Red Velvet (Hangul: 레드벨벳) is a five-member South Korean girl group formed by SM Entertainment in 2014. The group consists of Irene, Seulgi, Wendy, Joy, and Yeri. Their name is a play on their dual concept of "red" and "velvet"; the "red" half is their brighter and bubblier side, while their "velvet" image is their softer, more mature and elegant concept.
Debuting in 2014, Red Velvet was originally a four-member group. Three of the original four members of Red Velvet were previously part of S.M. Entertainment's pre-debut team, SM Rookies. Seulgi, the first member who joined the agency, was brought in through an audition in 2007. Irene, the next member to join the company, was cast in 2009. Wendy auditioned through the SM Global Audition in Canada in 2012. Joy, the member who wasn't part of SM Rookies, auditioned through the SM Global Audition in Seoul in 2012. As part of SM Rookies, several clips of Irene, Seulgi and Wendy were released on S.M. Entertainment's official YouTube account. The three members were rumored to debut as a group in July 2014, which was then later confirmed by SM Entertainment. With the addition of member Joy, the four-member group would debut as Red Velvet - SM Entertainment's first girl group in five years, after f(x).
Red Velvet's debut single 행복 (Happiness) was digitally released on August 4, 2014. The music video was released on August 1, and later become the second most viewed K-pop video worldwide in August 2014; on the same day, the group made their official debut stage on the music program Music Bank.
Red Velvet released their second digital single Be Natural on October 13, 2014. It is a remake of a song by veteran SM Entertainment girl group, S.E.S.. The track features Taeyong, former member of SM Rookies' male unit, SR14B, and current member of NCT. The group started their promotional activities for this release on October 9, making their first appearance on the music program, M! Countdown. The music video for the song was released on the same day.
On March 11, 2015, S.M. Entertainment released a video announcing the addition of a new member to the group's lineup - Yeri. Yeri was formerly part of S.M. Rookies with Irene, Seulgi and Wendy. On March 14, "Automatic", the group's first music video featuring Yeri, was released. The following day, they released their first mini album, Ice Cream Cake, along with the music video for "Ice Cream Cake". It was also announced by S.M. Entertainment that both "Automatic" and "Ice Cream Cake" would be promoted as double lead singles off the album.
In early September 2015, S.M. Entertainment announced that the group would be making a comeback, and on September 9, 2015, Red Velvet released their first full length album The Red. The album features ten tracks, including the title track, "Dumb Dumb". The album focuses on their "red" image, which is supposed to be the group's bright and bold side. On December 18, 2015, the group took part in S.M. Entertainment's special winter project, Winter Garden, alongside label-mates f(x) and BoA, releasing a digital single titled "세가지 소원 (Wish Tree)".
While promoting The Red, it was hinted at by the members and S.M. Entertainment that there would be a follow up album, but nothing was confirmed at that time. In March 2016, it was announced that the group would make a comeback with the group's second mini album. The Velvet was released on March 17, 2016 as a direct follow up to their first album The Red. While The Red focuses on the "red" half of the group's image, The Velvet focuses on the group's smooth and soft "velvet" image. The title track, "7월 7일 (One Of These Nights)", is described as an R&B ballad. On March 27, 2016, the group performed the track on music show Inkigayo.
On September 7, 2016, Red Velvet released their third mini album Russian Roulette. The mini album features seven tracks, including the title track of the same name, "러시안 룰렛 (Russian Roulette)". On September 13, 2016, Red Velvet took their first music show win for "Russian Roulette" on The Show. The title track peaked at #2 on the Gaon Digital Chart and Billboard's World Digital Songs chart, making it their highest rankings on both charts at the time. On January 27, 2018, the music video for "Russian Roulette" became the group's first music video to reach 100 million views.
A few months later in January of 2017, it was announced that the group would be releasing new music in February. The group's fourth mini album ROOKIE was released on February 1, 2017. The mini album contains six tracks, including the title track of the same name, "ROOKIE" and "마지막 사랑 (Last Love)", a solo track by group member Wendy.
On July 9, 2017, Red Velvet released their fifth mini album The Red Summer. The mini album features five tracks, including lead track "빨간 맛 (Red Flavor)". The album was a commercial success, becoming their third #1 win, making them the K-pop girl group with the most #1 albums on a chart. All five tracks on the mini album debuted in the Top 50 of the Gaon Digital Chart.
Red Velvet revisited their "velvet" image by releasing their second full-length album Perfect Velvet on November 17 with the lead single "피카부 (Peek-a-Boo)". "Peek-a-Boo" peaked at #2 on Billboard's World Digital Songs chart. In South Korea, the album and the single "Peek-a-Boo" both charted at #2 on the Gaon Album Chart and Gaon Digital Chart. Through the release of Rookie, The Red Summer and Perfect Velvet all in the same year and the success of their albums overseas, Red Velvet achieved a "top girl group" status in South Korea in 2017. On January 29, 2018, Red Velvet released a repackage titled The Perfect Red Velvet, consisting of three new songs, including title track "Bad Boy", which was meant to be the most "velvet" track Red Velvet has ever put out.
On March 20, 2018, it was announced that Red Velvet would be performing alongside other selected South Korean artists for an inter-Korean concert in Pyongyang, North Korea. This makes them the first artist from SM Entertainment in fifteen years since Shinhwa to perform in North Korea. On May 23, it was revealed that their debut Japanese extended play is titled #Cookie Jar. It was released on July 4, 2018 by the label Avex Trax, and included six new songs including the Japanese versions of "Dumb Dumb", "Russian Roulette" and "Red Flavor". The new songs are "#Cookie Jar" , "Aitai-tai" and "Cause it’s You". The extended play debuted at #3 on the Oricon Weekly Albums chart and sold 26,124 copies on its first week of release in Japan.
On July 19, 2018, Red Velvet announced they would be making a comeback soon and had already filmed their music video outdoors in Gyeonggi-do. Excitement was stirred after the announcement of an English language version of previous single "Bad Boy". The songs from the new album were performed during Red Velvet's concert Redmare. They released their sixth extended play Summer Magic on August 6 2018. The extended play contained seven tracks, including the title track "Power Up" and bonus track "Bad Boy (Eng Ver.)". The album peaked at #1 on the Gaon Album Chart.
After the release of Summer Magic, news about Red Velvet's upcoming comeback circulated in October 2018, which SM Entertainment responded to by confirming a November comeback. SM Entertainment later revealed the details of the extended play along with the title of the lead single: "RBB (Really Bad Boy)". They also teased an English version of the title track to be added as a bonus track. RBB was released on November 30 as their seventh Korean extended play overall.
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