U-KISS, an acronym for Ubiquitous Korean International idol Super Star, is a male Idol Group founded in 2008 by NH Media.
Initial formed as a 6 member idol-group, U-KISS have been through many different hardships regarding members until now.
Nevertheless, this idol group showed us they are a capable group with a great flexibility to present different music styles. Ranging from ballads to electronic dance songs, the members always show great capability in singing and especially dancing, which is one of their strong points together with the handsome appearance.
Even before their official debut, U-KISS were already quite known thanks to Kevin and Kibum, who were former members of Xing. While the other members were selected through auditioning, the first line-up consisted of Kevin, Kibum, Eli, Alexander, Dongho and Soohyun. Their official debut happened to be first in Japan at the Power of Atamix ’08 together with SS501 in August 2008, and then, 2 weeks later, in Korea through the release of “New Generation” (N-Generation), their first mini-album. Their first live appearance was on the 3rd of September 2008 with “Not Young”.
Even as rookies, the expectations towards this idol group were big, and since the first day they were considered for a Japanese-Korean collaboration project. Yoshimoto Group, a Japanese entertainment group, invested 150 billion KWS to transform U-KISS in an international known group. Such a big amount of money was previously invested only to promote BoA overseas. The reason behind this investment was the potential of the group due to the language knowledge of the initial U-KISS members: Alexander speaks Korean, Japanese, Mandarin, Cantonese, English, Spanish and Portuguese; Eli has knowledge in Korean, English and Mandarin; Dongho speaks Korean and Mandarin, Kevin Korean and English and Kibum Korean and Japanese.
Their big success exploded with “Man Man Ha Ni” from their 3rd mini-album “ContiKiss”. During these promotions, a 7th member was added, Kiseop. On Febraury 3, 2010 they released the first full-length album “Only One” and it was one of the biggest k-pop successes in the Philippines thanks to the track “Bingeul Bingeul”. Moreover, the album topped Hanteo Charts, Hot Tracks, Syn-nara Records and Evan Records all in one day. Due to the huge success, U-KISS promoted this album in Japan, Mongolia, Malaysia and Philippines, where they also had their first major concert “U-KISS First Kiss Tour in Manila”. At the same time, the members launched their own variety shows “All About U-Kiss”, “UKISS Vampire” and “Chef Kiss” and started appearing in various shows and even in thai dramas although they cannot speak the language.
In 2011, the idols should have released an album in the US, but it was canceled due to Alexander and Kibum‘s contract termination. Sadly, the two members left the group and they were replaced by AJ and Hoon. With this new formation, they released the 5th mini-album “Bran New Kiss” and the ballad song “0330”. The second full-length album “Neverland” was another big success, and songs like “Someday” and “Neverland” are still songs a lot of people can relate to.
Since then, the group has toured all around the world from Japan to Colombia, Macau, USA and even Paris. The 6th mini-album “DoraDora” was again a big hit, reaching the first place in Germany’s Asian Music Charts.
Thanks to their success, U-KISS received an achievement award for their contributions to the Hally Wave and were awarded with the “Special Hallyu Achievement Award” from the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism.
As AJ was admittet at Columbia University, he announced a 5 month hiatus from group activities in 2012 to focus on his studies and returned in 2013.
Their 3rd full-length album with the lead track “Standing Still” was the first release after AJ came back from his studies. The same year, they performed at the Formula 1 event held at the Petronas Tower in Manila, sharing the stage with 2NE1, Backstreet Boys and Demi Lovato.
On April 3rd 2013, NH Media announced uBEAT, the first sub-unit for U-KISS. This unit is composed from the duo Eli and AJ with a featuring of Kevin in the lead track.
Due to their huge success in Japan, U-KISS had the honour to be the first Korean Idol Group to have their faces on Japanese Visa Cards. “U-KISS Visa Card” was released by Sumitomo Mitsui Bank, one of the three major banks of Japan.
On October 16, 2013, U-KISS had more sad news to spread: Dongho was to part ways with the group due to health and personal issues.
In May 2014, some pictures were leaked on the web. It turn out that U-KISS will add a new member that should ‘replace’ Dongho. His name is Jun and he’s a ’97 liner. His debut with U-KISS is planned for June of this year. AJ, who had to go back to the US due to some study issues is currently on hiatus and it was confirmed that he’s is going to be absent for another few months. Therefore, he’s not going to be part of the next promotions scheduled for June 2014.
Soohyun is the leader and main singer of the group and he’s quite capable. He has a bright and cheerful appearance and is always working hard in keeping the group together, especially when they’re going through all kinds of hardships. He was once a JYP and Good Entertainment trainee. He’s also skilled in playing the piano and playing soccer.
Before joining U-KISS, Hoon experienced a solo career under his real name and released one album (Pure & Love). He then debuted as U-KISS member through the song “0330”. He is also currently a student of Dong Guk University, majoring in Theater and he’s a talented singer.
Eli was born in LA and then moved to Washington D.C. And later on, he even moved to Beijing to pursue his studies. Therefore he’s speaks Korean, Chinese and English. As lead rapper of the group, you can imagine his specialty is rapping. He’s also part of the sub-unit uBEAT together with AJ.
Kevin joined U-KISS after leaving Xing together with Kibum. He was born and raised in the US as well and therefore he’s fluent in English. He’s a very talented dancer and skilled in singing. He participated in two musicals and has had various occasions to show us he’s a natural as an MC.
AJ is a former member of the group Paran and joined U-KISS in 2011. He’s one of the rappers of U-KISS and impresses through various self composed rapping parts in U-KISS’ songs.
Kiseop joined U-KISS in 2009 and he’s the face of the group. As a former ulzzang, he had quite some fans even before being in U-KISS.
Quite some time has passed since U-KISS debuted and the group went through various member changes over the years. Still, they were able to release good music and they’re not giving up so easily. So let’s show them some support, so that we’re able to hear more music from them in the future!
Moed88 – May 2014