Park Jimin was the first place winner on the Korean tv program K-Pop Star in 2012, and she won the opportunity to sign with the three biggest labels in the music industry. Choosing JYP, Jimin was paired with another JYP trainee, Baek Yerin, who was dubbed an R&B genius at the age of ten. At the time they were paired together, the girls were about fifteen years old and had a bright future ahead of them. Thus, they were given the name 15& for their group.
They debuted with their first song in October 2012, performing I Dream on the Inkigayo stage. And less than a week later the girls were holding a string of guerilla concerts at some of Seoul’s local middle and high schools. The girls not only drew in students of the schools, but locals who heard about the free concerts.
In April 2013, the pair released their second single, Somebody, during the finale stage of K-Pop Star 2, the show’s second season that Jimin has won the prior year. The music video poked fun of the competition program and included cameos from her CEO, JYP, and by fellow K-Pop Star season one contestants. On the day of its release, the song rose to number one on several Korean music charts.
They didn’t release their third single until about a year later, titled Can’t Hide It. Like their comeback the year before, Can’t Hide It was debuted on the finale of K-Pop Star 3, where they also revealed that they were dropping their first album the following month. Sugar was released May 26th, and they had their comeback stage on MCountdown three days later.
Again, there was a brief spell of silence from the girls until February of 2015, where they released their fourth single, Love Is Madness, on February 8th. The song featured Kanto of the boy group, Troy. This song, unlike their previous comebacks, wasn’t performed publicly until Valentine’s Day, during their concert for singles.
After that, the girls took a hiatus, leaving us with four years of silence before quietly disbanding when Jimin’s contract with JYP expired and she chose not to renew it. While it was the end of the duo, it was far from the end of either girls’ careers. Baek Yerin has released her own solo music as has Jimin under her English name Jamie Park. I loved their combined talents, but also love and appreciate their solo work. Both have lived up to their reputations and i hope they both find joy in sharing their gifts with us for many more years.