ZE:A (Hangul: 제국의 아이들), also known as Children of Empire, is a South Korean 9-member boy band formed under Star Empire Entertainment. The group released their debut EP, Nativity, and lead single, "Mazeltov" on January 7, 2010, alongside their showcase performance five days later. The group debuted on KBS's Music Bank on January 15, 2010.
Under the name Child of Empire, following their appearance on Mnet's Office Reality, the group gained attention by performing various guerilla shows and creating UCC (user created content) videos. They have also appeared in a documentary-styled show Star Empire, and later getting their own documentary show titled Empire Kids Returns, showing them performing in wingcar performances around Seoul and training. The group faced controversy in December following the similarities of the group's name to Brown Eyed Girls's JeA. The group later changed the pronunciation of the name to avoid implications.
Releasing teasers beforehand, the group debuted with their EP, Nativity under the name ZE:A, on January 7, 2010. Immediately they garnered attention, reaching number one on both the "Album Chart" and "Artist Chart" on Daum on their debut day.
2010: Leap for Detonation and Level Up
The group made a comeback on March 25, 2010 with the release of their second mini album, Leap for Detonation. Produced by Brave Brothers, the title song "All Day Long" is melodramatic and featured a major change in style. The group released both a music video and a short music drama for "All Day Long" where member Kim Dong Jun played the lead actor. The music drama and video also featured labelmate and upcoming member Park Min Ha from Nine Muses. The group's third single, "Level Up", was released on July 8, 2010 in digital format only. No music video was ever released for "Level Up"–only two teaser MVs were released prior to their comeback.
Their official fanclub name was announced in June through an image posted on their official Daum cafe. Back in April, Star Empire revealed the top ten nominees for the potential fanclub name. After a long voting process, ZE:A's (or ZE:A STYLE) was decided as the group's official fanclub name.
2010-2011: Asian tour and Japanese debut
The group have started off their Asia promotion tour starting with Thailand at the end of July 2010. Other showcases and promotional events occurred in Taiwan, Singapore, Malaysia and more in this tour.
On September 22, 2010, the group released their Japanese debut single ZE:A!(ゼア!). The single placed third on the Oricon daily chart. On December 21, 2010, ZE:A released their Japanese single album, Love Letter/My Only Wish, and placed second on Oricon daily chart.
It was announced on January 16, 2011 by Japan's Sankei Sports that the group will have leading roles for the Japanese-Korean collaboration movie RONIN POP.
2011: first album Lovability, special single "Exciting!" and Japanese single "Daily Daily"
The group released their first full length album, Lovability, on March 17, 2011, including songs from their previous albums as well as a few new ones.
Promotions for Lovability were cut short due to "Be My Girl", a song off their first album, was deemed unsuitable for minors. On March 16, a representative from Star Empire announced that the group will be donating a portion of their tour profits from the first half of 2011 to aid in the relief of the Japanese earthquake and tsnuami.
At the end of June, Star Empire announced that the group will be releasing a special summer single. While filming the jacket album for Exciting!, member Hyung Sik fell off the yacht with member Dong Jun. Hyung Sik was saved by Dong Jun and the group's manager, while suffering a minor ankle injury. A Comeback Teaser was released on July 5. On July 8, 2011, the music video for title track "Watch Out" was released and the group also made their comeback on KBS's Music Bank the same day. On July 8, for the first time, the group took the number one spot on Hanteo's real-time album sales chart. On July 29 a 1:30 minute Full Music Video of "Heart For 2" was released on ZE:A Official YouTube Channel (ZEA2011).
After two weeks of promoting "Watch Out!", the group started their follow-up promotion with "Heart For 2".
Early October, Star Empire announced that a new Japanese single will be released on November 22. The single will contain 4 tracks, a new ballad song titled "Daily Daily", a Japanese version of "All Day Long" and instrumental versions of both songs. According to Star Empire, there will be 2 DVD versions, version A and version B; version A containing Daily Daily music video & the making of the music video while version B will contain Daily Daily music video & the making of the jacket photo shooting. On November 2, 2011 a 30 second preview of 'Daily Daily' was uploaded on the ZE:A Official YouTube Channel (ZEA2011), 5 days later on November 7, 2011 a 30 second preview of 'All Day Long' Japanese Version was uploaded. November 24, 2011 the full Daily Daily PV was uploaded.
On November 22, the single was released and were placed 3rd on the Oricon Chart just a few hours after release. The PV was released on November 23.
2012: comeback delayed and unit group announced
ZE:A's comeback album was set to release on June 21, 2012, but in May, ZE:A's agency, Star Empire Entertainment, announced that the group would postpone their comeback because of an injury to member Jun Young's right ankle. It was then later announced that ZE:A's Ha Min Woo would be forming a unit group with two Japanese artists, Nikaido Hayato (singer of Alpha), and actor Sasake Yoshihide. The group is called 3Peace Lovers, and their first single, "Virtual Love," is set to release on June 26.
On June 14, ZE:A's Daum Cafe released information about the comeback album and uploaded 4 10-second preview songs on the ZE:A Official YouTube Channel (ZEA2011). The album was revealed to be titled "Spectacular" and will be featuring 11 songs in the tracklist. The comeback is confirmed to be set on July 4. On July 3, ZE:A hosted a showcase of their new album "SPECTACULAR" performing songs from the album, which was streamed live on their official YouTube channel (ZEA2011). On July 3, ZE:A's official channel (ZEA2011) uploaded the music video for their title track "Aftermath" from their album "SPECTACULAR."
On August, it was Announced that Kwanghee will be the new cast of MBC We Got Married and will be Coupled with Sunhwa SECRET.
On August 26, ZE:A uploaded the music video for their title track "Phoenix" from their album " Phoenix".
Also Kwanghee got a lead role in the drama To The Beautiful You as Song Jong Min
ZE:A made their comeback with "Ghost of the Wind" on August 8.
Hyungsik was casted in the The Heirs as Jo Myungsoo
Minwoo was casted in a Japanese Musical Summer Snow
ZE:A having their full scale first concert in Korea - Illusionist on 23 November.
|Stage name||Birth name|
- 2010: Di Guo Jing Xuan (帝國精選; Empire Hits) (Best Album)
- 2011: My Only Wish (Special Mini-Album)
- 2011: Thailand Thank You Album
TV and reality shows
- GomTV Rookie of the Month - February
- ZE:A's Japanese single ranked at No.2 on Oricon daily chart
- Their latest single album titled "Love Letter/My Only Wish," which was released on December 21, claimed second place on Oricon's daily chart
- They signed with Japanese entertainment company IMX in July to manage their career in the country and placed at No. 3 on Oricon's daily singles chart with their first Japanese album "ZE:A!" and held a sold-out concert in the country.
Mnet Asian Music Awards
|2010||Mazeltov||Best New Male Artist||Nominated|
- on Universal Music Japan (Japanese)