Secret was a South Korean K-pop girl group formed by TS Entertainment in 2009. The group originally debuted with four members: Jun Hyoseong, Jung Hana, Song Jieun and Han Sunhwa. In August 2014, Secret released their final fifth extended play Secret Summer as a 4 member group before Sunhwa’s departure in 2016, followed by Jieun and Hyoseung in 2018.
2009–2010: Debut with I Want You Back, Secret Time, and Madonna
The documentary Secret Story which aired on Mnet introduced Secret to the public. The show chronicled the debut process of the members and aired their invitation-only debut showcase, which took place on September 29, 2009.
In the same month, Sunhwa was chosen as a regular cast member of a South Korean variety show called Invincible Youth; the news that a girl group member who hadn't debuted yet would be selected for a variety program caused a huge sensation.
On October 13, 2009, Secret officially debuted with the release of the music video of "I Want You Back", their first single. Two days later, on October 15, 2009, they had their first live stage on M! Countdown.
On March 31, 2010, Secret revealed the music video for "Magic", the title track of their debut mini album Secret Time. Secret had their comeback performance for "Magic" on M! Countdown on April 8, 2010. The song peaked at number five on the Music Bank K-Chart. The music video quickly reached one million views on video sharing sites such as YouTube and Cyworld, and the "Suspender Dance" which appeared in the video, gained popularity amongst netizens.
Secret released their second mini album titled Madonna on August 12, 2010. The music video for the title track of the same name was released on August 11, 2010. Kang Ji-won and Kim Ki-bum, the composers who wrote "Madonna", highlighted that the inspiration behind the song was about living with confidence by becoming an icon in this generation, like the American singer Madonna.
Like their previous single "Magic", the music video for "Madonna" reached one million views on video sharing sites such as YouTube and Cyworld. "Madonna" was better received than "Magic", topping every major online music chart within two weeks and peaking at number one on the Gaon Chart. The song also won the Bonsang Award (Main Prize) at the 20th Seoul Music Awards. On December 9, 2010, Secret attended the 25th Golden Disk Awards, and won the Newcomer Award.
2011–2012: Rising popularity, Japanese debut, Poison, and Talk That
Secret released the single Shy Boy in January 2011. On January 13, Secret won their very first music show award on M! Countdown. Secret also managed to stay at number one on Music Bank for three consecutive weeks. During that timespan, Secret also won a mutizen award on Inkigayo.
The live stages gained a lot of attention because their cute styling and the covers of popular boy group choreography in the middle of the song, a little surprise for fans to look forward to each performance.
February 2011, TS Entertainment revealed that after Secret concluded their promotion for "Shy Boy", Jieun would have a solo debut. On March 3, 2011 TS Entertainment released the music video for "Going Crazy" with the rap parts sung by Bang Yong-guk from BAP.
After the song's release, "Going Crazy" quickly grabbed the number one spot on major real time charts in South Korea. "Going Crazy" was number one on Gaon Singles chart in the week of March 12, 2011.
In July 2011, The Ministry of Gender Equality and Family of South Korea compiled a list of songs going to be banned for their harmful content to the youth. Among those was "Going Crazy" because both the song and its music video were encouraging crime. With this, songs that are banned cannot be sold to minors under the age of 19 and cannot be aired before 10 pm KST through radio or television.
They released their second single album, "Starlight Moonlight" on June 1, 2011. The song won Secret their second "Mutizen" on Inkigayo with the song.
On August 3, 2011, the group released their first single in Japan, "Madonna", which debuted at number nine on the Oricon charts.
On October 18, 2011, Secret released their first studio album, Moving in Secret. The title track, "Love is Move", was released on October 17, 2011. Love is Move entered the Gaon Single Charts at number 3 during the week of October 23, 2011.
In September 2012, Secret released the EP Poison in South Korea. The lead of the same name was an "upbeat dance track", written and produced by Kang Ji-won and Kim Ki-bum whom they previously worked with their previous hit singles.
According to TS Entertainment, "Poison" had "unique characteristics and colors of Secret but will have a change in concept from the cute and friendly image [shown in the past] to a sexy and feminine concept."
The single Talk That, was released on December 4. It was produced by Shinsadong Tiger, whom has previously worked with their hit track "Magic".
"Talk That" received generally positive reviews from critics, most of whom had praised the song for its mature musical style and concept as opposed to their previous singles.
On the night of December 11, 2012, Secret was involved in a car accident. Hyoseong, Jieun and Sunhwa received only a few scratches and knee pain, but Hana suffered broken ribs and a bruised lung and therefore halted from Secret's activities in order to recover.
While many fans were concerned netizens took the internet with some disgusting comments about the accident:
“I’m glad Zinger was hurt instead of the other members”
“Secret is just doing this to get more attention from people“
Hana expressed her hurt via Twitter, in her first personal update since the accident:
“After reading the news and looking at the comments, the replies are just too much. Would you post things like that if it was your family or someone you love in the same position? My body and strength are weak, but it’s getting hard for my heart too.“
Secret‘s Sunhwa and B.A.P‘s Youngjae revealed their duet song and music video for “Everything is Pretty“ on the 26th of December.
2013–2014: Letter from Secret, Gift From Secret and Secret Summer
In January 2013, Secret continued to perform "Talk That" on various music and award shows without Hana. Hana ended her hiatus and officially rejoined Secret when she performed at the 22nd Seoul Music Awards and won a bonsang award.
On April 24, TS Entertainment stated, “Secret’s rapper Zinger, who used this stage name since her debut, will officially go by her legal name Jung Hana starting from the fourth mini-album’s promotions, which starts on April 30.” The reason for this name change is due to the fact that there is a fast food burger that has been named “Zinger”, which caused a lot of confusion and humiliation for her.
Secret's fourth mini album, titled Letter from SECRET, with "YooHoo" as the album's lead single, was released on April 30. YooHoo managed to top real time charts such as Mnet, Bugs Olleh, and Sorribada. Secret became one of most searched terms on South Korean portal sites in the midst of their return.
On December 9, the group's third single album, Gift From Secret, featuring lead single "I Do I Do" was released. I Do I Do was once again produced by Kang Ji-won and Kim Ki-bum.
On May 12, 2014 Hyoseong's solo debut album titled Top Secret was released. Goodnight Kiss being the lead single.
On August 11 2014, Secret released their fifth mini album Secret Summer with "I'm In Love" as its lead single. I'm In Love was produced by hitmaker Duble Sidekick.
In 2014, Sunhwa got her first lead role MBC's weekend drama Rosy Lovers alongside Lee Jang-woo. The same year, her performance in tvN romance drama, Marriage, Not Dating earned her a nomination for "Best Youth Actress" at the 16th Seoul International Youth Film Festival. She also won two best new actress awards from MBC and SBS Drama Awards for her roles in Rosy Lovers and fantasy thriller God's Gift - 14 Days.
In 2014, Jieun released her first extended play, titled 25, which contained two singles "Don't Look At Me Like That" and title track "Pretty Age 25".
The same year, Jieun made her acting debut in the web drama Drawing, Spring, as a part-time worker for a PR team, who loves all living things but has traumatic experience with horses.
In 2014, Hyoseong was cast as Han Soo-ri on the KBS1 daily drama My Dear Cat. The drama aired from June 9 to November 21, 2014.
2015–2018: Sunhwa's departure, legal issues, and disbandment
Hyoseong released her first extended play titled Fantasia on May 7, 2015. Into You was promoted as the lead single.
Hyoseong released her second extended play titled Colored on March 28, 2016. Find Me was promoted as the lead single which featured TS Entertainment labelmate D.Action from the hip-hop duo Untouchable.
In September 2016, Jieun released her second extended play, titled Bobby Doll containing six tracks, including the title track of the same name.
On September 26, 2016, it was announced that Sunhwa would be leaving the group after deciding not to renew her contract with TS Entertainment in order to pursue a career in acting. Sunhwa's contract with TS Entertainment was terminated on October 13. The group would continue with the remaining three members. On October 14, 2016, Sunhwa joined Huayi Brothers as an actress.
Jung Hana didn’t get any promotions as a solo artists but it was revealed in 2017 that she was working hard to get her pilates instructor license.
In April 2017, Jieun starred in OCN's romantic comedy drama My Secret Romance alongside Sung Hoon.
In August 2017, Jieun submitted a request to the Korean Commercial Arbitration Board to verify that her contract is no longer valid due to TS Entertainment not following the terms of the contract. Jieun later took to her Instagram where she announced her departure from Secret.
On March 5 of 2018, Hyoseong's lawyer revealed that she had filed a civil lawsuit against TS Entertainment in September 2017 to confirm that her contract with the agency is no longer valid. Hyoseong's lawyer stated “First, there are payments that Jun Hyo-seong has not received. TS Entertainment also transferred the management rights conferred by its exclusive contract with the singer to another party without the consent of Jun Hyoseong herself. Not only is this a clear violation of her contract, but it is also a source of instability in her promotions as a singer.” He also stated that it would be unlikely of Hyoseong to remain a member of Secret while under TS Entertainment given the situation and the lack of trust and communication between the agency and Hyoseong, effectively ending the group.
On October 29, it was announced that Hyoseong would return to the entertainment industry as she signed with Tommy & Partners Entertainment after an ongoing legal battle with TS Entertainment. On November 14, The Seoul Western District Court ruled in Hyoseong's favor in her legal battle against TS Entertainment.
Side Notes/Present Day:
Secret was very active in Japan during their career.
Jung Hana has her own youtube channel, but hasn't been active in the past 9 months.
In November 2019 Hyoseong started her own independent label agency, JHS Entertainment, after her contract with Tommy & Partners Entertainment ended. She recently did a candid interview with koreatimes in which she talked about her past career and growth. She's also active on Youtube.
Sunhwa has been active in dramas and movies since her departure from Secret.
Jieun hasn't really been promoting yet, you can read more about it here .
Wikipedia: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Soompi: 1, 2, 3, 4
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I have such good memories of Secret because for some reason, I always had a new love interest whenever they made a comeback~ haha. Those were really good times. I can still dance along with all their title tracks and even now, i still listen to Secret a lot!
They always did a fantastic job promoting their songs and always gave it their all, despite probably having had it bad back then with all that has come out about TS Entertainment these days. They really worked hard.
Anyway, let me know what you think about this week! What's your favorite title track? Did you enjoy their sexy or cuter songs better? Do you have a favorite member?
Only 1 person guessed my hint last week, so leave your guesses for next week down below. Have fun reading and watching ♥