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History

Baby V.O.X officially debuted on July 3, 1997 with a televised performance of their song "To Men (Democracy)".1 Their first album, EQUALIZEHER, was released on July 10.2 They were put together by the company DR Entertainment (name later changed to DR Music). The group was inspired by the Spice Girls and Korean acts like H.O.T, and therefore went with an attitude-filled social justice/feminist concept for their first release. They became known as the "Spice Girls of Korea" and the "Female H.O.T" because of this.3 However, the concept ended up being too strong for the Korean public and "To Men" was banned from broadcasting due to its lyrical content.4 They changed their title song to "Haircut" and continued promotions, but only achieved moderate success. EQUALIZEHER reached number 47 on the SBS Gayo Top 20 (music TV show) chart and sold around 50,000 copies.5
During the promotions for their first album, member Cha Yumi was forced to leave the group and return to her home in America due to health concerns.3 She was replaced by Kan Mi Youn, who would remain in the group for the rest of their releases. After the first album promotions, members Jang Hyun Jung and Jung Shi Woon left the group (this has been attributed to internal conflict)6 and were replaced by Shim Eun Jin and Lee Gai.
For their sophmore album, Baby V.O.X took inspiration from Korean girl groups S.E.S and Fin.K.L to create a more palatable cute concept. BABY VOX II came out on September 15, 1998.24 "Ya Ya Ya" was the leading track from the album. A second, more mature-sounding song, "Change", was promoted later that year. BABY VOX II lead Baby V.O.X to success, reaching number 3 on the SBS Inkigayo chart and selling over 200,000 copies in Korea.5 Baby V.O.X won the New Female Artist award at the 1998 SBS Gayo Daejeon8 16, the Popularity Award at the 1998 KMTV Gayo Daejeon17, and the Popularity Award at the 1998 Seoul Music Awards.9 10
Lee Gai (real name Lee Hee Jung) left the group after the promotions for the second album. It was discovered that she had been lying about her age: She had convinced DR Entertainment that she was only 20 years old, when she was really 30. She had debuted before multiple times, under different names and with different groups, throughout the prior decade.11 12 She was replaced by 15-year old Yoon Eun Hye.
Baby V.O.X came back on July 21, 1999 with their third album, Come Come Come Baby.22 This album was a complete change of concept, from cute and innocent to sexy and confident. Songs "Get Up", "Killer", and the ballad "Missing You" were all promoted. The album scored the group their first number 1 on the KBS Music Bank and SBS Inkigayo charts.5 Their first music show win was on August 8, 1999 with "Get Up" on KBS Music Bank. 13 With this album, Baby V.O.X solidified their image as a "sexy concept" group.14 Come Come Come Baby sold over 200,000 copies in Korea.22 Baby V.O.X won the Bonsang (Main Prize) at the 1999 Seoul Music Awards15, the Teen Singer Award at the 1999 SBS Gayo Daejeon16, the Popularity Award at the 1999 KMTV Gayo Daejeon17, Artist of the Year at the 1999 KBS Music Awards18 19, and the Under 30's Choice Award at the 1999 MBC Gayo Daejejeon.20 In November 1999, Baby V.O.X signed a contract in China to offically license and sell their music there.21
During promotions for their third album, a rumor spread that member Kan Miyoun was dating H.O.T member Moon Heejun. This led to a wave of anti-fan activity against Baby V.O.X that continued for years. Some of this activity was violent and caused physical harm to Baby V.O.X members.
Baby V.O.X's fourth album, Why, was released on May 15, 2000.23 The songs promoted from this album were "Why" and "Betrayal". The album was more elegant and mature in concept than their previous one.41 Even though Why wasn't as commercially successful as the group's last album, it still did well, garnering the group another number one on the charts and selling over 150,000 copies in Korea.23 5 Baby V.O.X started to gain popularity in China during this era and performed there multiple times throughout the year as part of the Korean Wave.25 Baby V.O.X started to promote in Japan in 2000, holding interviews and concerts in hopes of gaining popularity there like they did in China. At the end of the year, they won the Producer Award at the 2000 SBS Gayo Daejeon16, Singers of the Year Award (Youth Sector) at the 2000 KBS Music Awards18, and the Popularity Award at the 2000 Seoul Music Awards15.
2001 saw the release of Baby V.O.X's fifth album, Boyish Story, on June 4.27 The songs promoted were "Game Over" and "Doll". On this album, each member contributed to the lyrics and/or music for at least one song.26 This album didn't do as well as the previous two albums, and only reached 4th place on the KBS Music Bank chart.5 By the end of 2001, it had sold around 90,000 copies in Korea.27 However, Baby V.O.X continued to gain popularity in China and other parts of Asia throughout this period despite the album's relative relative lack of success, becoming leaders of the Korean Wave.28 They won the Bonsang at the 2001 KBS Music Awards.18
Baby V.O.X released Special Album on April 23, 2002.29 This was a compilation album in commeration of the fifth anniversary of their debut. It is commonly referred to as their "5.5th" album. It came with three CDs, one VCD, and a small photo booklet containing pictures of the members. The first CD contained two new songs, "By Chance" (also translated as "Coincidence" or "Accident") and "Go", plus a non-stop dance mix of previously released songs. The second CD contained another dance mix, and the third CD contained a compilation of previously released ballads. The VCD contained the music video for "By Chance" and exclusive behind-the-scenes/reality footage of the group. "By Chance" was used to promote the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea, and a special World Cup-themed video was filmed for the song.30 31 Special Album charted number one on the SBS Inkigayo chart and sold more than 240,000 copies in Korea, making it Baby V.O.X's best-selling release.5 29 The original "By Chance" as well as a "Latin Remix" version were both promoted throughout the summer of 2002. Baby V.O.X won the Bonsang at the 2002 SBS Gayo Daejeon16, Singers of the Year Award (Youth Sector) at the 2002 KBS Music Awards18, the Popularity Award at the 2002 Golden Disc Awards32 and the Hallyu Award at the 2002 Seoul Music Awards.15
On August 15, 2002, Baby V.O.X had their first concert in Seoul, aptly titled The First Concert in Seoul, at the Kyung Hee University Peace Hall auditorium.33 A VCD of the concert was released on September 16, 2002.34 They became endorsers of the Korean Red Cross35 and made a cameo in the movie Emergency Act 19 along with other popular Korean idol groups and singers.36 Throughout the year, Baby V.O.X promoted in Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. In September 2002, they signed a contract with GMM Grammy, Thailand's biggest record company, becoming the first Korean artists to do so.37 On March 12, 2003, they released an EP titled Go - 1st Mini Album in Japan.38 The EP contained a Japanese version of "Go" along with remixes and a few other previously released songs. This was meant to be their official debut in the Japanese market, but it was met with only moderate success.39
Devotion, Baby V.O.X's sixth studio album, was released on April 3, 2003 simultaneously in Korea, China, Taiwan, Japan, Thailand, and Vietnam.40 42 43 The songs promoted from this album were "What Should I Do" (sometimes translated as "What Can I Do") and "Wish". The ballad "I'm Still Loving You", recorded in Chinese, was promoted in China and hit number one on the China National Radio charts. This made Baby V.O.X the first ever foreign artists to achieve this.44 45 The music video for "What Can I Do" was shot in Thailand and the video for "I'm Still Loving You" was shot in Hong Kong.46 A special video for the track "Maybe It's Love" was released exclusively on DR Music's Chinese website.47 Part of the profits from the sales of Devotion were donated to the Korean Red Cross, as stated on the back cover of the album.48 43 Devotion was a major success for Baby V.O.X, selling over 84,000 copies in Korea40 and an estimated 400,000 across Asia.49 At the end of the year, Baby V.O.X took home the Bonsang at the 2003 SBS Gayo Daejeon,16 50 Singers of the Year Award (Youth Sector) at the 2003 KBS Music Awards,18 and the Bonsang at the 2003 Seoul Music Awards.15 They also won Singer of the Year at the 2003 KMTV Korean Music Awards.17 51
Baby V.O.X promoted Devotion throughout Asia. They also performed at the Lunar New Year Festival in Los Angeles, California on February 9, 2003 and the Peace Festival in Washington, D.C. on June 28, 2003. On October 6, 2003, Baby V.O.X (along with Shinhwa, Lee Sun Hee, and other Korean singers) performed at a televised concert in Pyongyang, North Korea.52 53 In March 2004, Baby V.O.X won the Asian Sensation Award from Channel [V] Thailand.
Baby V.O.X's seventh album, Ride West, was released on March 18, 2004.54 This would be their last album as a group. For this release, Baby V.O.X went for a more hip-hop look and sound in an attempt to appeal to the American market. DR Music was planning to have Baby V.O.X debut in the U.S. in hopes of finding success there like the group did in countries like China and Thailand.55 The songs promoted from this album were "Xcstasy" and "Play Remix". "Xcstasy" featured Tupac Shakur and Floss P, a rapper allegedly from the "Dr. Dre family".56 57 "Play Remix" was a remake of Jennifer Lopez's 2000 song "Play", and "featured" Lopez. Although the songs were advertised as collaborations, Floss P was the only actual feature: Shakur and Lopez's works were simply sampled. A DVD containing the documentary 2-Pac 4-Ever (directed by Jay Lee Thomas)58 and the music video for "Xcstasy" was included with the CD.
On April 8, 2004, Amaru Entertainment, a company partially in charge of the rights to Tupac's works and owned at the time by his mother, Afeni Shakur,59 released a notice stating that they would pursue legal action against Baby V.O.X for using Tupac's material without legal permission.60 DR Music claimed that they had used the material legally.61 63 Throughout the year, Amaru Entertainment continued to threathen legal action against Baby V.O.X, at one point declaring that they had began a legal suit.62 On June 12, 2004, Lee Ha Neul, member of Korean hip-hop group DJ DOC, posted a statement on his personal website expressing his anger at Baby V.O.X's use of Tupac's work.64 In the post, he referred to Baby V.O.X as "Miari V.O.X" ("미아리복스").66 Miari is one of the largest red-light districts in Seoul.67 He also called the group "sex singers" ("섹스 가수").73 These statements seriously harmed Baby V.O.X's image, as Lee was their senior and respected as a hip-hop artist in the Korean music industry.65 DR Music threathened legal action against Lee unless he apologized and deleted the original post.63 He complied, and DR Music did not take legal action against him. Although Lee apologized, he stated that his opinion on Baby V.O.X's use of Tupac's rap remained unchanged.64 Promotions for the album were halted in June 2004 amid controversy.69 Ride West only sold 32,000 copies in Korea.70 As the album was a commercial failure, Baby V.O.X's planned American debut never took place. During the promotions for Ride West, Floss P released a song called "Fire" (featuring Shim Eun Jin)70 that was supposed to be on his upcoming album, which never materialized.71 The song was later included on the 2007 compilation album Best Album. Baby V.O.X won the Hallyu Award at the 2004 Seoul Music Awards.15
News broke on December 27, 2004, that Shim Eun Jin had left Baby V.O.X to pursue a solo music career.74 75 Despite this, DR Music insisted that the group would continue activites as four.82 Baby V.O.X continued to do minor performances until Yoon Eun Hye left to pursue her acting career in July 2005.76 77 DR Music announced an alliance with a German music label less than two weeks later in another attempt to establish a presence in a Western market.81 No plans ever reached fruition. On February 5, 2006, the remaining Baby V.O.X members announced that they would be going their separate ways. However, they stressed that they were not truly "disbanded" and would leave open the possibility of getting back together again in the future.78 Since then, Baby V.O.X has been regarded as disbanded.
Baby V.O.X was still a valuable brand in China and southeast Asia after their disbandment.79 DR Music attempted to capitalize on this value through a series of groups marketed as a "continuation" of Baby V.O.X. The first was Baby V.O.X Re.V (pronounced "reeve"), promoted as the "second generation" of Baby V.O.X. For more information about Baby V.O.X Re.V, see here. After Baby V.O.X Re.V's disbandment, DR Music formed the "third generation" of Baby V.O.X, Rania. For more information about Rania, see here. Neither group has matched Baby V.O.X's commercial success.
Since Baby V.O.X's disbandment, the members have gone on to pursue solo careers. See the member pages for information about what each member has done since being in the group. Baby V.O.X had a reunion in 2010 on the TV show Kim Jung Eun's Chocolate. On February 24, 2018, Baby V.O.X, except for Yoon Eun Hye, held a fanmeet in commeration of their 20th anniversary.

Legacy

Baby V.O.X were leaders of the Korean Wave (Hallyu) in the late 90's and early 2000's. At the peak of their career, the Korean press dubbed Baby V.O.X the "protagonists" or "heroines" ("주인공") of the Korean Wave.80 They were one of the first Korean pop groups to gain popularity in China, where they became the first foreign artist to get a number one on the China National Radio charts in 2003.44 45
Baby V.O.X are recognized as one of the most popular Korean girl groups of the 90's and 2000's, usually third to S.E.S and Fin.K.L.41 In March 2018, the group came second in an online survey asking Koreans which disbanded groups they would most like to see have a reunion.83 Their songs have been covered multiple times by Korean artists, such as Urban Zakapa and Twice.

Etymology

Baby V.O.X stands for "Baby Voices of eXpression". This name was chosen to represent their original concept as voices of expression against social injustice.
Baby V.O.X goes by many variations of the same name. Throughout their history, their name has been styled as "Baby V.O.X", "Baby V.O.X.", "Baby VOX", "BABY VOX", "Baby Vox", "BABYVOX", "BΛBYVOX", et cetera. There's no official way to style it, but this website does use the "Baby V.O.X" spelling throughout its material. In Korean, their name is spelled "베이비복스" (less commonly styled in two words as "베이비 복스"). It is sometimes shortened as "베복". In Japanese, their name can be transliterated as "ベイビーボックス". In China, they used their English name, but were also promoted as "韩国辣妹", which is read as "Hánguó làmèi" in Pinyin and roughly translates to "Korean Hot/Sexy Girls".

Sources

  1. [1997.07.05] 베이비복스 데뷔무대 - 남자에게 (녹화 1997.07.03) [Baby V.O.X Debut Stage - To Men (Recorded 1997.07.03)] - BBV20THANNIVERSARY
  2. Credible source needed.
  3. 스타 잉글리시 - 차유미(1)_#003 [Star English - Cha Yu Mi] - EBSLanguage (EBS 외국어 학습)
  4. Credible source needed.
  5. 베이비복스 - 나무위키 [Baby V.O.X - Namu Wiki]
    Baby Vox - Wikipedia
  6. Baby Vox - Wikipedia
  7. 베이비복스 - 나무위키 [Baby V.O.X - Namu Wiki]
  8. 심은진X간미연, 베이비복스 데뷔 20주년 “세월 참 빠르다” - 뉴스엔 [Shim Eun Jin X Kan Mi Yeon, Baby V.O.X 20th Anniversary "Time goes by so fast" - Newsen]
  9. 베이비복스 - 나무위키 [Baby V.O.X - Namu Wiki]
  10. Baby V.O.X - Wikipedia
  11. 이가이 - 나무위키 [Lee Gai - Namu Wiki]
  12. 베이비복스 예전 멤버 이가이 (이희정) 세또래 활동사진 [Pictures of former Baby V.O.X member Lee Gai's activities with Settorae]
  13. Credible source needed.
  14. Credible source needed.
  15. Seoul Music Awards
  16. SBS 가요대전의 역대 수상자 목록 [List of Past SBS Gayo Daejeon Winners - Wikipedia]
  17. 코리안 뮤직 어워드 - 위키백과 [Korean Music Awards - Wikipedia]
  18. KBS 가요대상 - 위키백과 [KBS Music Awards - Wikipedia]
  19. KBS `올해의 가수상' 20팀 결정 [20 Teams Decided on as KBS "Singer of the Year"]
  20. MBC Gayo Daejejeon - Wikipedia
  21. Credible source needed.
  22. 1999년 11월 가요음반판매량 - RIAK [November 1999 K-Pop Album Sales Volume - Recording Industry Association of Korea]
  23. 2000년 8월 가요음반판매량 - RIAK [August 2000 K-Pop Album Sales Volume - Recording Industry Association of Korea]
  24. 10월 음반판매량집계순위 [October Sales Volume Ranking - RIAK]
  25. 한국가수들 중국서 대규모공연 - 국민일보 [Korean Singers Perform Large Shows in China - Kukmin Ilbo]
    [콘서트]'韓-中 우호의 밤' 中 구이린서 열려 - 동아일보 ['Korea-China Friendship Night' held in Guilin - DongA Ilbo]
  26. 베이비복스 5집 ‘보이쉬 스토리’로 여름 인기사냥 [Baby V.O.X hunt for popularity with their 5th album, Boyish Story]
  27. 2001년 - 가요 음반 판매량 - RIAK [2001 K-Pop Album Sales Volume - Recording Insustry Association of Korea]
  28. [음악]베이비복스 "韓流타고 대륙을 녹여요" - 동아일보 [Baby V.O.X "Riding the Korean Wave and Melting the Continent" - DongA Ilbo]
  29. 2002년 가요음반판매량 - RIAK [2002 K-Pop Album Sales Volume - Recording Industry Association of Korea]
  30. 2002.05.01] 베이비복스 - 우연 - 2002 월드컵 버전 - BBV20THANNIVERSARY [Baby V.O.X - By Chance - 2002 World Cup Version] - BBV20THANNIVERSARY
  31. [나와 월드컵] 치우미 홍보사절 베이비복스 - 국민일보 [Chinese Soccer Fans' Publicity Envoy, Baby V.O.X - Kukmin Ilbo]
  32. 역대수상자 | 골든디스크 [Previous Award Winners | Golden Disc]
  33. `베이비복스' 단독 콘서트 - 국방일보 [Baby V.O.X First Solo Concert - Kookbang Ilbo]
    <가요소식> 「베이비복스」첫 단독 콘서트 - 연합뉴스 [Baby V.O.X First Solo Concert - Yonhap News]
  34. YESASIA: Baby Vox The First Concert in Seoul VCD
  35. 베이비복스, 적십자 홍보사절 위촉 - 연합뉴스 [Baby V.O.X, Red Cross Promotional Envoy Appointment - Yonhap News]
  36. Emergency 19 (2002) - IMDB
  37. 베이비복스/해외 활동 - 나무위키 [Baby V.O.X/Overseas Activities - Namu Wiki] (Credible source needed.)
  38. Go - Baby V.O.X. | CD - mini-album | KoME U.S.A.
  39. Credible source needed.
  40. 2003년 가요음반판매량 - RIAK [2003 K-Pop Album Sales Volume - Recording Industry Association of Korea]
  41. [연예가 소식]'베이비복스' 인기 상승세 - 동아일보 [Baby V.O.X's Popularity Rising]
  42. 한류 열풍 음반으로 잇는다 - 매일경제 [Korean Wave Craze Continued Through Albums - MBN]
  43. 베이비복스 2년만에 6집 ‘디보션’ 발표 - 동아일보[Baby V.O.X Releases Sixth Album Devotion After Two Years - DongA Ilbo
  44. Baby VOX全裸寫真上市 - 蘋果日報 [Baby V.O.X's Nude Photos Appear on the Market - Apple Daily]
  45. 韩国女子5人组合BabyVOX将在中国大陆开演唱会 - 搜狐 [Korean Five-Member Girl Group Baby V.O.X Will Hold Concerts in China - Sohu]
  46. Credible source needed.
  47. Credible source needed.
  48. Devotion (Korean edition) liner notes.
  49. Credible source needed.
  50. 이효리 '2003 SBS 가요대전' 대상수상 - 뉴시스 [Lee Hyori Wins Daesang at the 2003 SBS Gayo Daejeon - Newsis]
  51. '코리아뮤직어워드' 올해 최고의 앨범 이수영 - 뉴시스 [Korean Music Awards' Album of the Year is Lee Soo Young - Newsis]
  52. 남북 예술단 리허설 스케치 - SBS [North-South Korean Artist Group Rehearsal Sketch - SBS]
  53. SBS, 평양 통일농구 등 특별생방송 - 연합뉴스 [SBS, Pyongyang Reunification Basketball Special Broadcast - Yonhap News]
  54. 상반기 국내음반 판매량집계 - RIAK [Total Sales Volume of Domestic Records, First Half of the Year - Recording Industry Association of Korea]
  55. [2004.05.00] 베이비복스 - Yes! I Can - BBV20THANNIVERSARY [Baby V.O.X - Yes! I Can - BBV20THANNIVERSARY]
  56. Ride West - 벅스 [Ride West - Bugs]
  57. Baby V.O.X vol.7 - Ride West CD - Baby VOX, EMI Music Korea Ltd - YESASIA
  58. 2Pac 4 Ever (Video 2003) - IMDb
  59. Amaru Entertainment - Wikipedia
  60. Official Amaru Statement on the latest Baby Vox release - 2paclegacy.com
  61. U.S. Record Company Accuses Baby Vox for Copyright Infringement - The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition)
  62. Amaru Entertainment Sues Baby Vox - Tupac-Online.com
  63. 美 투팍 레코드사, 고소 입장...베이비복스, "억울해!" - 스포츠조선 [American Tupac Record Company, in Accusation...Baby V.O.X, "This is unfair!" - Sports Chosun]
  64. jphole.com
  65. Credible source needed.
  66. Amaru Records Accuses Baby Vox of Copyright Infringement - Tupac-Online.com
  67. Miari - Wikipedia
  68. 베이비복스, "이하늘, 19일까지 공개사과하라" 최후통첩 - 스포츠조선 [Baby V.O.X, "Lee Haneul, Apologize by the 19th" Ultimatum - Sports Chosun]
  69. Baby Vox USA
  70. 상반기 국내음반 판매량집계 - RIAK [Total Sales Volume of Domestic Records, First Half of the Year - Recording Industry Association of Korea]
  71. [2004.05.07] 심은진 & Floss P - Fire (Hot) - BBV20THANNIVERSARY
  72. Credible source needed.
  73. [검색어 순위] `성숙녀` 변신 보아 성형?…궁금하네 - 헤럴드경제 ["Sexy Lady" BoA's Plastic Surgery Transformation?...Curious - The Korea Herald]
  74. '베이비복스' 심은진, 전격 탈퇴 - 마이데일리 [Baby V.O.X Shim Eun Jin, Shocking Withdrawal - MyDaily]
  75. 베이비복스 심은진 탈퇴, 4인조로 변화 - 연합뉴스 [Baby V.O.X Shim Eun Jin Withdrawal, Change to Four Members - Yonhap News]
  76. 윤은혜도 베이비복스 탈퇴 - 연합뉴스 [Yoon Eun Hye Also Leaves Baby V.O.X - Yonhap News]
  77. 가수팀 멤버 이탈이유는? 음악차이 아닌 연기진출 - 마이데일리 [Singers' reasons for breaking away from their groups? Advancing to a non-musical performance - MyDaily]
  78. 베이비복스 "이제 각자의 길… 해체는 아냐" - 스타뉴스 [Baby V.O.X "Now on our own paths...this is not disbandment" - Star News]
  79. ‘베복’ 7년만에 사실상 해체 - 스포츠경향 [Baby V.O.X Virtually Disbanded After Seven Years - Sports Kyunghang]
  80. [COVER STORY] 스포츠ㆍ문화는 한국 여성파워의 뿌리 - 한경BUSINESS [Sports and culture are the roots of Korean women's power - Hankyung Business]
  81. 베이비복스 허무한 결말은 없다! - 헤럴드POP [Baby V.O.X does not end in vain! - Herald POP (The Korea Herald)]
  82. 베이비복스, '아듀 심은진' - 조이뉴스24 [Baby V.O.X, "Adieu Shim Eun Jin" - Joy News 24]
  83. Koreans Vote For Their Dream Reunion Performance By An Idol Group - Soompi



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