11 Notable K-pop Group Debuts Witnessed In 2021

Every year, the K-pop industry witnesses a surge of new groups making their debuts and showcasing their versatile talents.

With catchy title tracks that pique the public’s interest and a following that further helps put these groups on the map, these K-pop debuts showed promising starts.

In no particular order, here are some of the notable K-pop debuts witnessed in 2021:

1. IVE

IVE (contraction of “I have”) is a six-member girl group comprised of Liz, Rei, Wonyoung, Yujin, Gaeul, and Leeseo. They debuted with their single album “ELEVEN” on December 1, 2021 with high anticipation as Yujin and Wonyoung were previously IZ*ONE members following their participation in “Produce 48.” While they are still fresh out of the rookie oven, the girls won their first-ever music show award within a week of their debut. Staying true to their name, IVE definitely has it!

2. MIRAE

DSP Media’s newest addition is MIRAE (meaning future in Korean) who debuted on March 17, 2021 with “KILLA.” The group houses seven members: Lien, Lee, Junhyuk, Yoo Doohyun, Khael, Son Dong Pyo, Park Siyoung, and Jang Yubin. Son Dong Pyo and Lee Jun Hyuk were contestants in “Produce X 101,” while Khael and Park Siyoung were in “Under 19.” They made their last comeback in August with “Splash,” and the group won Rookie of the Year at the Mnet Japan Fan’s Choice Awards. They’re set to make a comeback on January 12.

3. Ciipher

Brought to you by Rain himself under his self-named company, Ciipher is a seven-member group consisting of Tan, Hwi, Hyunbin, Keita, Tag, Dohwan, and Won. The septet debuted on March 15, 2021 with the EP “I like you” and made a comeback six months later with “Blind.” Most of the members participated in survival shows: Tan was in “NO.MERCY,” Hyunbin was in “Produce X 101,” Dohwan and Keita were in “YG Treasure Box,” and Won was in “Under 19.” The group won the K-pop Star Award at the 2021 Korea Culture Entertainment Awards.

4. EPEX

EPEX (short for Eight Apex) debuted on June 8, 2021 with “Lock Down” and made their comeback four months later with “Do 4 Me.” There are eight members: Wish, Keum, Mu, A-Min, Baekseung, Ayden, Yewang and Jeff. Baekseung appeared in “CAP-TEEN,” and Keum (Keum Dong Hyun) previously participated in “Produce X 101” as a representative of the group’s agency C9 Entertainment. The group’s debut led to their Best New Male Artist win at the 2021 Korea Culture Entertainment Awards.

5. PURPLE KISS

RBW Entertainment debuted their new girl group PURPLE KISS on March 15, 2021 with “Ponzona.” The seven members are Park Ji Eun, Na Go Eun, Dosie, Ireh, Yuki, Chaein, and Swan. They have made a couple of comebacks ever since, with their latest “My My” being a Christmas-themed single. Na Go Eun and Park Ji Eun previously participated in “Produce 48,” Dosie is a former “MIXNINE” contestant, and Chaein competed in the first and third seasons of “K-Pop Star.” They are currently nominated the rookie award among others at the upcoming Golden Disc Awards and Seoul Music Awards.

6. OMEGA X

OMEGA X is an 11-member boy group that debuted on June 30, 2021 with “VAMOS” from their mini album of the same name. The lineup consists of Hangyeom, Jaehan, Hwichan, Sebin, Taedong, Xen, Jehyun, Kevin, Junghoon, Hyuk, and Yechan. What makes this group particular is that all members previously debuted under different groups before. Two months after their debut, OMEGA X managed to double their first-week album sales when they made a comeback with their single album “WHAT’S GOIN’ ON.” Their next comeback is set for January 5.

7. LUMINOUS

LUMINOUS is a four-member group consisting of Steven, Suil, Youngbin, and Woobin. The group debuted on September 9, 2021 with a hardcore track titled “RUN.” Youngbin and Steven previously competed in “Produce X 101.” Given their recent debut, the quartet is still under the radar, but their sound is definitely worth checking out, and many are looking forward to their future releases.

8. JUST B

Just B is a boy group made up of six members Geonu, Bain, Lim Jimin, JM, DY, and Sangwoo. Lim Jimin participated in “The Fan,” while Geonu and JM featured in “I-LAND.” Bain and DY were both part of “Under 19,” but only DY qualified and finished in first, thus debuting under 1THE9. The sextet debuted on June 30, 2021 with their mini album “Just Burn” and the title track “DAMAGE” produced by Bang Yongguk. They made a comeback in October with the single album titled “Just Beat.”

9. HOT ISSUE

Created by Cube Entertainment’s co-founder Hong Seung Sung, HOT ISSUE (HOT referring to honest, outstanding, and terrific) is a seven-member girl group that debuted on April 28, 2021. The members are Mayna, Nahyun, Hyeongshin, Dana, Yewon, Yebin, and Dain. Mayna was one of the contestants in “Produce 101 China,” whereas Hyeongshin and Dain were in “CAP-TEEN.” Their exciting debut title track “GRATATA” was followed by their first comeback with “ICONS.”

10. Billlie

Mystic Story’s Billlie made their much-anticipated debut on November 10, 2021 with “RING X RING,” a catchy song with an energetic dance. The members are Moon Sua, Suhyeon, Haram, Tsuki, Siyoon, Haruna, and Sheon. Moon Sua previously competed in “Unpretty Rapstar” when she was a YG Entertainment trainee, Siyoon took part in “K-Pop Star Season 5,” and Suhyeon appeared in “Produce 101” and “MIXNINE” along with several dramas including “A-TEEN.” Sheon belatedly joined the group after ranking No. 10 on “Girls Planet 999.”

11. Xdinary Heroes

Brought to you by JYP Entertainment as the agency’s second boy band following DAY6, Xdinary Heroes (short for Extraordinary Heroes) debuted on December 6, 2021 with the six members Gunil, Jungsu, Gaon, O.de, Jun Han, and Jooyeon. Their debut title track “Happy Death Day,” which Jungsu and Gaon participated in writing, is a powerful statement that takes birthdays to a whole new and sinister level. Less than a month since their debut, the band is already gaining attention for their strong vocals and instrument skills.

Which 2021 K-pop debut caught your attention the most? Let us know in the comments below!

Esmee L. is a Moroccan lively dreamer, writer, and Hallyu enthusiast.

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