The size and scope of the K-pop industry is ever growing, meaning there are constantly more companies trying their hand at creating the next big idol group, albeit with mixed results. Vine Entertainment, which has existed since at least 2016 as a fully owned subsidiary of mobile services company InfoVine, resolved to contribute meaningfully to the K-pop space with a group of its own: Secret Number! Even prior to their debut, would-be fans were already excited at the group’s international composition: a native Korean (Soodam), two Korean Americans (Jinny and Denise), a Japanese (Léa), and the first fully Indonesian K-pop girl group member (Dita). So let’s look back to when exactly did Léa, Dita, Jinny, Soodam, and Denise debut as Secret Number, plus what song they debuted with and how it all went.
Secret Number Debuted on May 19, 2020 with Who Dis?
On March 12, 2020, Vine Entertainment explained that it had originally intended to debut the group on March 26, 2020, but it was delayed indefinitely as a result of the COVID pandemic. Ultimately, Secret Number made their debut on May 19, 2020 with the single album Who Dis?, which featured two songs in total: the titular “Who Dis?” and “Holiday.” The “Who Dis?” music video was released at the same time.
“Who Dis?” was composed by Michel “Lindgren” Schulz, Melanie Fontana, Shark, and A Wright, with lyrics by Lucy, and the composing team also arranged the song, with the exception of Fontana. Fontana additionally provided background vocals on the track, and her presence as a songwriter excited fans in general, after she had already composed for the likes of Justin Bieber, BTS, Twice, and (then very recently) Everglow. (She even, rather unusually, left a message to fans about the song on official Secret Number channels just prior to its release.) Meanwhile, “Holiday” was composed, arranged, and had lyrics written by Eun Ooh Park and ENAN.
Prior to debut, on April 28, 2020 and May 3, 2020, Secret Number had released dance performance videos for Jennifer Lopez’s “Medicine” and Dua Lipa and Blackpink’s “Kiss and Make Up,” respectively, as a way of introducing themselves to fans. The usual promotional photos and individual member visual teasers were released in the lead-up to debut as well.
Secret Number held a media showcase on May 19, where they performed “Who Dis?” That showcase clarified that Dita was born in Yogyakarta, Indonesia (and she studied abroad in New York in college); Jinny was born in California; Soodam was born in Seoul, South Korea; and Denise was born in Texas. It also revealed that the five stars in the group’s logo derived from the (then) five members and the idea of delivering five-star quality. Afterward, Secret Number performed for the first time on May 21, 2020 at M Countdown with “Who Dis?”
Overall, as had been noted by observers at the time, Secret Number had a quite impactful debut as far as viewership numbers on their video content, seemingly bolstered by heavy Indonesian support of Dita. Even besides the “Who Dis?” music video, their debut showcase and first television performances garnered millions of views with time, which isn’t necessarily common for a group from an unknown company.
Unfortunately, that intense initial interest seemed to dwindle over time, as their current video content typically garners significantly less viewership than during that debut period. Also, Denise ultimately left Secret Number in February 2022, following a hiatus over contract problems that was announced on September 30, 2021, and new Korean members Minji and Zuu joined the group in October 2021. However, Secret Number prevails, still beloved by its LOCKEY fandom in its six-member formation, and the quality of their music has never dropped.
So in summary, May 19, 2020 is when Secret Number made their debut, with Who Dis?, and they made a pronounced splash with their international member lineup. Secret Number remained a five-member group until October 2021, at which time it effectively took on its current six-member incarnation. For more about the group, you can check out how old the Secret Number members currently are. (Léa began in the group at a surprisingly late age, because she had actually already debuted once before!)