B1A4 (Korean: 비원에이포) is a South Korean idol group under the management of WM Entertainment. The group debuted in 2011 with the single “O.K” after their first introduction to the public through a webtoon. They have released two studio albums, five EPs and various singles in South Korea.
The group began their foray into the Japanese market late 2011 with a showcase and in 2012, they released their first compilation album that consisted of all the tracks from their first two EPs Let’s Fly and It B1A4. The group released remakes of two Korean singles, namely “Beautiful Target” and “Sleep Well, Good Night“, as Japanese singles on June and August respectively, both peaking at number four on the Oricon weekly singles chart. Their debut Japanese album was released in October 2012, with its music video released by Pony Canyon.
Baro, the rapper of the group, was first discovered by a company representative who came across his photo posted on his friend’s homepage on social network service Cyworld. At his audition, Baro sang Sumi Jo‘s “Once I Leave” and Sung Si-kyung‘s “The Road to Me”, in addition to rapping and beatboxing. Similarly, leader Jin-young was discovered from a photo posted on Cyworld. He received training for composing, singing, and acting. Gongchan was also discovered on Cyworld as a result of his winning of an “Eoljjang Challenge” when he was in middle school. He was also a runner-up of a cross-dressing contest while, where he danced to a song by soloist Ivy. Main vocalist Sandeul, who competed in numerous singing contests, was approached by a company agent after performing a song by Kim Yeon-woo in a talent show. Prior to their debut, the group underwent a training period of two years.
2011: Let’s Fly and It B1A4
On April 11, the members of B1A4 were introduced through a webtoon. Initially, it was believed that B1A4 would be a mixed gender group due to the presence of a female character named Anna in the webtoon; this was later proven false. That same day, WM Entertainment revealed a photo of the first member of the group, leader Jin-young. The remaining members Baro, Gongchan, Sandeul, and CNU were revealed on a daily basis between April 12–15. A music video teaser for B1A4’s promotional single “O.K” was uploaded on April 19. The full music video, as well as their debut EP Let’s Fly, was released on April 21. The group made their debut performance on the April 23 episode of Munhwa Broadcasting Corporation‘s (MBC) Show! Music Core. They had their subsequent debut stages on Mnet‘s M! Countdown, Korean Broadcasting System‘s (KBS) Music Bank, and Seoul Broadcasting System‘s (SBS) The Music Trend on April 28, April 29, and May 1, respectively. B1A4 began promoting “Only Learned the Bad Things” on June 18, 2011. The group, alongside Block B, starred on SBS MTV‘s reality show Match Up. It began to air on June 22. The music video for the second promotional single “Only Learned the Bad Things” was aired on the first episode.
On August 31, it was announced that B1A4 would release a second EP the following month. Photo teasers of Jin-young, Baro, CNU, Sandeul, and Gongchan were revealed daily from September 5–9, respectively; The music video teaser for “Beautiful Target” was released on September 10. It B1A4 and the full music video for “Beautiful Target” were released on September 15. The group began promoting the album by performing on KBS’ Music Bank, MBC’s Show! Music Core, SBS’ The Music Trend, and Mnet’s M! Countdown. B1A4 began promoting “My Love” on November 18, 2011.
In October 2011, it was announced that B1A4 would debut in Japan under the record label Pony Canyon in January 2012. Prior to their debut there, the group held their B1A4 – Japan Showcase Live 2011 at the Sinagawa Stellar Ball in Tokyo on December 9, 2011; the tickets for the event sold-out within one minute, an unprecedented feat for newly debuted groups. B1A4 performed nine songs at the event, which was attended by 1,000 people. At the end of the year, B1A4 won the Rookie of the Year Award at Tower Records‘ K-Pop Lovers! Awards 2011.
2012: Debut in Japan, Ignition, In the Wind and BABA B1A4
On March 5, B1A4 released the digital single “This Time Is Over” ahead of the release of their first studio album, as well as a photo teaser of Baro. Photo teasers of Gongchan, Jin-young, CNU, and Sandeul were released in the following days. B1A4 released Ignition and the promotional single “Baby I’m Sorry” on March 14, and they began promoting the song on M! Countdown the following the day, followed by performances on Music Bank, Show! Music Core, and The Music Trend. A repackaged edition of the album entitled Ignition: Special Edition, as well as the promotional single “Baby Good Night“, was released on May 23.
B1A4 released their first Japanese-language single “Beautiful Target” on June 27, 2012. The song debuted at number four on the Oricon weekly singles chart, selling 32,665 in its first week. On July 25, B1A4 took part in season six of the reality show Hello Baby, where the group learns to care for children. On August 29, B1A4 released their second Japanese-language single “Oyasumi Good Night“, which also debuted at number four on the Oricon weekly singles chart, selling 35,779 in its first week. They released their debut Japanese-language studio album on October 24, 2012; it debuted at number five on the Oricon weekly albums chart, selling 20,547 in its first week.
On November 5, a video teaser was released that featured no music or any of the members, but of a blowing wind throughout a field. Individual video teasers for Jin-young and Baro were released on November 7, followed by Gongchan, CNU, and Sanduel on November 9. In the Wind was released on November 12, 2012; they began performing the promotional single “Tried to Walk” on M! Countdown on November 15, as well as on Music Bank, Show! Music Core, and The Music Trend the following day.
It had been announced on October 12 by WM Entertainment that B1A4 would hold their first solo concert, BABA B1A4. This concert was said to be co-produced WM Entertainment and CJ E&M‘s global concert brand, M-Live and that ticket sales would begin a week later on October 18, 2012. The announcement garnered many interests bringing B1A4’s official page to 25,000 views. Before ticket sales began, 75,000 people were on the server waiting to buy the tickets resulting in 8,000 tickets to be sold out in 5 minutes once ticket sales opened. From December 8–9, 2012, B1A4 held their first solo concert BABA B1A4 at the SK Olympic Handball Gymnasium.
2013: What’s Happening? and AMAZING STORE
On January 7, 2013, the Recording Industry Association of Japan released the list of winners for the 2013 Japan Gold Disc Awards where the group won two awards. The same month BABA B1A4 in Japan was held in two cities starting on January 27 until January 30 consisting of 4 shows.
On April 20, the group’s official site was updated with a mysterious photo teaser with the words “이게 무슨 일이야? 2013.04.23” (rom: ige musuniriya ;trans: What’s Happening?) . Fans speculated several things out of the teaser such as an upcoming comeback, something about their 2nd fanclub inauguration and their second anniversary (which is the same day indicated on the teaser). On April 23, teaser photos for member Jinyoung were released confirming that the teaser was indeed for a comeback and that the group would be back on May 6 with their yet-to-be titled 4th EP.
The song What’s Going On? grabbed the top spot in MBC Show! Music Core chart on May 18. It also happens to be the first music show award that B1A4 received since debut.
On June 19, 2013, WM Entertainment announced B1A4’s 2nd solo concert, AMAZING STORE. The concert was said to present a new story telling concept as well as B1A4 directly performing with a live band. The announcement had been made on their ‘b1a4.interest.me’ page bringing over 30,000 visitors to the page. After tickets went on sale on June 26, the concert sold out its 10,000 seats in under 5 minutes. The concert took place from August 7 to 11 at the Uniqlo AX, having 2,000 fans each day.
2014-present: Who Am I, THE CLASS, Solo Day, 2014 Road Trip Tour
On December 5, 2013, WM Entertainment announced that B1A4 would be having their third exclusive concert entitled 2014 B1A4 Concert [The Class] that would be held on February 15 and 16 at the SK Olympic Handball Stadium at Olympic Park. Subsequent teasers of the members were then released.
B1A4 had made their comeback in early January with Who Am I and the title song Lonely, marking it as their second studio album. The album and the music video were released on January 13, 2014 and the first comeback stage on January 17 on Music Bank.
Now, B1A4 is coming back with their 5th Mini Album. The title track for the album is entitled “Solo Day”. The music video was released on July 14 and they made their first comeback for “Solo Day” on July 17 on M! Countdown. It was officially announced that B1A4 will be appearing at ‘The 12th Korea Times Music Festival’ and KCON 2014 in Los Angeles, California. On the other hand, WM Entertainment has announced B1A4’s first world tour ‘Road Trip’! Although it’s called a ‘Road Trip’, this really is a cute way of saying they will be traveling all over the entire world to meet and create memories with their international fans. The first concert will take place in Taiwan on August 23, 2014 and Shanghai on August 30, 2014, then the boys will head on over to Manila on September 6, 2014, Melbourne on September 18, 2014, and Sydney on September 20, 2014. The boys will also head over to New York on October 3, 2014, Chicago on October 5, 2014, Dallas on October 8, 2014, and San Francisco on October 11, 2014.