|The members of K-pop boy group RIIZE pose during a press event at the Blue Square Mastercard Hall in central Seoul, Monday. Yonhap|
RIIZE debuts with 'Get A Guitar'
By Dong Sun-hwa
K-pop powerhouse SM Entertainment has introduced its first boy group in seven years ― RIIZE.
Making their debut on Monday with "Get A Guitar," the seven-member group ― consisting of Shotaro, Sungchan, Eunseok, Seunghan, Wonbin, Sohee and Anton ― has swiftly gained widespread attention both in Korea and internationally. Their debut comes as the first major boy band launch by SM Entertainment since NCT's introduction in 2016.
Emerging from SM Entertainment, home to A-list K-pop stars like NCT and aespa, RIIZE has already made waves in the industry. Their debut release has racked up 1 million pre-orders as of Sunday. RIIZE garnered more than 1 million followers on Instagram only four days after opening its official account, a record in terms of speed. It has also partnered with RCA Records ― a label under American multinational music company, Sony Music Entertainment ― even before making its official debut.
All the news came as a pleasant surprise to the seven members, who looked both nervous and thrilled during their first press event at the Blue Square Mastercard Hall in central Seoul, Monday.
"I never imagined that we would receive this much spotlight from the onset," Sungchan, a former NCT member, said during the event. "It still feels surreal. I am so grateful to our fans, and I will try to repay them with good music and performances."
Eunseok added, "We will strive to live up to people's high expectations."
RIIZE's debut not only signals the beginning of its own musical journey, but also heralds a new era of SM. Earlier this year, the label parted ways with its founder Lee Soo-man, who led the entire process of music production at SM. The 70-year-old left the company following a management dispute, prompting SM to start its "SM 3.0" project. As part of this project, SM established five new production centers, which are helmed by different producers. Among them, RIIZE belongs to SM Wizard Production, led by executive directors Kim Hyung-kook and Lee Sang-min.
Kim emphasized that RIIZE aims to carve out its own niche in the music world.
"What sets RIIZE apart from others is its music," Kim said. "It will play its unique genre ― 'emotional pop' ― that sheds light on various emotions and experiences the seven members will have as they attempt to achieve growth. Our ultimate goal is to become a top-tier act on the global music scene."
"Get A Guitar" carries two tracks: the lead single of the same name and "Memories." According to SM, the former is a retro-tinged tune peppered with funky guitar sounds, which portrays how the seven members have formed a team to pursue their dreams as singers.
"All of us fell in love with the song as soon as he heard it," said Wonbin, who has been playing guitar since he was an elementary school student. "I think our followers will like it, too."
Sungchan elaborated, "We tried to highlight our hip vibe. Its mood is quite different from that of 'Memories,' through which we emit our refreshing charm."
As for future plans, RIIZE is already setting their sights high.
"I hope we can win the rookie of the year award ― the prize that we can only notch once in our life," Sohee said.
Anton, a former swimmer and the son of singer-songwriter Yoon Sang, added: "My goal is to go for a world tour as part of RIIZE. There is a huge stadium in New Jersey ― the place where I used to live ― and I think it will be great if I get the chance to perform there."
RIIZE is scheduled to release two singles in November and December, and roll out a fresh album next year.