K-pop girl group aespa has been named as one of the Next Generation Leaders by Time magazine.
The four-member act was the only K-pop offering to be listed this year, according to its agency, SM Entertainment, Friday. It is also the first time for a K-pop girl group to be on the list, while boy group BTS was named on the list in 2018.
Published by the U.S. magazine every year, the Next Generation Leaders theme is a list of trendsetters and pioneers in various fields.
About aespa that consists of four human members and their digital avatars and debuted as the unique concept of a "girl act in the metaverse," Time said, "Aespa is an experiment, but it may also be the inevitable next step for the music industry: a fresh way to bridge the virtual and the real."
It said although aespa has released only several singles and one EP, the EP landed highest on the Billboard 200 album chart among all K-pop girl groups ever. Its first music video, "Black Mamba," hit the 100 million views on YouTube in the shortest amount of time ever for a K-pop artist's debut.
"Truthfully, we were worried in the beginning, because this concept of ours is something new to our company as well … But our fans really loved it and are even creating memes out of it," aespa member Ningning was quoted as saying by Time magazine.
The group's goal is to "normalize metaverse concepts" and have people "be a little more comfortable with the whole idea of it," according to member Giselle.
Debuting in November 2020, aespa has released hits including "Black Mamba," "Next Level" and "Savage."
Last month, the group performed at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, the largest outdoor music festival in the U.S.
source: TIME & The Korea Times