Success is often a combination of talent, luck, and timing. For some, the journey takes a little longer, but it can be a delight to find a skilled and passionate group before they make it big. I previously highlighted some rookie groups in this post and today I’d like to follow up by recommending seven budding groups with the potential to rise to great heights.
These groups may be underrated now, but with the right opportunities their futures are shining bright. Let’s see what makes each of them special!
MCND are the new rookies of label TOP Media – home to TEEN TOP and UP10TION – and they are already finding ways to stand out. Unlike their senior groups, MCND brings a fresh hip-hop vibe, with three members specializing in rap and only two in vocals. Their pre-debut release TOP Gang is both bright and hard-hitting while their debut track Ice Age shows off their tight choreography and chemistry as a team. With high view counts on their MVs and even a music show nomination, MCND is ready to take on the world.
This idol group has a bit of a history, with several members debuting in Taiwan in 2016 before a line-up change and re-debut in Korea in 2020. The current five members have released two single albums with two songs each, but even with this small discography UNVS has established their own signature sound. In a sea of cute and youthful concepts, UNVS brings a sophisticated maturity that makes them seem like a long-established group. Whether this comes from their experience or simply shows that they are well-prepared, the result is an attractive and impressive start.
NOIR is the oldest group on this list, having debuted in 2018, but that makes them even more of a hidden gem. Their four title tracks – Gangsta, Airplane Mode, Doom Doom, and Lucifer – are all equally strong, with precise choreography and well-balanced vocal and rap distribution. Although NOIR hasn’t enjoyed mainstream success yet, they continue to show consistent growth and skill as they slowly gain recognition. Perhaps most importantly, NOIR has that magical connection as a team that can draw fans right into their sphere.
I introduced 1TEAM in my rookie groups post last year and am delighted to now include them on this list of groups to watch. After three mini albums and a US tour – unfortunately cut short due to the pandemic – 1TEAM is feeling the excitement of building a fanbase and establishing their unique place in the world. Being the first boy group from a company that works with legendary idols SHINHWA could be intimidating, but 1TEAM is comfortable showcasing their own abilities. Their three singles have proven that they can tackle different concepts with ease, and they bring this confidence into their interviews and performances.
Kband LUCY was first formed as a temporary group during the competition show SuperBand, where they came in second place. After the show, the three available members recruited another contestant and debuted as a four-piece band, keeping the name LUCY. Their first single release features a sweeping Intro that makes full use of leader Shin Yechan’s violin expertise, while the title track Flowering brings a warm, full sound that perfectly complements the spring-themed lyrics. With the early interest and attention gained from their SuperBand appearance, LUCY is on a clear path to achieving their goals.
Amidst fierce competition, OnlyOneOf has a rather brilliant approach to creating their own brand: they simply don’t try to fit in with everyone else. Their concepts are complex and artsy, their lyrics are poetic and at times mysterious, and their MVs are full of allusions and symbolism. Yet, in delightful contrast to these high-level ideas, the OnlyOneOf members themselves are friendly and playful, and bring their own color to the group by making their own (incredible) choreography. These dual charms are winning them a devoted group of fans that continues to expand.
Born out of the survival show World Klass, this ten-member group is setting their sights high and charging forward without hesitation. After winning their way to a successful debut, TOO released a mini-album to launch their careers on April 1. Not even a month later, they joined the show Road to Kingdom, where they are currently competing against senior groups for the chance to advance to the follow-up show Kingdom. Despite the pressure and expectation of such an ambitious beginning, TOO demonstrates time and again that they have what it takes: innovation, teamwork, and musicality.
Categories: KOREA-CANADA BLOG 2018