Artist Spotlight: April

Artist Spotlight April

DSP Media’s rookie girl group April entered the scene last August and has released three albums since then. They’ve also had their fair share of pre-debut drama and member departures, even though it’s only been less than a year since their debut. With so much going on for them however, why is it that April remains so unknown and underrated?

Sure, they have a loyal group of supporters who have followed them since the start (especially for Chaewon, who was part of the “Kara Project”), but their fan base has remained stagnant over the year, unlike fellow rookie groups such as TWICE and Oh My Girl. For a group that has produced consistently good music, April really deserves more attention.

They kicked off their journey in August 2015, when the original six members released their first mini-album “Dreaming.” With their title song “Dream Candy,” April really sold their image as pure and innocent young girls, which seemed especially appropriate for this group with an average member age of 16-17. Although this cute concept led to April’s eventual blending in with several other girl groups who were all using similar concepts, it would be hard to imagine this youthful and energetic group of girls doing anything else.

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While I wasn’t immediately taken by their debut, mostly because of how similar all the members looked and the rather mediocre quality of their title track, once I listened to their whole album I realised that they had a lot of potential, both as individual members and as a group. There were standout tracks that I really enjoyed and gave me faith in the group, such as “Hurry Hurry.” It had the catchy melody that “Dream Candy” slightly lacked, and also much less auto-tune so I could enjoy the unique voices of the members better. All in all, the album was merely a stepping stone for this group, as evidenced by their subsequent releases.

Three months later, along with the news about the departure of leader Somin, came the news that April was making a comeback with “Boing Boing,” a new mini-album. Despite the member shake-up, April didn’t seem to be too affected by the change and came back with an even better song than before. “Muah” still had the same identical styling and cute dance that “Dream Candy” had, but with a more addictive melody and less auto-tune. The music video was also more entertaining because it had a storyline that was both adorable and suitable for the members. They weren’t proper and perfect little girls this time, rather they fantasized about romantic encounters with cute guys, just like most teenage girls. This made them more endearing, in my opinion, because they acted more like themselves and not as if they had just come out from a K-pop idol training factory. Each member was also given more time to shine as there were more individual scenes this time around, allowing fans to enjoy April’s individual charms.

Towards the end of their whirlwind year, in fact, even before finishing their “Muah” promotions, DSP media announced that April would be releasing a Christmas album.

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I was skeptical about this because April seemed to be releasing way too many songs for a rookie group but at the same time I was excited to see what they would have in store for their fans. “Snowman” was a definite success in my books because it showed their growth and slight maturity as artists, despite the short period of time since their debut. The style of their music video was very much the same as the previous two releases and, despite the lack of a proper storyline, it was a sweet video filled with scenes of the members preparing for Christmas.

The best part of the release however, was the song itself. “Snowman” didn’t just fit the winter and Christmas theme perfectly, it was also a platform for the members to show off their vocal chops in a way that they had never done before. Even less vocally impressive members were able to sing without much auto-tune this time, and the two main vocals, Chaewon and Jinsol, simply amazed me. I had known for a while that Chaewon had a great voice, but the fact that Jinsol, the 14 year old maknae (youngest member) of the group, had a voice that was stronger than all her fellow members shocked me.

Jinsol’s voice has a very unique tone that makes it instantly recognisable and despite her young age she controls her voice well, it’s powerful when it needs to be and subtle in the quieter parts of the song. The two main vocals had more adlibs on this song as well, allowing it to be more layered and nice to listen to.

Although they probably spent a lot of their time recording songs and practicing for their countless stages, April somehow found the time to do some variety as well. Apart from having their own variety program, “Here Goes April,” they also guested on well-known programs such as “Weekly Idol” and “Let’s Go Dream Team!.” Although they are still very young and inexperienced, (with the departure of Somin, who was their oldest member, their oldest member is only 18 years old) there’s a lot of potential for April because they’ve proven (albeit in minor ways so far) that they’re able to let go of their pristine idol images for the sake of good entertainment. Energetic members like Jinsol are also able to hype up the atmosphere so I’m really looking forward to their future variety programs.

Since their debut April has given us many venues to see how hardworking and talented they are. Though they are still starting out, and they have a lot of room to grow, they’re also very young and brimming with potential. I trust that their troubles are over and from now on, as long as they keep improving with every song or album that they release, they’ll definitely be successful and go far.

What do you think of April? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

5 Underrated K-Pop Rookie Songs


K-pop companies introduce rookie groups at such a ferocious rate each year that numerous idols are vying for the spotlight at any one time, with the ultimate ambition of becoming A-listers. This heated competition means that talented performers can sometimes slip under the radar, so without further ado here are my personal choices for the top five underrated rookie songs.

Dawg’loo – “Oh”

Dawg’loo is a four member male vocal group who debuted in January 2015, under Danal Entertainment. Not much is currently known about them, except that they have all recorded solo songs and members RuBic and Hyun Jun previously performed with 2Track and DDABAND, respectively. R&B ballad “Oh” has a soulful sound which harkens back to the ‘90s and features stirring, mature vocals from the members. Sadly, no music video was produced for this touching song, but these supremely talented men deserve to be watched closely in the future.

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Awe5some Baby – “Why Should I?”

Awe5some Baby is a five member girl group who made their debut in June 2015, under TN Nation Entertainment. Illustrious ‘90s K-pop stars Tony Ahn (H.O.T) and Kim Jae Duc (Sech Kies) contributed to the formation of Awe5some Baby and consequently the members shine brightly in “Why Should I?” Ranging in age from 17 to 21, the girls display surprisingly accomplished vocals in this funky throwback R&B track, with all the charisma of more seasoned veterans of the genre. Tomboyish leader Jun is the first ever idol beatboxer in a K-pop group, making Awe5some Baby a unique force to be reckoned with!

Bay.B – “Fancy”

Bay.B is a three member girl group who debuted in May 2014, with the company CAN Entertainment. The group’s fourth single “Fancy” is a smooth and sophisticated jazz number, featuring prominent use of a trumpet and melodic piano. Bay.B’s sultry delivery, combined with rapper Wu Tan’s edgy flow, result in a composition that harks back strongly to 1960s Soul and Motown. Unfortunately, this song also has no accompanying music video, but Bay.B’s powerful vocals make “Fancy” well worth a listen.

M.Crown – “Avenue Mumun”

Starpro Entertainment’s seven member boy band, M.Crown, debuted in October 2015. “Avenue Mumun” is a lively song with an infectious up-tempo beat, combined with elements of disco and boy band music of the 1990’s. The music video depicts M.Crown posing on Harley Davidson motorcyles and dancing in a baroque room, alternately wearing both smart and casual clothes. The suggestive choreography during the song’s chorus, combined with the group’s boyish good looks, will no doubt see many takers for M.Crown in the not too distant future!

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VAV – “Under The Moonlight”

In November 2015, AQ Entertainment introduced VAV (Very Awesome Vampire.) This rookie boy band is a cross cultural mix of four Korean and two Chinese members, who were uniquely promoted with a webtoon prior to their official debut. “Under The Moonlight” is an unconventional composition which fuses synthesized ambient music with hip hop, while the song’s music video is beautifully atmospheric and showcases the group’s gothic concept to absolute perfection. All in all, a band with great promise.

What’s your favorite underrated rookie song of the year? Let us know in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.

5 Standout K-Pop Underdog Rookies of 2014

‘Tis the season to be jolly, which means we are coming towards the end of the year, which also means it is the season of end of year lists. We are starting off the look back at this year with a consideration of the new. We’re highlight the K-pop rookie groups that have stood out without the backing of one of the big three companies in 2014.

It is becoming more and more difficult for a group to stand out from the crowd since the number of debuts is rising all the time. Without the backing of one of the big three, it is even more difficult to get any sort of publicity. What marks my picks is their lack of gimmick in that it is unusual for a group to debut without one now but these groups have their mark with quality alone. There are some absolute gems to be found and there is lots of potential for the future here.

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5. High4

High4 are best known right now for their collaborations with IU and Lim Kim. Even if it was IU who seemed to gain most from these team ups and given how hard it is to outshine Lim Kim’s unique voice, it still gave High4 an interesting way of entering the K-Pop market and brought them a fan base. They have also shown great range through these two songs and their first solo song Headache. Not Spring, Love, or Cherry Blossoms with IU is a sweet song perfect for its spring release. A Little Close with Lim Kim is a smooth R&B track where their vocals are pushed, and Headache is a high energy funky song that was a big departure from their collaborations. While there is no obvious standout track here, there is a lot of potential to go forward and create interesting songs in a diverse range of genres.

4. Purfles

There always seems to be rookie groups popping up with the strangest names. Purfles were right up there in terms of weirdness, and their lack of teasers meant no one was expecting anything from them. The release of 1,2,3 in October completely smashed expectations as it was one of the most polished productions of all the debuts. Starting off as sexy means this trio of girls are clearly looking at sexiness as their main focus and as something they can add to rather than switching to it to sell records. So far, they are certainly making a mark with this concept. 1,2,3 is an exciting song with sharply executed choreography and ‘na na nas’ that do not leave your head. Expect Purfles to comeback soon to capitalize on their surprise release.

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Standing out from the crowd is what all rookie groups want to do. Usually using strange gimmicks like a group of girls with bob haircuts (Bob Girls) or a boy group with seventeen members (Seventeen, note the original names too). A truly great group, however, stands out with their sound, and this is what MAMAMOO has done. They focused on a small group of all talented girls and paired with a jazzy pop sound, slightly reminiscent of Brown Eyed Girls’ sound on Sixth Sense. Both their singles, Mr. Ambiguous and Piano Man, were strong and showed incredible vocals. MAMAMOO can fill the gap left by the Wonder Girls.


Of their two songs released this year, the most recent is a knock out, but Pit a Pat follows at a close second making this a great first year for LABOUM. Their look and sound resembles a mix of the simple cuteness of A Pink and the edgier Ladies’ Code. Pit A Pat is so much fun and interesting enough to catch your interest, which is worthwhile since they released the even better What About You? soon after. Hopefully they’ll follow A Pink into great success without giving up on their original style.

1. Lovelyz

This may be cheating since Woolim Entertainment is now part of SM, they still compete for fans with that one other rookie group not listed, Red Velvet. While more than a few people looked forward to a possible girl version of Infinite, Lovelyz turned out to be nearly the complete opposite of that. In fact, they have the a J-Pop inspired sound on their album Girls’ Invasion and  on their lead single Candy Jelly Love which is a delightful slice of bubblegum pop that is sweet and satisfying like its title. Getaway is a strange little song reminiscent of early f(x). They even have an interesting ballad, which is rare for a rookie group. Needless to say, Lovelyz are going to go far with the backing of great company and a fresh style on their side.

Do you think we missed out on any great rookies from this year? Share your thoughts in the comment section below and be sure to subscribe to the site and follow us on Facebook, TwitterInstagram, and Tumblr to keep up with all of our posts.