AESPA is a South Korean girl group formed by SM Entertainment. The group consists of four members: Karina, Giselle, Winter, and Ningning. They debuted on November 17, 2020, with the single “Black Mamba”. Their name combines the English initials of “avatar” and “experience” (Avatar X Experience) with the English word “aspect”, meaning “two sides”, to symbolize the idea of “meeting another self and experiencing the new world”. SM Entertainment soon announced that it would debut the new girl group, its first since Red Velvet in 2014 and its first overall idol group since NCT in 2016.
The group’s name and members were revealed individually starting on October 27 (in order: Winter, Karina, Ningning, and Giselle). SM Entertainment founder Lee Soo-man explained the group’s concept at the 2020 World Cultural Industry Forum on October 28. A video trailer featuring all four members was revealed alongside the announcement of the release of Aespa’s debut single, “Black Mamba”. The group made their broadcast debut on KBS2’s Music Bank to perform “Black Mamba”. The song reached number one on the K-pop music video charts of China’s biggest music-streaming service, QQ Music, for three consecutive weeks and earned Aespa their first music show win on SBS’s Inkigayo. SM Entertainment soon announced Aespa would release a remake of “Forever”, the single originally by Yoo Young-jin for SM Entertainment’s 2000 holiday album Winter Vacation. Next would be the release of “Next Level”, describing the song as a dance and hip-hop track with a “groovy” rap, “energetic” bass, and “powerful vocals”. It debuted at number nine on the Gaon Digital Chart and peaked at number two, becoming their first top five hit in South Korea. On July 22, 2021, Aespa was announced to have signed with Creative Artists Agency for their future activities in the United States & that really turned things around for them. It was their 2022 Coachella performance and their debuted single “Step Back” that broke them in the USA and they were the first new act ever to win the Artist of the Year award at the 2022 Golden Disc Awards. Much more to come for AESPA.