KARA (Hangul: 카라, Japanese: カラ) was a four-member girl group signed with DSP Media. Their name comes from the Greek Word "chara" (χαρά, lit. "joy"), which the group interpreted to mean "sweet melody".
Kara originally started as a four member group and made their debut with "Break It" while displaying a strong female image and a mature R&B sound. Expectations for the group to be as big as their senior labelmates, Fin.K.L, were extremely high and the members were promoted as successors to them. They released their first album titled The First Blooming in 2007. However, their debut was not well received by the public, and the album was a commercial failure.
In 2008, Kim Sunghee departed the group due to parental pressure, and two new members were brought in; as such, the group consisted of five members: Park Gyuri, Han Seungyeon, Jung Nicole, Goo Hara, and Kang Jiyoung. The addition of the two new members also faced a change in the group's original image to a "pretty but natural" appeal. The five-member band eventually went on to achieve their first number one song with "Honey".
The group eventually made their debut in Japan in 2010. By the end of that year, Kara was dubbed as Japan's #1 Rookie Artist of 2010 by Oricon and also received the New Artist Of The Year Award (International) from the Japan Gold Disc Awards. In April 2011, the group achieved their first #1 single with "Jet Coaster Love", making them the first foreign female group since the creation of the Oricon to rank #1 in the 1st week of release and the first foreign female group in 30 years to rank #1 in the charts all together. They also hold the title as the first Korean girl group to top the Oricon Weekly Single Chart.
In 2014, Nicole and Jiyoung decided to not renew their contracts with DSP Media; thus leaving KARA. Member Nicole left to peruse a solo career (releasing mini album "First Romance" in November of 2014) and had moved to BM2 Entertainment. Member Jiyoung left to study overseas, and signed with Sweet Power to resume her acting career in Japan.
Following their departures, a reality show titled Kara Project was aired on TV to select a new member to join the group. Seven trainees from DSP Media (including former members of DSP's group Puretty) took part in the program. The winner of the competition was Heo Youngji who became the latest member to join the group.
They released their 6th mini-album Day & Night On August 18, 2014 in South Korea and their single Mamma Mia Japanese version taken from their 2014 6th mini-album Day & Night on August 27, 2014 in Japan.
On March 15, 2015, the group released a Japanese triple A-side single, "Summer-gic/Sunshine Miracle/Sunny Days". It topped Oricon Daily Singles Chart selling over 28,000 copies. Subsequently, It was ranked number two at the Oricon Weekly Singles Chart with sales of 52,496 copies, behind V6's "Timeless".
The group released their seventh mini-album, In Love, on May 26, 2015. Its lead single, "Cupid", was revealed prior to its official release at KBS' Dream Concert on May 23, 2015.
On July 17, 2015, it was announced that KARA would embark on their 4th Japanese tour beginning in September.
On January 15, 2016, DSP Media announced Gyuri, Seungyeon and Hara's departure from the group due to contracts expiring. The company also noted that Youngji would continue her music career as a solo artist. The company is planning to help Youngji succeed and develop for the future.
- Gyuri (규리) - leader, lead vocals, rap (2007-2016)
- Seungyeon (승연) - main vocals (2007-2016)
- Hara (하라) - vocals, lead rap, lead dancer, visual, face of the group (2008-2016)
- Youngji (영지) - vocals, main rap, main dancer, maknae (2014-2016)
- Sunghee (성희) - lead vocals (2007-2008)
- Nicole (니콜) - main rap, main dancer, vocals (2007-2014)
- Jiyoung (지영) - vocals, rap, maknae (2008-2014)
- Rock U (2008)
- Pretty Girl (2008)
- Pretty Girl Special Edition (2009)
- Lupin (2010)
- Jumping (2010)
- Pandora (2012)
- Day & Night (2014)
- In Love (2015)
- Kara Solo Collection (2012)
- "Stars Falling From the Sky OST Part.1" (2010)
- "We Online Part.2" (2010)
- "Big Thing OST Part.7" (2010)
- "Kara The Animation" (2013)
- Girl's Talk (2010)
- Super Girl (2011)
- Girls Forever (2012)
- Fantastic Girls (2013)
- Girl's Story (2015)
- Kara Solo Collection (2012)