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[Herald Interview] Japanese K-pop group XG on group's Korean debutBy Choi Ji-won
Published : Feb. 28, 2023 - 08:57
Walking into The Korea Herald studio, the seven members of K-pop group XG oozed charisma with each step. Their eyes were glistening and a slight yet poised smile was visible over each member’s face.
But as soon as the bandmates sat down and uttered their first words of greeting, the tension circling them melted away to the cheerful, high-pitched laughter of the seven young women.
XG conducted its first-ever exclusive media interview with The Korea Herald on Feb. 17. Here, they shared for the first time the story of how the seven of them came together as a hip-hop and R&B girl group debuting in Korea.
"We trained for five years, going to and from Japan and Korea. To us, it's like five years of a drama," said Jurin, the group's leader.
XG debuted on March 18, 2022 under Xgalx, the production label affiliated with Japanese entertainment company Avex, and consists of seven members: Jurin, Chisa, Hinata, Harvey, Juria, Maya and Cocona.
Although they are all of Japanese nationality, they were trained according to the K-pop training system for around five years and identity themselves as a global K-pop group.
"We stayed over in Korea to train for a long time as well. We spent much of the training on honing the basics," the 20-year-old leader added, looking back on the years of hardship.
Harvey, also 20, even had a nosebleed while training. But she did not quit there and got back to work with tissues jammed up in her nose.
"At the toughest of times, we had four evaluation tests a month. We had to cut down on our sleep to practice," Jurin said.
"I remember Jurin trying to memorize five sets of raps for one evaluation test. She would stay up until 5 in the morning to practice," Chisa said, to which Jurin added, "I literally memorized the lyrics in my sleep then."
Such periods of hardcore training are often considered an essential course for K-pop bands to make a successful debut. Once K-pop bands get to the stage, whether young or old, perfection is required in all aspects -- from singing to performing, visuals and even attitude.
Cocona said the five years of training helped them to strengthen not only their physical stamina, but their minds as well.
Starting with their debut single "Tippy Toes," XG has unveiled three singles so far, including "Mascara" and "Shooting Star," the last of which was released in January.
With second single "Mascara," XG held its landmark music show in Korea. "Mascara" was released in June, and the band debuted on six local TV music shows with the song.
The girl group touted "Mascara" as their "legendary song," as they had to practice nearly two years for that single tune.
It remains the group's most memorable moment since debuting, the band said.
"It was the first time our fans came to support us live, and we were so nervous and full of thankful hearts toward them," Chisa said. Juria even wept tears of joy.
It seemed like the girl group was perfect onstage, but to the seven rookies, it was overwhelming and mind-blowing.
"A lot of things happened, but they were all experiences to learn from," Jurin said. Juria added, "We're here like this right now thanks to those events."
Laughter erupted here and there and voices overlapped continuously as they exploded with memories and anecdotes about their time shared together. But asked to perform a line from their songs, they never failed to elicit awe from the surrounding staff.
Their level of confidence peaked with a performance of their latest release, "Shooting Star." According to the girl group, the song was the best expression of the band's vibe.
"The song has more R&B and hip-hop infused into it compared to our past songs and it reflects our identity in that aspect," Jurin said.
Also included with the third single is B-side track "Left Right."
"It's a song of our style," Maya said. Jurin added, "The song shows what R&B is."
The bandmates said they learned most about the mindset of a K-pop artist in the 11 months since their debut.
"We're a group taking on activities globally, so we try not to differentiate ourselves from the other K-pop groups," Cocona said. "But we were able to feel directly that the artists and other staff members are all working together like one player to make various content. Also, we really respect how the artists always express gratitude directly and sincerely to the fans."
Jurin piped in, "They all seem to have a very strong mind. Most schedules always start early in the morning and continue into late night, but everyone always greeted us brightly. We learned a lot from them."
Ending the interview, Maya said, "We're only just beginning."
"We aspire to become a group that can lead a positive change for many people around the world. We're working hard to reach the highest place as singers, and we hope our fans, AlphaZ (XG's official fandom), can also live their every day believing in themselves," she said.
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