GFRIEND is an all-female South Korean group signed under Source Music. The group consists of members Sowon, Yerin, Eunha, Yuji, SinB, and Umji. They officially debuted on January 16, 2015 with the EP Season of Glass. GFriend has since won several awards including several Best New Artist awards and a Bonsang award at the 2017 Soribada Best K-Music Awards.
2015: Official debut and quick rise on popularity
Ahead of their debut on, GFriend pre-released the music video for their lead single “Glass Bead” on January 14 and their first EP, Season of Glass, on January 15.
On January 16, the day of their official debut, the group started promotions for their album, particularly the song “Glass Bead” on KBS’ Music Bank. Upon release, “Glass Bead”, composed by Seo Yong-bae and Iggy, debuted at number 12 on Gaon’s weekly chart. Aside from this immediate success, the M/V for the song also ranked 9th in the top ten “Most Viewed K-Pop Videos Around the World in January 2015,” according to YouTube. On January 28, Billboard GFriend as one of the “Top 5 K-Pop Artists to Watch in 2015”.
On July 23 of the same year, the group released their second EP, Flower Bud, as well as the music video for the title track “Me Gustas Tu”. On the same date, they also began their promotions for the album on Mnet’s M! Countdown.
GFriend started gaining international attention in September 2015 when a fan-taken video of the girls went viral. The video shows the members continuing and successfully completing their performance of “Me Gustas Tu” despite repeatedly falling due to a slippery stage. The group was praised for their professionalism, particularly, Yuju, who fell eight times and suffered a twisted finger during the performance.
On September 27, 2015, GFriend made headlines once again for being the only girl group nominated in the “Best Korean Act” category of the 2015 MTV Europe Music Awards alongside B1A4, Got7, VIXX, and BTS.
By the end of the year, “Me Gustas Tu” was named the longest charting song by an idol group on Melon’s Top 100 with 63 weeks. “Me Gustas Tu” and “Glass Bead” also took the 18th and 44th spots, respectively, on the 2015 Bugs Year-End Top 100.
2016: Snowflake, first music show wins, LOL
GFriend released their third EP, Snowflake, on January 25, 2016, with the title track “Rough”. “Rough” concludes the group’s high school concept trilogy along with their previous songs “Glass Bead” and “Me Gustas Tu”. At a fan meeting after the EP’s release, GFriend also announced their official fandom name – Buddy.
The group started promotions for the album on January 26 with a performance on SBS MTV’s The Show. The album debuted at number 10 on Billboard’s World Albums Chart, while the music video for “Rough” became YouTube’s third among the “Most Viewed K-Pop Videos Around the World in January 2016”.
On February 2, they won their first ever music show win with “Rough” through The Show. Following that first trophy, GFriend went on to win 14 more awards for the song on music shows, including their first triple crowns on M Countdown, Music Bank, Show Champion, and Inkigayo. Accumulating a total of 15 wins, they came in second with the most number of music show wins for girl groups, behind Apink which holds the record of 17 wins with “Luv”. GFriend’s “Rough” was also ranked first in Gaon Chart’s First Half of 2016 chart rankings.
On June 15, it was announced that GFriend will join Mamamoo for the new season of Showtime. On June 29, Source Music began releasing teasers for the group’s first studio album, LOL, which stands for “Laughing Out Loud” and “Lots of Love”.
LOL was officially released on July 11 with the title track “Navillera”, reportedly having more than 60,000 pre-orders worldwide. On July 19, the group won their first music show trophy for “Navillera” on The Show.
Towards the end of 2016, GFriend’s “Rough” and “Navillera” made it to YouTube’s list of the top 10 K-pop music videos most loved by South Koreans in 2016. “Rough” ranked 2nd, while “Navillera” ranked 10th. The group also ranked in the 2016 Bugs Year-End Top 100 (“Rough” at 2nd and “Navillera” at 11th), as well as Billboard’s 20 Best K-Pop Songs of 2016: Critic’s Picks (“Rough” at 13th). At the 2016 KBS Song Festival, peak viewership ratings of 10.3% for the entire show were recorded during GFriend’s performance of “Rough”. It also became the most downloaded song in 2016, according to Gaon Chart’s 2016 Year End Download Chart.
2017: The Awakening and Parallel
Source Music announced in February 2017 that GFriend is scheduled to make a comeback on March 6 with their fourth EP, The Awakening, featuring the title track “Fingertip”. Global pre-orders for the album reportedly reached 100,000 copies, higher than the group’s previous release, LOL, which had 60,000.
The Awakening peaked at number 1 on the Gaon Album Chart and at number 5 on Billboard’s World Albums Chart. Four of the six songs from the album also entered the Gaon Digital Chart within the first week of its release – “Fingertip” (#2), “Hear the Wind Sing” (#34), “Rain in the Spring Time” (#94), and “Please Save My Earth” (#99).
On August 1, 2017, GFriend released their fifth mini album, Parallel, with the title track “Love Whisper”. It was followed by the release of a repackaged version, Rainbow, with the title track “Summer Rain” in September.
Rainbow debuted at number 2 on the Gaon Album Chart for the week of September 10-16, 2017, while two songs from the EP entered the Gaon Digital Chart – “Summer Rain” (#11) and “Rainbow” (#86).
2018: First solo concert, Asia Tour, Japan debut
GFriend opened the year with their first solo concert since debut, titled “Season of GFriend,” on January 6 and 7. A total of 6,000 tickets to the two-day event were reportedly sold out in three minutes. After the completion of their first solo concert, the group announced their first Asia Tour, which will commence in Taipei on February 28 and followed by stops in Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Japan.
Days before embarking on their Asia Tour, it was announced that the group signed with King Records and is set to officially debut in Japan in May.
On April 30, the group released their sixth mini album, Time for the Moon Night, with the title track of the same name. The album contains 6 songs and two additional instrumental tracks. It peaked at number 1 on the Gaon Albums Chart and Taiwan’s Five Music Chart upon release, while it ranked 6th on Billboard’s US World Albums Chart. Following their comeback stages, the lead single “Time for the Moon Night” has also earned GFriend at least 7 music show wins just within the first half of of their three-week promotions.
On May 23, they are also scheduled to release their debut compilation album, Kyō Kara Watashitachi wa – GFriend 1st Best, for their Japan debut. It will include a Japanese version of their hit “Me Gustas Tu”.