S.E.S. (band)

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This article is about the Korean pop group. For the rock band, see Smile Empty Soul.
Origin Seoul, South Korea
Years active 1997–2002
Associated acts SM Town
Website ses.smtown.com

S.E.S. (Hangul: 에스.이.에스; initialism for Sea, Eugene, Shoo) is a South Korean girl group trio formed by S.M. Entertainment in 1997, consisting of members Bada, Eugene, and Shoo. In their early years, they were also known as the female counterpart of H.O.T., and raised phenomenal popularity at the time.[citation needed]

S.E.S. is considered one of K-pop's first highly successful girl groups. They were challenged by groups like Fin.K.L and Baby V.O.X, which debuted soon after S.E.S. and also enjoyed success.

The group's official disbanded in December 2002 after members Bada and Eugene contract was expiration, though Shoo eventually also parted ways with S.M. Entertainment in 2006. They final release with compilation album Beautiful Songs released in mid-2003, where they last promotion with their last original single "S.II.S (Soul To Soul)", from the greatest hits album Friend.

In subsequent years, the former members ventured into solo music activities and also acting, to varying degrees of success.

In October 2016, it was publicly announced that the trio would be returning to the music scene to celebrate their 20th anniversary since debuting with the album I'm Your Girl. After releasing the buzz single "Love [story]", a remake of their 1999 single "Love", through S.M. Entertainment's digital project SM Station on November 28 and their 20th anniversary special album, Remember was released on January 2, 2017 with double title tracks "Remember" and "Paradise".


Pre-debut: Discovery[edit]

Their official biography video states that Bada was the first one discovered, when Lee Soo-man saw her singing at her performing arts school in 1996. Taken by her voice, he quickly offered her a recording contract. Eugene, on the other hand, was not cast in person. Instead, she sent in a video from Guam, where she was living at the time, showcasing her bubbly personality. It reached S.M. executives, who agreed that she could be a star. The last member to be cast was Shoo, who was the only one to go through a "real" audition process. They quickly began training, going through voice, dance, and interview lessons.[citation needed]

1997–98: I'm Your Girl and Sea & Eugene & Shoo[edit]

They released their first album, I'm Your Girl, in 1997 under S.M. Entertainment, and had their public debut in November of that year. Their look at the time was very innocent, with their sound consisting mostly of cute love songs. In much of their promotional work, including an appearance on Lee Sora's "Propose" show, they displayed their multiple abilities: Eugene demonstrated her piano training, while Bada showed off her strong voice, with Shoo backing her up with vocal harmony. Eventually, the singles "I'm Your Girl" (which had Shinhwa members Eric Mun and Andy Lee rapping in the introduction) and "Oh, My Love!" became huge hits for S.E.S., and they quickly became one of the top-selling groups in K-Pop. Bada quickly became known for her vocal range, while Eugene was recognized by her beauty, and Shoo for her fluency in the Japanese language.[citation needed]

Their second album, Sea & Eugene & Shoo, was released in 1998. Although their sound didn't change much from that of their debut, the music video for the single "Dreams Come True" (a cover of Finnish group Nylon Beat's "Like A Fool") drew attention from their space-themed looks, with funky hair and shiny outfits. This song also became a hit, along with "너를 사랑해 (I Love You)", which saw them returning to their cute looks. Eventually, the album sold over 650,000 copies.[1]

They also released a Japanese album that year, Meguriau Sekai, but it didn't do well.[not specific enough to verify] In between their Korean albums, S.E.S. continued to release Japanese singles and albums, but those were never as widely received as their Korean works.[not specific enough to verify]

1999–00: Love and rising popularity[edit]

At the end of 1999, their third album Love was released. It eventually became their best-selling album, with over 762,000 copies sold.[citation needed] This album also saw a marked change in their image, away from cutesy girls into edgy singers. All of them dyed their hair and had unusual leather outfits for their promotional activities. In fact, Bada bleached her hair blonde without the knowledge of her management, thinking that it would fit the album concept well. The changes were well-received by fans, and the title song from the album, "Love", a mid-tempo pop song, also became a success for the trio.[not specific enough to verify] This was helped by the sophisticated music video that accompanied the track, which was filmed in New York City and cost over US$1,000,000, an amount considered large for a music video at that time. Their second single, "Twilight Zone", also saw the continuation of the edgy, grown-up theme, although all of them changed their hair colour back into darker shades. The concept, however, was later dropped at the end of their promotional schedule, and all three members reverted to a simpler image; the dance for "Twilight Zone" was subsequently changed as well. Promotional activities resumed at the end of January 2000.

2000: A Letter From Greenland[edit]

December 2000 saw the release of S.E.S.'s fourth album, A Letter From Greenland. This again was accompanied by a change in image. This album saw them move away from the cute image entirely, having instead a "mature" concept. All the members wore suits for their performances, and their look was significantly more sophisticated. The style of their songs also moved away from light pop music: instead of having cute pop songs (like their first two albums), or R&B-pop songs (like their third album), this album was very jazzy. "감싸 안으며 (Show Me Your Love)" was the first single from the album. A cover of j-pop star Misia's "Tsutsumi Komu Youni...", the song was a slow, jazzy ballad that showed off the vocal abilities of all three singers. This single and album continued S.E.S.'s winning streak, helping to cement their status as K-pop's top group at the time. The second single, "Be Natural", also did fairly well, even though under-promoted in comparison to the first.[not specific enough to verify]

2001: Surprise[edit]

In the summer of 2001, a special album was released (receiving the ".5" label).[2] Called Surprise, their 4.5th album was a collection of their Japanese songs re-recorded in Korean (with new instrumentals). The first single, "꿈을 모아서 (Just In Love)", brought S.E.S. back to a happy, poppy theme, although they avoided the cutesy images from their debut. The video was filmed in Thailand, and it matched the sunny theme of the song. The track was successful,[not specific enough to verify] and counted with heavy promotion. Promotions, however, were cut short after member Bada collapsed from exhaustion during a performance on one of Korea's major music shows. Because of that, their other singles from the album were released without newly filmed music videos, with them being compilation or montage videos instead. The album underperformed compared to the group's previous works, although it still managed to sell more than 350,000 copies.[citation needed]

2002: Choose My Life-U and Friend[edit]

Their major comeback album, Choose My Life-U was released in early spring of 2002. This was a continuation of their sophisticated theme, with the album booklet full of suggestive pictures of the girls. Their first single "U" was quite different, being very dance-intensive; the video showed the girls in dominant roles and positions, with Eugene even becoming a dominatrix for one scene. This song also did well and returned S.E.S. to the top of the charts. "Just A Feeling", their second single from this album, was an energetic dance track with an equally energetic video. However, their promotional schedule for the song was limited and it was not performed as often as their other singles. "Feeling" became one of their few singles to not hit the top spot on the music show charts.[citation needed]

Their comeback album Friend (their "5.5"th), was released at the end of the same year. The main single was titled "Soul II Soul (S.II.S.)", which was a play on words (as the number 2 can be pronounced as "E" in Korean). In the dark-themed music video, Bada is seen writing letters while crying, Eugene is cutting up bunnies in a room (suggesting mental instability), and Shoo is seen caressing a large ball of light on her bed. The song was never performed on television.

2003–16: Disbandment and aftermath[edit]

After releasing the compilation album Beautiful Songs, the trio disbanded, and members followed solo careers in music and acting.

In 2007, the group reunited to celebrate their 10th anniversary, and in 2008, they appeared as a group on the Korean show Happy Sunday. In October 2009, they made another appearance together as a group on the show Come To Play.

In 2014, their song "Be Natural" was remade by their labelmate girl group Red Velvet, which at the time consisted of 4 members. The track served as their second official single. Also in that year, members Bada and Shoo reunited for the Infinite Challenge 1990s-themed special Saturday, Saturday, I Am A Singer. At the occasion, Eugene was represented by Girls' Generation member Seohyun, as she was pregnant at the time.

On May 28, 2016, S.E.S attended the charity event Green Heart Bazaar.

2016–present: Comeback with Remember[edit]

On October 2016, S.M. Entertainment announced that S.E.S was to make an official comeback in 2016, in celebration of the group's 20th anniversary.[3] On November 23, the group's comeback project #Remember was revealed, detailing S.E.S.'s upcoming releases. On November 28, S.E.S. released the song "Love [story]", a remake of their 1999 hit, "Love", through the SM Station project.[4]

Starting from December 5, the group starred in the ten episode reality show "Remember, I'm Your S.E.S.", broadcast through the mobile app Oksusu. S.E.S. held a two day concert "Remember, the Day", on December 30 and 31 at Sejong University's Daeyang Hall in Seoul.[5] On December 17, 2016, S.E.S. provided a comeback performance on Yoo Huiyeol's Sketchbook.

On December 27, it was announced that S.E.S.'s new album would be titled Remember, and would contain double title tracks. The first title track "Remember" was released prior to the album on January 1, and the second title track "Paradise" was released on January 2 alongside the full album.[6]

On December 29, a music video for the already released song "Love [story]" was released, along with previews for the music videos for "Remember" and "Paradise".[7] On December 31, S.E.S. performed their 1997 debut song "I'm Your Girl" and new single "Remember", at the 2016 MBC Gayo Daejejeon. "Remember" was released on January 1, with an accompanying music video, and "Paradise", also with a music video, was released on January 2, alongside the full album Remember.[8]


Main article: S.E.S. discography

Korean albums

Japanese albums


Television shows[edit]

Year Title Network Notes
2014 Infinite Challenge[9] MBC Members Bada and Shoo only (Eugene was absent due to pregnancy; she was represented by Seohyun of Girls' Generation)
2016 You Hee-yeol's Sketchbook[10] KBS N/A
2016 Sister's Slam Dunk KBS N/A


  • A Sweet Kiss from The World of Dream (2000)
  • Remember, the Day (2016)


Golden Disk Awards[edit]

Year Category Recipient Result
1998 New Artist of the Year S.E.S. Won
1999 Bonsang Award N/A Won
2001 Popularity Award S.E.S. Won

Seoul Music Awards[edit]

Year Category Recipient Result
1998 Bonsang Award N/A Won

Mnet Asian Music Awards[edit]

Year Category Recipient Result
2000 Best Female Group "Twilight Zone"[11] Nominated
2001 "Just In Love"[12] Won
2002 "U"[13] Won
2005 Mnet PD's Choice Award N/A[14] Won


  1. ^ :: 한국음반산업협회 ::
  2. ^ South Korea has a unique album labelling system. Instead of being known by their titles, they are titled first in order of appearance. Therefore, a debut album would just be known as their first (or 1집), while their fifth would simply be their fifth. The actual title of the album is secondary. Under this system, "real" albums are given whole numbers, while special or concept albums are labeled "half" albums. Because this album was not new material but old material made new, it is not considered "real" material.
  3. ^ ""데뷔 20주년, 완전체 컴백"…S.E.S, 재결합 선언". Dispatch (in Korean). October 3, 2016. Retrieved October 3, 2016. 
  4. ^ ""원조 요정의 귀환"…S.E.S., 오늘(27일) 밤 'Love [story]' 공개". HEI (in Korean). November 28, 2016. Retrieved January 3, 2017. 
  5. ^ "S.E.S., 데뷔 20주년 기념 프로젝트 'REMEMBER' 시동! 28일 0시 음원 발매". 서울경제 (in Korean). November 23, 2016. Retrieved January 3, 2016. 
  6. ^ "[2017 가요②] S.E.S부터 악동뮤지션까지… 레전드vs루키website=Tenasia" (in Korean). December 30, 2016. Retrieved January 3, 2016. 
  7. ^ SMTOWN (2016-12-29), [STATION] S.E.S._Love [story]_Music Video, retrieved 2017-01-02 
  8. ^ "Remember - S.E.S. 20th Anniversary Special Album". www.melon.com. Retrieved 2017-01-02. 
  9. ^ "'무한도전-토토가' S.E.S, 원조요정들의 귀환…"이 순간이 영원했으면" 눈물". Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  10. ^ "'유희열의 스케치북' S.E.S 완전체 컴백 "걸그룹 100세 시대"[종합]". Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  11. ^ "MAMA2000 Winner - Mnet Asian Music Award Winner". Archived from the original on 13 June 2014. 
  12. ^ "MAMA2001 Winner - Mnet Asian Music Award Winner". Archived from the original on 13 June 2014. 
  13. ^ "MAMA2002 Winner - Mnet Asian Music Award Winner". Archived from the original on 7 October 2013. 
  14. ^ "MAMA2005 Winner - Mnet Asian Music Award Winner". Archived from the original on 16 February 2013. 

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