K-Pop Band Beast Changes Name to Highlight After Leaving Agency, Losing Member
Goodbye, Beast. Hello, Highlight!
The Korean quintet formerly known as Beast has officially announced they will now be known as Highlight after leaving Cube Entertainment at the end of 2016.
The band's new agency, Around US Entertainment, told Korean media that the name signifies their potential to be exceptional and stand out. The name is based on the title of Beast's latest album, Highlight, which was the first and only album the band released with five members --Yoon Doojoon, Yong Junhyung, Yang Yoseob, Lee Kikwang and Son Dongwoon -- under Cube Entertainment. Former member Jang Hyunseung withdrew from the band in April and remains signed to Cube.
In a statement, Highlight thanked fans for their support and revealed that they are in the midst of preparations to release new music.
Beast debuted in 2009 as an underdog act whose members had already embarked on separate careers (Lee had pursued a solo career) or were passed over by other bands (Jang didn't make the final cut to be in BIGBANG). Over the years, Beast grew to became one of K-pop’s most recognized acts, rarely failing to impress with their sleek, energetic approach to dance music and sentimental pop ballads. Several of the group’s albums appeared on the World Albums chart -- with last year’s Highlight charting at No. 9 -- while hits like “Beautiful Night” and “Shadow” landed them on Billboard’s Best of K-pop lists in 2012 and 2013 before “Good Luck” came in at No. 1 in 2014.
Following the announcement of their new name, each of the Highlight's members took to social media to thank fans for waiting to hear Beast's fate and asking for continued love as Highlight. Yoon, the group’s leader, expressed the quintet's desire to retain the name Beast, but explained that they weren’t able to do so. “The name [Beast] is filled with memories and we worked hard to keep it, but this is goodbye. Now we will begin with Highlight!”
Lee, Yang and Son also were similarly poignant, with the three thanking fans, reminiscing on the past and looking forward to the future.
But Yong, who has written many of the group’s most popular songs, took a more lighthearted tone and poised Highlight as a brand-new band on the verge of debuting. "To gain this amount of interest before we even debut,” he wrote on a post featuring a screenshot of “Highlight” trending on Korean search engine Naver. “The new group Highlight will work hard."