NU’EST, or short for New Establish Style Tempo, is an all-male South Korean group under Pledis Entertainment. The group officially debuted on March 15, 2012 with the digital single “Face”. NU’EST is composed of five members – JR, Aron, Ren, Baekho, and Minhyun.
Prior to their debut as a group, all of the members of NU’EST have made appearances in the music releases of their labelmates from Pledis Entertainment. They appeared as backup dancers for After School Blue’s “Wonder Boy” and were featured in the agency’s Christmas release “Love Letter”, for which they also released their own music video.
The group’s leader, JR, also appeared in Orange Caramel’s music video for “Bangkok City” and was featured in Uee’s solo track “Sok Sok Sok”. Baekho appeared in After School’s “Play Ur Love” M/V, while Minhyun starred in Orange Caramel’s “Shanghai Romance” M/V.
JR, Aron, Ren, and Minhyun were also featured in a commercial for New Balance, together with After School’s Lizzy. JR and Baekho once appeared on the KBS television program Hello Counselor, where they were revealed by After School’s Kahi as two of the official members of the soon-to-debut group. Kahi’s revelation drew attention from viewers of the show, making JR and Baekho a hot topic among netizens. Minhyun and Ren also gained attention when they modeled for designer Park Yoon-so’s F/W 2012-13 Seoul Fashion Week show, titled “Big Park”.
2012: Official debut, global promotions, and KCON
NU’EST made their official debut on March 15, 2012 with their first single “Face”. On the same day, they performed their debut stage on Mnet’s M! Countdown. During their promotions for the single, the group starred in their own reality show, Making of a Star: NU’EST Landing Operation, which aired on MBC Every1.
On July 11, the group returned with their first EP, Action, with the title track of the same name. They were also appointed as ambassadors for Korea Scout Association, the national Scouting association of South Korea. During their promotional period for Album, NU’EST began to expand to the global market. From July and the rest of the year, they held events in Japan and other parts of Asia, Australia, and the United States.
On October 13, NU’EST was part of the lineup of the very first KCON. Held in Irvine, California, the group was invited to perform alongside other groups such as 4Minute, B.A.P., EXO-M, VIXX, and G.NA in front of 20,000 attendees.
In December, they became endorsers of world-renowned fast food chain McDonald’s.
2013 to 2014: TV ventures, Hello, and first concert
In January 2013, members Ren and Baekho debuted as actors with their appearances in the drama Jeon Woo-chi with their labelmate Uee.
On February 13, NU’EST released their second EP, Hello, with the lead single of the same name. On the same day of its release, the group held their first exclusive concert, titled Show Time NU’EST Time. During promotions for Hello, they were cast for SBS MTV Diary together with Hello Venus, also of Pledis Entertainment.
The group celebrated their first anniversary through a concert in Japan, titled NU’EST Debut 1st Anniversary Live Show Time, in March 2013.
On April 8, Aron became radio DJ for Arirang’s Music Access. The program reportedly gained popularity after he took the DJ post with an average of 3,000 stories being posted on the show’s bulletin board daily.
NU’EST released their third EP, Sleep Talking, on August 22, 2013 with the title track of the same name. And in December, Minhyun made his acting debut as a regular cast on the sitcom Reckless Family 3.
In March 2014, as part of the celebrations for Music Core’s 400th episode, Ren performed Girl’s Day’s “Something” alongside BTOB’s Minhyuk, A-JAX’s Seungjin, and VIXX’s Hongbin.
On July 2014, the group released their first full album, Re:BIRTH, with the title track “Good Bye Bye”.
On November 5, NU’EST officially debuted in Japan with the single “Shalala Ring”.
2015: Continued Japanese promotions, Q Is, and Canvas
NU’EST released their digital single “I’m Bad” on February 27, 2015, followed by a limited edition physical release on March 15 to celebrate their third anniversary. Member Baekho did not appear on the title track due to vocal cord polyps surgery, but he was part of the B-side track “A Scene Without You”.
On April 2, Minhyun collaborated with Korean indie artist Fromm on the single “The Aftermath”.
On May 3, the group held their first solo showcase in North America with a show in Dallas organized by My Music Taste. They then released their second Japanese single “Na Na Na” on May 20.
Aron returned to his DJ activities on August 14, this time for SBS’ PopAsia, with his own show, Aron’s Hangout.
On November 18, NU’EST released their first Japanese studio album, Bridge the World, after pre-releasing the tracks “Bridge the World,” “Cherry,” “Access to You,” and “Eternal Rain”.
2016: Q Is and Canvas
The group released their fourth EP, Q Is, on February 17, 2016 with the title track “Overcome” and four other tracks. For this particular release, Baekho has taken on a role in producing the music, while the other members participated in writing the lyrics.
On August 29, the group released their fifth EP, Canvas, with the lead single “Love Paint (Every Afternoon)”. And after four years of continuous promotions, NU’EST received their first music show nomination on The Show. As of September 20, they have been nominated for first place for three consecutive times.
On October 6, a music video was released by the special unit composed of JR and Minhyun for the song “Daybreak”.
2017: Produce 101 Season 2, “Comeback Kings”
During the first half of 2017, four of the five members (JR, Ren, Baekho, and Minhyun) participated in the second season of Mnet’s popular survival reality program Produce 101. While on the show, the members were seen as strong contenders, especially JR, who was given the title of “Nation’s Leader” for always being selected as a leader during group tasks.
Ren, JR, and Baekho eventually got eliminated on the final episode of the show at rank #20, 14, and 13, respectively, while Minhyun made it to the top 11 and became part of the winning group, Wanna One.
After the final episode of Produce 101 Season 2 was aired, NU’EST’s old songs shot back up on the music charts, even topping the Gaon Chart. Their previously released albums Q Is and Canvas also rose on South Korean album charts, while their official fan café reportedly gained new members as a result of their rise in popularity.
The group returned to music shows to promote their single “Hello”, which was originally released in 2013, and ranked 11th on Inkigayo.
Following the conclusion of the program, the members were chosen as endorsers of cosmetics company Labiotte. They have also continued with their individual activities, with JR being a fixed cast member on JTBC’s variety show Night Goblin and as a judge on the tvN music show Shadow Singer. Ren joined JTBC’s variety show, Learning the Hard Way, as a fixed member, while Aron featured on Raina’s single, “Loop”. Baekho, however, was slapped with sexual harassment charges in the aftermath of his Produce 101 stint and unfortunately wasn’t able to carry on with other projects outside of the group.
And since Minhyun won’t be able to promote with the NU’EST due to the nature of his contract with CJ-CJ E&M and as part of Wanna One, the other members started temporarily promoting as the subgroup NU’EST W for the remainder of 2017.
On October 10, 2017, NU’EST W released their debut EP, W, Here, along with the title track “Where You At”. It features a total of 6 songs, four of which are solo tracks for each of the members, and two group tracks including the lead single.
The album was well-received and has reportedly surpassed 200,000 copies sold since its release. This makes NU’EST W the fourth K-pop group to sell 200,000 copies in one week. And on October 19, they won their very first music show win on KBS’ Music Bank.
Also in the same month, the group modeled for the outdoor company BLACKYAK’s “Art of the Youth” campaign.
On December 23, they released the song “Let Me Out” as part of the official soundtrack of the drama A Korean Odyssey. This marks the group’s first Korean drama song since their debut in 2012.
NU’EST W also started winning at year-end award shows, proving they have earned their new moniker among Korean fans as the “Comeback Kings”. In 2017, the group won the Best Entertainer Award at the Asia Artist Awards and Discovery of the Year Award at the Mnet Asian Music Awards.
2018: First major solo concert, more awards and recognition
NU’EST welcomes 2018 with a slew of other awards following their very successful stint on Produce 101 Season 2. They won a Disk Bonsang at the Golden Disk Awards and Seoul Music Awards, the Hot Performance of the Year at the Gaon Chart K-pop Awards, and they made it to the Global Artist Top 10 of Naver’s V Live Awards.
It was also announced that NU’EST W will be holding their first major concert in 2018. Ticket reservations were opened to the members of the fan club on February 13, while public ticket selling began on February 19. Around 200,000 people reportedly tried to access the website at the same time and tickets to all three dates of the show sold out in an instant.
From March 16 to 18, NU’EST W held “Double You”, a three-day concert series at the SK Handball Gymnasium at the Seoul Olympic Park, their first ever solo concert in Korea since 2012.
In April 2018, the group won the Popular Star Award and Special Asia Award at the Asia Model Awards.
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