BLACKPINK’s Lisa will allegedly release solo music in July

BLACKPINK’s Lisa is reportedly set to release new music next month.

During a recent episode of the MBC reality show Hangout with Yoo, host Yoo Jae-suk brought up Lisa, as well as girl group Lovelyz, while listing artists that would be making a comeback in July. The K-pop idols’ respective agencies, YG Entertainment and Woollim Entertainment, have yet to confirm the releases.

Yoo mentioned the artists while speaking about the “competitors” the upcoming boyband MSG Wannabe, which were formed through his show, would face while promoting on South Korean music programmes. He also mentioned previously announced upcoming releases, from artists such as SF9, Girls’ Generation leader Taeyeon and BTS.

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“On July 9, BTS will be making a comeback. And more so, in July, we have Taeyeon, BLACKPINK’s Lisa, SF9 and Lovelyz,” said Yoo, as translated by Koreaboo.

In April, Harper’s Bazaar Thailand had claimed that the BLACKPINK member would be making her solo debut this month, although that has yet to materialise. On the other hand, French producer DJ Snake previously alleged that he has worked with Lisa on a collaboration and said that the song was “done” in a now-deleted series of tweets.

Earlier this year, fellow BLACKPINK member Rosé made her solo debut with her first-ever single album ‘R’, featuring the song ‘On the Ground’ and ‘Gone’. NME’s Rhian Daly called it “a no-frills testament that proves a powerful voice and good songwriting don’t need to be big or ostentatious to shine” in a four-star review.

Meanwhile, SM Entertainment previously confirmed that Taeyeon will release new music next month. On the other hand, BTS will be releasing a brand-new song alongside the upcoming physical CD for their latest English-language single ‘Butter’ on July 9.

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Kim Jong-un thinks that K-pop is a “vicious cancer”

Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, has described K-pop as a “vicious cancer” corrupting the young people he governs.

On Friday (June 11), The New York Times reported that the politician has declared a new culture war to halt the spread and influence of South Korean movies, K-dramas and K-pop videos to his citizens through a secretive anti-K-pop campaign.

News of the culture war was first learned by Seoul-based news source Daily NK from leaked internal documents coming from the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

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“To Kim Jong-un, the cultural invasion from South Korea has gone beyond a tolerable level,” said Jiro Ishimaru, chief editor of Asia Press International, a Japanese website which monitors North Korea. “If this is left unchecked, he fears that his people might start considering the South an alternative Korea to replace the North.”

Jong-un believes the influence of “anti-socialist” cultural exports from South Korea, which The New York Times have reported is smuggled in on flash drives from China, on North Koreans’ “attire, hairstyles, speeches, behaviours” is weakening his control.

K-pop BTS
Possession of music by BTS in North Korea could land you in a labour camp for up to 15 years. CREDIT: Getty Images

Last December, new laws were introduced calling for five to 15 years in labour camps for North Koreans who watch or possess South Korean entertainment; those who distribute it face the death penalty. Even those who “speak, write, or sing in South Korean style” could also possibly face up to two years of hard labour.

Jung Gwang-il, a North Korean defector who runs a network that smuggles K-pop into the North, said: “Young North Koreans think they owe nothing to Kim Jong-un. He must reassert his ideological control on the young if he doesn’t want to lose the foundation for the future of his family’s dynastic rule.”

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Meanwhile, BTS are reportedly set to return with new music next month, following the release of their second English single ‘Butter’ in May.

This is according to a report by South Korean media outlet SPO TV News, which claimed that the K-pop sensations will make their comeback with a new album on July 9.

The publication also pointed out that the boyband mentioned during a press conference for ‘Butter’ last month that they were planning to release a new album this summer.

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MAMAMOO’s Wheein leaves RBW but will still remain part of the group

MAMAMOO member Wheein has officially ended her exclusive contact with longtime agency RBW Entertainment.

The company announced today (June 11) that the South Korean vocalist has chosen not to renew her contract with the entertainment agency. RBW noted that Wheein’s decision follows “in-depth decision” with the company and that it “fully respect[s]” her choice.

“Wheein has been in in-depth discussions with us like the other members for a long time, but in the end, she decided not to renew her contract. Hence, we would like to inform you that our exclusive contract with her will be terminated,” RBW told Osen, as translated by Soompi. “We fully respect Wheein’s choice, and we sincerely wish Wheein, who is starting a new chapter in life, happiness and good fortune.”

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Despite the end of her exclusive contract, Wheein has also agreed to an “extended agreement” where she will continue to be a part of MAMAMOO until at least December 2023. The agency will update fans about the future activities of the girl group at a later date.

“However, all four members have unchanging affection for MAMAMOO, so Wheein signed an extended agreement to participate in some activities, including albums and concerts, until December 2023,” RBW added. “MAMAMOO’s music will continue as much as the great love fans have sent them, and we will inform you about the specific future activities later.”

Earlier this week, South Korean media had claimed in reports that Wheein had decided to leave RBW Entertainment. However, at the time, the company said that “nothing has been decided regarding Wheein’s renewal of her contract”.

Wheein is currently the only member of MAMAMOO who did not renew their contract with RBW Entertainment. Moonbyul and Solar had signed a recontract with the company in January, with Hwasa following soon after in March.

The popular girl group recently made their comeback with their 11th mini-album ‘WAW’, which featured the single ‘Where Are We Now’. Prior to the release, the members had been focusing on their solo careers.

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LIGHTSUM make their debut with colourful video for ‘Vanilla’

CUBE Entertainment has debuted its brand-new K-pop girl group LIGHTSUM.

The girl group made their debut with the dance pop song ‘Vanilla’, which was co-composed by hitmaker Steven Lee (best known for OH MY GIRL’s 2018 song ‘Remember Me’ and written by lyricist Jo Yoon-kyung (NCT Dream’s ‘Hot Sauce’ and EXO’s ‘Love Shot’).

‘Vanilla’ dropped alongside a vibrant, colourful music video that features the girl group heading to a dessert shop to purchase delectable desserts such as ice cream and tarts. The visual also showcases the eight-member act’s dance skills.

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LIGHTSUM are the latest K-pop girl group formed by CUBE Entertainment, following the 2018 debut of (G)I-DLE and CLC back in 2015. The new octet features three members who were originally contestants on the 2018 Mnet reality TV competition Produce 48 – namely Chowon, Nayoung, and Yujeong – as well as The Unit participant Juhyeon.

LIGHTSUM’s name has been described by CUBE as a combination of “bright LIGHTs [that] will come together as one SUM in order to reach everyone across the world, becoming a group that will convey more positive energy to everyone through their message of hope”, per Soompi.

In other CUBE Entertainment news, CLC’s Yujin is reportedly set to participate in the upcoming TV talent competition Girls Planet 999. Yujin will be one of 33 trainees representing South Korea, however, her agency CUBE Entertainment has yet to confirm her participation in the forthcoming series. It is currently unknown how this will affect CLC if the news is true.

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Meanwhile, Jeon Soyeon of K-pop girl group (G)-IDLE is preparing to make a comeback as a soloist. “It is true Jeon Soyeon is preparing to make a solo comeback,” the company said in a statement, as translated by Soompi. However, CUBE also noted that a release date for Soyeon’s new music has yet to be decided, saying that “the schedule is still being worked out”.

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Former X1 member Lee Eun-sang to debut in new boyband next year

Former X1 member Lee Eun-sang is set to make his long-awaited return in a new boyband next year.

Lee’s agency Brand New Music announced in a statement to South Korean news outlet Hanguk Kyungje today (10 June) that the singer will be included in an upcoming boyband that company is planning to launch next year group. The label also confirmed that debut plans are already underway, with a goal to showcase the group somewhere within the first half of 2022.

“We are preparing to launch our next boy group that targets the global market and are aiming for their debut in the first half of next year,” the agency said, as translated by Soompi. “We have officially started setting debut plans.”

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The upcoming boy group is said to include a line-up of “outstanding” and “unique” members, and will also be the agency’s largest K-pop group to date. Brand New Music also revealed that the debut lineup has already been finalised but will only be revealed at a later date.

“We recently unveiled the group through a private showcase for industry personnel,” the label added. “The group’s concept, number of members, name, narrative and other details will be revealed [to the public] one by one starting in the second half of this year.”

Lee Eun-sang had made his solo debut in 2020 with the single album ‘Beautiful Scar’. He had also collaborated on ‘Memories’ with fellow Ex-X1 member Kim Woo Seok and made contributions to soundtracks of television dramas like Let Me Off The Earth.

Prior to his solo activities, Lee earned a spot in the now-disbanded boyband X1 through the Mnet reality TV competition Produce X 101 in 2019. The singer’s agency, Brand New Music, is home to groups such as AB6IX and BDC, along with other soloists such as Bumkey, Han Dong Geun, Yang Da Il and more.

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