Debuting in a competitive industry is never easy; this is especially true in the Hallyu market where hundreds of new idol groups debut every year. Team formation and training is one thing, but one of the biggest factors in the production of these groups is the financial capacity of the company. A group may debut, but the quality of their material depends on whether the company has the power to cover the costs. The public reception of these newly-debuted groups is a big factor on whether they change their concept, or at worst, disband. One of the many groups that unfortunately met this fate is The Ark.
Their Training & Debut
The Ark was a five-piece female act under Music K Entertainment, a subsidiary of renowned actor management company, KeyEast. As members Jeon Minjoo and Euna Kim rose to fame for participating in survival shows like K-Pop Star and Superstar K, they made headlines and drew attention for being signed with the company.
Minjoo, the leader, trained for the longest of the five, being signed with the company right after K-Pop Star 2 ended in 2013. Euna, however, was the first member known to the public for being an interesting character in Superstar K3 which aired in 2011. She quickly became a YG Entertainment trainee after the show finished, but officially left in early 2013 to pursue her studies. She was ultimately convinced to return to being a singer a year later, finally debuting with the three remaining members, Yujin, Jane, and Halla, who now goes by her real name Lee Suji. Jane, the lead rapper, also participated in The Voice Kids, but didn’t win the title.
The Ark’s music leaned towards hip-hop and R&B.
With just one single out, it’s hard to fully describe their growth musically, but their debut track “The Light” was in a style that the members described as a “shoe that fits.” The group gained a lot of popularity in the online community after covering a lot of boy group hits, ranging from BTS to EXO, which they’ve also performed in their busking performances. They even had BTS react to their cover of “Boy In Luv”!
Where It Went Wrong
The Ark debuted on April 10, 2015 with “The Light” and earned positive reviews, especially regarding the track’s corresponding music video. In addition to gaining fans from their busking activities in Korea, The Ark also began to gain immense popularity overseas; however, in 2016 the group became relatively quiet.
Around the same time, the group’s main vocal Yujin developed vocal cord nodules, which urged her to leave the group. Subsequently, both the company and group agreed to find another vocalist, but as they were met with a bigger issue, Music K decided to disband the team.
With Suji’s participation in KBS’s The Unit, she explained that they were a group that was as close as ever, and expressed that they were in disbelief regarding their disbandment. Euna said in an interview that their company was struggling financially, and the members themselves didn’t have any control over the situation. In addition to “The Light” underperforming on the charts, it was possible that their company had no capacity to produce a second single for the group.
Why You Should Still Give Them A Try
The group’s disbandment is a pity as The Ark was a great example of a girl group that mastered the “girl crush” image. Despite being present with just one single, the group successfully delivered a sound and image that was theirs. Their music and visuals were never excessive, despite the “girl crush” image being a risky concept to pull off. Had the group not disbanded, they may have very well been a popular group, as they were composed of very well-rounded and visually-appealing members. Due to their promise as individual members, it’s likely that anything they put out with their now respective groups has the potential to deliver, so the girls are definitely worth the follow.
Everyone should still give “The Light” a listen as the track is easily one of the most memorable debuts of 2015. Their music video for the track was also a tribute to the Sewol Ferry Incident that happened in 2014, so you better get your tissues ready when you watch the video.
Where Are They Now?
After the group was confirmed to have disbanded in July 2016, all members went their separate ways.
Euna Kim moved to Maroo Entertainment the same year, where she was revealed to have been preparing to re-debut as a soloist. She also participated in Unpretty Rapstar 3 but ended up not reaching the semi-finals.
Lee Suji and Jane are now members of the Real Girl Project, and appeared in the drama THE IDOLM@STER KR. Suji is also competing in KBS’s Idol Rebooting Project The Unit along with Euna Kim, where they are both considered as front runners. Jane also appeared in the MBC drama Two Cops, where she shortly showcased her acting chops.
Jeon Minjoo, who once again appeared in the spotlight through K-Pop Star 6, signed a contract with HYWY Entertainment and became a member of girl group DAYDAY. The group was scheduled to debut this year, but ended up disbanding before they were able to. Yujin, the group’s main vocal, hasn’t been appearing in the limelight, but sources say that she is focusing on her studies.