Astro - A boy group with charm!
Astro is a refreshing boy band that has released no less than 14 albums since their debut six years ago, gathering a steadily growing fan base!
The group's name refers to the Spanish word "Astro," which translates to "star." It stands for the members' aspiration to become a rising star. This is also reflected in the logo, which resembles a hexagram. Astro's "hexagram" shows two interlocking triangles, which stand for the "A" in "Astro" and in "All Fans," and is meant to symbolize the inseparable connection between the boy band and the fans.
Astro attracted attention several times before their debut: first as part of Fantagio Entertainment's training program "I-Teen". Among other things, the members uploaded videos to their own YouTube channel in which they sing, dance, and repeatedly show other sides of themselves. Moonbin had been part of it since 2012!
In August 2015, the six members of the new boy group were announced: MJ, Eunwoo, Sanha, Rocky, Moonbin, and JinJin. In the same month, their own web drama titled "To Be Continued" was aired, with Astro playing themselves. In the series, the boy group suddenly travels two years into the past one day before their debut. Other main roles are played by actors Kim Sae Ron and Seo Kang Joon, as well as the girl group Hello Venus! All of them were also part of Fantagio Entertainment at the time.
Fans who became aware of Astro through the series had been eagerly waiting for their debut since the last episode. Before that happened, the boy group was featured in the reality show "Astro OK! Ready," which aired its last episode on February 18, 2016.
|Stage Name||Real Name||Birthday|
|Cha Eunwoo||Lee Dongmin||30.03.1997|
|Rocky||Park Min Hyuk||25.02.1999|
Debut: 4 Seasons
On February 23, 2016, Astro finally released the first album "Spring Up" with the title track "Hide&Seek"! The song, the choreo with innovative acrobatic elements and the music video: Everything embodies the lively charm of the guys, which is always present in the next years. The album includes, among others, the two songs "Innocent Love" and "Cat's Eye", which Astro has already sung in the web drama "To Be Continued".
"Spring Up" is the first part of a four-part album series that embodies the four seasons. On July 1, the second album "Summer Vibes" was released, on November 10, the third album "Autumn Story" and on February 22, 2017, the fourth album "Winter Dream". Thus, the "Seasons series" ends exactly one day before the first anniversary of the boy band! So Astro fans know how it feels to experience four seasons in a row with their idols.
Already the first album "Spring Up" has been very successful in the charts. It reached #6 on the Billboard World Albums chart and #4 on the Gaon Music chart. Winter Dream even made it to number 2 in the Gaon charts! Yet the album was not promoted and the songs were only performed at events, such as the first fan meeting on February 26.
The "Dream" series
In May 2017, the fifth album "Dream Part.01" was released, with which Astro topped the Gaon album charts for the first time! Following this, the boy group set off on their first tour with dates in Seoul, Osaka, and Tokyo! The tour was called "The 1st ASTROAD" and ran from July 15 to August 29.
A good two months after the tour ended, the boy group released "Dream Part.02". In January 2018, another special edition of Part.02 was released, which contained the same songs but came with a new photo book and a poem by Eunwoo, among other things.
At the end of 2017, a crisis was approaching for Fantagio Entertainment.
A Chinese partner (JC Group) increased its investment in Fantagio and ended up owning over 50% of the agency's shares. JC Group used their newfound position as main shareholder to fire "Na Byung Joon", the founder of Fantagio Entertainment and replace him with Chinese entrepreneur "Wei Jin". They also cancelled all of the company's credit cards. The reason JC Group gave for the action was that they had found a budget deficit.
In response, the agency's managers and employees convened an emergency action committee and threatened to strike if certain demands were not met. They announced that the activities of Fantagio's artists were their priority and that was why they wanted to avoid the strike. However, without access to the corporate cards, they were unable to cover the expenses of food or transportation for the artists.
The Special Edition of ASTRO`s Dream Part 02 was released in January 2018 as planned anyway, perhaps because no promotions were planned for it.
On the other hand, it was announced on January 4 that the new album "Lucky" by the girl group "Weki Meki", which also belongs to Fantagio, would be postponed due to "internal affairs of the company".
In addition to the idol singers, the agency's actors, who were filming a series and often had to move between film sets, were also affected. They had problems financing transportation, for example, because of the blocked company tickets.
Astro released the mini-album "Rise Up" on July 24, 2018, but they hardly promoted it because of the ongoing problems at the company. However, they still gave concerts in Japan in August.
Fantagio's problems continued to drag on for a long time. Among other things, the new Ceo "Wei Jin" was arrested for fraud in 2019, the main shareholder changed twice more, and the company's leadership position was replaced at least four more times. Fortunately, however, these problems no longer affected the artists' activities so much. In the meantime Astro fans feared for the future of the group and after "Rise Up" they had to wait longer than ever for a comeback of the boy group.
In the meantime Astro fans feared for the future of the group and after "Rise Up" they had to wait longer than ever for a comeback of the boy group.
New albums, First world tour & Japan debut!
On January 16, 2019, half a year after "Rise Up", Astro finally returned with a new album! The album "All Light" topped the Gaon album charts, and the title track "All Night" gave the boy group their long-awaited first music show win almost three years after their debut!
March to April, the boys were on the road for their first world tour "The 2nd ASTROAD" in South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand and the United States! In April, the Byogroup made their Japanese debut with the album "Venus," which features three new Japanese songs as well as Japanese versions of "Baby," "Always You" and "All Night." The album entered the Japanese Oricon charts at #2; a strong performance!
On November 12, Fantagio announced that Moon Bin would be taking a break to focus on his health. Of course, he was still involved in the new album "Blue Flame," which was released on November 20, and he was also featured in the music video. However, he did not participate in the promotions. The others performed as five.
Moonbin ended his break in February and together with the others released the single album "One&Only" on March 13, 2020 in celebration of their fourth anniversary.
This was followed by the album "Gateway" in May with the title track "Knock", which earned them their second win in a music show! At the end of June the digital single "No, I Don't" was released, before the first sub-unit of Astro was confirmed in August!
The first subunit: Moonbin & Sanha
On September 14, 2020, Astro's first subunit "Moonbin & Sanha" debuted, which as the name suggests, consists of Moonbin and Sanha.
Eight days later, they set a record. They won a music show with the title song "Bad Idea"; faster than any subunit before them. With the album "In-Out," the two not only reached No. 2 on the Korean Gaon chart, but even topped the Japanese Oricon chart! Moonbin & Sanha are a powerful duo without question!
We Still (Be With You), All Yours, Switch On & Alive
Astro closed out 2020 with the release of the digital single "We Still (Be With You" on December 31. The single is a rearranged version of the song "We Still" from their latest album "Gateway".
In April 2021, their new album "All Yours" was released with the title track "One". This earned them three wins in music shows; a personal record for the boy band! Astro could only look back at two music show trophies by then, which they had won with two different songs. In one fell swoop, they had more than doubled those trophies!
It was as if they had broken a dam and reached a new point in their career, because with "After Midnight", the title track of their next album "Switch On", which was released in August, they won four trophies at once!
On September 2, Astro also presented the promotional single "Alive" for the music platform "Universe". This is currently their last group project, because after that a few members concentrated on their solo activities.
|Album||Title track||Release date|
|Spring Up||Hide & Seek||23.02.2016|
|Winter Dream||You & Me||22.02.2017|
|Dream Part.02||Crazy, Sexy, Cool||01.11.2017|
|Rise Up||Always You||24.07.2018|
|All Light||All Night||16.01.2019|
|One & Only||One & Only||13.03.2020|
|Switch On||After Midnight||02.08.2021|
MJ’s Solo Debut
In October, Fantagio Entertainment announced that MJ would be the first from Astro to make his solo debut. On November third, he released the digital single "Happy Virus," which is partially based on "Trot." (Trot is a traditional Korean music genre known for repetitive rhythms and many changes in pitch).
In November, he competed on "The Trot Show" and ended up emerging as the winner. This made him the first idol to win the show!
The second subunit: JinJin & Rocky
Almost a year and a half after the formation of Astro's first subunit "Moonbin & Sanha", a second one is waiting in the wings. JinJin and Rocky will present us their first album "Restore" in a few days, on January 17th!
With this, Eunwoo is the only member of Astro that has not yet released music separately from the group. This is mainly because he has a successful acting career!
Astro in the K-Drama world
MJ, JinJin, Moonbin, Rocky, and Sanha have often played roles in web dramas - Korean dramas with short, 10-20 minute episodes - over the years. In fact, idols are more often cast as leads in web dramas, which is why many begin their acting careers there.
Moonbin has also played a supporting role in the K-drama "Moment of Eighteen" in 2019!
However, Eunwoo has made the biggest name for himself as an actor so far. In 2017, he was featured in the series "Hit the Top." In it, he played an idol with the stage name "MJ." We wonder what his bandmate "MJ" had to say about that. It must have been strange for Eunwoo to be addressed by a name he usually uses to address his friend and colleague. ;)
He was apparently very convincing with his performance, because in 2018, he played his first leading role in "My ID is Gangnam Beauty." Since then, he further showed his acting talent as the lead role in the historical series "Rookie Historian Goo Hae Ryung" and the adaptation of the popular webtoon "True Beauty". The latter in particular was so well received that today some Astro fans can say that they fell in love with Eunwoo through True Beauty, which is how they came to join Astros fandom!
Eunwoo has already won over 10 awards as an actor since 2018! A new role has also been confirmed for 2022 in the drama "Island", about which not much is known yet.
We are excited! And who knows, maybe more members of Astro will jump into big roles in the future. We wouldn't mind that for sure!
Did you know Moonbin starred in a K-drama as a kid?
"Boys Over Flowers" is a massively popular series from 2009 that now has almost cult status among K-drama fans! Moonbin was 11 years old at the time and played the young version of "So Yi Jung"; one of the male lead's best friends. The adult version was played by actor "Kim Bum".
So you could say that he started his acting career as the first of Astro!
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