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Welcome to the second segment of Never Forget Nugu Monday! A series highlighting some of K-Pop's best nugu groups disbanded or otherwise that have fallen through the cracks and haven't received the recognition that they deserved.
For this week, I'll be discussing the now disbanded rock band LedT.
Formed by the entertainment agency Starkim Entertainment, LEDApple was announced to the public on September 27th, 2010 as a five-man band. They made their debut on October 6th, 2010 with the song 'Dash' (A remake of Baek Ji-young's song of the same name), performing the song at the Busan International Film Festival. The music video for Dash was released the next day as well as their debut single album 'Logic, Egoism, Delete.' The song gave off a lot of J-Rock vibes, which for those wondering is a good thing (The consensus, is that Japan has the best rock music in Asia). They would later perform their debut stage on M! Countdown on November 10th, 2010.
However, it didn't take long before the group became mired in issues. Fan favorite I-OH withdrew from the band in February 2011 due to medical troubles. A few months later, leader Sunghyun and vocalist Minyong also departed from the group for undisclosed reasons. Less than a year into their career and the band was already down three original members and all before the release of their first mini-album.
Starkim Entertainment added three new members to the band, Hyoseok, Jaehoon and Kyumin and announced the release of LEDApple's debut mini-album 'Niga Mwonde'. A teaser for their comeback single was released on June 11th, 2011 and face immediate criticism due to members of the band drinking alcohol in the MV teaser. Since several members of the band were minors at the time, the music video was considered to be a bad influence on youth in Korea.
The troubles didn't end there. Upon release of the single Niga Mwonde, many netizens accused the group of plagiarizing CNBLUE's song 'Love'. In response, Starkim Entertainment issued a statement that proclaiming that the two songs sounded similar due to them having the same composer; Lee Sang-ho. Coincidentally, this isn't the only time Lee Sang Woo had been wrapped up in a plagisrism controversy. Just the previous year, the CNBLUE song 'I'm A Loner' also composed by Lee Sang-ho, was accused of being an act of plagiarism by the indie rock band Ynot?.
With the band suffering from multiple controversies at the time of release, their debut album didn't make much of a splash; peaking at 67th on the Gaon Charts.
The band released a second single titled 'Birthday Killer' on July 19, 2011. The song features strong lyrical content, discussing the adverse effects on idols that the words and online harassment by netizens can have on them. Despite the strong message of the song, it featured some of K-Pop's most notorious Konglish which detracted quite a bit from the song, and was a complete commercial failure, going relatively unnoticed.
After the promotions for their debut album ended, leader of the group Jaehoon (who had just been added to the band) left for personal reasons, striking another blow to the fans. Hard to get attached to a band and its' members when they come and go quicker than a spring day.
On October 28, 2011 and November 3rd, 2011 respectively, two new members Keon U and Hanbyul were added to the group with Hanbyul replacing Jaehoon as leader of LEDApple.
The group released two teasers for the next mini-album on November 7th and 9th respectively and released the music video for their comeback single 'Eojjeoda Majuchin' on the 11th.
Their second mini-album CODA, had a strong showing on the Gaon charts, peaking at 6th, and the boys were nominated for the Anticipated Super Rookies of 2012 award at the 2011 Wave K Super Rookie Awards.
The group's comeback stage was on M! Countdown on February 2nd, with the song 'Time Is Up' being fully released the next day. Despite heavy promotions, the single failed to make any waves.
The group briefly had a reality show stint with the show LEDApple Entertainment which lasted for about a month. The show aired on February 15th and ended on March 21st.
The band came back with a new single, 'Sadness' on March 5th and made their debut in Japan on the 16th. They later held their first solo concert in Korea on May 11th in Seoul and held additional shows in Daegu and Busan on the 18th and 19th respectively. They later held their second solo concert in Japan on June 23rd.
However, in early July, the band was hit with more bad news, as Keon U was forced to withdraw from LEDApple due to medical issues.
For the next two years, the band continued to release songs, mini-albums and go on concert tours. In addition to touring in Korea and Japan, they even held two fairly long European tours in 2014, which was quite surprising given their relative lack of commercial success.
On October 28th, 2014, a couple weeks after LEDApple's four year anniversary, Starkim Entertainment announced that members Hanbyul, Kwangyeon and Kyumin would all be leaving the group. At the start of 2015, it was revealed that Kyumin would not actually be leaving the group and that two new members, Kyosung and Hyunsang had been added. However, both of these members left before their careers even began, leaving LEDApple a trio. In September of 2015, LEDApple announced that they would now be called LedT, with each of the remaining members being given new stage names. However, it wasn't meant to be.
Despite the renaming and rebranding, LedT never released a song. And on March 6th, 2016, came the unsurprising news that LedT was officially disbanded.
So what went wrong? A lot of things, unfortunately. Several of the reasons nugu groups remain nugu, include poor management, too many lineup changes, and non-stand-out music. LedT suffered from all three of these. Starkim Entertainment was pretty inept as managers. Numerous members of the band left less than a year after joining. At the time of disbandment., only one original member was even still in the group. LEDApple was easily one of the most unstable idol groups in recent years. I cannot recall any group that has suffered from more lineup changes than them.
Korean rock may be more niche than standard K-Pop, however, it still had its' mainstream juggernauts; namely FTIsland and CNBLUE. Both of whom largely overshadowed LEDApple. They had some good songs however they were simply outclassed and failed to stand out enough, which is one of the main reasons they achieved minimal commercial success.
This is not to say that the guys of LEDApple were not talented. They definitely had a lot of potential. They had a fairly large international fan base. But too many things went wrong for them, and not enough good things happened to them. Disbandment was an inevitability that anyone not in denial of reality could've seen coming from a mile away. I once came across a forum post back in 2015 where K-Pop fans named their favorite new debuts of the year, and saw one girl list LEDApple as one of them. They had already been around for 5 years by then. If that doesn't tell you how nugu they were, nothing will.
They had some good songs, with 'Time is up' and 'I'm going to you' being my personal favorites. 'Time is Up' is a really catchy tune and 'I'm going to you' is a soothing, light-hearted song with strong vocals. But what they had simply wasn't enough.
As for what the former members of LEDApple/LedT are doing now, Hanbyul is the only one still in the music business in any notable capacity (At least from what I can find). After leaving the group to pursue a solo career, Hanbyul signed on with The Groove Entertainment and has been working as a solo artist. He has been featured on several OST, notably SBS's 'Remember' and KBS's 'Sassy Go Go'. He has even embarked on a solo tour in Japan. He's a very strong vocalist and I wish him all the best.
All in all, LEDApple is an atypical tale of a doomed group. It's a sad reality in K-Pop. Lots of groups debut, few of them stick around. All we can do is enjoy the music that they did give us.
What do you think of LEDApple/LedT?
LEDApple 'I'm Going to you': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9YIaGC2nPdA
LEDApple 'Who Are You': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FceeX-3CU4s
LEDApple 'Run To You: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eNiLSb2_kL0
Hanbyul and Youngjun Music Note 'Just The Way You Are' Cover:
Hanbyul Music Note 'Grenade' Cover: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxEXhE6X5WI
Hanbyul Music Note 'Talking To The Moon': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uOCq3QrCueE
Hanbyul Music Note 'When I Was Your Man': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7ktDLyrItU
Hanbyul 'Winter Wind': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h95omPdsVFw
Hanbyul 'Shooting Star': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6fR2oAT6E0

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WaNueSu   2 years ago
I only heard of LEDApple through the announcements on Idol Athletic Championships. It's so sad that they didn't survive in the cruel industry 😞
2 years ago