aespa never fails to absolutely blow our minds with everything they do, and they really took that to the ‘Next Level’ throughout 2022. From new music and music videos to being a voice for their generation and raising awareness to important issues… Karina, Giselle, Winter, and Ningning are constantly inspiring us to be our best selves and leave a positive impact on the world around us.
It’s been a massive year for aespa, to the point where we were almost overwhelmed trying to keep up with everything! Let’s revisit some of our favorite moments and celebrate what an incredible 12 months the girls have had.
Karina & Winter Joining GOT The Beat
aespa’s monumental year pretty much kicked off just a few hours after the clock struck 12 on New Year’s! It’s become an SM Entertainment tradition to release a collab album during the holiday season, and they celebrated the release of SMCU Express with an SMTOWN New Year’s Eve virtual concert. During that concert, we got to see performances from some of our favorite SM artists, and we officially met the first lineup of the Girls On Top supergroup series: GOT The Beat!
GOT The Beat only have one song so far, the adrenaline-filled ‘Step Back,’ but we’ve been obsessed since we first saw them on the SMTOWN show. Karina and Winter are the maknaes of the group, performing alongside BoA, SNSD’s Taeyeon and Hyoyeon, and Red Velvet’s Wendy and Seulgi. Pretty ‘ICONIC,’ no?
Giselle Performing ‘ZOO’ With NCT
Another incredible aespa performance that blew us away from the SMTOWN concert was ‘ZOO,’ a collab that saw Giselle teaming up with Taeyong, Jeno, Hendery, and YangYang from NCT. It’s all about “partying [and] feeling young,” which was the perfect energy to start our year with. We’re still a little sad that the 2022 SMCU Palace album doesn’t include a ‘ZOO’ unit reunion, but that just gives us an excuse to stream ‘ZOO’ on a loop even through 2023.
Being Included In TIME‘s Next Generation Leaders & Forbes’ Asia 30 Under 30
As MYs, we already knew aespa are impacting the world on a massive scale, but it’s nice to see them finally getting the recognition they deserve! TIME Magazine named the girls Next Generation Leaders in a May feature, touching on their unique metaverse concept, how they’re building an entire fantasy world around their music, and how these girls should be tired but stay so busy with smiles on their faces.
Across the globe, aespa also got a mention in Forbes’ Asia 30 Under 30 list! The magazine praised them for their musical success, awards like the 2022 Golden Disc Award for Artist Of The Year, and their presence on the fashion scene as Givenchy ambassadors.
Performing At Coachella
aespa is one of only three K-Pop girl groups to play at Coachella, and the only group to play a full set on the festival’s main stage! They were a little surprise addition to the 88rising showcase for the second weekend of Coachella, and we’re still not really over it. Their Coachaella set also brought us the live debut of the fan-favorite track ‘aenergy’ and a preview of the English version of ‘Life’s Too Short’ before its release!
Speaking At The United Nations Political Forum
One way our girls are making a difference in the world is by emphasizing our responsibility to improve both the physical and digital worlds, and they got to speak about that at a UN forum about sustainable development! We’re so proud of them for using their platform to speak up about important issues, as well as using their concept to bring up crucial conversations we need to have.
As the metaverse accelerates, we have to ask the question: are we working just as hard to create the best possible real world? The metaverse reflects reality. If our own reality is not sustainable, it would become difficult to sustain the possibilities of the virtual world. Without sustainable ecosystems, or equal opportunities for quality living, there will be no “real world” to be mirrored.
Signing with Warner Records & Releasing ‘Illusion’
Gearing up for world domination, aespa announced a new partnership with Warner Records that will help them connect with even more fans around the globe! And as if that massive news wasn’t enough, they surprised us by dropping ‘Illusion’ as a pre-release single for their Girls mini-album that night. aespa singing “you’re so yummy in my tummy” and rhyming “illusion” with “delicious” wasn’t on our 2022 bingo card, but we’ll happily take it!
We are well aware of Warner Records’ long history of success with global artists, and we are grateful for their belief in aespa’s rising future. Together with Warner Records, we are confident that aespa can continue to showcase groundbreaking music and grow into a global group.
Sung Su Lee & Young Jun Tak, CEO and COO of SM Entertainment
Stealing Our Hearts (Again) With The Girls Mini-Album
After getting us hyped up with the bold ‘Illusion’ and the playful English single ‘Life’s Too Short,’ it was time to aespa to release their second mini-album, Girls! Each of the five tracks (six if you include both versions of ‘Life’s Too Short’) have been on repeat at THP HQ since release day, offering so many diverse sounds and different vibes that highlight several aspects of what the girls do best. From the triumphant title track, ‘Girls,’ to the eccentric ‘Lingo,’ to the more mellow ‘ICU,’ Girls is a complete journey into aespa’s storyline and standout talents!
We’re so happy that our new project, Girls – The 2nd Mini-Album, is finally out for all of our MYs to hear. With Girls, we were able to explore our sound more and tell new stories. We can’t wait to perform and meet our fans in person soon!
Winter & Ningning Recording ‘Once Again’
This is not a drill – we officially got an OST from aespa in 2022! Our maknae line teamed up to record the beautiful ‘Once Again’ for the show Our Blues, pairing their gorgeous voices together for a mellow, pop-R&B masterpiece. Everything about this song is absolutely magical and we’re hoping… no, begging, for more aespa OSTs.
Showcases in LA and Japan
Californian and Japanese MYs stayed winning this year, because they got to see two incredible live showcases where aespa played fun games, answered questions, and performed their biggest hits! The Los Angeles show gave us the live debuts of ‘Illusion’ and ‘Lucid Dream,’ while the Japan showcase offered the first live performances of ‘ICU,’ the Korean version of ‘Life’s Too Short,’ and the fan favorite ‘YEPPI YEPPI!’
Performing In Roblox
While the aespa girls were dominating the real world, their ae counterparts were gaining traction in the virtual world! aespa held their first-ever virtual concert in Roblox, and their ae avatars took the stage to perform ‘Black Mamba,’ ‘Next Level,’ and ‘Savage.’ We’re so glad they put on a show for those of us who couldn’t make it to an IRL concert!
Standing Out At SMTown Live 2022
aespa’s second Japan performance this year came in the form of the SMTown Live show, a concert experience bringing together all generations of SM Entertainment artists! The girls performed tracks like ‘Illusion,’ ‘Next Level,’ and ‘Girls’ to a venue full of screaming fans, and we’re so jealous that we didn’t get to be there. Karina and Winter even performed ‘Step Back’ with GOT The Beat, and Giselle joined NCT for ‘ZOO!’ Maybe we’ll get tickets next time…
Appearing At Paris Fashion Week
After a little delay with Ningning’s visa process, all four members of aespa stole the show at Paris Fashion Week! They attended Givenchy’s spring-summer 2023 fashion show, met fans, and even did an interview for Vogue Korea showing what they packed for their trip. Every look they gave us was stunning and it was so fun following along with the content we got.
‘Beautiful Christmas’ with Red Velvet
After being blessed with ‘Step Back’ earlier this year, we were desperate for more aespa x Red Velvet. And they wound up giving us an entire collab with the festive ‘Beautiful Christmas!’ This song was everything we could’ve dreamed of from two of our favorite girl groups, and every moment was dripping with elegance and fun. The music video is just as special and we’re definitely using it as our blueprint for holiday gatherings with friends.
Participating In SMCU Palace
Okay, so as of this article going live, we haven’t actually heard the SMCU Palace album yet. But we know it’s gonna be incredible to listen on December 26th! Here are the songs aespa are credited on:
- ‘The Cure’ – Karina with various SM artists
- ‘Hot & Cold’ – Karina with EXO’s Kai, Red Velvet’s Seulgi, and NCT’s Jeno
- ‘Beautiful Christmas’ – OT4 with Red Velvet
- ‘Jet’ – Winter and Giselle with various SM artists
- ‘Priority’ – Winter with TVXQ’s Max Changmin and SNSD’s Taeyeon
- ‘Time After Time’ – Ningning with BoA and Red Velvet’s Wendy
- ‘Good To Be Alive’ – Ningning with various SM artists
Filming Synk Road
One last special project we have to look forward to in 2022: aespa’s first-ever reality show! Synk Road is all about aespa exploring the world around them while trying to complete missions and earn ae-keys. They’re gonna be trying different foods, meeting alpacas, and going ziplining, which we can’t wait to see! The first two episodes premiere on December 28th, so stay tuned…
Hasn’t it been such an astonishing year for our girls? Thank you so much to Karina, Giselle, Winter, and Ningning for making 2022 so special for MYs worldwide. We know the best is yet to come and we’re stoked to see what 2023 brings!
Now we wanna hear from you! What were your favorite aespa moments of 2022? Were you lucky enough to see them live or get into a fansign event? Let us know in the comments below or hit us up on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter! And for more aespa content to end your year on the right note, click here.