(G) I-DLE, the six-member K-pop girl group, weighs what they love and admire in each other. “Shuhua’s eccentric thoughts, Soojin’s striking dance skills …” offers her leader and rapper Soyeon, who is whip-smart, elf-like and, if she has to, steely herself. “Yuqi’s confidence,” adds Miyeon. “She really knows how to love herself”. When they describe what makes Minnie, Shuhua, Soojin, Soyeon, Yuqi and Miyeon unique – charisma, beauty, humor, dreamy auras, the double punch of “sexy-but-sweet” – their words fly like tiny jewel-colored birds, shoot and raise.
The fact that (G) I-DLE see themselves not only as band colleagues, but also as role models and muses, is expressed in every interview. As a multinational group (Thai, Taiwanese, Chinese, Koreans) dealing with cultural differences and the difficulties of being away from home, they have formed a loving, protective sisterhood. And as a self-producing group of girls who write their own music – a very rare entity in K-Pop – and have influence on every part of their creative process, they use this proximity to their advantage. The smallest details about each individual member serve as inspiration. Meanwhile, their fandom (NEVERLAND) continues to spread around the world with each new album.
The tightness of their bond makes their presence on stage prismatic – they boldly reflect the dozen of changing, individual elements that outwardly make every young woman a complex singularity. At the core of (G) I-DLE, however, the common primary basis has always been self-confidence. This led Soyeon to write her first single “((여자) 아이들) _ LATATA”. what made Yuqi, Shuhua, and Minnie leave their countries to try their luck in the South Korean idol industry; and what gave them – the only rookie group to compete alongside five high-profile acts – the self-confidence and ability to finish third on the survival show Queendom, with their regal, fearless final performance of “LION” for a stir.
In talking to the group, however, it becomes clear that they are also linked by a shared ambition, a shared vulnerability, and a tendency to exceed traditional expectations of them as women in K-pop. In fact, they refuse to acknowledge that these limits even exist. “We haven’t reached number 1 in the digital charts yet,” says Yuqi, “that’s something I really want to achieve, and I hope that we can gain more recognition musically!” Miyeon, who recently revealed that (G) I-DLE want to create their own genre, says they “are still working towards that … we are consistently trying to achieve that goal.” Soyeon agrees, and firmly believes that even then, there will be no barriers and “no end”.
In 2020 the group celebrated their two year anniversary and released three singles: the impressive “Oh My God” (from their third Korean EP, I Trust); “I’m The Trend” (written by Minnie and Yuqi); and her newest “DUMDi DUMDi”, a light-hearted summer bop. Her second Japanese EP, which consists of translated, re-recorded versions of tracks like “Oh My God” and a brand new deep cut, Minnie’s heartbreaking “Tung Tung (Empty),” casually has the effortless duality of (G) I-DLE highlighted in August what makes (G) I-DLE 2020 a creatively rich 2020 despite the looming global pandemic.
We spoke to the group to discuss “Tung-Tung” and more …
“DUMDi DUMDi” is definitely a change for a (G) I-DLE lead single – why was now the right time to drop something so positive and airy?
Minnie: We always try to do something new. The concept of this comeback has also been interpreted in our own style, which we hope everyone enjoyed. (G) I-DLE got bright and fresh for the summer!
The video was apparently a lot of fun. What do you remember most?
Yuqi: We were drenched the whole time from filming the pool scene and the bubble party scene. Capturing these scenes was a little difficult, but they turned out very well.
Soojin: The bubble party scene is the most memorable. Be sure to check out this scene in the music video!
Soyeon, you wrote about “I’m The Trend”: “I have everything that you want to resemble / My charms that endure through the hard Produce 101, Unpretty Rapstar, Queendom …”. How did these shows help you become the leader you are today?
Soyeon: I’ve learned that if you survive the fighting, you will eventually make it. I’m a target chaser, I’m competitive, and I’m not easy to sway. It is more appropriate to say that I am the type who can enjoy competitive shows than to say that it helped me to participate in competitive shows. And as a manager, my personality is useful.
You described yourself as a calm child. When do you remember that other side of you – the wild, competitive Soyeon -?
Soyeon: I’m pretty calm. Instead of trying to win someone over, I just wanted to be the best since I was young. Honestly, I’m not sure what impact my parents had on me when they adopted this type of mindset, but they always had confidence in me!
Queendom was a tough show – in retrospect, how has it affected (G) I-DLE over the long term?
Miyeon: I was scared and concerned about going to a competitive show. But every time we prepared a performance and came on stage, the belief that I would be fine as long as I was with my teammates grew stronger. When Queendom was over, I began to think that the six of us could do anything together, and I grew confident enough not to fear adventure.
It’s clear that (G) I-DLE has a real bond – what helps you stay close as a team?
Miyeon: We spend a lot of time talking. We don’t have to consciously take the time to do it, we just talk a lot and even open the trivial parts of our lives without any discomfort. All six of us like to eat, so we get together to eat well too.
Minnie, Yuqi and Soyeon – how do your work styles differ since you are all three songwriters?
Minnie: I’m focusing on my feelings right now. “For You” was the biggest challenge in writing as it was my first time creating a song. I made this song when I was very lonely and had problems. I felt so alone then that I wanted to tell someone. The feelings got more intense as I wrote the lyrics, it was overwhelming. I hope that listening to this song will relieve people’s sad and lonely hearts.
Soyeon: I think the lyrics are the most important. The line “You changed like you were taking a drug” from “HANN (Alone)” is one of which I am proud. It shows how your partner transforms into a completely different person the moment your relationship ends.
Minnie, tell me about your new song “Tung-Tung (Empty)” …
I wrote the song using the Korean word “Tung-Tung” and the message of the song is, “My heart that used to be full of you is now empty (Tung-Tung).” I hope the audience finds solitude relatable as it is a track that I put my best efforts into. The harmonies and strings are also important points. So pay attention while listening!
Soyeon, as the group’s main songwriter and someone who always strives to be the best, have you ever feared the possibility that a song might not be a success? How do you see such intrusive thoughts in the past?
I see failure as something that won’t happen. And if it does, it will only be a moment and I am sure that I will be able to overcome it shortly.
And finally, what would you like to tell NEVERLAND now?
Minnie: Dear NEVERLAND, I always thank you for all the love you have given us so far, and I love you.
Miyeon: If NEVERLAND wasn’t here, (G) I-DLE wouldn’t be here either. Thank you that NEVERLAND is by our side and supporting us all the time. We will do our best for you!