On Jan 3, a new K-pop girl group named Kep1er released their debut EP First Impact, kicking off 2022 and their career in a big way.
A multinational group formed from a televised K-pop competition show, Kep1er has gained attention and fans from around the world. Here's what you need to know about them.
Who they are
Kep1er is a nine-member team, currently managed by South Korean music label, Swing Entertainment. The members were all born between 1996 and 2005.
The members are from East Asia, with six - Choi Yu-jin, Kim Chae-hyun, Kim Da-yeon, Huening Bahiyyih, Seo Young-eun and Kang Ye-seo - hailing from South Korea. Of the remaining three members, Mashiro Sakamoto and Hikaru Ezaki are Japanese, while Shen Xiaoting hails from China.
Their origins in a competition
The members of Kep1er came together last year on Girls Planet 999, a competition TV show on South Korean broadcaster Mnet.
A follow-up to its highly popular, but rigged, Produce series, it was based around different "planets" featured throughout the show, and featured 99 competitors from South Korea, Japan, China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, split initially by nationality and ethnicity.
Like other groups produced by Mnet's competition series, Kep1er's time together is set to be rather short, with a planned lifespan of two and a half years.
Girls Planet 999 will be followed by a male-focused show, Boys Planet 2022.
Their diverse backgrounds
Several members of Kep1er have previously worked in various aspects of the entertainment industry, or have been high-profile trainees at K-pop companies.
The two highest profile members are Choi Yu-jin - who was a member of now-defunct K-pop group CLC - and Kang Ye-seo, who was a popular child actress for nearly a decade and was a member of K-pop groups CutieL and Busters.
Shen Xiaoting and Kim Da-yeon have previously competed in various Produce series in South Korea and China.
Mashiro Sakamoto, Kim Chae-hyun and Huening Bahiyyih have connections to other K-pop acts and labels.
Sakamoto was a prominent trainee at K-pop company JYP Entertainment for several years and appeared on a reality show with Stray Kids. Kim was a trainee at SM Entertainment. Huening is the sister of Tomorrow X Together member Huening Kai.
They have made waves with First Impact
The six-song album was fronted by the high-energy Wa Da Da, and featured new songs and ones previously performed during Girls Planet 999. According to YouTube, Wa Da Da was one of the most popular songs on its platform in the week of its release, landing at No 28 on its Global Top Songs chart.
First Impact sold massive numbers of physical copies, and South Korean chart-tracking site Hanteo declared a record for the highest first-day sales of any K-pop girl group, selling over 150,000 copies.
This article was first published in South China Morning Post.