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Over a year since Chuu’s removal: where are the LOONA members now?

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(LOONA) “favOriTe”

On November 25th, 2022, Chuu, a member of LOONA, was suddenly kicked out of the popular K-pop girl group. This news shocked fans worldwide and would forever change the course of each member’s career. 

 

LOONA’s official debut was in 2018, however, the group’s history began long before this point. The 12 members of the girl group were revealed in a special fashion; a new girl would be revealed each month, earning the group the title, “Girl of the Month.” First came Heejin, followed by Hyunjin, Haseul, Yeojin and Vivi. Shortly after, Kim Lip, Jinsoul and Choerry came along. Finally, Yves, Chuu, Go Won and Hyeju (formerly Olivia Hye) would debut. 

Pre-debut

LOONA is best known for their pre-debut content. Unlike other K-pop groups where only a few songs (sometimes even none) are released prior to their debut, LOONA has released over 50 tracks before debuting with “Hi High”. Their pre-debut discography consists of 2 songs per member (over 24 songs in total) and an album for each of the 3 sub-units.

Each sub-unit of LOONA has a unique sound. The first sub-unit, LOONA ⅓, consisted of Heejin, Hyunjin, Haseul and Vivi. LOONA ⅓’s repackaged album, Love & Evil, has a much softer sound compared to the other 2 sub-units. The album includes several ballads as well as a couple of orchestra-influenced tracks. While the group did not gain much popularity at this point in their journey, their tracks ventured into areas unexplored by most K-pop groups at the time. The high quality and uniqueness of LOONA’s music is what attracted most of their pre-debut fans to the group.

 

LOONA 1/3 members (from left to right): Hyunjin, Vivi, Heejin and Haseul

 

The second sub-unit, ODD EYE CIRCLE, was comprised of 3 LOONA members, Kim Lip, Jinsoul and Choerry. This sub-unit explores a dance-pop and future bass (an EDM subgenre) focused sound in their repackaged album, Max & Match. ODD EYE CIRCLE is undoubtedly the most beloved sub-unit: they would explore a wide variety of genres with just 8 songs. In their repackaged album, they skillfully mixed EDM influences into their slower songs, such as in Chaotic and Starlight. The sub-unit would also release LOONATIC, a dream pop song, a genre rarely attempted in K-pop. LOONA, as a whole, would gain considerable traction in September of 2017 thanks to ODD EYE CIRCLE.

The last sub-unit, yyxy (Youth Youth by Young), consisted of Yves, Chuu, Go Won and Hyeju. Unlike the other 2 sub-units, yyxy only had an extended play, Beauty and the Beat, and was unable to release a repackaged album. This sub-unit was very experimental with its music and concept; the storylines within their music videos contained many biblical references, especially to the Garden of Eden. yyxy would release love4eva (Feat. Grimes), an upbeat pop song with a dark undertone in both its meaning and music video. Beauty and the Beat would sell the most album copies out of all of LOONA’s pre-debut albums. Of all the sub-units, yyxy was surely the most popular during pre-debut despite having released the least amount of songs. 

Chuu’s sudden removal 

After 2 years of pre-debut activities, all 12 LOONA members would debut together in 2018 with an extended play titled [+ +]. The group would continue to release extended plays and singles until Chuu’s removal on November 25th, 2022. BlockBerryCreative, LOONA’s label, would kick Chuu out of the group, accusing her of “violent language” and “misuse of power towards staff”. Orbits, LOONA fans, across the globe were shocked by this update. Chuu was well-known for her cheerful and kind personality both in and out of the fandom; everyone could tell that this was a sham concocted by the label to hide something from the public.

Chuu in LOONA’s “Heart Attack” music video

As it turns out, BlockBerryCreative had been hiding the mistreatment the LOONA members endured over the years. Since joining LOONA, none of the 12 girls received a single paycheck from the label. For 6 years, none of the members received money for their hard work as they were bound to the label’s contract.

In short, Chuu was kicked out of the group due to her speaking out against BlockBerryCreative’s actions and her joining a new management label. Following this, Orbits would participate in a boycott of all LOONA music owned by BlockBerryCreative to ensure that the record label would receive no money from streams. Shortly after Chuu’s removal from the group, the remaining 11 members (with the exception of Hyunjin and Vivi) took legal action to break their contracts with BlockBerryCreative. The legal process was long and draining but all of the LOONA members would eventually be free from the company and terminate their contracts on June 16th, 2023.

Where are the members now?

At present, 11 out of 12 of the former LOONA members signed new contracts and are currently working on releasing new music and content. The ODD EYE CIRCLE members plus Heejin and Haseul would join MODHAUS, a South Korean record label founded by Jaden Jeong, LOONA’s former creative director. The 5 girls are all members of a new group, ARTMS. They have all been able to release new music for fans despite being with the label for less than a year. 

Under MODHAUS, ODD EYE CIRCLE would make a comeback on July 12th, 2023. The sub-unit would release a second extended play, Version Up. This comeback was desperately desired by Orbits and very well-received. The EP would revisit the sub-unit’s past sound while adding new musical touches to indicate their separation and evolution from their BlockBerryCreative era. The title track of the EP, Air Force One, holds great meaning within its name. In the past, ODD EYE CIRCLE members were commonly shown wearing white Converse shoes throughout their music videos. In the Air Force One music video, the members are shown burning Converse shoes and wearing white Air Forces instead, signifying that the members are letting go of their past and starting a new stage in their musical careers.

 

Choerry and Jinsoul burning white Converse shoes in ODD EYE CIRCLE’s “Air Force One” music video

 

Haseul released a city pop single, Plastic Candy, on October 26th, 2023. She also held a small concert, HaSeul Music Studio 81.8Hz, where she would premiere the single, perform songs from LOONA’s pre-debut and even sing unreleased LOONA songs as well. Heejin would release an extended play a few days later titled <K>. The EP consists of 6 tracks with major synth-pop and 80s influences. Fans were very excited about Heejin’s new EP as she explored new genres of music she barely touched before.

MODHAUS is not the only entertainment company that former LOONA members have signed with. Hyunjin, Yeojin, Vivi, Go Won and Hyeju would all join CTDENM, a South Korean record label, and re-debut as Loossemble. As one can easily guess judging from their name, the main premise of the group is to assemble LOONA and “search for their friends”. Loossemble released an extended play, Loossemble, on September 25th, 2023. As noted by many Orbits, all of the songs on the EP sound as if they were actual LOONA tracks. Loossemble absolutely mastered the “LOONA” sound and was able to incorporate many elements and genres commonly used in the group’s past into their EP. The accuracy of the EP’s sound left many Orbits feeling nostalgic for the days before LOONA’s disbandment.

Chuu, the first member to leave LOONA, signed a contract with ATRP, a South Korean record label, in April 2023. Chuu, being the most popular member of LOONA, was given many opportunities on shows and is one of the only members who regularly posts on YouTube. She has an overwhelmingly large platform of supporters with 1.6M followers on Instagram as of right now. With so many eyes on her, she released a greatly anticipated extended play, Howl, on October 18th, 2023. The songs on the EP perfectly highlight Chuu’s amazing vocal tone and abilities.

Yves in LOONA’s “So What” music video

Yves is the only former member of LOONA that has not released any new music after the group’s disbandment. Despite not releasing new musical content, she is always active on Instagram, interacting with her fans. Furthermore, she played a part in the production of Loossemble’s EP by writing lyrics for their song, Strawberry Soda. Even though fans have grown accustomed to her Instagram presence, she has not permanently left the music scene; she hopes to release new music for fans in the near future.

Nowadays, Orbits still boycott music owned by BlockBerryCreative with the fear of the record label putting the money earned from streams towards suing the former members. Instead of streaming music from the official LOONA account, Orbits prefer to listen to music via Soundcloud or Spotify podcasts. The girls’ new music can be streamed on platforms such as Spotify, YouTube, Apple Music and more. 

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About the Contributor
Nikita Hardial, Managing Editor
Nikita Hardial is a Managing Editor of the Kingsley Voice. She has been a part of the team since 2021. 

Comments (4)

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  • P

    PriyankaDec 14, 2023 at 10:24 am

    Amazing article Nikita!!

    Reply
  • A

    ayushiDec 13, 2023 at 2:15 pm

    Wow, such an incredible piece of writing! Cannot believe Chuu was kicked out like that #subscribed

    Reply
  • N

    naveenaDec 13, 2023 at 11:54 am

    so awesome I love Chuu

    Reply
  • A

    Aleesha QureshiDec 13, 2023 at 11:48 am

    I wish to subscribe to this YouTube channel of Nikita because she is so good at writing oh em gee

    Reply