velvet 2nd Concert "Redmare" (2018–2019)
  • Red Velvet 3rd Concert "La Rouge" (2019–2020)

Awards and nominations[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]