2015 gifted the K-Pop world with well over 100 group debuts. Of course, it’s safe to assume many of these groups will fade into obscurity if their names aren’t GFriend, OMG, iKON, Day6, or Seventeen among others. However, there were some under-promoted gems that also debuted this year that need attention. Here are a handful of the best rookie debuts you may have missed!
A-Daily | “If You Don’t Tell Me” (January), “Spotlight” (October) | DK Entertainment
Even though they’ve already had member changes between “If You Don’t Tell Me” and “Spotlight,” A-Daily are a strong group with impressive vocals. Despite their rookie status, they don’t look and sound like rookies at all, giving them an advantage over other 2015 freshman. Their MV for “If You Don’t Tell Me” features similar styling to Chi-Chi’s “Longer,” so it harkens back to a group many international fans miss. “Spotlight” demands attention, and it does a great job pleasing the ears while grasping to the hope of earning fans.
ATT | “Temptation” (October) | Broad Entertainment
ZZBest debuted earlier in 2015 with “Temptation,” but the song was all wrong for them given their youthful sound and appearance. The now-disbanded ZZBest’s company sold the rights to “Temptation” to Broad Entertainment, and the song landed with a group with the vocal capabilities to make it work. The styling and sound fit ATT well. Their huskier vocals assist the song in sounding mysterious, sexy, and tempting. What worked here is that ATT looked more classy with the sexy concept than some of the groups that debuted before them. If this is a concept they stick with and the vocal line doesn’t change, then there’s a winning combination.
Awe5ome Baby | “Why Should I?” (July) | TN Entertainment
This five-member group, visually, may remind fans of f(x), especially the beatboxing leader, Jun, who looks similar to Amber. Then there’s Da Hee who looks vaguely reminiscent to ex-KARA member, Goo Hara. Even though they look like other groups, Awe5ome Baby definitely stands out with impressive vocals layered over beatboxing and glorious harmonies. Awe5ome Baby have a smooth aura that make them a top-notch group.
Dawg’loo | “Oh” (January) | Dawg’loo Music
A mature group with mature, smooth, sexy vocals, Dawg’loo is a group for those on the more mature end of the K-Pop fandom. Fans of 1990s Western groups like Boyz II Men and All 4 One will love Dawg’loo because of the sound and makeup of the group. The beauty and sensual nature of “Oh” is a perfect introduction to their music and will leave you begging for more.
Hexe | “Maybe Baby” (April) “I Might Be Crazy” (October) | tv 포액터스
Hexe feel like a sister group to Apink or Lovelyz with their cute vocals. In “Maybe Baby,” their cuteness shines, while “I Might Be Crazy” takes on an R&B vibe, showing some versatility. Each of their releases were quiet and didn’t earn a lot of YouTube vibes. Hopefully this sweet group will find their fans.
I.C.E | “Over U” (November) | HS Entertainment
What’s pleasing about I.C.E is how they sound like a throwback to 2009. “Over U” may be a weaker song compared to others in today’s market, but for those who remember past K-Pop hits, the song is right up their alley. The MV is low-budget and nothing impressive to look at, but it does a great job introducing the girls (literally) and highlighting their vocals. With more songs like this and stronger, I.C.E could gain steam if given a chance.
Rebro | “I Do, I Do” | C2K Entertainment
Rebro initially debuted as a five-member group. Now as a trio, they found themselves a nice niche. Their Encourage album shows a range of their abilities, but “I Do, I Do,” the lead single, has plenty of layers to it. From rich low notes and captivating high notes, Rebro has an ability to cover different genres from Rock to R&B well if given the chance to do so. Like with Dawg’loo, Rebro are made up of 30-somethings, so they’re great for older audiences.
The Starz | “I Like You” (November) | SHIN Entertainment
The Starz are a cute concept group that exude joy with their cheery performance. While their debut MV has a sad quality to it, their cute personalities still shine. “I Like You” is good debut song that helps show off their personalities and positive attitude, and that is something to pay attention to moving forward.
TWEETY | “Mr” & “Hug Me” (May); “Casual Boy” (December) | Danal Entertainment
TWEETY spent 2015 promoting via street performances, so there are plenty of fancams available on YouTube. Their singles, however, are hard to track down unless you purchase MP3s on Bugs. TWEETY had a few member changes too, but vocals remain strong and consistent. While they appear awkward during performances, they do have an effortless, subtle sexiness to them. “Hug Me” is the strongest of the three songs and has a unique sound. While they’re not the most refined, there’s something about them that makes them an interesting group.
What were some of your favorite underdogs this year? Share in the comments below!