There’s more than one way to crack an egg, and there’s more than one way to debut a K-pop group. Most groups announce a small schedule of photos and teaser videos, leading up to an album release and debut music video, as was the case with KOZ’s Boynextdoor, to pick just one example. On the other side of the spectrum, Blockberry Creative’s Loona spent more than a year introducing its 12 members before debut. Then there is a bizarre outlier like ADOR’s NewJeans, who debuted what felt like almost out of nowhere. DSP Media group KARD followed another slightly unusual path to debut, releasing three predebut songs over a period of several months before finally releasing their first mini-album. So let’s take a look back at when exactly did J.seph, BM, Somin, and Jiwoo make their debut (and predebut) as KARD.
KARD Debuted on July 19, 2017 with Hola Hola but Predebuted on December 13, 2016 with “Oh NaNa”
Officially, KARD debuted on July 19, 2017 with the mini-album Hola Hola and a lead single of the same name, with the “Hola Hola” music video also arriving on July 19. However, KARD released three predebut singles prior to Hola Hola, and each one received at least one or sometimes two music videos. The three predebut KARD songs were “Oh NaNa,” first released on December 13, 2016; “Don’t Recall,” first released on February 16, 2017; and “Rumor,” first released on April 24, 2017.
Each of these three predebut songs contained a “hidden card” element — basically a surprise element for listeners. For “Oh NaNa,” the hidden card was that the song featured Heo Youngji of KARA as a guest member. For “Don’t Recall,” the hidden card was an English-language version of the song, which received its own music video after the Korean-language release. For “Rumor,” whose music video was actually shot as a collaboration with LG Electronics and filmed with a vertical phone aspect ratio, the hidden card was an extra music video that featured dance choreographer ZSun. (This latter version actually has a higher view count because it was filmed with a normal aspect ratio.)
When KARD did finally debut in July 2017 with Hola Hola, the mini album contained all of the predebut songs along with three new songs. In total, Hola Hola contained the following songs: “Oh NaNa,” “Don’t Recall,” “Rumor,” “Hola Hola,” “난 멈추지 않는다” (“I Can’t Stop”), and “Living Good (Special thanks to.).” The physical version of the album also included instrumental versions of “Oh NaNa,” “Don’t Recall,” “Rumor,” and “Living Good.”
On the day of their debut, KARD held a debut showcase in Gangnam where they performed “Hola Hola,” “Oh NaNa,” “Don’t Recall,” and “Rumor.”
These early songs were enough to ignite a fandom globally and especially in Latin America, though KARD’s popularity domestically in South Korea has always been rather muted comparatively. KARD took advantage of its international popularity very early on by going on their first global tour, a two-part 1st Wild KARD Tour in 2017, with the first part occurring prior to the release of Hola Hola and the second part beginning after the release. (Incidentally, we at K-Pop Answers attended one of the shows and have the T-shirt to prove it!)
Anyway, to summarize, KARD made their official debut on July 19, 2017 with the mini-album Hola Hola and lead song of the same name, but they predebuted on December 13, 2016 with “Oh NaNa.” Most fans think of “Oh NaNa” as the real beginning of KARD.