SPICA is the name of the brightest star in the constellation Virgo and also the name of the talented KPOP girl group. Consisting of five members, SPICA debuted in January 10th, 2012 with their first single Doggedly, quickly catching public attention as well as praise from KPOP Queen Lee Hyori, who starred in the music video for the song and has since then become a mentor and musical producer for the group. Since their debut, they have proven to the KPOP audience that they are more than just another girl group but vocal powerhouses, their talents demonstrated in songs like Tonight and You Don’t Love Me. SPICA has been gaining success and greater attention over the past 2 years and with their comeback right around the corner and an impending American debut at KCON on August 10th, KSOUL Magazine will give you every reason to fall in love with this girl group and learn why they will be one of the brightest stars on the KPOP scene!
Name: Kim Bo Ah
Stage Name: Boa
Position In Group: Leader, main vocalist, rapper, composer and producer
Born: January 14th, 1987
Blood Type: B
Height: 171 cm
• Former trainee at 1TheK (Formerly LOEN) Entertainment alongside IU, who she is friends with
• Vocal trainer to Infinite and KARA
• Lyric composer for Kara’s Step, I Am…, and After School’s Play Ur Love among many others
• Trademark husky, deep, soulful voice
• Always changing her hair style and color
• Hates wearing high heels, and is known for her tomboy style
• An accomplished singer, she can be heard singing backup vocals on many KPOP songs such as T-ARA’s Roly Poly, KARA’s Honey, and Infinite’s Be Mine and Paradise
• Has a tattoo on her upper back and wrist
Name: Yang Jiwon
Position In Group: Vocalist, dancer, visual
Born: April 5th, 1988
Blood Type: A
Height: 166 cm
• Former member of the girl group 5Girls (which also consisted of other KPOP stars such as G.NA, After School’s Uee, Secret’s Hyosung, and Wonder Girl’s Yubin), however, the group was never able to debut due to the company’s lack of money
• She is also a former member of the girl group T-ARA, but left the group to pursue a different style of music
• She remains close friends with the other former 5Girls members as well as T-ARA’s Eunjung and Jiyeon
• Featured as a live vocalist for Baechigi’s number 1 hit song, Shower of Tears
• Also a model and actress, Jiwon was featured in a national Chapstick commercial with MBLAQ and appeared as the romantic interest in Boyfriend’s MV for I’ll Be There, Kim Kyu Jong’s MV for Yesterday, and Shinhwa’s Once In A Lifetime MV
• She loves to cook and try new food
Name: Park Narae
Position In Group: Main vocalist
Born: February 22, 1988
Blood Type: AB
Height: 165 cm
• Prior to her debut in SPICA, Narae was a contestant on the first season of the singing competition Superstar K1 alongside Seo In Guk, where she came in at 8th place.
• Narae studied music while in college, she spends much of her time writing songs and composing music
• During her free time, Narae enjoys drawing and watching anime. She also loves to sleep
• Narae has been featured as a guest vocalist for Timber’s song There Is No Love, LOCO’s Take Care, and Mando and Chigi’s He Says, She Says
Name: Kim Bo Hyung
Position In Group: Lead Vocalist and maknae
Born: March 31st, 1989
Blood Type: B
Height: 167 cm
• Bohyung was a former trainee at JYP and YG entertainment, and was rumored to be a potential 2NE1 member but did not make the cut, YG citing that she did not have the 2NE1 “swag”
• Although she has the strongest vocals in SPICA, she is quite shy and had to overcome her fear of singing solo in public
• A self-proclaimed nerd, she says she loves to study especially about mechanics and engineering
• A fan of the movie Frozen, her cover of the song Let It Go has reached over 2 million hits on Youtube
• Bohyung made her solo debut last year with the song Crazy Girl with her fellow SPICA member, Narae, starring in the music video
• Her nickname is “Bbo”
Name: Park Juhyun
Position In Group: Lead rapper, vocalist, dancer
Born: November 29th, 1986
Blood Type: B
Height: 168 cm
• Juhyun is the oldest member of the group, and has been in training for over 11 years
• During her trainee days, she made money on the side by being an office worker as well as modeling
• Before her debut in SPICA she appeared in SS501 member’s Heo Young-saeng MV for Let It Go
• Some of her favorite hobbies include cooking and playing pool
• Juhyun has studied acting and made her acting debut this year in the Korean sitcom “Love and War 2”
SPICA first caught my attention in early 2012 with their haunting power ballad, Doggedly, a song I just happened to stumble upon, but a chance meeting that was meant to be. What blew me away were the strong vocals and harmony the group delivered, at a time when dubstep and autotune were the norm in music, it was refreshing to hear live human voices. The song itself is about a woman who has had enough with the lies and deceit in a relationship. For anyone of you ladies and gents who have felt the sting from the wrong side of love, this song will hit all the right notes as you can feel the emotions of each SPICA member as they serenade you.
2012 proved to be a strong year for SPICA as they quickly followed up their promotions in January with their first mini album including the title single Russian Roulette. SPICA members proved to be more than just ballad singers and showed off their dancing and pop-style in this upbeat but dark song about the risk of falling in love, much like the risk of a Russian roulette game.
In March of 2012, SPICA continued their promotion with a repackaged album, promoting the new single Painkiller. Painkiller was probably one of the most underrated songs of 2012. A hidden gem of a song, it has all the ingredients to be a KPOP hit, the post-apocalyptic concept, the dance, and the vocals. The harmony is one of the best I have ever heard from any KPOP girl group—scratch that—any girl group period! I found myself humming this song and whispering “painkiller” during random times of the day, it truly is a song that becomes an addiction, much like a painkiller. Don’t let the poor fashion styling in the music video fool you, this song is amazing.
SPICA later returned in September 2012 with yet another single. Shedding the dark concept of the last 3 singles, SPICA captured my heart with their cute concept in I’ll Be There. All members of SPICA are born in the 1980’s and no doubt grew up on the bubble gum pop music of Backstreet Boys, N’SYNC, Spice Girls, and Britney Spears, which is evident in I’ll Be There, a song reminiscent of the upbeat 90’s pop music. I’ll Be There brought back a lot of fond memories of the innocent 90’s with its fun dance, lively beat, and a music video which included the members in 90’s style baggy ripped jeans, midriff baring tank tops, Timberland boots, and rolled up sleeves. If you’re a 90’s kid like myself, prepare to take a trip down memory lane.
So far, SPICA has tried their hands at the dark concept and the cute concept, what was missing was the chance for the members to show off their sexy side, which they soon did with their second mini-album Lonely, headlining a title track with the same name. Lonely was a sassy, hip-swinging, finger twirling, over the shoulder glancing, hair-flipping dance song, much different from the previous concept, but proving SPICA to be a versatile group. Lonely also rounded off the 2012 promotions for SPICA.
After a year of non-stop promotion, the first half of 2013 proved to be a quiet year for SPICA. The members appeared on variety shows and performed solo activities. It was not until during summer 2013 that SPICA became a regular on their own reality show with Lee Hyori titled Lee Hyori X-unnie, where they sought the help of Lee Hyori to produce their next single. An offer that Hyori initially refused, stating that she can only care for herself and did not want to be responsible for SPICA. However, SPICA changed Hyori’s mind with their rendition of Anna Kendrick’s Cup Song from the movie Pitch Perfect.
The reality show with Lee Hyori gave SPICA a chance to have mentorship from a top idol, but it also gave the viewers a glimpse at the highs and lows of idol life. SPICA laid out their fears and vulnerability to the audience as they weaved their way through the life of an idol group with Hyori’s help. The reality show also followed SPICA as they recorded their 4th single, Tonight. The lyrics for Tonight suggest letting go of all your cares and worries, even if it is just for one night. For the music video the members donned modern bohemian chic clothing reminiscent of the 1960’s hippy era as they run through the mountains, sleep in the forests, have a fun pool party, and live life like it was their last night. This is one of my favorite, if not my favorite, SPICA song up to date. From its uplifting lyrics, fun pop-rock beat, to its psychedelic and whimsical music video, Tonight represented everything about feeling forever young and carefree. It also became one of SPICA’s biggest hit, breaking into the top 10 GAON weekly charts for the month of September and peaking at number 4 on music shows.
With greater public awareness of their talent and Lee Hyori’s training under their belt, SPICA came back in January of 2014 with their next digital single, You Don’t Love Me, a 1950’s pin-up, Motown inspired, fusion of soul, doo-wop, and KPOP music. Bohyung opens up the song with her trademark powerhouse voice, sending chills down my back and drawing me in. The song equally showcased the singing talent of each of its members as well as the group’s quirky personalities. The chic, retro, and at times random style of the video fused together old rock style and new KPOP style amazingly, a style that SPICA can pull off effortlessly. You Don’t Love Me proved to be a second success for SPICA as it was nominated for number 1 on the music show Inkigayo and was number 1 trending in South Korea. SPICA sings “You Don’t Love Me” but it’s clear that Korea is falling in love with them.
What’s in store next for SPICA? The ladies have just made their official US debut with a new single titled I Did It. The song is the collaboration between SPICA, Cory Enemy and Oliver Goldstein, music composers who have worked with superstar artists such as Carly Rae Jepsen, Shakira, Ciara, Britney Spears, and Kelly Clarkson. I Did It was released on August 7th, 2014 and is SPICA’s first all English song. SPICA has teamed with Billboard Magazine for their US activities and will officially debut at KCON this year alongside G-Dragon and Girl’s Generation. The ladies will then return to South Korea to continue their promotions and prepare for a full length album, rumored to be released this fall. I have no doubt that SPICA’s song will be well-received by the American audience, their mix of pop-rock/R&B style accompanied by their ridiculous vocal talent will win the hearts of new fans in America. Are you ready for SPICA’s US invasion? I certainly am!
WHY YOU SHOULD LOVE THEM:
Should I say it again? SPICA is one of the most vocally talented groups in KPOP. Lip-synching? Pre-recorded backtracks? Not with SPICA. These ladies are too talented to keep quiet, performing every song live with perfect harmony. What really impresses me is the distinct voice of each member, from Boa’s husky soulful voice, Jiwon’s sweet sound, Narae’s innocent smooth voice, Juhyun’s deep baritone, and Bohyung’s Christina Aguilera-like vocal chops, I never would have thought the combination would harmonize so well together but the members create magic together each time they perform. If you need any further proof of SPICA’s singing abilities, check out the their live cover of Fin.K.L’s Blue Rain and Big Mama’s Break Away down below.
SPICA is notoriously labeled as the most underrated KPOP girl group. Even superstar singers like Ailee question why SPICA is not more famous. The members themselves are no strangers to the KPOP industry; Boa being a music writer and vocal trainer for groups like Infinite and KARA, Jiwon being a former member of T-ARA and the unreleased group 5Girls, Bohyung being a JYP and YG trainee who originally was in the running to be a member of 2NE1, Narae being a contestant on SUPERSTAR K1 alongside Seo In Guk, and Juhyun who trained with DSP media alongside KARA and Rainbow for more than a decade. Could it be they debuted at a time where companies popped out a new girl group left and right or maybe they are still waiting on that one perfect song that will push them over the edge of stardom? Whatever, the reason may be, SPICA is still working hard and winning public attention while remaining humble of their success.
SPICA’s fanclub is called Mercury, and this summer Mercury will be rising in anticipation of SPICA’s comeback and US debut. These underdogs will soon captivate hearts of the American audience, and of course, we all love a good underdog story.
Here’s one more reason to love SPICA.
Written by Nhan Dinh