"I don't want to be like other idol groups in Korea," leader Soyeon says in their first American interview.
(G)I-DLE's entered the K-pop scene with a fresh and exciting energy -- becoming just one the few girl groups to send both their debut single and album to the Billboard charts -- so it only makes sense for their first U.S. appearance to be just as energetic.
In a collaboration with All That Group, the sextet made up Soyeon, Miyeon, Minnie, Soojin, Yuqi, and Shuhua were brought to New York to perform a small concert and record a flash-mob performance their hit single "Latata" in Times Square with fans and K-pop dance enthusiasts...only to have it initially shut down by police on the scene seemingly due to too many spectators. Just like this unexpectedly excited response to see the new girl group perform with fans, (G)I-DLE themselves appear surprised by the international interest they've collected. In an fice building in midtown Manhattan, the girls casually eat granola bars and Japanese candies before clearing the table and excitedly chat about their first New York trip together (where they ate everything from waffles to quinoa), their new single (the fiery, whistle hook-laced "Hann (Alone)" that should soon make a splash on the World Digital Songs chart) and their unique vision as K-pop idols, all while giving thanks to their fans and supporters at every corner.
After their police-induced shutdown, (G)I-DLE did get to perform with fans, flash-mob style, in Times Square, and also in Greenwich Village's Washington Square Park. Later in their trip, the ladies made their debut U.S. performance at (Le) Poisson Rouge where they delivered "Latata," their standout album cut "Maze," and a cover David Guetta and Nicki Minaj collaboration "Light Me Up." The performance was quick, but all acting as an exciting teaser to what is shaping up to be one K-pop's most exciting new groups to watch.
In their first-ever U.S. interview, (G)I-DLE open up to Billboard to share their thoughts on where they're at now and where they want to go next.
It's been less than three months since your debut and (G)I-DLE is already here in New York! Did you think you'd be meeting overseas fans so quickly?
Soyeon: Our dream was always to come to America to talk with our fans if we could possibly meet them. It was always our goal but, honestly speaking, we thought it would take at least three years to come to America -- but it's been only three months.
Minnie: We never expected it would happen this fast. We would always hope, "Well, one day we want to come to New York and perform in front our fans." But then, we debuted and in three months we have this surprise. So, we're really happy.
Your debut single "Latata" and the I Am album had a really strong performance on the Billboard charts. Did think you would have this type international interest upon debut? Was it at all intimidating?
Soyeon: It really was unexpected for us and it still feels like a dream.
Yuqi: It's a dream come true. We would see the reactions to our music videos, but then we never know if people out there really who knew who were are and liked us. Before this, we went to Tapei once, so we've mostly stayed in Korea and only been in Asia. Even still, it's not really that it's nerve-wracking when we think about it, but rather inspires us to do better.
When I listen to I Am, it felt like there was a very powerful and strong image, but also showed ster and more tender moments. Soyeon, you worked on nearly all the songs. What inspired this as the proper introduction to (G)I-DLE?
Soyeon: I always wanted to do something new -- I don't want to be like other idol groups in Korea. I don't really get inspired by other music, I just solely think about each the members and gain inspiration from that. The whole "Latata" song was created by me and I made the song thinking about my group and each member, and then I based my other songs f what I know what the members are best at and what their specific charms are.
Miyeon: Our producer, Soyeon, made our first single on her own by looking at our personalities and what we're really good at. In the future, we'll definitely be able to show a different side our music that emphasizes our specialties.
Speaking different sides, how do you describe your new single "Hann (Alone)"?
Soyeon: To be precise, it's a summer song and has the feelings summer, but it's a different, unique feeling. It isn't cliché. You know how summer songs are usually happy, bright and uptempo? This one is more down-tempo. I wrote it as well.
Minnie: Actually, my secret talent is that I'm really good at whistling and you can hear it on "Hann (Alone)."
What goals do you have before your one-year anniversary in 2019?
Soyeon: We really, really want to win the new artist and rookie award.
During your Tapei trip, you performed a cover BTS' "Fake Love." Are you fans?
Soyeon: We really respect them as artists. Since BTS did help and introduce so many people to so many artists, we're influenced by them too. We would like to also strive for a similar path.
Minnie and Yuqi: We also love "Blood Sweat & Tears."
What else do you want to emphasize to fans who are watching from around the world?
Yuqi: I'm thankful to the fans for loving us so much. We're going to try something new with our future music and are going to fulfill your already-high expectations. I want you to look forward to us and our upcoming albums!
Minnie: Firstly, thank you, Billboard, for having us. It's such a honor. It's just a dream come true for us to be here, doing an interview here with you. We're thankful that we have a lot Korean fans, but also international fans so we will work harder and harder to be able to be here again. Thank you so much.
Soyeon: I'm really thankful for your interest and love from all the fans. We haven't really shown many sides ourselves yet in our first album, but in our future albums, we'll be able to show more sides ourselves.
Miyeon: I'm really thankful for the fans and I was able to come to the United States thanks to your interest.
Shuhua: I'm thankful for the chance that all kinds different people gave us. I'm just so so grateful for the love.
Soojin: Since we have a lot charms to still show, I want the fans' expectations to be higher than ever. The key word I want fans to have when thinking about us is "reliable," and that you can depend on us.