On September 8, Grace Company Entertainment announced that their new co-ed (mixed gender) K-Pop group CHECKMATE will make its debut this month.
Co-ed K-Pop groups are one of the rarest finds in K-Pop. Today, the best known of them all is KARD, who debuted in 2017 with two male and two female members. But while KARD has soared to popularity, most other co-ed groups haven’t managed to take off in the same way.
But new group CHECKMATE could be the one to join KARD at the top. This year, newly established agency Grace Company Entertainment has decided to make its foray into K-Pop with this mixed gender group. And, while the agency is new, the group has been steadily building a pre-debut following on social media over the past nine months.
CHECKMATE is composed of five members: two women and three men. And, another thing that’s unique about them is that they have a much higher average age than the typical fourth generation group.
The first and eldest female member is Sieun, who is set to turn 27 (international age) before CHECKMATE debuts this month. A vocalist in the group, Sieun was also a member of RAMISUL, and all-girl trio that debuted under UI Entertainment three years ago. Sieun once revealed that her role model is Girls’ Generation‘s Taeyeon.
The next female member is Suri, who is currently 25 years old. Suri, who is known as a “boy group dance master”, will be one of CHECKMATE’s rappers. And, like Sieun, Suri also used to be part of another girl group—AMOR, which debuted under Juny Network Entertainment in August 2017 and disbanded just six months later. Both Sieun and Suri were set to debut in a girl group under Parksal Entertainment last year, but left the company before it happened.
As of right now, not much is known about the male members of CHECKMATE—likely because this will be their first debut. The eldest in the group is Nason, aged 25—a vocalist and rapper.
Next up is Yongseok, a vocalist who is currently 24 years old.
And finally, maknae Noah (who will also be a vocalist) is 22 years old. In many fourth-generation groups, even the eldest members haven’t reached 22 yet.
CHECKMATE, whose name implies they’ll make the winning move in K-Pop, are set to debut on Monday, September 21, less than two weeks from now. Their debut track, “Drum”, will be released as a single at 6PM Korean Standard Time.
According to Grace Company Entertainment, the group is “loved by K-Pop fans in South America and Europe even before debuting“. But, given how single-gender groups are far easier to market, it remains to be seen how CHECKMATE will perform in Korea and beyond.