Red Velvet - How it all began (and how it continued).

by Helen Bosch
red velvet red summer posterred velvet red summer poster

Red Velvet's history as idols begins with their time in "SM Rookies," a training team of SM Entertainment whose members were trainees. They were introduced to fans through their activities as "SM Rookies" before their official debut. The trainees from SM Rookies later debuted in NCT, Aespa and four of them in Red Velvet.

Wendy released the soundtrack "Because I Love You" in March 2014, as "Wendy from SM Rookies" for the short drama "Mimi," which starred Changmin from TVXQ, a boy group from her agency. Already debuted SM artists such as Jonghyun and Taeyeon also sang soundtracks for the series.

Seulgi and Irene released a performance video for the song "Be Natural" by S.E.S. under the name "SM Rookies _ SR14G" in July 2014.

Also, Irene appeared in the music video "1-4-3 (i Love You)" by Henry in 2013 and Seulgi in the video "Fantastic", also by Henry in 2014. SM Rookies trainees have also performed in SMTown shows, among others, showing fans their talent months before their debut.


red velvet happiness poster

Wendy, Irene, Seulgi and Joy - the latter being the only one who was not part of the "SM Rookies" - debuted on August 1, 2014 under the name Red Velvet with the single " Happiness”. The name "Red Velvet" represents the duality of the group; "Red" represents the joyful, lively energy of pop, while "Velvet" stands for their charming and sensual spirit, embodied mainly by R&B. The concept of duality is evident in their albums, some of which clearly represent one of the two sides. These include, for example, "The Red Summer" with the dancepop title track "The Red Flavor" or "The Velvet" with with the midtempo R&B song "One Of These Nights" as title track.

"Happiness" was the first debut song by a K-pop girl group to make it to the "Billboard World Digitial Song Charts," reaching as high as No. 4. The music video received over two million views on YouTube in the first 24 hours, but was then removed due to controversial scenes alluding to the atomic bombs dropped on Hiroshima and the September 11 terrorist attack. SM Entertainment apologized for the misunderstanding - the producer had used a collage from an image source and meant nothing by it. Shortly after, a revised version of the music video was uploaded.

In October, the digital single "Be Natural" was released, a remake of S.E.S`s original, to which Irene and Seulgi, as SM Rookies, released a performance video even before their debut, as we mentioned above. The remake was recorded together with NCT`s Taeyong, who was still an SM Rookie at the time.

New Member!

In February 2015, SM Entertainment announced that Red Velvet would no longer be four, but five! Two videos appear on Youtube introducing Yeri, also a former member of SM Rookies, as a new member of Red Velvet.

On March 17, the first mini album "Ice Cream Cake" was released with the title song of the same name. Three days earlier, a music video for "Automatic", a song also included on "Ice Cream Cake", was released, featuring Red Velvet as a five-piece group for the first time.

red velvet yeri long blond hair wearing a black jacket and hat in a public space

SM Entertainment said about the addition of Yeri that she was supposed to debut with Red Velvet from the beginning, but was still too young - 15 at the time. In fact, in the intro of the video to Happiness, hidden in the jungle, Yeri and six other girls identified by fans as members of SM Rookies, can be seen.
Because of this, some fans have even theorized that the other girls were also going to be added to the group one by one, but the idea was blown off because Yeri received so much criticism. Quite a few were unhappy about her addition and have criticized Yeri for being lazy and uncoordinated on stage.

Another theory claims that Red Velvet's debut was rushed to distract from the scandals SM Entertainment was embroiled in in 2014 - among other things, Kris left EXO and filed a lawsuit against the agency, which made big waves in the media. Defenders of this theory think that Yeri couldn't keep up in the short time Red Velvet had to prepare the debut.

We will probably never know beyond doubt what is really true, but despite the theories and criticism, Yeri has fit in well with the group and fans today could hardly imagine Red Velvet without her.


Now that we have gathered everyone, let's briefly introduce the five singers to you:

Stage NameReal NameBirthdayPosition
Son Seungwan21.02.1994Main Vocal
JoyPark Sooyoung03.09.1996Vocal, Lead Rapper
IreneBae Joohyun29.03.1991Leader, Main Rapper
SeulgiKang Seulgi10.02.1994Main Dancer, Lead Vocal
YeriKim Yerim05.03.1999Lead Rapper, Maknae
red velvet photoshoot image

In 2017, three years after their debut, the group announced that the fan club will be called "ReVeluv". The name is made up of the first two letters of "Red" and "Velvet", also "Reve" means "dream" in French and is meant to express that ReVeluvs make Red Velvet's dreams come true. "Luv" stands for the love that the fans and the group have for each other.

If one thing is for sure, it's that fans made some of Red Velvet dreams come true:

On March 27, 2015, Red Velvet won their first music show with "Ice Cream Cake" and the album sold better than any other girl group album in the first half of 2015. The next album "The Red", reached more than one high chart position and even topped the "Billboard World Albums Charts", a success that Red Velvet repeated with "Rookie", "The Red Summer" and "Perfect Velvet" among others in 2017. In the same year, the group held their first solo concert, originally for two days, but due to high demand, another day was added. After three very successful albums in one year, nobody seems to question that Red Velvet is now one of the very big ones.

red velvet bad boy album cover

At the end of 2018, Billboard even chose "Bad Boy" from the album "The Perfect Red Velvet", which was released in January, as the best K-pop song of the year!

In 2020, Red Velvet represented the K-Pop Trolls in the animated musical film "Trolls World Tour," which broke all streaming records. The movie even included their song "Roussian Roulette." Thus, they made it into countless living rooms worldwide.

Who would win if you could vote for your favorite music in this battle?

Solo activities

red velvet irene wearing a black dress and hat in front of a red wall photoshoot image

In the seven years since their debut, the members of Red Velvet have, of course, been active individually at times.

Irene has been the exclusive face for various fashion and jewelry brands and in 2019 even became the first Asian woman to represent the Italian luxury jewelry brand "Damiani" as a muse. In addition, Irene is also active as an actress and made her acting debut in 2016 as the lead role in the web drama "Women at a Game Company", which was followed by a role as a detective in the sitcom "Hello! Our Language" and the movie "Double Patty", for which she also sang the soundtrack "A White Night".

Together with Seulgi, Irene is part of Red Velvet`s first subunit, which released its first album "Monster" in 2020. Seulgi was part of the entertainment show "Idol Drama Operation Team" in 2017, in which the contestants created their own series "Let`s Only Walk The Flower Road," in which they played a fictional version of themselves and impersonated the fictional girl group "Girls Next Door" together. They even performed their song "Deep Blue Eyes" in music shows.

Seulgi (Red Velvet), Moonbyul (Mamamoo), YooA (Oh My Girl), Sujeong (Lovelyz), Kim Sohee (Nature), D.ana (Sonamoo) & Jeon Somi (formerly I.O.I) as "Girls Next Door" with their song "Deep Blue Eyes."

Yeri has been modeling for "AprilSkin Korea" since 2020, released her own lipstick collection under the brand name "Colette" and starred in the web drama "Blue Birthday" in 2021.

As you can see, several members of Red Velvet have already gained acting experience, but Joy probably has the biggest career in the field. In 2017, she landed the female lead in the K-drama "The Liar and His Lover," playing a high school student with a beautiful voice who starts a band with her two best friends. For the series, Joy has sung several songs, all of which are included on the official soundtrack album.

red velvet joy and btob sungjae wearing white clothes hugging we got married

Another leading role in "Tempted" followed in 2018 and a role in "Only One Person" is confirmed for 2021. However, Joy`s participation in the reality show "We Got Married," in which Korean celebrities are paired up to show what their lives would be like as a married couple, should also be particularly well-known. Joy formed a couple with Yook Sung Jae from BtoB, with whom she recorded the song "Young Love" during the course of the show. Her first solo album "Hello" was released in May 2021.

A month earlier Wendy released her first solo album "Like Water" and was thus the first member of Red Velvet with her own album. Prior to that, she spent nearly eight months away from any activities due to a stage accident in December 2019, in which she fell over six feet and suffered fractures in her pelvis, wrist and cheekbone. In addition to her solo album, Wendy also released a number of soundtracks, most recently "Two Words" for the K-Drama "Start-Up".

Red Velvet as a group had a guest appearance in the hit series "Descendants Of The Sun" with their song "Dumb Dumb".

Even though what we've told you here is far from everything, we hope we've been able to give you a concise overview of Red Velvet's history and that there' s nothing stopping you from raving about the girl group with other fans now!

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