TMRW KOREA Magazine interview with EVERGLOW
I WANT TO CREATE OUR OWN GENRE OF MUSIC CALLED ‘EVERGLOW”,” SAID MIA, THE MAIN VOCALIST OF EVERGLOW. SHE SEEMED VERY DETERMINED ABOUT THE DIRECTION HER GROUP WAS HEADED TOWARDS: “I BELIEVE WE’RE IN THAT PROCESS RIGHT NOW. WE WILL BE MAKING A POWERFUL COMEBACK WITH OUR NEXT SONG”.
EVERGLOW, a K-pop girl group comprised of six members-E:U, Sihyeon, Mia, Onda, Aisha, and Yiren, debuted with their first single “Arrival of Everglow” in March of 2019. Since their debut, all of their title tracks have landed a spot in the top 5 of the Billboard World Digital Song Sales Chart, and all the songs from their latest single album, “Last Melody“, successfully re-entered the charts. The positive response they’ve received so far is why this group’s next move is highly-anticipated. The music video for “DUN DUN“, a mid-tempo, EDM pop track released last year, surpassed 220 million views, while their title song “LA DI DA,” a fusion of uptempo, electro-pop, and retro, took the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s 20 Best K-Pop Songs in 2020.
EVERGLOW, who has garnered attention as the upcoming stars in the next generation of K-pop, made their comeback last May with their third single album, “Last Melody” after an 8-month hiatus. The music video for their latest title track, “FIRST“, currently has over 60 million views, and evokes the next level of their signature style: powerful performances synched with beat-heavy tracks. In the music video, which takes place in outer space, the members deliver a message of hope and light in their performance as female warriors who are armored with confidence and charisma.
“TO LOOK LIKE STRONG FEMALE WARRIORS, WE TRIED TO EXUDE CONFIDENCE AND CHARISMA THROUGH OUR EYES. OUR MOTIONS AND GESTURES WERE ALSO MEANT TO LOOK LIKE FEMALE WARRIORS TAKING ON A MISSION. I FELT KIND OF LIKE A NINJA. I LIKE THE MOVIE “KUNG FU PANDA’, SO I EVEN IMAGINED MYSELF DOING KUNG FU.” ONDA LAUGHED AS SHE EXPLAINED WHAT SHE USED AS A REFERENCE IN HER BUBBLY, HIGH-PITCHED VOICE. AS SHE SPOKE, HER LARGE, TWINKLING EYES WERE SHINING WITH OVERFLOWING ENERGY.
Onda’s performance during the intro of “FIRST” immediately caught the eyes of many fans. With her hair rolled up into buns on both sides of her head like a female Kung Fu fighter, Onda resembled a superhero movie character with flawless physical and supernatural powers, while also resembling a mystical fairy with innocent, childlike characteristics. Without having to lean on either side, Onda has found a balance to create her compelling persona. “Is there anything EVERGLOW can’t do? Nothing! Nothing!” These chants from EVERGLOW mirrored the energy of the Avengers. Establishing an identity of their own to set them aside from the basic framework of past girl groups, took a lot of time and effort. To become familiar with powerful movements, Sihyeon studied the performance for “Wild Eyes” by Shinhwa, a first-generation K-pop group in the 2000s. “I’ve watched and studied a lot of the performances by male artists and groups such as Shinhwa, BIGBANG, and B.A.P. I practiced their moves by watching their videos and mimicked every bit of their hand gestures and facial expressions“
Innocent and bubbly according to Sihyeon. That isn’t to say their powerful on-stage persona is completely fictional, because the experiences and skills of each member are fully reflected and implemented into the group’s identity. Looking back on her experience participating in an audition program before her debut, Sihyeon shared: “At a young age, I had to deal with a lot of internal struggles and difficulties, but looking back at it now, I am thankful for those opportunities, and I’m am glad that I took part in the audition because it made me stronger.” Though Sihyeon’s appearance may be soft and tender, she is known to have the strongest willpower in the team. As the new leader of EVERGLOW, following E:U, Sihyeon answered as many questions giving her honest opinion and answers without any hesitation. Just like the song, “Please Please,” if Sihyeon was able to go back in time and send a message to herself as a trainee, this is what she would’ve told herself: “Everything seemed so difficult at the time, but looking back in hindsight, I should’ve taken it easy, and enjoyed every moment of it because those were happy days that made me who lam today. I think I was very pessimistic back then. (Laughs)“, Behind the powerful aura EVERGLOW embodies, the group confessed that there were difficulties they had to face, but they learned to focus on the positive aspects of those times of struggle. “When you receive positive results for the work that you put in, the amount of expectation for the next one can be burdening, but that also creates the synergy.” Aisha, who has a soft and gentle attitude like water, unlike her gorgeous and exotic appearance, said with a faint smile.
Onda expressed that the preparation for the online concert last July wasn’t easy. “I was getting so stressed out because no matter how much I went over it, I kept messing up during practice. So that pushed me to try harder and was able to show the outcome of it during the concert. It was a challenge, yet also an opportunity for me to grow.” As much as EVERGLOW prepared their ways to give out great energy to their fans through their performances, they have also received great comfort from their own songs. “Practicing the part that goes, ‘the past will enslave you with fear’ made me sad because it brought back memories from the past. As much as there were good days, there were also bad days. But when I saw myself on stage, I looked very strong. I like that part now because it makes me feel like I can get back up and overcome past hardships,” said Sihyeon. Mia’s favorite part was also Sihyeon’s verse. “I get so encouraged when I hear Sihyeon’s voice singing the lyrics to, ‘Don’t be fooled into thinking that there’s no light in this world‘.“
During “Everglow Land,” their very own variety show, the members of EVERGLOW confessed that the only people in their lives, who were able to fully understand the struggles as a K-pop idol were none other than each other. Although they initially came together to form a team called ‘Everglow’, the members have formed a precious, family-like bond and rely on each other for support. Living together allows them to share their hobbies and personal lives through conversing after their busy day of work. These days, Onda and Sihyeon are into pipo painting where they paint oil paints on pre-drawn designs. “It soothes me when I start painting on the canvas. I’ve painted a lot of cats, the beach, flowers, cakes, and so on. It’s addicting. I don’t think I can ever live without painting.” Sihyeon showed the most enthusiasm during the interview when she talked about her hobbies. Sihyeon, who also enjoys playing Sudoku, explained that focusing on simple activities clears out her mind and puts her at a level of peace. Although she’s someone who easily forgets about her stress, her conscious efforts to relieve stress help her to maintain her naturally positive personality.
“THERE WAS A TIME WHEN E:U AND I WERE REALLY INTO BEAD CRAFT, SO WE WOULD SIT AT THE TABLE AND MAKE BRACELETS AND RINGS. WHEN I HAVE TIME, I WANT TO MAKE THEM AGAIN,” AISHA SAID. YIREN OFTEN SHARES WITH MIA ABOUT HOW HER DAY WENT. “WE USUALLY END OUR DAY BY SHARING THE GOOD, THE SAD, THE FRUSTRATING, AND JUST RANDOM MOMENTS THAT HAPPENED DURING THE DAY.”
While being exhausted from their busy schedule, ordinary, everyday things are what comfort the six-member group. Recently, Mia uploaded pictures of cats on Weverse, a global fan community: “I’ve been really into cats these days so I’ve been looking up pictures of cats. My sister raises cats so I ask her to send me their pictures.” Aside from the dazzling performance as the main vocalist and dancer on stage, Mia actively communicates with her fans, sharing ways in how she gets comforted. EVERGLOW has shown strong eagerness of wanting to become more intimate and open with their fans. They stated that one day, they hope to release a title track dedicated to their fans.
EVERGLOW even held a U.S. tour early last year to meet with their international fans. After wrapping up their “First,” promotions, they went straight to practicing countless hours for two months to prepare for the online concert. Sihyeon confessed, “Preparing for the concert drained us physically but seeing how much the fans enjoyed our concert gave us a sense of satisfaction. Even though the preparation process can be tiring, I would definitely want to do it again.“
“throughout the concert, I was able to see how happy all my members were, and although it was an online concert, I was touched by how much our fans expressed their love for us through their comments. Rather than becoming stressed and being too hard on myself for the things of the past, I became deter of the past, I became determined to live diligently for those who were loving and supportive of me.” E:U expressed how she felt about “Forever“, EVERGLOW’s official fan here were mixed emotions conveyed through her eyes, but it was her pure determination for the group’s future that came into light.
TO GIVE BACK TO THEIR FANS FOR ALL THE LOVE THEY’VE RECEIVED, EVERGLOW CHOOSES TO CONTINUOUSLY TAKE ON NEW PROJECTS RATHER THAN TAKING A BREAK. IN AUGUST, THEY PARTICIPATED IN A UNICEF CAMPAIGN AND RELEASED A NEW SONG TO SUPPORT GIRLS’ RIGHTS. WITH THE SUPERNATURAL ABILITIES THAT EVERGLOW OBTAINS INSIDE OF THE FANTASY WORLD PORTRAYED IN THEIR MUSIC VIDEOS, IT IS NOW TIME FOR THEM TO UNLEASH THOSE SUPERPOWERS HERE NOW IN THIS WORLD.
“I WANT OUR GROUP TO BE LIKE JOAN OF ARC-A GROUP THAT LEADS WITH CONFIDENCE AND CHARISMA (LAUGHS)”, SAID MIA. KNOWING THE MEMBERS OF EVERGLOW, IT WILL ONLY BE A MATTER OF TIME BEFORE THEY TAKE AFTER THE IMAGE OF THE LEGENDARY HEROINE OF FRANCE. NOTHING WILL BE IMPOSSIBLE FOR EVERGLOW, ESPECIALLY WHEN THEY ARE PROCLAIMING AND SINGING LYRICS THAT TRANSLATE TO, “BREAK DOWN THE WALLS, CROSS THE LINES / WON’T COWER, I JUMP OVER”.