K-pop Group Red Velvet Opens up About Having a Large Female Fanbase
And a hint at a U.S. debut?
Early in August Red Velvet released a comeback mini album Summer Magic. The seven-track EP debuted an all-English track “Bad Boy,” produced by Grammy Award-winning duo, The Stereotypes. That wasn’t the group’s sole break-through into the U.S. market, however. The group comprising Irene, Joy, Seulgi, Wendy and Yeri appeared at a concert in Chicago last April.
They kept mum about a U.S. debut, but Irene hinted, ”I definitely hope that we get the chance for similar opportunities!” In Korea, Red Velvet is among the country’s most recognized artists, known to break stereotypes in an industry that boxes girl groups into the “cute” or “sexy” categories. It’s intentional, and they admitted, “we’re always in a dilemma about how to express ourselves in a new way.”
Read our interview with Red Velvet below.
Red Velvet is known to break stereotypes and challenge what K-pop means. Do you consider yourselves rule-breakers in the industry?
Joy – I think it’s awesome that fans see us this way. Whenever we release a new album, we always come out with something completely different from our previous ones. So we’re always in a dilemma about how to express ourselves in a new way – whether that’s through style, our vocals, etc.
Of course, that makes it a bit difficult for us, but I love that we get to challenge and push ourselves. It’s a lot of fun.
Irene – I think before, fans didn’t really know what “Red Velvet” music really sounded like. But now, I think fans are recognizing that THIS is Red Velvet’s sound, so it’s really exciting for us as a group to have established our own sound.
Summer Magic is your second summer EP, the last being Red Summer. What’s changed about your approach this time around?
Yeri – I think the biggest difference from when we were preparing for Red Summer last year is the fact that we were doing concerts and were so busy preparing for this album! But also, it was actually REALLY hot this summer in Korea – it reached record temperatures. The heat wave actually made me more excited about this summer album than last year.
What was most important to convey in “Power Up?”
Irene – “Power Up” carries a message of “When you play hard and gain some energy, you can also have fun while you work!” Even for us, working hard is great, but having fun is also important.
Why do you think Red Velvet attracts a larger female audience compared to other girl groups?
Seulgi – I’m really thankful that people look up to us and even emulate our style. It’s so flattering to have people who want to be more like you. It makes me want to work harder to be a good influence and also inspire our female fans in that way.
The upcoming EP includes “Bad Boy” in English. Is that a hint at a US debut?
Irene – I was excited that people really loved the English version, and I definitely hope that we get the chance for similar opportunities!
Are there any artists you look up to in the U.S.?
Yeri – Ariana Grande