Apink (Korean: 에이핑크, Japanese: エーピンク; also written as A Pink) is a South Korean girl group formed by Plan A Entertainment (formerly A Cube Entertainment). The group debuted on April 19, 2011, with the mini album, Seven Springs of Apink and with seven members: Park Cho-rong, Yoon Bo-mi, Jung Eun-ji, Son Na-eun, Hong Yoo-kyung, Kim Nam-joo and Oh Ha-young. Hong left the group in April 2013 to focus on her studies.
Since their debut, Apink has earned success and recognition, the group has won awards at shows such as the 26th Golden Disc Awards, 21st Seoul Music Awards and 13th Mnet Asian Music Awards. Their first music program win was on M Countdown on January 5, 2012, for “My My” from their second EP Snow Pink. Apink has won more than 30 music awards and 32 music program awards. To date Apink has released eight Korean mini-albums, three Korean studio albums and three Japanese studio albums.
In February 2011, A Cube Entertainment announced the first trainee for new girl group, Apink, was Son Na-eun, who was featured in Beast’ “Soom” (숨; “Breath”), “Beautiful” and “Niga Jeil Joha” (니가 제일 좋아; “I Like You the Best”) music videos in late 2010. The last two members, Yoon Bo-mi and Kim Nam-joo, were introduced through the group’s reality show, Apink News.
Prior to the group’s debut, the documentary Apink News aired on the Korean cable channel Trend E. The show chronicled the launch process of Apink. The episodes were hosted by various celebrities, including G.NA, Mario, MBLAQ’s Seung Ho and G.O, Beast, 4minute, 2AM’s Jinwoon, Secret’s Sunhwa and Hyoseong. The week before Apink’s official debut, they released their first television commercial for Ceylon Tea.
The group released their debut EP, Seven Springs of Apink and the music video for its lead single, “Mollayo” (몰라요; “I Don’t Know”), on April 19, 2011. The album consists of five songs, including “It Girl” and “Wishlist”. The music video for “Mollayo” featured Beast’ Lee Gi-kwang. Apink made their debut stage performance with “Mollayo” on Mnet’s M Countdown on April 21 to promote their album. After several months of promoting “Mollayo”, they began promoting “It Girl”. Apink also recorded the song “Uri Geunyang Saranghage Haejuseyo” (우리 그냥 사랑하게 해주세요; “Please Let Us Love”) for the SBS drama, Protect the Boss, the soundtrack of which was released in September 2011.
In November 2011, Apink began recording a reality television show called Birth of a Family with boy band Infinite. The show followed the efforts of the two idol groups to care for abandoned and mistreated animals over the course of eight weeks.
The group released their second EP, Snow Pink, on November 22, 2011, featuring the lead single “My My”, a song composed by Shinsadong Tiger. Promotions for “My My” began on November 25 on KBS’ Music Bank. The promotions for “My My” included a one-day idol tea café, serving fans to raise profits for charity, where the group members prepared the food and drinks themselves. The members also auctioned off personal items for charity.
Still in November, Apink received their first award, the “Female Rookie Award”, at the 2011 Mnet Asian Music Awards held in Singapore. In December 2011, Apink and Beast released a music video of the song “Skinny Baby” for school uniform brand Skoolooks. In January 2012, they received three more “Rookie Awards”, at the Korean Culture & Entertainment Awards and the Golden Disk Awards held in Osaka and the High 1 Seoul Music Awards in Seoul.
In January 2012, Apink won their first music show award on Mnet’s M Countdown for “My My”. In February, they received the “Rookie of the Year” award at the 1st Gaon Chart Awards. The group performed at the Canadian Music Fest in March 2012. Apink News was continued for three seasons. For season 3, which began to air in June 2012, Apink members contributed as writers, camera operators, directors, and in other production jobs.
The group next released the eponymous “April 19” (4월 19일) to celebrate their one-year anniversary. The song was composed by Kim Jin-hwan, with lyrics by the group’s leader, Park Cho-rong. The song was included on their first studio album, Une Année, which was released on May 9, 2012. The group began promotion of the album with weekly appearances on music programs to perform the title song “Hush” through June. They continued to promote the album in July with the release of their third single from the album, “Bubibu”. The single was chosen by fans through a poll on Mnet’s website.
In January 2013, Apink recorded another single with Beast to promote Skoolooks. On January 5, at the AIA K-POP 2013 concert in Hong Kong, the group performed several of their songs along with other Cube Entertainment groups 4Minute and Beast. In April 2013, Hong Yoo-kyung left the group to focus on her studies.
The group’s third EP, Secret Garden, and music for its title track, “NoNoNo”, were released on July 5, 2013. “NoNoNo” was the group’s highest charting single, peaking at number 2 on Billboard’s K-Pop Hot 100. In November 2013, at the 2013 Mnet Asian Music Awards, Apink received the Next Generation Global Star award. In December, Apink collaborated with Cube Entertainment acts Beast, 4Minute, BTOB, G.NA, Roh Ji-hoon, Shin Ji-hoon and Kim Kiri to release “Christmas Song”. In the same month, they recorded a collaboration single with B.A.P, titled “Mini” for Skoolooks.
In July 2013, Apink were selected as honorary ambassadors for the Seoul Character & Licensing Fair 2013.
On January 13, 2014, Apink released “Good Morning Baby”, a song composed by Duble Sidekick, to celebrate the 1,000th day since the group’s debut. The song peaked at number 6 on Gaon’s weekly chart. Their fourth EP, Pink Blossom, and the music video for its title track, “Mr. Chu”, by Duble Sidekick, were released on March 31. The song peaked at number 2 on Billboard’s K-Pop Hot 100. Apink won six music show trophies for “Mr. Chu”, and the song was the eighth best selling digital song in 2014, according to Gaon’s year-end chart.
In June 2014, Yoon Bomi and Kim Namjoo formed a sub-unit called Apink BnN, which released the single “My Darling” for Brave Brothers’ 10th Anniversary Project. “My Darling” was later included on Pink Luv, Apink’s fifth EP. The single “Break Up to Make Up” for the project A Cube for Season #Sky Blue, featuring Jeong Eunji and label mate Huh Gak, was released on July 8, ranking first on Gaon’s weekly digital chart.
In August, Apink was chosen to replace Beast on MBC Every1’s reality show, Showtime. Apink’s Showtime first aired on August 7, 2014, and there were a total of eight episodes. The show followed Apink’s daily activities.
Apink debuted in Japan with a showcase on August 4 in Tokyo and on September 15 in Osaka with 6,000 fans in attendance. Their first Japanese-language single, “NoNoNo”, also including a Japanese version of “My My”, was released on October 22. The single was number 4 on Oricon’s weekly singles chart. More than 20,000 fans reportedly gathered for their debut events held in three Japanese cities.
From September to November 2014, Apink raised funds for the Seungil Hope Foundation to build a hospital for ALS patients. In November, Apink’s online fan club surpassed 100,000 members. On November 13, Apink received the Best Female Dance award at the 6th MelOn Music Awards for their video of “Mr. Chu”.
In November 2014, the group released their fifth EP, Pink Luv, as well as the music video for its title song, “Luv”, which was composed by Shinsadong Tiger. The song was Apink’s first number 1 ranking on Gaon’s weekly and monthly digital charts, and Pink Luv topped Gaon’s weekly album chart in its first week of release. Apink first performed “Luv” live at a showcase on November 20, followed by a performance of Music Bank the next day, prior to the album’s release. The group won first place on all three major Korean music shows two weeks in a row, the only girl group to do so in 2014. Besides The Show and Music Core, they also won a triple crown on Inkigayo, which only allows three wins before removing a song from competition. They finished the year by winning all the music shows in December with “Luv”. On Gaon’s year-end ranking, Apink was the third best selling girl group in 2014.
On January 10, 2015, Apink became the first group to win five consecutive awards on Music Core. The same month, the group received the “Digital Bonsang” and “Best Female Performance Group” awards at the 29th Golden Disk Awards in Beijing, “Bonsang” and “Popularity” awards at the Seoul Music Awards, “Best Female Group” at the Korean Culture and Entertainment Awards and “Best Single of December” at the Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards. Their first headlining concert, billed as ‘Pink Paradise’, was held in Olympic Hall, Olympic Park, on January 30 and 31. The 7,200 concert tickets sold out within two minutes after going on sale. Apink released a Japanese version of “Mr. Chu” on February 18, 2015, which also included a Japanese version of “Hush”. It reached number 2 on Oricon’s weekly singles chart, selling 54,000 copies the first week of its release.
In February 2015, Apink entered Forbes Korea Power Celebrity for the first time at number 18. That same month, the group was chosen as one of the “Best 3 New Artists (Asia)” at the Japan Gold Disc Awards, held by the Recording Industry Association of Japan.
Apink headlined their first overseas concert “Pink Paradise” in Singapore at The MAX Pavilion on March 22. They appeared at the Korean Times Music Festival in Los Angeles in May, Music Bank event in Hanoi, Vietnam and performed “Pink Paradise in Shanghai.
Apink released a single entitled “Promise U” on April 19, written by Jeong Eun-ji to commemorate the group’s fourth anniversary. A Japanese version of “Luv” was released on May 20 as their third single, with “Good Morning Baby” as the B-side. They performed the song for the first time at the “Girls Award 2015 Spring/Summer” in Tokyo on April 29 ahead of the release. The group also held release events in four cities, Tokyo, Sapporo, Okayama and Osaka as part of promotional event.
On July 16, the group released their second full-length album, Pink Memory, along with the title track “Remember”. On August 22 and 23, the group held their second concert “Pink Island” at Jamsil Indoor Stadium, after which they began overseas activities including a fan meeting in Thailand, hold their first concert tour in Japan, and a performance at MTV World Stage in Malaysia 2015. On August 26 the group released their first Japanese full-length album Pink Season.
In November 2015, Apink announced their first tour in North America and are scheduled to perform in Vancouver, Dallas, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The group’s fourth Japanese single Sunday Monday was released on December 9, along with the Japanese version of Petal as B-side track. At the end of 2015, Apink received Top 10 for MelOn Music Awards. The group closed the year as the second best-selling girl group of 2015 with sales of both Pink LUV and Pink Memory albums.
Apink started their North American tour on January 5 in Vancouver, followed by shows in Dallas, San Francisco and Los Angeles. The same month, they received Bonsang for Seoul Music Awards and Disk Bonsang for Golden Disk Awards. On January 24, the group was invited to attend KKBOX Music Awards in Taiwan. On February 25, the group released the music video to their first original Japanese song called “Brand New days”. The song is the opening theme song for anime Rilu Rilu Fairilu ~Yousei No Door~. The group performed at 10th Asian Film Awards on March 17. On April 2, the group performed a mini concert “Pink Memory Day” in Singapore. On April 19, Apink released a digital single entitled “The Wave”, written by Park Cho-rong to celebrate their 5th anniversary along with a photobook called “Girls’ Sweet Repose”.
Apink performed alongside international acts OneRepublic, Far East Movement, Bebe Rexha and Philippines’s artists Gary Valenciano and his son Gabriel, and love team James Reid and Nadine Lustre for MTV Music Evolution in Manila on 24 June. To promote the song, Apink held release events in seven different cities, from 1 to 7 August, starting in Fukuoka, followed by events in Hiroshima, Nagoya, Osaka, Kobe, Tokyo and Niigata.
Apink released their third full-length Korean album, Pink Revolution, on September 26, 2016, following a hiatus of one year and two months, the group’s longest since debut. The title track, “Only One” (내가 설렐 수 있게), was used to promote the album along with B-tracks “Boom Pow Love” and “Ding Dong”. Apink promoted “Only One” and Pink Revolution for nearly a month, and the album has since sold 50,000+ copies in South Korea.
In November 2016, Apink began their “Pink Aurora” Asia Tour, performing at numerous destinations throughout eastern Asia including Taiwan and Singapore. Plan A Entertainment also announced Apink’s 3rd Korean concert “Pink Party,” which took place in Seoul on December 17 and 18. After this announcement, tickets sold out in just over two minutes. Also during this time, Apink returned to Japan to promote their upcoming second Japanese album, “Pink Doll,” which is set to be released in Japan on December 21.
On November 30, Plan A Entertainment announced through Naver that Apink would be returning on December 15 with their first special album, Dear, despite rigorous activities and promotions throughout the end of 2016. Plan A stated that the album would commend the unwavering love and invaluable support from their fans since debut. Dear has five new original songs, three of which are duets sung and written exclusively by pairs of members. A music video for the album’s title track, “Cause You’re My Star,” was uploaded on YouTube by 1theK and Apink’s official channel. The album also included instrumentals and ballad versions of Apink’s previous hits including “Mr. Chu,” “NoNoNo,” “Luv,” and “April 19th”.
On March 21, Apink released their seventh Japanese single, “Bye Bye”. Eun-Ji’s second mini album, The Space, and its title track, “The Spring”, were released on April 10. On April 19, Apink released another fan song, “Always”. Eun-ji’s first solo concert took place on June 3-5.
On June 26, Pink UP was released, along with the single “Five”, written by Shinsadong Tiger. In its first week of release, Pink UP topped the Gaon Album Chart, the first since Pink Luv. “Five” peaked at number 4 on the digital chart.
Apink released the Japanese single “Motto GO!GO!” on July 25 and promoted the song by holding their third Japanese tour, ‘3 Years’ – performing in Kobe on the 22nd, Nagoya on the 26th, and Yokohama on the 30th of July. As a collaboration with labelmates Huh Gak and Victon, Apink released “Oasis” on August 3, a remake of 2007 Brown Eyed Girls song.
Starting in August, Apink began their “Pink Up” Asia Tour, performing in Hong Kong, Bangkok and Taipei. In October, Apink returned to Japan to promote their ninth Japanese single, “Orion, and later that month also announced the closing of their Japanese fan club ‘Panda Japan’. At the Asia Artist Awards on November 15, Apink won the ‘Best Celebrity Award’.
Apink held their fourth Korean concert Pink Space in Seoul on January 12 and 13. The concert, which was announced in December, had sold out tickets three minutes after its announcement. In celebration of their seventh anniversary, Apink released single “Miracle” and a photobook on April 19, followed by a fan meeting held on April 21.
On July 2, Apink released their seventh mini album One & Six. The title track, “I’m So Sick” (Hangul: 1도 없어), was used to promote the album along with B-track “Alright”. Once again, Apink worked with common collaborator Black Eyed Pilseung for the title track, who had previously produced “Only One”. With this comeback, Apink took on a different direction conceptually, with a bolder image and a more sophisticated sound. “I’m So Sick” topped several music charts in South Korea after its release. The album itself topped the Gaon chart and led Apink to reach their highest-ever position on Billboard’s World Albums chart at No. 11. The success of the song and album further led to Apink making their debut on Billboard’s Social 50 chart, opening at No. 39. Billboard have chosen the title track as one of 20 Best K-Pop Songs of 2018, noting that “it felt a bit meta — as the six-member girl group swapped out their girlish image for something far more compelling.”.
Starting in August, Apink will embark on another Asia tour, visiting Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta, Singapore, Tokyo and Taipei.
On January 7, Apink released their eighth mini album Percent, along with the single “%%(Eung Eung)”, composed by frequent collaborator Black Eyed Pilseung and Jeon Goon. The single, which continued the new direction taken by the group with “I’m So Sick”, peaked at No. 17 on the Gaon digital chart, while the album reached No. 3 on the Korean chart and No. 14 on the Billboard World Albums chart.
Apink’s image and music style are often compared to first-generation idol girl groups S.E.S. and Fin.K.L. However, with releases like 2014’s “Luv” and 2015’s “Remember” group deviated, and showed a more mature and sensitive side to the group while still retaining their trademark innocence.
Apink’s music generally fits within the bubblegum pop genre, with signature cheery lyrics. Jeff Benjamin of Billboard commented that “My My” recalled early 2000s bubblegum pop, “NoNoNo” was influenced by 1980s synth-pop and “Luv” recalls 1990s hip-hop while blending it with ballad melancholy, a fall-themed song of lost love. Their 2016 title track, “Only One” is described as mature, blending in mid tempo R&B and dance-pop with subtle hip-hop beats while song like “Boom Pow Love” shows a far more urban-pop, energetic vibe with pulsing beats compared to their previous hits.
Apink started with a documentary program titled Apink News, which aired on the cable channel TrendE for three seasons (2011–2012). They appeared in another reality show, Birth of a Family, from 2011–2012. In 2014, Apink appeared on another reality show, MBC Every1’s Showtime, and were the subject of the third season.
The group has won awards at shows such as the 26th Golden Disc Awards, 21st Seoul Music Awards, and 13th Mnet Asian Music Awards. Their first music program win was on M Countdown on January 5, 2012, for “My My” from their second EP Snow Pink.