The K-pop industry is known for producing idols that can light up a room with their smile and (if you’re lucky) their voice. Yet even among the many idols in South Korea, few radiate as much energy, charisma, and general lovableness as Kim Jiwoo, better known by her stage name, Chuu. (“Chuu” is what “Jiwoo” sounds like when spoken quickly.) The singer is a perfect storm of talent, visuals, and infectious enthusiasm, sought after to advertise things ranging from Pocari Sweat water to apparently Universal Studios Japan. She began her career at Blockberry Creative and Loona, but she has since moved on to greener pastures. But if you want to know when it all began — when exactly did Chuu debut in K-pop with Loona — here is the full answer, plus the additional answer of when she made her redebut as a soloist with ATRP.
Chuu Debuted on December 28, 2017 with the Single “Heart Attack,” Before Debuting with Loona on August 19, 2018
As Loona fans (“Orbits”) are aware, the group debuted in an unorthodox way. The Korean name of the group, Idarui Sonyeo, translates to “Girl of the Month,” and accordingly, the 12 members of the group largely debuted individually and/or in subunits in advance of the full group debut. Chuu was the tenth member of Loona to be revealed, on December 14, 2017, and she debuted individually on December 28, 2017 with the song “Heart Attack” on the single album Chuu. That album also included a duet with fellow Loona member Yves, titled “Girl’s Talk.”
Next, Chuu and fellow members Yves, Gowon, and Olivia Hye formed the Loona subunit called Loona yyxy, which released a mini-album called Beauty & the Beat on May 30, 2018. The lead song on this album was “lova4eva,” featuring the Canadian musician Grimes, but the track listing in total for Beauty & the Beat was as follows: “Dal Segno,” “love4eva,” “Frozen,” “One Way,” and “Rendevous 18.6y.”
Finally, Chuu and the rest of Loona officially debuted as a full group on August 19, 2018 with their “LOONAbirth” concert, and the mini-album [+ +] was released one day later on August 20, 2018. This album featured prerelease song “favOriTe,” which received a music video on August 7, 2018, and lead song “Hi High,” which received a music video on August 20 to coincide with the album. In total, the track listing for [+ +] was as follows: “+ +,” “Hi High,” “favOriTe,” “열기,” “Perfect Love,” and “Stylish.”
Needless to say, a lot has happened since then, with Chuu being unceremoniously removed from Loona by Blockberry Creative on November 25, 2022, which in turn triggered a complicated backlash against BBC that would ultimately result in the dissolution of the group at the company. But Orbits would rather not dwell on where things went wrong; they prefer to focus on the delightful body of work Loona created together.
Chuu Made Debut as a True Soloist on October 18, 2023 with Howl
Chuu went on to become a soloist, signing with ATRP in an announcement made on April 7, 2023. (She also decisively won her legal battle with Blockberry on August 17, 2023.) Chuu redebuted as a soloist at ATRP October 18, 2023 at 6:00 p.m. KST, with the mini-album Howl and the corresponding “Howl” music video. This EP contains five songs in total: “Howl,” “Underwater,” “My Palace,” “Aliens,” and “Hitchhiker.” The music video for “Underwater” was released on October 10, 2023, ahead of the redebut.
So, the answer to when Chuu made her original debut is December 28, 2017 with her single, “Heart Attack,” and she debuted as part of the full Loona group on August 19, 2018. She made debut again as a soloist on October 18, 2023 under the company ATRP with Howl.
To read about another group that had a rather unceremonious end, check out when and why GFriend disbanded at Source Music. Or for more about Loona broadly, check out the debut of Loossemble or how old all 12 Loona members are.