Nicole has announced her official departure from KARA as soon as her contract expires in a few days. During an interview with Sports Chosun she said,
"I can't express it in words. When I look back, KARA was everything to me. I first held the mic as a KARA member in my teens and was well-received as KARA in my 20s. And... during that long time period, I think there were a lot of stories created while being in KARA. There were a lot of happy moments and thankful moments. I started my entertainment career as a member of KARA and got my name out there, so I'm going to hold onto that pride and pursue future promotions."
"Truthfully, many things happened while I was with the members for 7-8 years. Occasionally, it was hard, but I endured and did many things. All of us equally had a hard time physically and emotionally, but I am so grateful that we always lent our strength to each other. What each of us does has changed a bit, but let's continue to encourage one another to succeed."
"The whole time, the fans have been diligently running with KARA and diligently giving support. However, I always felt sorry because I was lacking and undeserving of that support. Still, they supported me without change so I thought I had to do better. In the past, even when I was having a hard time physically and mentally, all of that intriguingly disappeared once I met with the fans. It made me think that this was why I liked singing and dancing."
Nicole goes her separate way and leaves for America to pursue further training as a singer and dancer.
THIS JUST IN:
In this very formal statement from DSP Media, Jiyoung has confirmed that she also not renew her contract.
Hello. This is DSP Media.
We wanted to inform you of our official position on the article concerning KARA's Jiyoung's contract expiration which was released on the morning of the 15th.
Jiyoung still has time and schedules under DSP Media until her contract expires in April, and like reported earlier, she has expressed her wishes to study abroad while in negotiations with DSP.
We did not receive a letter in the form of certification of contents like mentioned [in the report], but rather a notice containing her position. The position was that 'We will not extend the contract without a new negotiation', so in time, we were planning to have further negotiations with Jiyoung's side about extending the contract.
(Portion of the notification we received) - 'Kang Ji Young will not extend her exclusive contract with DSP Media unless there is a new negotiation, we are officially informing you of this through this notice.'
However through the article that was released today, we have once again confirmed Jiyoung's intent, and received word that she still wishes to leave KARA for schooling and to walk the path of becoming an actress.
Thus, starting after April, the team will reorganize with Gyuri, Seungyeon, and Hara as the center to carry on future schedules.
IN EARLIER NEWS (10/8/13):
The recent announcement (or leak) that Kara’s Nicole and Jiyoung might be leaving the 5 member girl group has sent the Asian pop world into gossip turmoil. There’s also a lot of confusion around the departure of the two girls as to whether they left on their own terms or their management company, DSP Media decided not to renew their contracts for different reasons. Here is the story so far as we know it…
- A Japanese media outlet leaked the story which Kara’s management originally denied.
- Finally DSP Media released an official statement stating that Jiyoung’s contract will end in April as she has decided to focus on her studies and/or her solo career.
- They also stated "Nicole has revealed that she has no intention to renew her contract with DSP and thus her contract will expire in January as originally scheduled." It’s the wording of this statement (how harsh it sounds) that seems to have gotten a lot of Kara fans riled up.
- Kara’s Nicole posted a long message on twitter to fans stating: she was hurt by the contract negotiations being publicised and wants to see out the end of her contract in style. It sounds like she wants to stay with the group but be managed as an artist by a separate company, but DSP have been so restrictive on her other activities that they have forced her to decide on one or the other (fans have spoken out in support of this theory).
- UPDATED: DSP Media have now responded to Nicole's twitter message to fans: “Nicole’s message surprised both the agency and the rest of the members of KARA. She personally wrote the message and did not discuss it with us.” The source continued, “We’ve never discussed before what Nicole is insisting upon, with her signing on both as a member of KARA and individually. All we got from Nicole’s side was ‘I won’t be renewing my contract.’ We don’t know why she announced things that she never discussed with the agency. Regarding that point, it seems we will have to have future discussions.” (Soompi)
- Gyuri, Seungyeon, and Hara have all renewed their contract for another 2 years but fans are wondering what is left for the future of the group.
- DSP Media don’t plan on recruiting any more members for the girl group in the near future.
- This is the second time Nicole, Jiyoung, and Seungyeon had entered into a legal battle against DSP Media regarding their contracts (the first was back in 2011).
WOW. That’s a lot of information to digest we know. It’s likely a further story will develop soon enough.
Regardless, it appears that KARA as we know it has changed forever.
How do you guys feel about the group changing and the admissions some of the members have made?