Curated Playlist: Hottest Rising K-pop Stars of 2023 So Far

kpop rookie groups 2023

Edited by Seo Hayne
Translated by Hana Lee


2022 was filled with new emerging stars, ranging from hitmaker IVE to the ultimate supernova NewJeans to HYBE’s hidden gem LE SSERAFIM. 2023 has continued the trend, proving to be another remarkable year for the industry. In this article, we’ll introduce you to the 5 hottest new K-pop acts who have taken the stage by storm and set new records this year.


ZEROBASEONE is a nine-member boy group formed through the Mnet survival show Boys Planet. Their debut album, YOUTH IN THE SHADE, sold 1.24 million copies upon its release, making it the first debut album by a K-pop group to achieve one million in sales. Their debut song, “In Bloom,” is a refreshingly energetic track that captures a familiar, upbeat mood, paying homage to the main riff of A-Ha’s “Take On Me.” The song showcases various vocal abilities, from Kim Tae Rae, who hits high notes like its nothing, to Zhang Hao with a deep and resonant voice. ZEROBASEONE made their debut through the survival show and will be promoting for a period of two and a half years. Their name reflects their aspiration to create something out of nothing, and the group has already set various records in the K-pop scene.

BOYNEXTDOOR – One and Only

BOYNEXTDOOR is a six-member boy group that debuted under KOZ Entertainment. The group gained significant attention thanks to Zico’s involvement as the general director and main producer, utilizing his musical talents that have long been recognized in the industry. The band released music videos for all three songs, “One and Only,” “But I Like You,” and “Serenade,” from their debut album WHO? and performed them on various music shows. During their performance of “One and Only,” BOYNEXTDOOR incorporated a door prop to make an impression with their group name on stage. They prioritize sharing a candid and cheerful energy rather than being overly mysterious, and their unique characteristic is their ability to express the feelings of boys in love through easy-to-listen-to and vibrant music.

RIIZE – Get A Guitar

RIIZE is a seven-member boy group presented by SM Entertainment. The group garnered attention even before their debut for including NCT members Shotaro, Sungchan and Anton in their lineup. The name RIIZE symbolizes the group’s aspiration to grow together and fulfill their dreams. Their goal is to create a new musical genre called “Emotional Pop” by infusing the various emotions they experience into their songs. They aim to candidly share their group’s journey, which they refer to as a “real-time odyssey.” Their song “Get A Guitar” is a feel-good track that prominently features a funky guitar rhythm and an impressive guitar performance in the chorus.


KISS OF LIFE is a four-member girl group that made their debut under S2 Entertainment. The group initially gained public recognition through appearances on Mnet’s SIXTEEN and Idol School, and they were later joined by Natty, who had debuted as a solo artist in 2020. Their debut album, KISS OF LIFE, features the title track “Shhh,” a hip-hop dance song that showcases the group’s unconventional style. All members contributed their writing and composing skills to the album and expressed their musical styles through solo songs, including “Sugarcoat” by Natty, “Countdown” by Belle, “Kitty Cat” by Julie, and “Play Love Games” by Haneul. Notably, Belle is recognized as the composer and lyricist behind LE SSERAFIM’s hit song “UNFORGIVEN.” It’s worth mentioning that Lee Hae In, who previously appeared on Produce 101 Season 1 and Idol School and later joined S2 Entertainment as a director, played a significant role in the overall direction of KISS OF LIFE, from casting to producing the album. Fans have full confidence in her ability to spot and nurture promising female talent.

tripleS – Invincible

TripleS is a girl group composed of 24 members from various national backgrounds, known for continuously exploring new combinations of their subunits. Among the members are Mnet’s Girls’ Planet 999 stars Kotone, Nien, and Xinyu, as well as MBC’s My Teenage Girl contenders Lee Ji Woo and Kim Yoo Yeon. The group introduced their first unit, Triple S AAA, in October 2022, and they’ve emphasized that fans’ votes will determine the lineup for upcoming solo, group, and unit activities. Within the team, they use the term “Gravity” for the voting process and “Dimension” for subunits. Each unit has displayed its distinct characteristics, encompassing aspects from a more girlish image to charismatic appearances and energetic performances. So far, there have been four Dimensions: Triple AAA, (KR)ystal Eyes, LOVElution, and EVOLution.The title track of their fourth unit is “Invincible,” a song that conveys the message of staying strong like a diamond while reflecting on their debut year.


Editor Seo Hayne: I like actors as they faithfully lead through their long running-time. I also like idols who accomplish everything on stage within 3 minutes.

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