Ever heard of the Korean wave? South Korea has continued to contribute largely to global pop culture with its increasing influence and impact in entertainment. Establishments like SM Entertainment are front runners in this regard through their many ventures, including owning and managing popular K-pop artists like members of the Girls’ Generation.
In 2007, SM Entertainment added Girls’ Generation—also known as SNSD—to their already interesting lineup of popular musical acts. The all-girl group introduced themselves to the world with their self-titled debut album. Since then, they have broken records with singles like “Into the New World”, “Gee”, ” Oh!”, and “Run Devil Run” among others.
Since its inception, there have been a few changes, mostly in the roster of the Girls’ Generation membership. Originally a nine-member group, Girls’ Generation has since cut back on its member numbers. They even disbanded sometime in 2017. Who are the current members? Why did the group disband? Here is everything about this iconic girl group as we know it.
Who are the Current Members of Girls’ Generation?
Almost all the members of the group were not strangers to the world of entertainment at the time they were recruited to join SM’s roster. Names like Sunny, Yoona, Sooyoung, and Taeyeon come to mind.
1. Yoona (Im Yoon-A)
Before becoming a member of the Girls’ Generation, Yoona had fought extensively to create her own space in the entertainment industry. She had participated in more than 200 auditions for the chance to be on the set of movies, music videos, and plays. The lead singer, dancer, and rapper for SNSD also has an acting career. Yoona has shown up in films like Confidential Assignment (2018) and TV dramas like Cinderella Man (2009).
2. Taeyeon (Kim Tae Yeon)
The Jeonju native is the leader and main vocalist of the group. It turns out that her talent is hereditary as she was born to musical parents. Taeyeon caught SM’s eye after she emerged as the winner of the S.M. Youth Singing Competition in 2004. She was also the first girl in the group to start a solo music career with the release of her album I in 2015.
3. Sunny (Lee Soon Kyu)
This singer could be considered as one of the most deserving of the girls in the group. Her journey to becoming a part of SNSD took almost a decade. She started training under SM as far back as 1998, however, nothing came of it. After 5 years, she was moved to Starworld where she went through training to be a part of the musical act Sugarpop. After that didn’t pan out, she went back to SM on the recommendation of the popular Korean-Japanese star IconiQ where she finally joined SNSD. She was the last recruit before their debut.
4. Hyoyeon (Kim Hyo Yeon)
The Incheon native danced her way into the hearts and plans of the powers that be at SM Entertainment. The company held open auditions in 2000 where Hyoyeon impressed them with her dance moves enough to become part of their Girls’ Generation plans. Before her time with the group though, the dancer had already racked up an enviable portfolio, working with names like Janet Jackson and BoA.
5. Yuri (Kwon Yu Ri)
The next person to be drafted into the group after Hyoyeon was Yuri. And she came in almost a year after Hyoyeon in much the same way. Yuri was selected after she placed second at the 2001 SM Youth Best Dancer Competition. The dancer also has solo music and acting career. She is known for playing roles in dramas like Fashion King (2012), and Attack on the Pin-Up Boys (2017).
Four Members of SNSD Have Left The Group Since 2014
1. Jessica (Jessica Jung)
The Asian-American was born and raised in the United States. She was spotted with her sister in 2000 while on vacation with her family in South Korea. That same year, she joined the group through the S.M. Casting System while her sister Kai joined the group F(x).
Jessica was the first member of SNSD picked by SM Entertainment. She was also the first to leave. Her departure was announced by the company on September 24, 2014. The reason given was that her schedule and the group’s schedule kept clashing. Since then, Jessica has continued to push a solo career of her own and has been under Coridel Entertainment since 2016.
2. Tiffany (Stephanie Hwang)
After a decade of success, three members of the group decided that it was time to move on from the now eight-member group. Tiffany was one of them. Her reason was that she needed to give more time to her solo music and acting career. At this time, Tiffany was already five years into her time as part of the trio of the Girls’ Generation subgroup known as TTS. They had also released three EPs by 2015.
3. Seohyun (Seo Joo Hyun)
The former Girls’ Generation member also did not renew her contract in 2017. Like Tiffany, she is also one-third of TTS. The youngest of the group, Seohyun had already debuted her solo music career earlier in 2017 with the release of her mini-album Don’t Say No. She has also added to her portfolio TV dramas like Time and Bad Thief, Good Thief, both in 2018.
4. Sooyoung (Choi Soo Young)
Before Girls’ Generation, Sooyoung was already part of the Japanese music scene via her membership with the group Route θ. The group was unsuccessful and consequently disbanded in 2002 after just one year. Since her time with the Girls’ Generation, Sooyoung decided to move away from music and focus on her acting career. In 2018, she was on set for a few TV dramas like So I Married an Anti-fan and Polyclinic Doctor. The singer-turned-actress is now represented by the Echo Global Group.
Did Girls’ Generation Really Disband in 2017?
The answer to that is a little more complex than a yes or no. After the departure of Tiffany, Seohyun, and Sooyoung, the group was down to five people. SM decided to restrategize as they did not feel the group would have the same impact with just five members left.
Part of their strategy was to focus on subgroups. This included the already existing subgroup, TTS; and Oh!GG, a new subgroup created in August 2018. Oh!GG was made up of the five members of the Girls’ Generation that remained after all the departures: Taeyeon, Yuri, Sunny, Yoona, and Hyoyeon. Taeyeon was the only member of the original group that stayed on as part of both subgroups.
SM Entertainment has since stated that a return to an eight-member group was still very much in their plans even with the success of the subgroups. If this declaration is to mean anything, then we can say that Girls’ Generation is not disbanded but simply on an indefinite hiatus.