DSP Media’s K.A.R.D (카드, or stylised as K♠RD) dropped their first pre-debut single titled “Oh NaNa” on 13th December 2016. Surprisingly, the track has been gaining a lot of attention from both Korean and international fans! With more than 2.1 million views on YouTube, that’s pretty good for a rookie group who isn’t from the industry’s “Big 3” (YG Entertainment, SM Entertainment, and JYP Entertainment).
The co-ed idol group is made up of 2 male and 2 female members – J.seph (제이셉), B.M (매튜김, aka Matthew Kim), Jeon Somin (전소민), and former FNC Entertainment trainee Jeon Jiwoo (전지우). To increase fans’ interest for “Oh NaNa”, KARA’s Heo Young Ji was featured as the group’s hidden member.
In recent years, many companies debuted co-ed idol groups but unfortunately, none were as successful as single-sex idol groups e.g. BIGBANG, Girls’ Generation, and GOT7. While mixed-gender non-idol groups such as Roo’ra (1994), Koyote (1998), and Clazziquai (2001) were able to achieve mainstream success in the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s, idol groups who made their debut in the 2010s didn’t last long. For example, F1RST (2010), Co-Ed School (2010), Clover (2011), and even SM Entertainment’s Play The Siren (2015).
According to SBS PopAsia, some of the reasons why co-ed idol groups aren’t favourable among K-Pop fans include lack of fan appeal, weak concepts, and poor marketing. But if done right, K.A.R.D could actually be the industry’s game changer.
First things first, K.A.R.D has yet to make their official debut. The quartet will be dropping 2 more pre-debut singles and like their first track, each release will feature a hidden member. So it’s evident that DSP is going all out in the marketing department for the success of their first ever co-ed idol group, despite having gone through a couple of failures in the past, including Shyne (2004-2007), A’st1 (2008-2009), and Puretty (2012-2014).
In terms of concept and appearance, K.A.R.D has the whole package. Young, good looking, badass, and sexy, the group definitely possesses enough crush element to attract any K-Pop fan. The music video doesn’t have a lot of fancy props and over-the-top settings but it displays the members’ charisma, great chemistry, and more importantly, group identity (something co-ed groups often struggle with). Each member has a card type (or card name) that represents a letter in the group’s name – B.M is King (K), J.seph is Ace (A), Jiwoo’s is Colour JokeR (R), Somin is Black JokeR (R), while Young Ji takes on HidDen (D).
As one of the few K-Pop co-ed groups, the members of K.A.R.D are nothing short of talent. Not only are they skilled in singing and dancing, they are also gifted songwriters. Bet you didn’t know that “Oh NaNa”, which was produced by hip hop artiste Nassun, is written by members B.M and J.Seph. It was said that Jiwoo and Somin will be partaking in the writing process for the 2 upcoming project singles as well.
And that’s not all.
Some of the members have already gained a huge following due to their public appearances prior to the formation of K.A.R.D. Korean-American member B.M competed in SBS’ “Survival Audition K-Pop Star” (K팝 스타) and was featured in Goo Hara’s “La La La” while J.Seph starred in the music video for KARA’s “Mama Mia” (맘마미아). Besides that, Somin was placed 2nd in DSP’s trainee reality show “KARA Project” and is a former member of idol girl groups Puretty and April. She also appeared in Epik High’s “Born Hater”.
K.A.R.D also gives out a strong sibling vibe instead of looking like 2 pairs of couples in a group. This helps to (temporarily) prevent any rumours or scandals involving the members dating each other because dating among K-Pop artistes can be very risky. It could break or make one’s career e.g. Seolhyun and Zico; Taeyang and Min Hyorin.
Let’s face it, K-Pop fans. We live (and thrive) for fan service from our favourite idols – be it a cheeky selca (Korean slang for selfie) on SNS (social network service) or a simple handshake during a fan meeting. Fans would be delighted to know that each K.A.R.D member has their own Instagram accounts that are frequently updated with personal photos and practice videos. In addition, we heard that the members are extremely friendly and generous when it comes to interactions with fans. For now, at least.
What do you think of K.A.R.D? Do you think they have what it takes to survive in the cold, cold world of K-Pop? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below :)
For more information, hit up K.A.R.D’s Facebook page.