B1A4 is a five-member boy group under WM Entertainment. Members Jinyoung, CNU, Sandeul, Baro, and Gongchan were first introduced to the public through a webtoon before they officially debuted on April 23, 2011 with the single “O.K.” from the extended play (EP) Let’s Fly. The group has had significant success in both South Korea and Japan owing to their active promotions in both countries.
Baro was scouted by a representative from WM Entertainment who came across his photo posted on a friend’s homepage on the social networking site Cyworld. During his audition, he sang “Once I Leave” by Sumi Jo and “The Road to Me” by Sung Si-kyung, and did rapping and beatboxing.
The group’s leader, Jinyoung, was also discovered from a photo posted on Cyworld. He received training in song composition, singing, and acting.
The youngest member, Gongchan, was also discovered on Cyworld after he won an “Ulzzang Challenge” when he was in middle school.
Main vocalist Sandeul was approached by an agent from the company after performing a song by Kim Yeon-woo in a talent show.
Prior to their official debut, the group trained for two years in WM Entertainment.
2011: Official debut, Let’s Fly, It B1A4, and first reality show
Each of the members of B1A4 were officially introduced to the public on April 11, 2011 through a webtoon, with the leader Jinyoung’s photo being revealed by WM Entertainment on the same day. The photos of other members Baro, Gongchan, Sandeul, and CNU were revealed on the succeeding days of April 12 to 15.
On April 19, a music video teaser for the group’s promotional single “O.K.” was released, followed by a full music video for the song and the official release of their debut EP Let’s Fly on April 21.
On April 23, B1A4 made their debut performance on MBC’s Show! Music Core and other subsequent debut stages on Mnet’s M! Countdown, KBS’ Music Bank, and SBS’ The Music Trend on April 28, April 29, and May 1, respectively.
On June 18, the group began promoting the song “Only Learned the Bad Things”, also from Let’s Fly and written by singer Wheesung.
In the same month, they took part in the SBS MTV reality show Match Up alongside Block B. The first episode aired on June 22 where the music video for “Only Learned the Bad Things” was also first released.
B1A4 released their second EP, It B1A4, on September 15 along with the title track “Beautiful Target”. The group began their promotions for the album with performances of “Beautiful Target” on various music shows, before starting the promotions for “My Love” on November 18.
Also in October 2011, WM Entertainment announced that B1A4 will debut in Japan in January 2012 under the label Pony Canyon. Prior to their official Japanese debut, the group held their B1A4 – Japan Showcase Live 2011 at the Sinagawa Stellar Ball in Tokyo on December 9, 2011. The tickets for the even were sold out within one minute, which was an unprecedented feat for newly debuted idol groups at the time. They performed a total of 9 songs at the event attended by 1,000 fans.
At the end of the year, B1A4 won the Rookie of the Year Award at Tower Records’ K-Pop Lovers! Awards 2011.
2012: Japan debut and first solo concert
B1A4 released a compilation album on January 25, 2012 consisting of all the tracks previously released with Let’s Fly and It B1A4. The compilation album was released in Japan as part of the group’s promotions ahead of their official Japanese debut.
On March 5, they released the digital single “This Time Is Over” ahead of the official release of their first studio album. On March 14, the group released Ignition along with the promotional single “Baby I’m Sorry”, which they immediately began performing on various music shows. On May 23, the repackaged edition, Ignition: Special Edition, was released.
On June 27, B1A4 released “Beautiful Target”, their first Japanese language single, which debuted at number 4 on the Oricon weekly singles chart after selling 32,665 copies in its first week.
In July 2012, the group took part in the sixth season of KBS Joy’s Hello Baby, where they learned to care for two kids while exploring Seoul together.
On August 29, B1A4 released their second Japanese single, “Oyasumi Good night”, which debuted at number 4 on the Oricon weekly singles chart with more than 35,000 copies sold in the first week. They also released their first Japanese studio album, 1, on October 24. The album debuted at number 5 on the Oricon weekly albums chart after selling 20,547 copies within the first week.
Returning to their Korean promotions, the group released their third EP, In the Wind, on November 12. They promoted the single “Tried to Walk” on Mnet’s M! Countdown on November 15, followed by performances on Music Bank, Show! Music Core, and The Music Trend.
From December 8 to 9, B1A4 held their first solo concert, titled BABA B1A4, at the SK Olympic Handball Gymnasium. Tickets for the concert went on sale back on October 18 with 75,000 people reportedly waiting on the server to buy the tickets. 8,000 tickets were sold out within the first 5 minutes, officially making the group’s first concert a commercial success.
2013 to 2014: First US tour
On January 7, 2013, the Recording Industry Association of Japan released the list of winners for the 2013 Japan Gold Disc Awards, with B1A4 winning two awards – New Artist of the Year and Best 3 New Artists. In the same month, they took their concert BABA B1A4 to Japan and held four shows in two cities between January 27 and 30.
On May 8, 2013, they released their fourth EP What’s Happening. The lead single “What’s Going On?” (also known as “What’s Happening?”), with lyrics written by members Jinyoung and Baro, earned them their first music show win through MBC’s Show! Music Core. The EP went on to sell more than 104,000 copies in Korea.
The following month, WM Entertainment announced B1A4’s second solo concert, titled Amazing Store. The tickets went on sale on June 26 and sold out a total of 10,000 seats in less than 5 minutes. The concert was held from August 7 to 11 at the Uniqlo AX to an audience of 2,000 for each day.
Come January 13, 2014, the group released their second Korean studio album, Who Am I, along with the title track “Lonely”. Shortly after, they held their third solo concert, titled 2014 B1A4 Concert The Class, on February 15 and 16 at the SK Olympic Handball Stadium at the Olympic Park in Seoul.
On July 14, B1A4 released their 5th EP, Solo Day, with the title track of the same name. They performed the song on stage for the first time on Mnet’s M! Countdown on July 17. The album contains a total of 6 tracks, with lyrics mostly written by Jinyoung and Baro.
In August 2014, B1A4 appeared at “The 12th Korea Times Music Festival” and was part of the lineup of KCON 2014 in Los Angeles for the first time. After their performance at KCON, WM Entertainment announced that the group will be embarking on their first world tour, Road Trip.
The first stop in their world tour was in Taiwan on August 23, 2014, followed by a show in Shanghai on August 30. Other stops include Manila (September 6), Melbourne (September 18), Sydney (September 20), New York (October 3), Chicago (October 5), Dallas (October 8), and San Francisco (October 11).
2015: Solo endeavors, Sweet Girl, and B1A4 Adventure World Tour
B1A4 members began their solo endeavors in 2015 with the leader Jinyoung being the first to branch out into dramas. He appeared in the Mnet drama Persevere, Goo Hae Ra in early 2015 and was also cast in MBC’s Warm and Cozy alongside Yoo Yeon Seok and Kang So Ra.
CNU, on the other hand, ventured into doing musicals and was part of the production Chess with 2AM’s Jo Kwon, VIXX’s Ken, and SHINee’s Key.
Sandeul appeared as a panelist for MBC’s King of the Masked Singer and KBS2’s Immortal Songs, while Baro was cast in the drama series Angry Mom. The two members also appeared as themselves in the web drama Loss: Time: Life, while the youngest members Gongchan hosted the fourth season of KBS’ A Song for You with f(x)’s Amber and Super Junior’s Kangin.
On August 10, 2015, the group released their sixth EP, Sweet Girl, with a total of 6 songs, including the lead single of the same name. Four days before the release of the mini album, B1A4 held a Guerilla Concert on Naver’s V Live app where they debuted three songs, including “Sweet Girl”.
On August 19, they won a trophy for “Sweet Girl” on MBC Every1’s Show Champion and was recognized by Billboard as the 10th most watched Korean music video in America for the month August.
The group embarked on their second world tour, titled B1A4 Adventure World Tour, in September 2015, beginning with two shows in Seoul on the 12th and 13th. The tour then continued on to Dallas, Texas (November 8), Mexico (November 11), Puerto Rico (November 13), Hong Kong (November 29), Helsinki (December 9), Berlin (December 11), and Madrid (December 13).
On December 10, the single “It’s Christmas” was released.
2016: Continuation of world tour, more solo projects, Good Timing
B1A4’s Adventure world tour went on until the first quarter of 2016 with shows in Bogota (February 12), Santiago (February 14), and Lima (February 17).
The members also continued doing solo projects, bagging acting roles and reality show guesting, as well as producing and taking part on soundtracks.
Jinyoung was cast in the would-be hit KBS drama Love in the Moonlight alongside Park Bo Gum and Kim Yoo Jung, for which he also produced a track for the soundtrack called “Foggy Road”, performed by Ben. He also produced several songs for Mnet’s reality survival contest Produce 101.
CNU appeared on the soundtrack for tvN’s Cinderella and the Four Knights with the song “The Way to Find Love”. Baro was cast in KBS’ Master: God of Noodles, while Sandeul appeared on Immortal Songs 2 and competed on the special Idol Cooking King.
On October 4, Sandeul debuted as a solo artist with his mini album, Stay As You Are. Following promotions for his album, he performed a duet with VIXX’s Ken on the November 11 episode of Duet Song Festival.
Gongchan appeared on MBC’s Celebrity Bromance with VIXX’s Hongbin, while Jinyoung and CNU both competed on King of the Masked Singer. CNU and Sandeul were also cast for the role of d’Artagnan in the musical Three Musketeers.
As a group, B1A4 performed alongside other artists at the 2016 Dream Concert on June 4 and held a concert in Beijing on June 11 with their labelmates Oh My Girl. They also performed at the 2016 Busan One Asia Festival as part of the event’s first lineup alongside CNBLUE, Apink, Girls’ Day, and B.A.P.
On November 28, they came back with the release of their third Korean studio album, Good Timing, along with the music video for the title track “A Lie”. On the same day, the group held a showcase for the first time since their debut where they performed previous hits and songs from the new album.
B1A4 had their first comeback stage for “A Lie” on Show Champion on two days later. After their comeback, they competed as a group on KBS’ Immortal Songs 2.
2017: Second US tour, Rollin’
On February 4, 5, 11, and 12, B1A4 held their Seoul concert titled “B1A4 Live Space 2017”, followed by their second US tour, titled “B1A4 Four Nights in The U.S. 2017”, beginning February 15. The American tour included stops in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
In May 2017, CNU was cast to play the lead role in the Korean adaptation of the musical Hamlet. Also in May, the group embarked on the Japan leg of their “B1A4 Live Space 2017” tour with shows in Osaka on May 22, Okazaki on June 8, Fukuoka on June 9, and Tokyo on June 15.
On September 25, they released their 7th EP, Rollin’, with the lead single of the same name.
2018: Winter Olympics, Japan tour
In early 2018, B1A4 was announced as one of the performers for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics festivities. The group was part of the lineup of the ICON Concert in Inje, Gangwon Province. But on the way to the concert, they figured in a car accident causing the cancellation of the group’s performance in the event.
On January 23, they dropped the teaser for their Japanese track “Do You Remember”, the title track for their latest single slated for release on February 2. The single, which peaked at number 2 on the Oricon Weekly Charts, also includes the B-side track “Paradise” and the Japanese version of their 2017 track “Rollin’.
To celebrate their 7th anniversary, B1A4 released Aerumade on April 10. The mini album, which translates to “Until We Meet” in English, contains a total of three songs – “Mommy Mommy”, “Lost”, and the lead single of the same name, which ranked first on the Oricon Daily Charts.
The release of Aerumade kicked off the group’s Japan tour titled “Paradise”, with the first stop held in Tokyo on April 12.