EXID is an all-female group formed by renowned music producer and songwriter Shinsadong Tiger in 2012. The group was initially signed under AB Entertainment but has since transferred to Banana Culture (formerly Yedang Entertainment). The group consists of five members – Solji, LE, Hani, Hyelin, and Jeonghwa – and officially debuted in February 2012 with the single “Whoz That Girl”. EXID, which is short for “Exceed in Dreaming,” shot to stardom with a viral video of their performance of “Up & Down”.
2011 to 2012: EXID Formation and official debut
In May 2011, AB Entertainment founder Shinsadong Tiger scouted several trainees from JYP Entertainment for a new girl group he was forming. Yuji, a trainee, was the first to join when a would-be girl group from JYPE failed to debut. She then contacted fellow trainees Hani, Haeryeong, and Junghwa to audition for AB Entertainment. All four trainees were accepted to the agency. Shinsadong Tiger then added a fifth member, LE, whom he discovered as an underground rapper and songwriter. The sixth and last member to join the group Dami, an original AB trainee.
Prior to their debut, the group was to be named “WT,” which was an acronym for “Who’s That”. The group then changed their name to EXID a few months before their official debut.
The group consists of five members – Solji, LE, Hani, Hyelin, and Jeonghwa
In December 2011, LE was featured in Huh Gak’s single, “Whenever You Play That Song,” which appeared on Korean music charts.
EXID was scheduled to debut in January 2012, but was delayed to February when LE sustained a leg injury during rehearsals.
On February 3, AB Entertainment announced that EXID will be debuting with the single “Whoz That Girl,” and released video teasers online featuring each of the members doing solo performances.
The group released “Whoz That Girl” on February 16 from their digital single album, Holla. They made their debut performance on M! Countdown, followed by stages on Music Core and Inkigayo. The song peaked at number 36 on the Gaon Singles Chart and sold 840,000 digital copies.
In April 2012, however, AB Entertainment officially announced the departure of members Yuji, Dami, and Haeryeong. In a statement, the agency said Yuji and Dami left the group to focus on their studies, while Haeryeong left to pursue an acting career. They were replaced by new members Solji, a former member of the duo 2NB, and Hyelin, who was originally considered for EXID’s original lineup before being dropped from the group.
With the two new members, EXID made a comeback in August 2012 with their second single “I Feel Good” from their first EP, Hippity Hop. The EP debuted at number 13 on the Gaon Albums Chart, selling 1,500 copies.
In October, the group released the digital single “Every Night”. The title track was revealed to be an alternate version of LE’s self-written song “Phone Call,” which was recorded as part of their debut EP. “Every Night” debuted at number 43 on the Gaon Singles Chart, selling 105,000 digital copies.
EXID also released the song “Hey Boy” on October 11 as part of the soundtrack for MBC’s sitcom The Thousandth Man. The song is a female version of B1A4’s song, “Hey Girl”. EXID’s version was rearranged by Shinsadong Tiger into a reggae style in an attempt “to create a different approach” from the original version.
On November 30, it was revealed that EXID would release a collaboration album with Big star and D-Unit, in addition to doing a special year-end show. The concert, called “The Bugs Show Vol. 1,” was held at the V-Hall in the Hongdae district of Seoul on December 22.
2014 to 2015: “Up & Down” breakthrough and rising popularity
In June 2014, it was announced that EXID had signed an exclusive contract with Yedang Entertainment, and are gearing for a comeback in collaboration with Shinsadong Tiger. The comeback was held two months later at the Ilchi Art Hall where the group performed their new song “Up & Down”.
The song, composed and produced by Shinsadong Tiger, Namking Nang, and member LE, was officially released on August 27. It was the group’s first release since signing with Yedang Entertainment. However, it was not commercially successful and failed to make it onto the top of the charts.
It wasn’t until several months later in October 2014 that the single made headlines for its belated chart run. The success of the song, this time, was attributed to a fan who took a video of member Hani performing the song. The video went viral across social networking sites in South Korea in late November and has been viewed 26 million times to date.
The attention brought about by the fan-cam led to the song’s entry to the Gaon Overall Singles Chart at number 34 and remaining in the top five for the next three weeks before eventually topping the chart in December. EXID also returned to various music shows to promote the song, subsequently being nominated for a first place award on Show! Music Core, The Music Trend, and M! Countdown, where they won their first music show trophy since debut. The win was followed by another one on Music Bank on January 9, and a third one on Inkigayo on January 11. Since its release, “Up & Down” has sold more than 1.7 million digital copies in South Korea, becoming the group’s first million-selling hit single.
In February 2015, member Solji became part of the pilot episode of the MBC singing competition program, King of Mask Singer. She became the first winner of the show, again drawing a lot of attention to EXID.
On April 13, they released the music video for the title song “Ah Yeah,” from their second EP of the same name. The group won first place with the song on both April 26 and May 3 episodes of Inkigayo, as well as the April 29 and May 6 episodes of Show Champion.
In May, EXID made their first American performance at the Korean Music Festival in Los Angeles, California. And in July, they were featured in their own season of the MBC Every1 reality show, Showtime.
On November 7, the group won the MBC Music Star Award at the 2015 MelOn Music Awards. Ten days later, they released the music video for the song “Hot Pink,” which was nominated for first place on various music programs. EXID won a trophy for the song on Show Champion and Inkigayo.
2016: Chinese debut, first studio album, Solji’s hiatus
On January 11, EXID signed with the Chinese entertainment company Banana Project for plans to expand their promotions outside Korea, sparking discussions regarding the group’s future activities in South Korea. However, Banana Culture Music CEO Wang Sicong assured fans that the next album they are planning for the group will be released simultaneously in China and South Korea.
On March 2, EXID’s label, Yedang Entertainment, changed its name to Banana Culture and launched a venture company in Seoul with Banana Project. On March 18, EXID held their first Chinese fan meeting, entitled “EXID’s LEGGO Show in Shanghai”.
The group released their first studio album, Street, on June with the title track “L.I.E”. The album features a total of 12 songs, many of which were written and composed by LE. It also included Hani’s solo song, “Hello,” and Solji’s solo song, “3%”.
Street peaked at number two on the Gaon Album Chart, while “L.I.E” peaked at number five. During their promotions, the group won first place with the lead single on Show Champion, Inkigayo, and The Show.
On December 20, EXID released their first Chinese single, “Cream,” on QQ Music and YinYueTai, peaking at number six on the Billboard China V Chart.
A day after the release of the song, however, Banana Culture announced that Solji has been diagnosed with hyperthyroidism, prompting them to halt all of her activities for the awards season of 2016 to 2017. Solji took a temporary hiatus from the group while she recuperates, while the rest of EXID continue with their promotions.
2017 to present: Asian tour
EXID released their second Chinese single on January, a Chinese version of their hit song “Up & Down”. On the day of its release, a new version of the music video for the song was also uploaded to YouTube, while the original version was removed. The video earned a divided opinion among the group’s fans as they were shown dancing in the ‘Forbidden City’, which seemed inappropriate for some.
On March 17, the four active members of the group performed at the Mexico City Arena as part of the lineup of KCON Music Festival in Mexico, where Hani also covered “Ecos De Amor” by Mexican duo Jesse & Joy.
Due to Solji’s health issues, the group’s planned comeback was delayed until April. But in March, it was announced that the group will return as a four-member group while Solji is still recovering from her illness.
On April 10, EXID officially released their third EP, Eclipse, along with the title track “Night Rather Than Day”. The album debuted at number 4 on the Billboard World Albums Chart, becoming the groups highest charting and first album to make it in the chart’s top five to date.
On April 25, they took home their first music show win for “Night Rather Than Day” on The Show, followed by more wins on Show Champion and another on The Show in May.
In May, Banana Culture Entertainment announced that EXID will be embarking on a promotional tour around Asia for the summer. Titled “EXID Asia Tour 2017,” the group began their tour with a stop in Hong Kong, then in Singapore. They were also scheduled to visit Taiwan in July before their homecoming concert in Seoul on August 12. However, their Taiwan show was postponed to August 26 due to safety concerns brought about by Typhoon Nesat.
After their Seoul performance, a picture of all five members went around social media, sparking speculations on Solji’s return. At the concert, Solji did join the other girls, appearing on stage from the crowd to perform their song “Summer, Fall, Winter, Spring”. However, it wasn’t Solji’s official return yet.
On November 7, EXID released their fourth mini album, Full Moon, with the title track “DDD”. The album marks Solji’s comeback after being on hiatus since 2016. But this time, she only participated in the recording process and did not join the promotions for the album as well as the music video for “DDD”.
Full Moon debuted at number seven on the Gaon Album Chart and number 6 on Billboard’s US World Albums Chart, while the group won first place on The Show with “DDD”.
Beginning December, after wrapping up promotions for Full Moon, EXID shared photo teasers for a project called Re:flower through their social media platforms. The project is a series through which they release remastered versions and remakes of B-side tracks from their previous releases.
On April 2, 2018, EXID returned with the single “Lady,” once again as a group of four, while Solji was said to still be recovering from surgery. Composed by V!VE, Shinsadong Tiger, and LE, the song debuted and peaked at number 32 on the Gaon Digital Chart, while the album peaked at number 4 on the Gaon Albums Chart. It also peaked at number 37 on the Billboard KPop Hot 100 chart. A week after its release, the group won first place on The Show with “Lady” on April 10.
On May 11, it was announced that EXID will launch their official Japanese website and the formation of a Japanese fan club. And on May 21, the group released a new addition to their Re:flower series, which is the remastered version of their song “How Why” from the album Eclipse.
On June 27, EXID held a showcase in Tokyo where they announced the upcoming release of the Japanese version of “Up & Down” on August 22 as well as their first Japanese tour between August 23 and 25. Moreover, Solji also confirmed that she would have fully recovered by the time of their tour and will be joining the group once more. #
Fun Fact: The Maknae is the youngest member of the band.