Music 

Meet the Members of SM Entertainment’s New K-Pop Girl Group, aespa

Made up of virtual avatars and human members.

47,935 Hypes

Meet the Members of SM Entertainment’s New K-Pop Girl Group, aespa

Made up of virtual avatars and human members.

As K-pop continues to grow as a mainstream genre in the global music industry, SM Entertainment has recently announced its latest project: aespa. Unlike most existing acts, the new girl group is comprised of four virtual avatars, as well as four human members who were revealed last week.

For those unfamiliar with SM, the management company is one of the biggest in the K-pop industry, having developed some of the most iconic groups like Girls’ Generation and Super Junior, as well as NCT and SuperM. According to the agency’s founder Lee Sooman, aespa is “the first project of SM Culture Universe (SMCU) that will open the start of entertainment in the future.” Music fans can expect the group to showcase “completely new and innovative concepts that transcend reality and virtual world, a projection of the future world centered on celebrities and avatars.”

Due to the continued impact of the coronavirus pandemic, many industries are now searching for creative ways to pivot their businesses. In music, numerous award ceremonies and live performances took place remotely this year. More than that, virtual musicians — such as Riot GamesK/DA and digital influencer Seraphine — are beginning to gain traction. It is not surprising, then, that K-pop is warming to the idea of turning avatars into idols.

With aespa’s first-ever single “Black Mamba” slated to drop on November 17, we’ve gathered everything we know about members WINTER, KARINA, NINGNING, GISELLE and their virtual counterparts so far. Read on to learn more about K-pop’s newest girl group.

WINTER

The first member revealed to be a part of SM’s latest project, WINTER is a 19-year-old musician described to have “excellent vocal and dance skills.” The South Korean musician, who wears a two-toned blonde and blue hairstyle, will perform as the main dancer, lead rapper and sub vocalist of the group.

KARINA

KARINA was unveiled with her virtual counterpart aeKARINA in a YouTube video featuring both artists. In the clip, the real-life member and digital character both introduce themselves, sharing what they call each other and how they first met. According to aeKARINA, the two connected through an app called Synk with the help of a mysterious third figure, Navis. Prior to her debut, KARINA performed with SuperM and SHINee’s Taemin for his track “WANT.”

NINGNING

The group’s third member, NINGNING, is an 18-year-old hailing from China. Prior to joining aespa, the vocalist gained the attention of K-pop fans in 2016 with her appearance on a Chinese audition show and through “SM Rookies,” a pre-debut training project run by SM.

GISELLE

After training for roughly a year with SM, 20-year-old Japanese member GISELLE is joining aespa as the group’s main rapper. While not much has been revealed about the new artist, we can expect her to take part in helping the group grow globally with her trilingual skills.

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