T-ara (티아라) is an eight-member girl group established by Core Contents Media in 2009. The name T-ara comes from the word “tiara”, a crown worn by royalty, indicating that they will become the “crowned queens of the music industry”; “Tiara” was taken by a trio group, and Core Contents Media settled with T-ara. The group had been training for three years before their debut and were dubbed the “Super Rookies”. The original group had a total of five members, but later on expanded to a seven-member and eventually the current nine-member group after a small reformation of the lineup. T-ara employs a rotating leader system, in which a different leader is elected each year to give the group fresh leadership and allows room to experiment.
The official fan club of T-ara are called “Queens”. The relationship between a queen and her tiara represents the significance between the fans (Queens) and the group (T-ara).
Originally, the group consisted of five members who trained under the company for three years: HyoMin, JiYeon, JiWon, JiAe and EunJung. Out of the five members, EunJung had outstanding experience as a child actress. JiWon was a member of OhSoNyuh (오소녀) – a five member group who were supposed to debut in 2007 but never did. Its members were JiWon, YuBin of Wonder Girls, Uee of After School, Jeon HyoSung of Secret, and G.NA. The group released their first song titled “JohEun SaRam” (좋은 사람) for the Korean drama series Cinderella Man. Jiyeon was also involved in a collaboration with SeeYa and Davichi in a Core Contents Media sub-unit and promoted the single “Womens’ Generation” (여성시대).
Core Contents Media made a lineup reformation in June, 2009. The company announced the departure of JiAe and JiWon from the group due to musical differences. With the departure of two members, Core Contents Media also announced the arrival of three new members: SoYeon, BoRam and Qri. One month later, the group made debut as T-ara.
On July 29, 2009, T-ara made their first official appearance on MBC’s Radio Star and held their first performance on Mnet’s M! Countdown performing their debut single, “Lies” (거짓말). The performance also included a bonus track “Wanna Play?” (놀아볼래?). T-ara’s debut performance was received very negatively by critics and the public alike criticizing the lip-synching and the childish dance routine. After receiving such harsh comments, T-ara announced that from then on, they would perform live. Eunjung, Soyeon, Hyomin, and Jiyeon participated in a project single with the boy group Supernova called “TTL (Time To Love)”. The single was a huge hit and grabbed the top spot on many music charts.
During November, it was first announced that T-ara would release their first extended play album. However, T-ara surprisingly released their first studio album titled “Absolute First Album” on December 1, 2009. The album was a success with many smash hits like “Bo Peep Bo Peep” and “Like the First Time” (처음처럼).”Bo Peep Bo Peep” won many awards, eventually winning T-ara their first “Triple Crown”.
In January, Eunjung and Hyomin participated in a project group with SeeYa and Davichi called “Wonder Woman”. T-ara announced in early February they would release a repackaged version of their debut album called “Breaking Heart” with a new title track to thank the fans. The new title track was titled “I Go Crazy Because of You” (너 때문에 미쳐) which was written by Wheesung. This new track was a big hit and won several awards on various music shows.
In July 2010, Core Contents Media announced they would be adding a seventh member to the group, Ryu HwaYoung. On December 1, 2010, T-ara released their first EP album titled “Temptastic”. The album marked the first appearance of Hwayoung. The title track, “Yayaya”, which was produced by E-Tribe, proved to be successful and even won an award on M! Countdown. The T-ara Temptastic album was initially released in digital format, however, the release of the physical copies were delayed due to the YeonPyeong incident. The album promotions began on December 3 as well as announcing the new member HwaYoung and new leader BoRam.
On June 29, 2011 after a half-year hiatus, T-ara made their comeback with the release of the music video and song of “Roly-Poly”. “Roly-Poly” was a colossal success and was so popular that it reached #1 on all of the Korean music charts within one hour. In fact, “Roly-Poly” was the most downloaded, streamed, and top grossing song of 2011 in South Korea. T-ara released a remixed version of “Roly-Poly” called “Roly-Poly in Copacabana” to pay homage to the popular disco club in the 1980′s.
The leaders changed once again on June 14, 2011. Core Contents Media announced that HyoMin would replace BoRam as the new leader. T-ara made their Japanese debut on September 28 with “Bo Peep Bo Peep”, which hit the #1 spot on the Oricon chart on its first day. The Japanese version of “I Go Crazy Because of You” (너 때문에 미쳐) finished first on the Oricon weekly chart with over 49,000 copies sold, making T-ara to become the first non-Japanese girl group to ever reach such a status on their debut single. It is also noted that they are also the second foreign and Korean girl group to rank as first on the week of release; the first group was Kara of DSP Media.
T-ara made their Korean comeback on November 9, 2011 with the release of the music video and track for “Cry Cry”. The music video is a 15-minute long “drama music video”, is only the first part of a longer story, and had a one billion won budget. “Cry Cry” continued T-ara enduring success and unsurprisingly topped the music charts. T-ara released the third mini album in digital format, “Black Eyes”, on November 11 while the physical copies were released on November 18. The Tiara Black Eyes EP album topped the charts once again, placing first on Hanteo and second on the Gaon Weekly charts. T-ara ended the year with the change of their leader; SoYeon would replace HyoMin as the new leader. With the new leader, T-ara held a three-day concert in Japan and promoted their upcoming song “Lovey-Dovey”.
On January 2, 2012, T-ara released the drama music video for “Lovey-Dovey”, the continuation to “Cry Cry”. Again, “Lovey-Dovey” reached the top spot on Korean music charts hours upon its release. T-ara was scheduled to release their first Japanese studio album sometime in June, just before their tour in Japan. Two new members Dani and AhReum were added to the group in June, making it a nine-member group. Towards the end of July, a story developed where one of the members, HwaYoung, was found to be bullied within the group. Core Contents Media terminated her contract.