Wonder Girls (Korean: 원더걸스, Chinese: 奇迹女孩, Japanese: ワンダーガールズ) is a South Korean girl group, whose current line-up is Sunye, Yubin, Yeeun, and Hyelim. They are managed by their producer, the singer-songwriter Park Jin-Young under his talent agency, JYP Entertainment. They are co-managed in the United States by Creative Artists Agency. The group's name, 'Wonder Girls', comes from the idea that they are "the girls who can amaze the world". The group began their entry into the American market in 2009 as an opening act for The Jonas Brothers' World Tour, performing the English version of their hit single "Nobody". In late 2009, their song charted at number seventy-six on the Billboard Hot 100 chart, making the Wonder Girls the first South Korean group to enter the chart.
In 2010, Wonder Girls entered the Chinese market with the compilation album Wonder Girls that included Chinese language versions of "Tell Me", "Nobody" and "So Hot".
In 2012, Wonder Girls signed with DefStar Records, a subsidiary of Sony Music Japan, for their Japanese debut.
It was announced on November 26, 2012, that the group would be taking a break because of Sunye's marriage, with the other members focusing on their own activities.
On December 21, 2013, Ahn Sohee's contract with JYP Entertainment as a member of Wonder Girls expired and she decided not to renew her contract with JYP Entertainment as a member of Wonder Girls, effectively leaving the group.
The Wonder Girls were introduced through a TV show titled MTV Wonder Girls. The first four episodes outlined the characteristics and profiles of each member and showcased their schedules for the day. Shortly after selecting Yeeun as the fifth member, the Wonder Girls held their first showcase in the MTV Studio. They performed a cover version of "Don't Cha" by the Pussycat Dolls as well as their own songs, including "Irony" and "미안한 마음" ("It's Not Love"). Sunye sang her version of Destiny's Child's "Stand Up for Love", while Hyuna performed a showcase of her dancing skills. The other three members — Yeeun, Sunmi and Sohee — performed a cover version of Janet Jackson's "Together Again".
2007: Debut and The Wonder Years
The Wonder Girls officially debuted in early 2007 on MBC's Show! Music Core, performing "Irony", the hip-hop single from their first album, The Wonder Begins. The album sold 11,454 physical copies in 2007. The Wonder Girls official fanclub was established, with the name of "Wonderfuls". The group held several showcases in China after receiving Chinese lessons. During the rest of 2007, however, members of the Wonder Girls were beset by various injuries and health problems. On June 25, Sohee was sidelined for a month after tearing a knee ligament in a fall from a running motorcycle during the filming of her movie, 뜨거운 것이 좋아 (I Like It Hot).
The remaining four members continued performing until late July, when Hyuna was withdrawn from the group by her parents due to their concern over her problems with chronic gastroenteritis and fainting spells. In autumn 2007, the talent agency Good Entertainment sent their trainee Yubin to JYP Entertainment as a replacement for Hyuna. She made her debut three days later in the group's live performance of "Tell Me" on Music Bank.
Their first full-length album, The Wonder Years, was released the following week with "Tell Me". Due to the last-minute addition of Yubin, the album version does not contain her part. However, the performance version of the song was reworked to include a bridge with rapping by Yubin. The single was a hit and reached number one on various Korean television and internet music charts, including KBS's Music Bank. The choreography for the song was simple and widely imitated: by October, many fan performances of the dance circulated on video sharing sites such as YouTube and Daum, including one by a group of policemen who were eventually profiled on SBS's Star King. The dance's popularity was immense and the explosive attention it received became widely known as the "Tell Me Virus", earning the group the title of 'Korea's Little Sisters'. Videos of the dance came from fans in the Philippines and as far away as France, and the song also reach #1 in Thailand.
The Wonder Girls had an extensive promotional schedule for their album and in late 2007 they began performing their second single, "이 바보" ("This Fool"). They made numerous appearances on variety and game shows, sang live on radio shows, at music festivals, on music programs, and in special joint performances with other groups such as Big Bang and Girls' Generation. MTV also broadcast four seasons of The Wonder Life, a reality TV series starring the girls. The Wonder Girls returned to Korea in spring 2008. In May, a picture of each member was released over a period of five days, starting with Yeeun] and ending with Sohee. A preview track from the upcoming single was then released. There were rumours that Hyuna would be returning to the group; JYP Entertainment, however, said that the story was untrue.
2008: "So Hot: 3rd Project" and The Wonder Years: Trilogy
A new single, "So Hot", was released on May 22, 2008; the song topped online charts soon after. In mid-2008, they performed on MBC's Show! Music Core, performing "So Hot" and "This Time". The full single was released soon after containing the title track, the rap version of "Tell Me", "This Time" and "You're Out". Due to a vocal cord injury, Yubin temporarily lip-synched her parts under doctor's orders.
After a very short break, the Wonder Girls made a comeback in early fall 2008. The full music video for "Nobody" was revealed, and the single was digitally released simultaneously. They performed the following weekend on Show! Music Core, Music Bank and Inkigayo. The song went to No. 1 on KBS' Music Bank, staying there for four consecutive weeks, and also won Cyworld's "Song of the Month" award in September and October 2008. Like "Tell Me", "Nobody" also sparked a dance craze.
At the 2008 MNet KM Music Festival Awards, the Wonder Girls received three awards: the "Song of the Year" award, "Best Music Video" for "Nobody" and "Best Female Group". The group also won an award at the 2008 Golden Disk Awards a month later for high digital sales. At the 18th Seoul Music Awards, the Wonder Girls won the Daesang ("Artist of the Year" award), the highest award offered, for "Nobody", and two other awards.
In February 2008, the Wonder Girls joined their producer Park Jin-young for his month-long concert tour through Korea and the United States (including New York City and Los Angeles) as special guests, and took the opportunity to film the music video for "Wishing on a Star" while in New York. Park had stated that the concerts were also meant to be a showcase for his other protégés, such as Min, G-Soul, and Lim Jeong Hee. They were also selected as a top girl group by Virgin Media.
In October 2008, the Wonder Girls were signed by the Creative Artists Agency (CAA). By the end of 2008, they had earned ₩12 billion (equivalent to $9 million US) as a group.
2009–10: focus on international activities and line-up changes
The Wonder Girls tour started on February 28, 2009, in Bangkok, Thailand. Along with their mentor, JYP, they held concerts in the United States, visiting Los Angeles on March 5, La Mirada on March 6, and New York City on March 8. They also performed for a small crowd at MTV Iggy on March 10. The group then returned to South Korea, holding concerts in late March in Seoul and Busan. This tour was documented in the M.net reality show Welcome to Wonderland.
After the end of the tour, the Wonder Girls debuted a music video for "Now", a cover of Fin.K.L's single from their third album. They also created a commercial for LG; a version with only the dance was released online on April 9, 2009. The Wonder Girls also started their official MySpace Music account. The page confirmed that the group would launch in the United States with the official release of an English version of "Nobody" in summer 2009.
In June 2009, JYP Entertainment announced that the Wonder Girls would be joining the Jonas Brothers on the North American leg of the Jonas Brothers World Tour 2009. The company also announced that "Nobody" would be the first English single, followed by "Tell Me", and that an English album would be forthcoming. It was later revealed that in order to concentrate on their American debut, both Sohee and Sunmi had dropped out of high school.
The Wonder Girls released an English version of "Nobody" on June 26, 2009, the day before the start of their tour with the Jonas Brothers. The Wonder Girls were initially signed on for 13 concert dates across the US, but they were eventually given the opportunity to join the Jonas Brothers for a total of 45 concert dates. "Nobody" eventually entered the Billboard Hot 100 in October 2009, making them the first Korean group to enter the chart. The song also topped the Taiwan and Hong Kong music charts.
On January 22, 2010, JYP announced that Sunmi would be postponing her musical career to pursue an academic career and that Hyerim (Lim), a JYP trainee, would take her place. Sunmi continued as a member of the Wonder Girls in February in order to complete scheduled events.
The Wonder Girls had been preparing their first English album, with half (six tracks) to consist of English versions of Korean singles and the other half of brand new material, initially scheduled for release in February 2010. They were also planning to have a headlining tour in January 2010; however, due to the departure of Sunmi, plans for both the tour and the album were delayed.
Due to the popularity of the group in Asia and worldwide, the electronics brand Sony Ericsson chose the girls to be the ambassadors of Sony Ericsson in the Asia Pacific Region involving promotional activities in South Korea, China, Japan, Singapore, Indonesia and Taiwan as well as Australia and New Zealand. After the announcement, they flew to Singapore where they held a press meeting performing their songs "So Hot", "Tell Me" and "Nobody".
On April 5, 2010, the Wonder Girls announced a 20-show tour of the US and Canada, the Wonder World Tour, which was to include fellow label mates 2PM for nine dates in Washington DC, Atlanta, New York, Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Francisco in conjunction with Live Nation. The tour was to be a combination of the English and Korean versions of their hits, covers of popular English-language songs, and new songs from their upcoming album, as stated by Yeeun during their Ustream webchat with fans on April 17, 2010. The first leg of the tour began in Washington, D.C. on June 4, 2010.
On May 1, the Wonder Girls performed at the Korean Music Festival at the Hollywood Bowl.
The Wonder Girls followed up their tour announcement with the unveiling of the newest single/EP, titled "2 Different Tears". The title track was recorded in three different languages: Chinese, Korean and English. The music video for "2 Different Tears" was premiered on YouTube on May 15, 2010; it was shot in the Gyeonggi-do province of South Korea. The music video includes Park Jin-Young and the Korean-American comedian Bobby Lee. There are three versions of the video: Korean, English and Chinese. Their album was released on the same day.
Between May 15 and 31, 2010, the Wonder Girls returned to South Korea to promote the Korean version of "2 Different Tears". They appeared on M.Net's M! Countdown on May 22, 2010. On May 27, the Wonder Girls won their first No. 1 award for "2 Different Tears" on M! Countdown. The group ended their last week of promotional activities in South Korea by performing on MBC's Music Core on May 29, 2010. During this two-week period, the Wonder Girls also appeared on several Korean variety and talk shows, including KBS's Win Win and Happy Together, as well as SBS's Family Outing 2 and MBC's Come to Play.
In May 2010, eight more US cities and two Canadian cities were added to the second leg of the Wonder World Tour. In addition, it was announced that label mates, 2AM, would open for the Wonder Girls in San Francisco, San Diego, Las Vegas, Englewood, Atlanta, Chicago and Seattle. During this time, the Wonder Girls' American promotional activities continued to earn them recognition: the popular concert venue House of Blues named them "Artist of the Month" for June 2010 while the online concert authority Pollstar featured them in a special article titled "The Wonders of K-pop".
On July 29, MTV Korea premiered season 4 of Wonder Girls, which introduced the Wonder Girls' everyday life in the United States, such as at their New York home and studio, and preparations for the MTV World Stage Live in Malaysia 2010. The MTV World Stage Live in Malaysia 2010 was held at the Sunway Lagoon Surf Beach on July 31. The show was broadcast on August 21 on MTV Asia.
On July 30, M.net premiered a new show Made in Wonder Girls that took viewers behind the scenes of the Wonder Girls first American tour as well as their promotions in Singapore and Indonesia. On August 3, the Wonder Girls performed in Singapore's SINGfest 2010 at Fort Canning Park. On September 3, The Wonder Girls performed in Seattle for Aion.
2011: Return to Korea with Wonder World
In January, more information was released about the American album. JYP Entertainment's CEO Park Jin Young hinted on his Twitter account that he had written a new song for the girls while recording in his drama Dream High. He later tweeted that he was not the only producer for this album. Rainstone (Rhee Woo Seok) of JYP Entertainment, the songwriter behind "Nobody", said that the album was expected to have six to seven tracks. The well- known producer Rodney ‘Darkchild’ Jerkins and the Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter Claude Kelly were revealed to be heavily participating in the album and the album was to be released by one of the three major labels of America.
In February, the Chinese distributor Starsing Records unveiled the best-selling albums for 2010, which included American artists like Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, but also the Wonder Girls Special Edition album.
During the 2011 Chloe Fashion Show in Shanghai, China, leader Sunye said it was not clear if they would add their Mandarin songs to the new album and it was possible there would be a Mandarin album for their Chinese fans. Yeeun said she was interested in composing songs for this album. Yubin said that they would be going for a bolder approach and that they would indeed raise the stakes in their dance music, but still have elements of retro.
On April 6, on SBS Power FM’s Kim Hee Chul’s Young Street, Sunye hinted at a possible comeback in Korea when asked about the Wonder Girls’ activities by a listener.
On June 30, it was announced on their official website that the girls had been invited to perform at the 2011 Special Olympics closing ceremonies in Athens, Greece. They performed the traditional Korean folk song "Arirang" along "Nobody" sung in English and "Tell Me" sung in Korean. The performance was held on July 4.
In early summer 2011, it was falsely reported on several fan websites that the Wonder Girls would be performing the US national anthem as well as a new song from their upcoming album at the New York Mets game. On the official Wonder Girls website, Park Jin Young explained the false events to fans in a news announcement: "Unfortunately, Wonder Girls are not scheduled to be at the Mets game. In addition, the Wonder Girls’ new song release will officially be announced by JYP Entertainment through all official Wonder Girls websites when the official date is determined."
On August 5, The Wonder Girls appeared on Billboard.com's Mashup Monday program, performing a self-arranged cover version of B.o.B and Bruno Mars' "Nothin' On You". On October 9, 2011, a representative revealed, "The album will be produced in a movie OST format. We’ll be planning our concept to fit around the feel of the song, so as opposed to retro, we feel that it will be more pop. The Wonder Girls will definitely be coming out with a new image, so please look forward to it."
On October 23, JYPE and the members revealed a new poster, "R U Ready?", hanging over their company's building with a new version of the Wonder Girls' logo in a chic new design in black. JYPE confirmed the digital music distributors who revealed, "The Wonder Girls’ second official album will be available starting November 7." The Wonder Girls would only be promoting for a month, however, before they prepared for their Asian promotional tour in December. They enlisted the help of some big figures for their comeback. In addition to having Beyoncé‘s choreographer, Jonte, on their team, the girls also had the designer Johnny Wujek, the fashion stylist for Katy Perry, for this album. The album, Wonder World consists of twelve new songs with one remix. The song "G.N.O" was composed and written by Yeeun, Lim wrote "Act Cool" and Yubin wrote the raps for the songs "Girls Girls", "Me, in" and "Sweet Dreams". The full album and music video was released on November 7 with promotions for Wonder World with a comeback stage on Music Bank on November 11.
2012: Further international ventures, first TV movie and Asian expansion
In January, the girls were in Taiwan to promote the album at “2012 Superstar Red & White Red White Music Festival” (2012超級巨星紅白藝能大賞), with labelmate miss A.
They returned to American activities with their made-for-TV movie The Wonder Girls, and released the soundtrack for the movie titled, The DJ is Mine featuring School Gyrls, on January 11. "The DJ is Mine" reached No. 1 onseveral Korean charts. The girls attended the 2012 CES, the world's largest consumer technology tradeshow. They also promoted a new line of Monsters headphones, called "Diamond Tears". They attended the premiere for their movie at the CGV Cinemas in Los Angeles on January 20. The television premiere was on February 2 at TeenNick channel.
Due to a delay in Asian promotions, Wonder Girls promoted later than planned. During March, they attended a Chinese dance show "Let's Shake it" (舞林大会), performing "Nobody" and "Be My Baby" to promote the Asian version of Wonder World'.
JYP tweeted that the American album would include 12 new tracks along with the "biggest scale ever" music video with a huge surprise on the first single, scheduled for release in the summer, waiting on US distributors and marketing. Wonder Girls’ new album in Korea was confirmed by their company and was scheduled to be released in early June. The Wonder Girls would be stepping away from the retro hits to focus on more powerful dance tracks for the summer season. J.Y. Park recently[when?] wrote on his Twitter page, "Wonder Girls’ US album now complete, and all the songs on their Korean album have unanimously been approved."
As for their U.S. activities, it was reported that after the Wonder Girls TV movie had been shown, they had received proposals from the major broadcasting companies in the United States, and were in talks concerning full U.S. promotions and activities for the debut album.
After much speculation, Yeeun revealed that the girls would make a comeback in early June. The group released their mini-album titled Wonder Party on June 3, 2012. The music video for the album's lead single, "Like This", was premiered on the same day. It has topped several real time charts such as Daum and Soribada. On June 12, they won their first music show award for the song on MBC's Show Champion.
It was later announced in mid-June that the group would be making their debut in Japan and that their record label, DefStar Records, had expressed interest in the group's single "Nobody" after listening to the girls' previous tracks and albums, leading to the choice for their first Japanese single entitled "Nobody For Everybody" which was released on July 25. The group had already been chosen as CF models for the Japanese brand Kowa for the Marshpuff products. The CF included a backtrack of their first Japanese single.
On July 3, 2012, it was announced that the group's new digital single "Like Money" would be released on July 10. The song had appeared in their TV movie "The Wonder Girls". Akon features on the song and appears in the music video. On July 21 and 22, the Wonder Girls had a collaboration performance with Akon at the Green Groove Festival 2012.
On September 5, the group performed three songs from their upcoming American album at their iHeartRadio concert: "Ouch", "Stay Together" and "Wake Up". Towards the end of October, Wonder Girls had an interview with Nick Cannon and they were talking about a new show showcasing the Wonder Girls, coming from their original movie. Also in October, their new song "Best Christmas Ever" for A Very Special Christmas 25th Anniversary CD was released. The Wonder Girls will also be releasing a new Japanese album titled Wonder Best on November 14 including a new song, updated versions of older hit songs and Japanese versions of their songs. The album is a mix of English, Korean, and Japanese.
2013-2014: Sunye's marriage and pregnancy, SoHee's departure and group hiatus
On November 27, Sunye revealed that she would be marrying her long-term boyfriend on January 26, 2013. An official statement by JYP was issued, saying: "Sun, who debuted in 2007 and led the Wonder Girls as their leader for six years, recently informed the agency as well has the Wonder Girls’ members about her intentions, and understanding that her decision has come after much thought, we have decided to respect her decision. Sun will be focusing on her marriage and family life for the time being, and the other members of Wonder Girls will be concentrating on individual activities such as acting, producing, solo albums, and broadcast activities. We hope for many messages of congratulations and encouragement. Thank you."
After the announcement, an online chat was held with Yenny and Yubin, who said "We’re all going to work hard, including Sunmi, with the same heart so that the Wonder Girls can continue forward and so that we don’t keep our fans waiting for long. We’ll leave you with a big present. Sunmi-ya~" Sunmi then entered the chat room, saying "I’m nervous to be greeting you all for the first time in such a while. I’ve missed you! I’m working hard right now to bring you guys some good news with the other members." Fans speculated that this might mean Sunmi would be returning to the group, but JYP denied the rumour.
During the chat, regarding several fans who had been less than positive about Sunye's marriage, Yenny said "Did we ever say to you to not work, not study, and just vote [for us] and go to our broadcasts?" She later clarified her comment, saying: "Some people may not listen to me no matter what I say, but when I told you guys during chat, 'Did I ever say to not work, not study, and just vote and go to our broadcast?', I didn’t mean 'It’s your fault for doing so, and it’s not my responsibility.' I meant, 'I can’t say something like that.' Because work and studying are both very important aspects of life. Of course, I’m very very grateful for the fans who vote and come to open broadcasts. There was never a time I took it lightly. However, when some fans can’t vote or come to open broadcasts due to entrance exams, big tests, or military service, I still consider them fans if they like our music. Sun also doesn’t consider you guys or Wonder Girls as [unimportant] because she’s getting married. Just like how work, studying, and Wonder Girls are important to you guys, the Wonder Girls, fans, and our personal lives are equally important to us. This Wonder Girls gallery has already been open for 6 years. It seems like just yesterday that I wrote my first post. I don’t think what you guys are saying right now are your true thoughts. I’ve seen many Wonder Girls gallery people and have thought several times that they are [purehearted people]. I know that everyone is confused, angry and hurt. So I’m genuinely sorry. But I hope you guys don’t misunderstand my heart. You have known me for 6 years. It’s been a while, and it hurts to be writing because of this kind of incident, but I hope all Wonder Girls gallery people will be happy and well."
The Wonder Girls performed for the last time before their hiatus at the Winter Special Olympics in Pyeong Chang, South Korea on February 5, 2013.
Former member Lee Sunmi debuted as a solo artist on August 22, 2013. Her solo debut MV "24 Hours" was officially released on August 20, 2013. However, it is still unknown if she will return as an active member of the Wonder Girls due to the group's hiatus.
On April 4, 2013, Sunye announced that she was pregnant with her first child through her personal Twitter account. On October 16, 2013, she gave birth to her first daughter, Hailey Park Eun Yoo.
On December 21, 2013, it was announced that Sohee had left the group after she decided not to renew her expired contract with JYP Entertainment. She later signed to BH Entertainment to focus on an acting career.
On March 19, 2014, the group's agency gave an update on the current status of the group following SunYe's plans to move to Haiti on July and focus on a five-year missionary work. The agency reassured that the group are not disbanding.
|Members＼Years||2007||2008 – 2009||2010||2011 - 2012||2013||2014–present|
- The Wonder Years (2007)
- So Hot (2008)
- The Wonder Years: Trilogy (2008)
- 2 Different Tears (2010)
- Wonder World (2011)
- Wonder Party (2012)
|2010||The Last Godfather||Cameo|
|2012||The Wonder Girls||Main characters|
Music video appearances
|2008||Cry With Us||Various Artist||Themselves|
|I Love Asia / Smile Again||Various Artist||Themselves|
|2010||This Christmas||JYP Nation||Themselves|
Commercials and endorsements
- Peripera Wonder Line
- Crown Bakery
- WG by Wonder Girls
- Lancôme (Sohee)
- Monster/JYP Diamond Tears
- Tommy Hilfiger (Sohee)
- 1st Wonder Tour (2009)
- Wonder Girls World Tour (2010)
- 1st Wonder Tour in Malaysia (2010)
- 1st Wonder Tour in Hong Kong (2010)
- Wonder World Tour (2012)
- The Like Money US Tour (2012)
- Jonas Brothers World Tour 2009 (2009)
- Justin Bieber’s Valentine’s Day Concert (2010)
- Shin Hye Sung encore concert (2007)
- 2008 JYP Tour (2008)
- 2008 Shin Hye Sung Live Tour Side 1 – Live and Let Live (2008)
- 2009 JYP Tour (2009)
- 2010 MTV World Stage Live in Malaysia (2010)
- 2010 SINGfest (2010)
- 2010 JYP Nation Team Play Concert (2010)
- 2011 JYP Nation Concert in Japan (2011)
- 2011 K.Will This is K.Will Concert (2011)
- 2012 MBC MBC Korean Music Wave Concert in San Francisco (2012)
- 2012 JYP Nation Concert in Seoul (2012)
- 2012 JYP Nation Concert in Japan (2012)
Awards and nominations
- – Official website
- discography at Discogs
- at the Internet Movie Database
|Awards and achievements|
Korean Music Awards: Group Musician of the Year
Seoul Gayo Daesang Award for Daesang
Big Bang with Lies (거짓말)
M.NET KM Music Festival – Song of the Year (Daesang)
2008, with Nobody
2NE1 with I Don't Care
M.NET KM Music Festival – Best Female Group
Brown Eyed Girls
M.NET KM Music Festival – Best New Female Group/Artist