Highlight (Korean: 하이라이트) is a South Korean boy band formerly known as Beast (Korean: 비스트). The band consists of five members: Yoon Doo-joon, Yong Jun-hyung, Yang Yo-seob, Lee Gi-kwang, and Son Dong-woon. Original member Jang Hyun-seung officially left the group in April 2016. Later that year, the five remaining members moved labels from Cube Entertainment to Around Us Entertainment and subsequently changed their name to Highlight in 2017.
As Beast, the group released three Korean full-length albums, nine Korean mini-albums, two Japanese full-length albums, and numerous singles. The group debuted in 2009 with the mini-album, Beast Is the B2ST. In 2011, they released their first full-length album, Fiction and Fact, and made their Japanese debut with the single, “Shock” (Japanese Version). As Highlight, the group debuted in 2017 with the mini-album, Can You Feel It?.
Beast initially received attention for the lack of industry success previously experienced by its members, with media outlets referring to them as “a group of recycled material.” However, the group has achieved significant commercial success and critical accolades and is one of the most awarded groups of all time at the Golden Disk Awards, the Seoul Music Awards, and the Melon Music Awards.
Prior to their debut, Korean news outlets reported that Cube Entertainment would be releasing a new boy group known as “B2ST”, an abbreviation for “Boys to Search for Top” The name was changed to “Beast” before their debut, but the group retains the original stylisation in all their promotional material.
In October 2009, Beast held their debut showcase at the MTV GongGae Hall and made their live performance debut on KBS Music Bank with their debut single, “Bad Girl”. Their debut mini-album, Beast is the B2ST featured five songs, including the intro track “Beast is the B2ST,” “Mystery,” and “Oasis.” The song “Yet” (아직은, Ajigeun) was banned from airplay due to swearing in Jun-hyung’s rap. Beast won their first award, Rookie of the Month for December, awarded by the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
In early 2010, Beast promoted their second single, “Mystery,” from the mini-album. The members created their own humorous amateur music video for the song, featuring fellow Korean pop singers including members of Girls’ Generation and Kara. The mini-album went on to sell 40,000 copies, an unusual feat for a Korean rookie group, with the album’s original print run of 20,000 copies selling out in its first month.
In January 2010, Beast and their labelmates, girl group 4minute, signed with worldwide album company Universal Music Group for their international promotions and album launches and began their first international promotions in Taiwan with 4minute. The group was awarded the Best Newcomer Award alongside girl groups T-ara and After School at the 19th Seoul Music Awards in February 2010.
Beast released their second mini-album Shock of the New Era in March 2010 with the lead single “Shock.” The group achieved their first number-one win on Mnet’s M! Countdown with “Shock.” The album quickly sold 20,000 copies in Korea and was certified into the Gold Disk category in Singapore. Reviews of the title track described it has having both powerful vocals and a rock-influenced strong sound, a departure from the pop feel of their debut single, and praised the complex choreography for the track in live performances.
During the promotion period for “Shock,” the group performed an orchestra version of Korean group Noel’s ballad “Despite Holding On” (붙잡고도, Butjapgodo) and was recognized as a boy group with outstanding singing ability. A digital single version of their track “Easy” from their Shock of the New Era album was released in April 2010 with the title “Easy (Sincere Ver.).” The track used strings and piano as opposed to the hip-hop feel and electronic instruments of the original.
In August 2010, Beast received the Golden Disk Award from Singapore, Malaysia, and Thailand at the ‘2010 Summer CUBE Stars Party’ in Seoul. Beast and 4minute also became the first Korean artists to be invited to perform on the Singapore Youth Olympics pre-opening stage. The group was awarded with the Cool Star Award in the 2010 Mnet 20’s Choice Awards. American R&B musician Omarion made a surprise appearance as a guest onstage with the group as they received their award. Omarion had earlier invited Beast to perform with him after viewing a YouTube clip of the group delivering a dance performance of his single “Ice Box”.
On September 17, 2010, Beast released the song “Jumeogeul Kkwak Jwigo” (주먹을 꽉 쥐고, lit. Clenching a Tight Fist) as a single from their third mini-album, Mastermind. The song gained anticipation and attention from the public for the excellent vocal ability they displayed. Mastermind was released on September 28, 2010. On October 8, 2010, a week after their comeback, Beast claimed first place on KBS Music Bank with the song “Soom” (숨, lit. Breath) from Mastermind. The song was noted for its original sound and distinctive choreography. On October 23, 2010, Beast is one of the recipient of the Asia Influential Artist Award which is given to those who had gained the most attention in Asia for the year.
On November 3, 2010, Beast opened up the preorder sales for their fourth mini-album titled Lights Go On Again. The album took the top five spots on the Mnet music charts on November 8, 2010, with their lead track, “Beautiful” debuting at first place, while the album’s remaining four tracks placed second, third, fourth, and fifth respectively. According to album sales site Hanteo, the group’s album sales showed great success, with their sales figures ranked first. On November 15, 2010, Beast released the first part of the relay music drama from the fourth mini-album on their official YouTube channel. It garnered interest from fans as well as overseas promoters and media for the style and concept of the upcoming music videos.
Beast entered these Japanese market with the release of their first Japanese album, Beast – Japan Premium Edition, on November 24, 2010. It debuted at number 13 on the Oricon weekly album charts. On November 27, 2010, Beast held their first Japanese showcase called ‘The Legend of Beast, Vol. 1’ at Tokyo Big Site in Ohdaiba, Tokyo. The members were transported to the site of the showcase by helicopter, where they were able to see a human formation of the group’s name made up of fans as a welcome greeting. The group performed 9 hit tracks, including “Bad Girl,” “Shock,” and “Soom”. They also announced plans to officially debut in Japan in February 2011.
On December 1, 2010, Beast won an award for being one of 2010’s most photogenic figures by the 11th Korean Visual Arts Festival, hosted and organized by the Korea Broadcast Camera Directors Association. On December 9, Beast was awarded with the Yepp Newcomer Award at the 25th Golden Disk Awards. According to album sold research site Hanteo Chart on December 11, 2010, Beast have sold 107,006 copies from January – October 2010 with four of their released mini-albums, including their first mini-album. This made Beast as the only rookie group out of all the boy/girl groups who have sold over 100,000 copies in 2010. This feat just shows the groups growing popularity. Beast held their first solo concert on December 12, 2010 at the Jamsil Indoor Stadium in Seoul. The concert’s official title was ‘Welcome to the Beast Airline’.
On December 23, plans for the release of self-composed duets by the members of the group were announced. The tracks released were “Thanks To”, a hiphop track from Yoseob and Junhyung, Hyunseung and Kikwang’s R&B track “Let It Snow”, and Doojoon and Dongwoon’s ballad track “Muni Dathimyeon” (문이 닫히면, lit. When The Door Closes). The tracks debuted at the Mnet M! Countdown stage. The songs were released on December 21, 2010 as the digital mini album My Story.
The group was awarded with the Bonsang Award at the 20th Seoul Music Awards on January 20, 2011 where they performed their hit songs “Shock” and “Soom”. Beast was also ranked number 40 on Forbes Korea Power Celebrity list released on February 24, 2011. Their first Japanese single, “Shock”, was released on March 16, 2011, and debuted at number two on Oricon’s weekly chart. However, due to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake, all scheduled Japanese promotions for their single were cancelled.
Beast released their first full length Korean album on May 17, 2011 titled Fiction and Fact. Their track “On Rainy Days”, released as a digital single prior to the release of their album, won first place on KBS Music Bank’s May 27, 2011 episode instead of their heavily promoted lead song “Fiction”. Their second Japanese single, “Bad Girl”, was released on June 15, 2011.
In 2012, Beast went on an international tour, “Beautiful Show”, which visited 17 cities in 12 different countries from Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. They were also featured in the soundtrack for Korean drama, “Big,” with a song titled “Hateful Person”.
On July 11 at midnight KST, B2ST held a ‘Hang Out On Live Air’ event on their Google+ page to commemorate their 1000 days as a group together since their debut in 2009. They spoke with fans from 50 countries and revealed information on their comeback.
On July 21, Beast released their fifth mini-album Midnight Sun. Nearly an hour after their mini-album was released, the music video for “Beautiful Night” was released on Beast’s official YouTube channel. On 26 July 2012 at 23:00, they held a guerilla concert at the Gwanghwamun Plaza, in front of an audience of 4,000 people, to promote their fifth mini album Midnight Sun, and the performance was broadcast on SBS’s music show Inkigayo. On August 16, Beast won a triple crown on M! Countdown for “Beautiful Night” which achieved top spot on the charts for three consecutive weeks.
On May 29, 2013, Beast released the digital single titled “Will You Be Okay?”, a ballad written by member Yong Junhyung.
On July 11, Cube Entertainment revealed the album’s name, titled Hard to Love, How to Love, and the release date of the album, July 19, through their Twitter account. On July 12, the label revealed the promotional track of the album, titled “Shadow (Geurimja)”, and a promotional photo. On July 15, the album’s track list, composed of eight tracks was also revealed and on the following day, July 16, music video teaser for “Shadow” was released on the group’s official YouTube account followed by the release of the full-length music video for Shadow on July 19.
On June 16, 2014, Beast released their sixth mini album Good Luck.
On October 5, 2014, Beast announced the upcoming release of their seventh mini-album titled Time, with a teaser video posted on their official YouTube Channel. The album was released on October 20, 2014.
They released their eighth mini-album Ordinary on July 27, 2015.
On April 19, 2016, Cube Entertainment released a statement confirming Hyunseung’s departure from the group. The band continued as a five-member group and Hyunseung proceeded under Cube as a solo artist. The reason for his departure was due to differences in music styles between him and the other members.
On June 21, Beast announced the upcoming release of their third full-length album, Highlight. The album was released on July 3, with the pre-release track, Butterfly, released on June 26, and Ribbon as their title tracks. This marked their first comeback as a group of five.
On December 15, 2016, Beast officially announced the launch of their new label Around Us Entertainment, subsequently leaving their label of seven years, Cube Entertainment. As the Beast name is trademarked by Cube, Beast was unable to promote under the name legally.
On December 19, 2016, Beast announced a surprise fan meeting, “777 Party”, that was held at the Jangchung Gymnasium on December 31, 2016. This was their first event after being managed by their new label.
On February 24, 2017, Around Us Entertainment announced that the members would continue as a group together, now under the name of “Highlight”.
On March 2, 2017, it was announced that Highlight would officially debut on March 20, 2017 with their mini-album Can You Feel It?.
On April 9, 2017, Highlight announced that they would be holding their first concert tour as Highlight and release a repackaged album Calling You on May 29.
On October 16, 2017, Highlight released their second EP, Celebrate, in the celebration of their eighth anniversary.
On August 24, 2018, Doojoon enlisted for his mandatory military service.
It was announced Higlight’s 3rd EP, Outro, will be released on November 20, being promoted with 4 members.
On October 12, 2018, it was announced that Yoseob would enlist in January 2019.
Beast was the topic of a short-lived reality show, MTV B2ST, which was hosted by MTV. The show ran on a weekly basis from August 23 – October 9, 2009, with a total of ten episodes. The program showcased their journey leading up to their debut. It was announced in March 2010 that Beast will be hosting a second season of MTV B2ST entitled MTV Beast Almighty. After last year’s broadcast debut, season 2 had fans and viewers’ wishes as the concept of the program where the members will have to pick out one wish to grant for every episode. The show ran on a weekly basis from April 10 – May 29, 2010. Beast became the protagonists of the variety show Idol Maid running on a weekly basis from July 21 – October 13, 2010. The group also had a cameo on the sitcom More Charming by the Day.
Beast was selected as a PR envoy to promote the audition program Global Super Idol, which aired in November, 2011. They also attended the preliminaries in Korea, Thailand, and China to encourage the contestants and give advice. Global Super Idol is a global audition program that pits finalists from Thailand and China against finalists in Korea. All the finalists will attend the main show in Korea. Since Beast is very popular in Asian countries, including Thailand, Japan, and China, their popularity helped the show become popular too by performing their songs for fans and contestants from all over the world.
Beast was a part of 12-episode reality show, Showtime: Burning the Beast, in 2014. It was their first reality show in 4 years, which featured them getting to know each other better through missions.
On December 3, 2010, Beast attended the Patricia Field Collection fashion show located in Seoul Chungnamdong MCM Haus and was praised by Patricia Field herself for their “distinctive and modern look”. For this collection, MCM’s Heritage and Patricia Field worked together to show off a modern New Yorker style with a trendy shopper bag, backpack, clutch, and more items and any money earned from it will be donated to the ‘Korea Disaster Relief’ to benefit the civilians left homeless from the Yeonpyeong incident.
In April 2012, Beast collaborated with Jim Rickey to make their own sneaker brand, Beast X Jim Rickey. Beast members were directly involved in the design of these shoes and they are available in 6 different colours.