From YouTube fame to concert stage: QWER's popularity rises with K-rock wave

Girl group QWER poses on the day it performed for Korea University's festival on May 25. [TAMAGO PRODUCTION]

A girl group recently appeared at 13 university festivals nationwide, which is a major feat, especially for a band that debuted less than a year ago.

The girl group is QWER, a rock band consisting of four members: Chodan, Magenta, Hina and Siyeon. The band debuted on Oct. 18, 2023, with its first single “Harmony from Discord.”

The group is currently receiving endless requests to perform at army base camps, including the Republic of Korea Naval Academy and the Capital Defense Command.

QWER is also slated to perform at “Pentaport Rock festival 2024,” one of Korea’s largest rock music festivals, which will be held in Incheon on Aug. 2.

The group is showing major achievements on music streaming platform charts as well.

Its latest song “T.B.H,” released on April 1, has been on Melon’s Top 10 list for over two months, standing at No. 7 as of Monday.


“It’s amazing to receive love beyond what we expected,” member Hina said in a recent email interview with the JoongAng Ilbo, an affiliate of the Korea Joongang Daily.

“It’s an honor to receive so much love. We are thankful to everyone who has listened to our music and supported us.”

A new mix: Three influencers and one former Japanese idol member

The members of QWER all had different careers prior to their group debut.

Drummer Chodan, bass guitarist Magenta and guitar player and keyboardist Hina were all well-established on social media platforms, including TikTok, Twitch and YouTube, before joining the group.

Siyeon, the group’s main vocalist, built up her music career in Japan. She is known for being the first non-Japanese member of girl group NMB48, a “sister group” to popular Japanese girl group AKB48.

“I’ve always wanted to do something challenging in a new environment,” Siyeon said. “My experience as a Japanese girl group member was also a great experience that shaped the person I am today.”

“Every part of the band was attractive to me, including starting a new challenge as a member of a girl rock band and experiencing the process of the members, who worked in various fields, becoming one,” Siyeon added while explaining what drew her to join the group.

Kim Gye-ran, a fitness YouTuber with 3.12 million subscribers on his channel Physical Gallery, discovered the members and formed them into a group.

Fitness YouTuber Kim Gye-ran, left, and girl group QWER [TAMAGO PRODUCTION]

Kim documented the formation process and uploaded the web series on his Tamago Production channel on YouTube, titled “QWER Project.”

The group was named after the primary keyboard keys used for the online game League of Legends, which are Q, W, E and R.

“As the members have actively worked online before their debut, I thought that their experiences would be a major advantage for them as entertainers,” Kim said. “I will fully support the group to showcase the members' charms, not only through music but also through various content."

Clear division of labor in production

The management and production of the QWER’s activities are thoroughly divided according to activity fields.

The group’s online content, such as revealing the group’s home and behind-the-scenes and short-form content, is produced by 3Y Corporation’s Tamago Production, which also manages Kim’s activities.

Girl group QWER's YouTube content [SCREEN CAPTURE]

As QWER was launched, claiming to be a “girl band in the process of growing” since its formation, the group released endless content for its fans, even if its stage appearance was not perfect.

As a result, QWER was able to naturally blend into the YouTube ecosystem.

The group uploaded and appeared on various popular YouTube videos, from live performances to talk shows and even mukbang, or eating shows. Through these efforts, the group was able to raise its public recognition.

Its exchanges with singers Younha, Car, the garden and Soran, who have experiences with band music, provided the members with useful guidelines as a rock band.

Outside its content activities, the band's music is produced by Prismfilter Music Group. The company has producer Bumzu, who is one of the main producers of Pledis Entertainment under HYBE, as CEO.

QWER’s songs, including “Discord” (2023) and its latest hit “T.B.H,” were made by the Prismfilter Music Group crew.

Social media data gathered by YouTube channel Life Change Observatory found that QWER’s popularity climbed thanks to its “refreshing” songs.

When analyzing QWER, keywords related to its songs were generated, while other K-pop groups normally have their members’ names generated as keywords, according to the channel.

In fact, QWER was nominated to win MBC’s “Show! Music Core” solely based on its song statistics last month. Although the group didn't win, its nomination was unique in that the group has never appeared on any music shows broadcast by channels KBS, MBC and SBS.

Girl group QWER performs one of its B-side tracks during its first EP ″Manito″ showcase held in Seodaemun District, western Seoul, on April 1. [NEWS1]

“We want to perform on a music show someday, too,” Chodan said. “Currently, we are showcasing ourselves on YouTube, which is a platform that we are better at. We will work hard to make music that many people can relate to.”

“One of our unique advantages is that we try out new challenges and get through them based on our strong team relationship,” Hina added.

Korea's rock music revolution

QWER’s rise to fame was also pushed by the recent popularity of rock music. Both major and minor rock bands in Korea, such as DAY6 and Silica Gel, have been garnering a considerable amount of attention recently by general music fans.

“QWER’s success was a combined result of the original subculture image added to its refreshing pop rock,” pop music critic Lim Hee-yun said. “If the group is able to make its own unique identity while maintaining its appeal to the public and keeping its subcultural image together, the group will become a one-of-a-kind artist in the long run.”

Magenta also agreed that being a rock band was one of the main factors of them catching the public eye.


“I think that we wouldn’t have caught the public attention this much if we were a dance group,” Magenta said. “We like to thank everyone who has supported us and given us the opportunity.”

QWER’s weapon is creating a rich band sound through the harmony of each member's instruments, according to Chodan.

“We want to become a new inspiration to the people listening to our music, just like us embarking on a new challenge while working in different fields prior,” Chodan said.

To find out more about QWER, visit Celeb Confirmed!