A new K-pop girl group featuring human and virtual members will debut in November.
Aespa, stylized as æspa, will be the first girl group to launch from industry leader SM Entertainment since Red Velvet, which debuted in 2014.
Aespa derives its name from the combination of the words “avatar”, “experience” and “aspect.”
On Wednesday’s World Cultural Industry Forum in Seoul, SM founder Lee Soo-man described the group as “the beginning of the future of entertainment.”
“The group is what I’ve dreamed of, as it projects a future world centered on celebrities and avatars, transcending boundaries between the real and virtual worlds,” Lee said, according to the South China Morning Post. “A whole new group with an original and inventive concept will be born.”
Aespa’s logo first appeared in the music video for “One,” the latest lead single of labelmate group SuperM.
Since then, the label has drip-released Aespa members, starting with Winter, Karina and Ningning, who is Chinese. The group is rumored to have a total of 11 members, according to Allkpop.
In another teaser video, Karina can be seen interacting with her avatar, known as “My Karina.”
Without any new all-female acts for six years, SM received high expectations from supporters for Aespa.
“She can’t be real, she’s so beautiful,” one Instagram user commented on Winter.
Another expressed relief about Ningning, who had been training for five years: “FINALLY!”