Monday, 22 August 2016

Remembering those who left too soon (note: they're actually still alive)

This post is dedicated those K-pop starlets who left the spotlight even before their 15 minutes of fame were up. There are so many to choose from, and so I've decided to divide this dedication into several posts and each post will feature four former upcoming K-pop stars. Please note that I'm not going to list any groups that actually left a lasting impression although they disbanded soon after debut (such as The Ark) and whose former members are still pretty much under the spotlight with various visibility (such as the girls of Kiss&Cry.)

1. Jaeyoon of Chocolat
Yes, yet another entry on Chocolat, but this time it focuses on their criminally overlooked main singer Jaeyoon (real name Lee Eunjung.) The world got introduced to Jaeyoon through Chocolat's 2011 debut single "Syndrome." By the time Chocolat released their second single "One More Day" in February 2012, Jaeyoon was no longer in the group. Chocolat's label Paramount issued a statement that Jaeyoon would not be able to join the promotion of the group's second single due to some grave illness that the company refused to specify (it was then rumored to be either swine flu, colon cancer or injuries from a car crash.) One year passed and Jaeyoon was still nowhere in sight amidst Chocolat's promotional activities for their third single "Black Tinkerbell." In late 2013, while still not issuing a statement on Jaeyoon's whereabouts, Paramount debuted new member Lori Thomas before Chocolat completely vanished into oblivion. It turned out that Jaeyoon wasn't sick, as in 2015 someone revealed on Chocolat's official cafe daum pictures of a far more mature Jaeyoon singing at a jazz club. So apparently, uri Jaeyoon is alive and well, pursuing a career as a jazz singer which was more dignified than having to take a backseat to the group's bevy of mix-raced members (Tia Cuevas, Melanie Aurora Lee and Juliane Alfieri) who were the main selling point (Chocolat was marketed as Korea's "first multiracial girl group" after all.)

Jaeyoon is the blonde chick with almost no camera time at all.

2. Sarah Wolfgang of Tahiti
Sarah Wolfgang, of Caucasian American and Korean descent, was slated to debut with the girl group Tahiti in 2012 under the stage name of Hanhee. She left the group just before the group's debut, later citing severe stress as the reason in a 2014 interview with Reddit. Later that same year, Wolfgang opened The Dog Cafe in Los Angeles and as of now The Dog Cafe has gained a vast publicity simply for being the first cafe in LA that lets patrons play with all kinds of dogs while enjoying their cuppa and encourages them to adopt the dogs.

That's Wolfgang promoting The Dog Cafe

3. Sarah Eckhoff of April Kiss
Sarah Eckhoff, who is half Thai and half German, debuted as the maknae of April Kiss in 2011. Perhaps because of the fact that Eckhoff is of Thai descent, the girl group was marketed as the female 2PM, in line with 2PM's Thai-Chinese member Nickkhun Horvejkul. Extra spotlight was also put on Eckhoff for being exceptionally talented in languages (fluent in Thai, German, English and quickly learning Korean) and hard-working (according to this September 2011 article on All K-pop, she didn't show that she was homesick.) That marketing ploy actually secured the girls some publicity and their debut single "Hello Bus" gained so much hype. Soon April Kiss was performing at major music events such as Music Bank, but just as the public interest was quickly piqued by their debut, they lost interest just as quickly and so the group disbanded...even before they could release a proper music video for "Hello Bus"! These days, Eckhoff still remains in Thailand, having graduated from Assumption University, Bangkok, in 2015 as a Business Administration major. It's not clear whether or not she has any activity in the show business.

Eckhoff is the one in a checkered colorful sack dress and sporting a bob.

4. Myung Sarang of Baby VOX Re.V
If you've been a K-pop for at least as long as I have (since 2001), you may very well still remember the first generation idols, those who debuted in the second half of the 1990's and reached peak fame in the early 2000's. Amongst such idols was Baby VOX. Baby VOX disbanded in 2006 and a year later a resurrected version of the group, simply named Baby VOX Re.V (standing for "Renaissance Voices") debuted. Baby VOX Re.V consisted of all new members which included then 16-year-old Myung Sarang, who is half Korean and half German. Myung appeared in Baby VOX Re.V's video for their debut single "Shee", which was later banned for being too sexual (and so far my research has shown nothing about sexualization of a minor in that case.) Just like Chocolat's Jaeyoon, Myung left before the group released their second single "I Believe" in 2008, with their label DR Music citing that she had to move to Singapore to follow her parents. Myung has recently revealed her current whereabouts on a social media site under her real name, but that and other details will be undisclosed to protect her privacy. In sum, the multilingual beauty (fluent in Korean, German, French and English) is now pursuing a corporate career in Germany after gaining a Master's degree in The UK.

Myung is the tallest one - enough said.

Thursday, 11 August 2016

Back from hiatus!

After about three months I'm back everyone!

Now I'm not crazy about this rookie girl group, but I guess they're worth noticing.

See the scene where all the girls are sitting and smiling at the camera? What does that remind you of? A similar scene in Girls' Generation's "Gee" video which was out back in 2009! Or maybe that's the intended effect?

Debuting just last June, Gugudan was formed after two of the nine members appeared on Mnet's "Produce 101", a survival show where 101 female trainees from various labels are pitted against each other. The girls share a management company with Vixx, who is already famous for its dark concepts, and that being said it's no surprise that Gugudan seems to follow that route. Except of course being a girl group with mostly teenage members Gugudan won't have dark concepts...I can see them becoming a mix of Girls' Generation and Orange Caramel. Girls Generation for the amount of members they have and Orange Caramel for the playful concepts inspired by famous fairy tales.

I can also see member Kim Sejeong, who already gained massive popularity in "Produce 101" (appearance starts at 0:42), as the next Im Yoona!