It’s been hard to keep up with Rania these days. The remaining members have come a long way from their ferocious, in-your-face debut with “Dr. Feel Good,” but the group has not managed to ascend to the level of success that many believe they are capable of. Rania is a group of solid singers and all-around strong performers, so what’s going wrong with them? And what should we make of the the U.S. debut we keep hearing about?
Rania could be a textbook case of the consequences of too many conceptual ideas from management working against each other. When the group debuted with seven members in 2011, it was clear that entertainment company Dr. Music intended for the group to be seen on a global stage – so much so that the company released an English version of “Dr. Feel Good” to accompany the Korean version and also spoke of close ties to American producer Teddy Riley for the purpose of a debut overseas. Unfortunately, Riley split with Rania’s management not too long after, leaving Dr. Music without the critical ties necessary to make such a venture work, and the group was left to flounder with no big international contact to get the U.S. debut going.
In spite of this, management kept working on the overseas debut project. Over the course of the last year, the company created tons of buzz about Rania’s activities abroad, boasting of an MTV reality program, an upcoming U.S. debut album, and collaborations with Snoop Dogg and 2Chainz (yes, this is real). The only problem is — no one knows what became of these projects after they appeared in the news. Every announcement of U.S. activities has been followed by an inevitable delay. Even this month, Dr. Music announced through Rania’s official Facebook page that the debut will be postponed yet again. Why, you ask?
The reason we decided to delay is because we felt that they are not ready for it now in terms of language and some other stuff. U.S. market is one of the largest and the most competitive in the world so that we strongly felt that we should be more prepared. By delaying it, Rania can improve their language skills so that they could communicate with people more fluently than now.
This excuse makes little sense. If Rania was destined for a debut in the United States when they first appeared with “Dr. Feel Good,” shouldn’t they have been nearly ready back then? Needless to say, this also speaks poorly of the activities the group did overseas prior, including the reality show and album preparations from last year. One has to wonder if Rania should just scrap the international plans and focus on honing their potential in their home market.
Dr. Music made a bold choice by prepping a green group for overseas debut so quickly. However, the poor executive oversight following that decision has left Rania on an extremely slow climb to prominence in Korea. The mismanagement carried over into their music, as Rania has little musical identity in the grand scope of girl groups. Their songs went across the map in terms of sound, sprouting from the wide pool of big-name K-pop producers – from Teddy Riley to Brave Brothers to Tablo – participating in their projects. Everything released post-debut has chipped away at the mark they made when they entered the industry in 2011, and as time went on, Rania’s star seemed to fall significantly. Not to say that the more recent songs have been total misses (some have been fairly solid, even their last single “Just Go”), but they have fallen short of seizing major attention, and few have showcased how strong the members are as performers.
The best thing for Rania right now is perhaps to stay in Korea, gain more experience as a performance unit, and put the U.S. activities on the backburner indefinitely (or, in all honesty, permanently). We have seen what a poorly planned U.S. debut can do to a group’s standing – indeed, it is arguably the main reason why the Wonder Girls lost their footing in Korea after the success of songs like “Nobody” and “Tell Me.” It would be different if a group has an outstanding level of popularity in a region and the entertainment company decided to promote there to capitalize on the market; however, this isn’t the situation with Rania. They are a girl group that has only been on the radar for two years now and haven’t made a strong mark anywhere just yet.
Right now, their schedule centers around appearances in countries including Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Chile, the Philippines, and Laos — some for concerts and fan meetings, and others for volunteer work. Shuffling the members across the globe along with preparations for a constantly delayed debut will only lower the morale of the group members in the long run, and, by that point, promotions wouldn’t be as strong as they could have been anyways. So honestly, what’s the rush with Rania?
Readers, what do you think? Is the payoff for Rania’s U.S. debut worth the trouble?