T-ara (Korean: 티아라, Japanese: ティアラ, often stylized as T-ARA or T♔ARA) is a popular South Korean girl group formed by Core Contents Media in 2009. Before their debut, there was a high level of interest in the group as they were called “Super Rookies” and had been training for three years prior to debut.
Originally a five-member group, they released their first song “Good Person” for the soundtrack of the Korean drama Cinderella Man in April 2009. In June 2009, members Jiwon and Jiae left the group, delaying the group’s debut. The next month, T-ara regrouped to become a six-member group with the addition of Boram, Qri, and Soyeon, and released their debut single “거짓말” (“Lies”).
In July 2010, T-ara introduced a new member, Ryu Hwayoung, to become a seven-member group. T-ara uses a rotating leader system, and has a different member of the group elected as leader each year, in order to give both the group and the individual members the opportunity to grow in a new direction.
In 2011, T-ara signed a $4.3 million contract with management company J-ROCK for their Japanese debut, the highest out of all the girl groups debuting in Japan. Their major record label is EMI Music Japan while their management and promotional marketing takes place under J-ROCK. The group’s first single, a remake of their 2009 hit “Bo Peep Bo Peep”, debuted at #1 on the Oricon weekly charts with 49,712 copies sold, the first for a debuting Korean girl group ever in history.
The original five T-ara members were trained for three years, and released their first song “좋은 사람” (Good Person) for the Korean drama Cinderella Mansoundtrack. In early 2009, Jiyeon was in a collaboration with SeeYa and Davichi for a project single titled “여성시대” (Women’s Generation).
In June 2009, Core Contents Media announced that Jiae and Jiwon left the group due to differences in music style. Soyeon, Boram and Qri were added. The group’s agency released promotional pictures in July 2009 in accordance with the new members. Afterward, T-ara released their debut single “Lies” (Korean:”거짓말”).
2009: Debut and Absolute First Album
T-ara made their debut on MBC’s Radio Star talk show on July 29, 2009. Their music video was released that day. Their first performance was on Mnet’s M! Countdown music show, where they performed their debut single “Lies” (Korean: “거짓말”) and “Wanna Play?” (Korean: “놀아볼래?”). Their debut was looked upon negatively by webpostings, where people stated that it was lipsynched and commented that it seemed like an elementary school performance. The group announced afterward that future performances would be live. A few members of T-ara (Eunjung, Soyeon, Hyominand Jiyeon) were in a project group with label mates Supernova, a six member male group for the song, “TTL (Time to Love)”. The single became the members first number 1 as it topped many of the online charts. On December 1, 2009, T-ara released their first full-length album, titled Absolute First Album. The album had two lead singles, “Bo Peep Bo Peep” and “Like The First Time”, both with music videos.
2010: Breaking Heart and Temptastic
On January 1, 2010, T-ara’s single “Bo Peep Bo Peep” won the first place award on the New Year’s Day episode of Music Bank. Two days later, they won the Mutizen award on Inkigayo. The following week, T-ara won their second consecutive Music Bank and Mutizen awards. The week after, T-ara won their third consecutive Mutizen award (Triple Crown).
T-ara performing “I Go Crazy Because of You” at the Mnet 20’s Choice Awards on August 26, 2010.
Later in the month, Core Contents Media announced that Eunjung and Hyomin would take part alongside label mates SeeYa and Davichi in project group called ‘Wonder Woman’. Consequently, T-ara announced promotions for their follow up single, “Like The First Time” (Korean: “처음처럼”). Promotions ended quickly as member Soyeon was diagnosed with H1N1.
In February, the group announced a re-release of their debut album, titled Breaking Heart. The music video for its lead single, “I Go Crazy Because of You” (Korean: “너 때문에 미쳐”), was released on February 24, 2010. The group performed their comeback stage on Mnet’s M!Countdown. T-ara had won two consecutive Mutizen wins on SBS’s Inkigayo and one First Place award on Mnet’s M!Countdown. After promotions for “I Go Crazy Because of You” ended, T-ara promoted the next single off the repackaged album titled “I’m Really Hurt” (Korean: “내가 너무 아파”).
On November 23, 2010, a music video for their song “Why Are You Being Like This” (Korean: “왜 이러니”) was revealed.
On December 1, 2010, T-ara released their first mini album, Temptastic, in digital format. The music video for their title track, “Yayaya”, was revealed on the same day. The album’s physical release was delayed until December 3 due to the bombardment of Yeonpyeong in November. The group held their first comeback stage through KBS’s Music Bank on December 3 and began promotions with their new 7th member, Hwayoung, and new leader, Boram. T-ara received two consecutive wins for “Why Are You Being Like This” and “Yayaya” on Mnet’s M! Countdown on December 9, 2010 and December 16, 2010 respectively.
2011: Japanese debut, John Travolta Wannabe and Black Eyes
In June 2011, it was announced that T-ara would be making a comeback with their comeback song “Roly-Poly” on July 1, 2011. It was also announced that the group would be advancing into the Japanese market with a showcase on July 5.
On June 14, 2011, Core Contents Media had announced that Hyomin would be taking over the leadership for this album and for their Japanese promotions. They further explained saying, “In order to instill a sense of responsibility in each of the members, we have decided to change the leader for each new album release. We will be passing the leader role onto members who have not been leader yet. The reason Eunjung was leader during their debut was because she and Hyomin had trained the longest with T-ara, and we felt that she would be the best fit”. They continued, “Likewise, Hyomin has been chosen for T-ara’s Japanese and ‘Roly-Poly’ promotions for the same reasons as Eunjung. We have made this decision after much discussions with both the members and our agency.”
T-ara performing “Roly-Poly” at the MTVCyworld Music Festival on October 22, 2011.
T-ara’s “Roly-Poly” music video and song was released on June 29 and reached #1 on Cyworld, GomTV, Bugs, Nate and Mnet real-time charts after just an hour. “Roly-Poly” had received a great success and became the most downloaded, streamed and the top grossing song of 2011 in Korea.
The group released a remix of “Roly-Poly” titled “Roly-Poly in Copacabana”, named after the popular disco club in the 80’s. T-ara began follow up promotions for “Roly-Poly in Copacabana” on KBS’s Music Bank.
T-ara released their debut Japanese single “Bo Peep Bo Peep” on September 28, which debuted at #1 on Oricon’s daily single chart with 20,068 sold on its first day of release. Its B-side is a Japanese remake of their Korean song “I Go Crazy Because of You”. The single also tops the Oricon’s weekly single chart with 49,712 copies sold in the first week, making T-ara the first non-Japanese girl group to do so for a debut single in Oricon’s history. They are also the second foreign female group and the second Korean girl group since the beginning of the Oricon chart (43 years ago) to rank #1 in the 1st week of release (the first is Korean fellow girl group KARA). In September, it was announced that T-ara would be making a Korean comeback in November. The album will contain a similar electronic sound to that of Absolute First Album and Breaking Heart. A 30-minute music video will be released in Early November which will have a drama-like storyline and a 1 billion won production budget.
T-ara’s second Japanese single was a remake of “Yayaya” from their Temptastic mini-album, which was released on November 30.
On November 9, 2011, T-ara released the track and music video for their comeback song “Cry Cry”. The 15-minute drama music video was part 1 of a longer story, which will be followed up with part 2 on January 2, 2012 with the music video for their upcoming song “Lovey-Dovey”. “Cry Cry” starred T-ara’s maknae Jiyeon and actor Cha Seung Won, along with others. “Cry Cry” hit #1 on various Korean charts including Gaon and Naver. T-ara’s third mini album Black Eyes was released digitally on November 11, due to the overwhelming demand for “Cry Cry”. The album was physically released on November 18, which charted at #1 on Hanteo and #2 on Gaon’s weekly album charts. Two additional music videos for “Cry Cry” were filmed, a dance version which was revealed on November 18 and a ballad version on November 21.
Core Contents Media announced on December 7 that T-ara’s 3rd leader Hyomin will be passing on her leadership to Soyeon. She will be leading T-ara starting with their follow-up promotions for their song “Lovey-Dovey” on January 1, 2012.
2012: Funky Town and return to Japan
T-ara’s song Roly Poly was announced to have achieved no.1 on the Digital yearly ranking, being the song with the most times of downloading in Korea for the year 2011. This and many digitally successful singles of theirs before have made T-ara one the best artists in Korea in terms of digital sales. The group’s third Japanese single was a remake of “Roly-Poly”. The songs “Lies” and “Apple is A” from their debut album Absolute First Album will be included on version A and B of the single respectively, with the former receiving a music video. T-ara released their drama music video for “Lovey-Dovey” (a continuation of their “Cry Cry” music video) on January 2, 2012. Their repackage album of Black Eyes titled Funky Town was released digitally on January 3, 2012. “Lovey-Dovey” immediately grabbed the top spot on various Korean real-time charts after its release.
T-ara is planning to release their first Japanese album in June, before their first Japanese concert tour T-ara Japan Live Tour kicks off in Nagoya on June 19. The tour is expected to bring up to 40,000 fans.
|Stage name||Birth name||Date of birth||Position|
|Boram||보람||Jeon Boram||전보람||March 22, 1986 (age 25)||Vocalist|
|Qri||큐리||Lee Jihyun||이지현||December 12, 1986 (age 25)||Vocalist|
|Soyeon||소연||Park Injung||박인정||October 5, 1987 (age 24)||Leader, Main Vocalist, Lead Dancer, Spokesperson|
|Eunjung||은정||Ham Eunjung||함은정||December 12, 1988 (age 23)||Vocalist, Lead Rapper|
|Hyomin||효민||Park Sunyoung||박선영||May 30, 1989 (age 22)||Lead Vocalist, Rapper|
|Hwayoung||화영||Ryu Hwayoung||류화영||April 22, 1993 (age 18)||Vocalist, Main Rapper|
|Jiyeon||지연||Park Jiyeon||박지연||June 7, 1993 (age 18)||Vocalist, Main Dancer, Maknae|
- Soyeon introduced herself as T-ara’s spokesperson during KBS’s Invincible Baseball Team’s Supporter Audition.
|Stage name||Birth name||Date of birth||Position|
|Jiae||지애||Lee Jiae||이지애||August 6, 1987 (age 24)||Main Vocalist|
|Jiwon||지원||Yang Jiwon||양지원||April 5, 1988 (age 23)||Vocalist|
|1||Soyeon||January 2012 onwards|
|2||Hyomin||June 2011 – January 2012|
|3||Boram||July 2010 – June 2011|
|4||Eunjung||July 2009 – July 2010|
- Official Japanese Fanclub: Sweet Treasure
Even before their debut, T-ara had been getting many proposals for endorsements ranging from sweets, beverages, apparel, cosmetics, and communications. In October 2009, The group signed a contract for their first commercial-film with Nonghyup Apples. They recorded the song “Apple Song” especially for the CF, which was later included and retitled as “Apple is A” on the group’s debut studio album Absolute First Album.
In 2010, the group modeled for such companies as Mentholatum Korea, Tedin Water Parks, and Olympus cameras. T-ara was chosen to model for Tedin Waterpark again in 2011. In February, T-ara and their labelmate Supernova signed an endorsement contract with Japanese family restaurant chain Gusto. Each group reportedly received a minimum of $1,000,000 USD.
The group opened their own online shopping mall “T-ara Dot Com” in March 2010. The members had planned the concept and the setup of the shopping mall, including choosing the models and styling as well as handling the sales of the online transactions. A reality show of the same name was centered behind the business.
In 2011, T-ara earned 3 billion won ($2.7 million) in the span of 3 months from modelling in commercial-flims for sports brand Spris, electronics brand iRiver, software company Windysoft, optical store Look Optical, instant noodles brand Shin Ramyun, Crown Mountain and many others.
T-ara launched their own café franchise called “Cafe Page One” that will expand into a chain of 500 nation-wide stores. The name of their cafe was influenced from the cafe that member Eunjung ran in her drama ” Coffee House“. “Cafe Page One” was opened on July 1, 2011, where the members were present to greet the customers. The group had been chosen as the new advertisement models for cosmetics brand Tony Moly. T-ara is expected to model for the brand in not only South Korea, but China, Japan, and other Asian countries as well. T-ara is the first idol group to sign a contract with online shopping mall Hi-Mart.
In February 2012, T-ara became exclusive models for the chicken chain Brilliant Chicken. They were guaranteed a minimum of $892,000 for signing a one-year contract, along with receiving royalties for each increase of a Brilliant Chicken restaurant.
Illegal music distribution
In February 2012, Core Contents Media took legal action against two companies in Southeast Asia for distributing their artists’ music without permission. A copyright infringement lawsuit was filed against them in December of 2011 when Core Contents Media took matters to the police. The companies illegally distributed sixteen songs in Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia, including T-ara’s “Roly-Poly” and songs by SeeYa; Davichi; and 5dolls. The circulated tracks were found to be rearranged or re-recorded with other singers’ voices.
|T-ara Dot Com|
|T-ara’s Hello Baby|
|T-ara Dream Girls|
|2011||T-ara’s Pretty Boys|
- T-ara Xmas Premium Live (2011)
- T-ara Japan Live Tour (2012)
- Sparkle (2012)