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‘Girls Planet 999’ project group Kep1er makes big ‘First Impression’

Kep1er (Wakeone Ent./Swing Ent.)
Kep1er (Wakeone Ent./Swing Ent.)
Multinational girl group Kepler, stylized as Kep1er, made a splash debut with EP “First Impression” on Monday.

Comprising nine members from Korea, China and Japan, the group consists of the final winners of Mnet’s idol competition program “Girls Planet 999.” The show was aired between August-October 2021.

A project group launched under Swing Entertainment, Kep1er is set to stay active for 2 1/2 years before disbanding.

The group conducted an online media showcase Monday afternoon, introducing their new album and performing “Wa Da Da,” the main song from the new release.

“We’re excited and happy to finally make this debut that we’ve all been imagining,” the group’s leader Choi Yujin said.

Just like its name, “First Impression,” the album is a six-track set which “portrays the universe and the various strengths that Kep1er is set to roll out. It‘s the start of our adventure in making our dreams come true, so please look forward to them,” explained Japanese member Mashiro.

Leading the album is song “Wa Da Da,” which, according to Choi Yujin, is “a dance track of big room house genre, which shows Kep1er’s unique energetic and lovely charm.”

The name “Kep1er” puts together “kep” and number 1 to embody the group’s goals to catch their dream and become the best. Extending their identity from the show “Girls Planet,” the group took the name of 17th-century German astronomer Johannes Kepler.

As winners of a fan-picked survival show, Kep1er had already taken the K-pop scene by storm ahead of their debut. The album sold out over 70,000 copies in pre-orders.

“We couldn’t believe it when we first heard of the news. Kep1er is here all thanks to our fans who have been supporting us since ‘Girls Planet.’ We’re so grateful,” Korean-American member Huening Bahiyyih said. Huening Bahiyyih is the sister of Huening Kai, a member of boy band Tomorrow X Together.
Kep1er (Wakeone Ent./Swing Ent.)
Kep1er (Wakeone Ent./Swing Ent.)
Not only the fans, but master coaches from the competition, which include K-pop singers Tiffany Young and Sunmi, have also been very supportive of their debut even after the show.

“I remember the masters telling us not to be afraid of making mistakes and tried hard to stay confident on the stage,” Xiao Ting, the group’s only Chinese member, said.

According to Seo Youngeun, they hope to become like the iconic K-pop band Girls’ Generation.

“Our role model is coach Tiffany Young’s group, Girls’ Generation. It’s amazing how the unique strengths of each members are put together into a perfect performance,” she said.

With the members going through significant periods of training in different agencies ahead of taking part in the program, and leader Yujin taking part in the program while being affiliated to another group, CLC, the members said they made a lot of effort in communications for better team work.

“We were already quite close after the program, and to become more tight as a team, we tried to have a lot of conversations. We tried our best to have as much time to talk as possible, both in and out of our dormitory,” Kang Yeseo said.

The members said many K-pop idols also congratulated their debut.

Former trainee of S.M. Entertainment, Kim Chaehyun said members of Aespa contacted her, expressing excitement about finally meeting Chaehyun as a fellow K-pop artist, while Huening Bahiyyih said her brother has congratulated not only her but her bandmates as well.

Japanese member Hikaru said Kep1er’s biggest strength lies in their energy and performance.

“We have the energy to catch our dream, and we’ll show this energy through our performance,” Hikaru said.

In closing the show, Choi Yujin said, “We think a lot about how we cannot let down our fans who’ve been with us since the show. We’ll try our best to show our colors and performances.”

By Choi Ji-won (jwc@heraldcorp.com)
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