New girl group Unis unveils ambition to represent fifth-generation K-pop

March 27, 2024

South Korea’s newest girl group, Unis, debuted on the K-pop scene with the release of its first EP, “We Unis,” on Wednesday.

The eight-piece group was formed through the SBS TV audition show “Universe Ticket,” which aired from November to January.

It is the first idol group launched by F&F Entertainment, a K-pop agency established about a year ago by the local outdoor clothing retailer F&F Co.

“We finally came to make our debut,” leader Hyeonju said during a media showcase for “We Unis” at a concert hall in eastern Seoul. “All kinds of moments, from when I dreamed of becoming a singer to when I competed in the audition show flashed through my mind,” she said, vowing to work hard to repay the love the group received from viewers.

K-pop girl group Unis poses for photographers during a media showcase held at a concert hall in eastern Seoul on March 27, 2024. (Yonhap)
K-pop girl group Unis poses for photographers during a media showcase held at a concert hall in eastern Seoul on March 27, 2024. (Yonhap)

The group consists of members — Hyeonju, Nana, Gehlee, Kotoko, Yunha, Elisia, Yoona and Seowon — hailing from Korea, Japan and the Philippines, reflecting the growing international appeal of K-pop.

“I was very surprised because I didn’t expect to be a member of the debuting team. I’m so thankful and moved,” Elisia, a member from the Philippines, said in Korean.

Asked if the team has experienced any communication problems due to its multinational composition, Gehlee, another Filipino member, shared that she still struggles with learning the Korean language.

“But my Korean has improved significantly through conversations with my bandmates. I’m very grateful to them, especially the Korean members, for their support,” she said, also in Korean.

The group’s name stands for “U&I Story,” symbolizing the group’s desire to continue to write its own story after taking their first strides to achieve their dreams through the TV audition show, Yunha said.

Introduced as a high-energy dance song that blends Afrobeat, Moombahton, and House genres, “Superwoman,” the lead track of the group’s debut album, encourages listeners to embrace their inner strength and become their own “superwoman.”

Despite being a rookie group, Unis showcased impressive skills on its debut stage before media, proving the members’ experience from the survival show.

“The experience of having to prepare for stage performances in a short period of time in the competition show was a huge help in preparing for our debut,” Seowon said.

At just 13, she became the youngest member of the group. Having graduated from elementary school just last month, she stood out with her stable stage presence, honed through her experience in the second season of “Miss Trot,” a trot singing competition show by TV Chosun.

“When I first started trot music, both trot and K-pop were popular. I became interested in K-pop through my friends at school and developed a dream of becoming an idol singer,” she explained, reflecting on her motivation for challenging herself on the SBS competition show.

Asked about the group’s role model, Elisia singled out internationally popular girl group TWICE.

“TWICE has been receiving worldwide love since its debut. We, Unis, also want to receive a lot of love from music fans around the world,” she said.

Closing the press showcase, Seowon expressed hope that the group could be one representing the youngest generation of K-pop groups. “I hope our name Unis will come up first in people’s mind when they think of fifth-generation idol groups.”

Yunha added that sweeping rookie prizes at year-end K-pop music awards is the group’s primary goal for now, noting that the opportunity for rookie awards only comes once in an idol group’s career.