The popular South Korean-Chinese boy band entered the scene in 2012 and have been popular ever since. What was their first song?
EXO’s first song was titled MAMA, and was the group’s debut single, launched in early 2012. This was followed by their first album in 2013, XOXO.
Read on to learn more about the early beginnings of EXO’s group career.
EXO in Evolution
The k-pop trend in Asia blew up throughout the 2000s and 2010s, after its conception in the early nineties. In the first few years, it remained localized to countries like Korea, but would ultimately spread around the world.
These bands – traditionally with at least six members apiece – began to see great success. They spawned like wildfire, cropping up all over Korea as time wore on. One of the key attractions to these bands is their choreographic skills; they always take to the stage with impressive dance routines.
EXO was formed in 2011, working behind the scenes to build their roster. In 2012, they debuted with twelve members. These members were split into two groups originally, a style that changed in 2014. As of that year, they became one large group.
The instantly-successful boy band took influences from a range of genres. These included hip-hop, electronic dance, pop and R&B. Unlike a lot of the other mainstream k-pop groups, the band releases tracks in Japanese and Mandarin, as well as Korean.
While they didn’t debut until 2012, the band was being assembled from as early as 2006. The very first member – and arguably the leader – completed an audition for EXO in 2006. While the next six years progressed, other members made their way into the group.
Strangely, every member of EXO remains a free agent, essentially. They all follow solo careers in music and television, with a few even taking part in movies. Despite their enormous success, their record label hasn’t ordered them to follow an exclusive contract.
Their first album, released in 2013, was a massive success. They became the first Korean artists to sell over one million copies at debut in twelve years. They’ve managed to keep this trend rolling as time went on, never selling less than a million per Korean release.
The Wolf and the Beauty was the lead track on this album, and became massively popular. However, it was their song ‘Growl’ that was argued to be their ‘breakthrough’ track. Their first song was, of course, MAMA. This track took the world by storm and established them as up and coming stars.
The group embarked on their first tour in 2014, performing more than one hundred shows. As a group, they found untold triumph. There were some outlets that labelled them the “kings of k-pop”, or “the biggest boy band in the world”.
As their success and stature grew, the group used the visibility to pursue many other ventures. They began endorsing various brands, such as Samsung and Nature Republic. They had an endorsement deal with Star Wars: The Force Awakens, in 2015.
However, it isn’t all about money for this world-famous boy band. They’ve taken active part in philanthropic ventures, such as becoming ambassadors for the Red Cross. They’re well known for their charitable work, making great waves for disadvantaged and sick children, and women. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit China, they began supporting the Hunan province’s medical centers.
EXO’s success can be attributed mostly to their fantastic pre-launch coverage. According to a 2018 article, EXO had almost two dozen teasers released ahead of launch. This was paired up with two taster concerts and two music videos. They had a great social media presence from the word go.
While their first song, and album, was a massive success, they definitely had the way paved for them.