After School (Korean: 애프터스쿨; Japanese: アフタースクール, AFTERSCHOOL in Japan) is a South Korean girl group formed by Pledis Entertainment in 2009. They are the first group to debut with a unique admissions and graduation concept in Korea, where members are added or withdrawn in a “natural” manner. The band currently consists of 8 members: Park Kahi, Kim JungAh, Lee Jooyeon, Uee, Raina, Nana, Lizzy and E-Young. Former member Soyoung withdrew from the group in fall 2009 and Bekah officially graduated from the group in July 2011.
After School had their first performance alongside label mate Son Dam Bi in 2008 and their official debut occurred on January 2009 with the song “AH!”. The group became popular with the release of their hit single, “Because of You”, which attained No. 1 and a triple crown on SBS’sInkigayo. After School went on to win various awards at the Billboard Japan Music Awards and the Seoul Music Awards.
Other hits by After School include “Diva”, “Bang!” and “Shampoo”. Three members of After School have also formed a sub-group with a different concept known as Orange Caramel.
The group began a foray into the Japanese music scene in 2011 under Avex Trax with a remake of their Korean hits “Bang!” and “Diva”. Their debut in Japan was quite a success, as the group managed to enter the Oricon Weekly Chart at 7th.
2009: Debut, Diva and Because of You
After School, as a group, made an unofficial first appearance on December 29, 2008 at the SBS Song Festival, performing “Play Girlz” with Son Dam Bi. In the beginning on 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. On January 15, 2009, Pledis Entertainment released a 30-second teaser video on Gom TV, reaching 100,000 views on the first day. Consequently, the group released their debut single, “AH!” alongside their EP, New Schoolgirl on 15 January’. On 17 January, After School made their live debut on MBC’s, Music Core.
During the month of April, the group announced a new member joining the group, Uee. Alongside the announcement, the group released the second single, “Diva” on April 9, 2009. The group performance on 9 April 2009 on M!Countdown. On May 21, the group released their third single, a cover of Morning Musume’s “Love Machine”, entitled “Dream Girl”. In July, it was announced that the group would collaborate with popular artist, Son Dam Bi, for digital single, “Amoled”, which was released on the 16th, which was also part of promotions for Amoled,Samsung’s phone.
On 29 October 2009, Yoo Soyoung officially withdrew from the group to pursue an acting career. Two new members were added to the group, Raina and Nana. After School made their comeback on 25 November 2009 with their single, “Because of You”,with teasers being released a day before. Marking a change for the group to a more mature and sophisticated concept, the song became popular, winning three Mutizen awards and topping various online music charts. A remixed version was released later on.
2010–2011: Bang! and Orange Caramel
On 17 March 2010, details surrounding new member, Lizzy, were announced, 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.
Members Raina, Nana, and Lizzy formed a sub-unit Orange Caramel and released their first mini-album on June 2010 .
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, Japanese debut and A.S Red/Blue
On the 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. After School then kicked off their Japanese activities by collaborating with Japanese singer Namie Amuro; featuring in the song ‘Make It Happen’ for her collaboration album.
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. 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. 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. An 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. After School began promotions for the song ‘Shampoo’ starting with KBS’s Music Bank.
It has been recently revealed that After School will 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. However, Bekah left 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 The Place.
In July, Pledis announced that After School will be separated into two sub-units, AS Red and Blue as part of the group’s second comeback project for the year.
The group made their spectacular debut in Japan on 17 August 2011, with the release of their first Japanese album, Bang!, which peaked at 7th on the Oricon Weekly Chart. After School participated in the prestigious ‘a-nation’ concert tour as part of their Japanese promotions.
After School’s second Japanese single, Diva was released on November 23, 2011. The single is accompanied with a new Japanese song called “Ready to Love”.
Happy Pledis 2012, a charity single, is the follow-up of the first Happy Pledis album and was released on December 1, 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. The group will team-up with SHIBUYA109 for a “Christmas Campaign”, which includes an upcoming concert.
After School was headlining the upcoming MTV EXIT free concert along with American band The Click Five on December 17, 2011 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. After School’s Third Japanese Single “Because of You/Rambling Girls”. on December 23 “Rambling Girls” PV was released. After School’s First Japanese Full Length Album “PlayGirlz” to be Release on 7 March 2012.
2012: Rambling Girls/Because of You, Playgirlz and first Japanese tour
After School’s third Japanese single is a double A-side single consisting of two songs, an original song titled “Rambling Girls” and a Japanese remake of their 2009 hit “Because of You”. The single is scheduled to be released on January 25, 2012. The single debuted at #6 on the Oricon Daily Chart. After School will be starting their first Japanese tour titled Playgirlz in April. With a total of 3 dates, the tour is scheduled to kick off at the Zepp Tokyo on April 27, followed by the Zepp Nagoya on April 28. The tour will then finish in Namba, Osaka on April 30.
After School’s first Japanese album, Playgirlz, is scheduled to be released on March 14, 2012. The album will contain all their Japanese singles plus a Japanese version of their latest Korean single, Shampoo, and 6 new songs. The regular edition of the album will also include a Japanese version of Orange Caramel’s Shanghai Romance as a bonus track.
After School have a admission-graduation system, where members are added or withdrawn in a “natural” manner.
- Park Kahi (birth name: Park Ji Young), was born on 25 December 1980 (age 31). She is the Leader, Lead Vocalist, Main Rapper and Main Dancer of the group. Prior to her debut in After School, she started her career in the entertainment industry as a professional dancer for artists under SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment and JYP Entertainment, most notably for BoA. Park was also part of a Korean American girl group called S.Blush. Since her debut, Kahi has released a solo album, and was cast in the reality-variety series Yeongunghogeol (영웅호걸, “Heroes“).
- Kim Jungah was born on 2 August 1983 (age 28). She is the Main Vocalist and Lead Dancer of the group. Jung Ah was a member of former girl group Kiss Five. She has participated in the soundtrack for SBS’s Pasta, titled You’re Cute.
- Lee Jooyeon was born on 19 March 1987 (age 24). She is the Vocalist in the group. Jooyeon is an ulzzang and was featured in Tony Ahn’s Yutzpracachia and Taegoon’s Betrayed music videos as well as various commercials. She made her acting debut with the drama, Smile, Donghae and was a member of G7 in the variety show Invincible Youth. She is the leader of the Blue sub-unit.
- Uee (birth name: Kim Yu Jin), was born on 9 April 1988 (age 23). She is a Vocalist and Rapper of the group. Uee was a member of girl group Five Girls, along with G.NA, Wonder Girls’s Kim Yubin,Secret’s Hyosung and former T-ara member and now member of girl group, Spica, Yang Jiwon, but the group disbanded right before their scheduled debut in 2007 due to financial troubles. Uee joined the group in April 2009 with the release of the single, “Diva”. She has since been cast in various dramas, including the historical drama Queen Seon Duk, You’re Beautiful (TV series), Ojjakyo Brothers and Birdie Buddy. Uee also joined the reality show, We Got Married and was paired with Park Jae Jung. Uee made her debut as a solo artist with the release of her solo track, Sok Sok Sok.
- Raina (birth name: Oh Hye Rin), was born on 7 May 1989 (age 22). She is a Main Vocalist in the group. Raina joined After School in November 2009 with the release of the single, “Because of You”. Raina is one of the three members in After School’s sub-group, Orange Caramel. She is also a lyricist, having written the lyrics for 이곳에 서서 (Standing Here), Not Yet in Orange Caramel’s second mini-album and the Happy Pledis single, Love Love Love.
- Nana (birth name: Im Jin Ah), was born on 14 September 1991 (age 20). She is a Vocalist and Rapper in the group. Nana joined After School in November 2009 with the release of the single, “Because of You”. Nana is one of the three members in After School’s sub-group, Orange Caramel. Prior to her debut in After School, Nana was a contestant in the 2009 Asia Pacific Super Model Contest. While in Japan promoting ‘Bang!’, Nana was also chosen as a main model for ‘Tokyo Girls Collection’. She has her first solo song for Orange Caramel Shanghai Romance single album called 눈을 감아 (Close Your Eyes).
- Lizzy (birth name: Park Soo Young), was born on 31 July 1992 (age 19). She is a Lead Rapper and Vocalist of the group. She joined After School in March 2010 with the release of the single, “Bang!” and is one of the three members in After School’s sub-group, Orange Caramel. Lizzy was a former long-term guest of the popular variety show, Running Man and is currently a regular in the MBC sitcom, All My Love. She participated in the soundtrack for the sitcom itself, titled Beautiful Girl.
- E-Young (birth name: Noh Yi Young), a multi-instrumentalist, was born on 16 August 1992 (age 19) and is a Vocalist, Instrumentalist, and Maknae of the group. E-Young first performed with After School on 31 December 2010 at the MBC Song Festival.
- Yoo Soyoung, was born on 29 March 1986 (age 25), was the Lead Dancer and Vocalist in the group. Soyoung joined After School in its’ debut with the release of the single, “AH!” and also participated in the group’s subsequent single, “Diva”. Soyoung “dropped out” from After School on 29 October 2009. She is currently an actress and has been cast in KBS’s daily drama Women Of Our Home. She is also involve in a new drama Dream High Season 2.
- Bekah (birth name: Rebecca Kim), was born on 11 August 1989 (age 22) and was the Main Rapper and Vocalist for the group. Bekah is a Korean American born and raised in Hawaii. She debuted with After School with the release of the single, “AH!”. She was featured in Seo In Guk’s song, At First Sight, Lee Hyori’s Bring It Back, along with 4minute’s Jiyoon, and Tei’s Mr Lonely. On 16 June 2011, Bekah announced that she will be departing from the group in order to fulfil her dreams of being a designer and officially left After School on 1 July 2011. However, she hopes to design an album for After School in the future.
Pledis Entertainment announced on June 2010 that After School will be forming sub-groups for future promotions.
Orange Caramel is the first sub-unit from After School, consisting of members Raina, Nana and Lizzy. The unit released their first mini-album on June 12, 2010, with the lead track “Magic Girl” (Korean:”마법소녀”). Other released singles include “A~ing♡” (Korean: ”아잉♡”), “Bangkok City” and “Shanghai Romance” (Korean: ”샹하이 로맨스”).
A.S. Red & Blue
On 4 July 2011, it was announced that After School will be splitting into ‘red’ and ‘blue’ units as a part of their comeback project. They also revealed that fans who will attend After School’s next showcase will get a chance to vote on which members they want to be on each unit. The ‘red’ sub-unit will feature a firm, powerful sexy concept, while the ‘blue’ sub-unit will have a cute and bright concept. The unit line-ups were finalized on 11 July 2011. The members of the Red unit are Kahi, Jung Ah, Uee and Nana. The blue unit are Jooyeon, Raina, Lizzy and E-Young. Kahi is the leader of AS Red and Jooyeon is the leader of AS Blue.
AS Red and Blue released their 4th mini-album on 21 July 2011, with title tracks In The Night Sky and Wonder Boy respectively. The music videos for the two songs were released soon after.
Credit – Wikipedia