From America to Korea: VCHA Has Officially Arrived
Hypebae chats to A2K’s first official girl group.
American girl group VCHA is on a mission to bring K-pop to the masses. As the first official group to win the reality competition A2K (America 2 Korea), their unique perspective on making music and the K-pop process sets them apart from the rest, and now they’re ready to make their official debut.
With a name that’s inspired by the Korean phrase, “Shine a Light,” the group’s intention is wholly clear. “For me, the purpose of a light is to illuminate something, to shine on something. So we are here to shine the light on others, not to keep it to ourselves, but to hopefully inspire others based on our journey,” Kendall from the group tells us. “We hope to represent many people through our different backgrounds, people who may never have thought they could follow their dream, but who, seeing that we are following them, may also find hope to follow theirs as well,” she continues.
In terms of their journey into the industry, it’s not been an easy ride but the result is one that’s made them all the more powerful. “I think being from different cultures and backgrounds brings so much to this new wave of music,” adds Camila. “The creation of this group is something that hasn’t been done before, it’s not the typical K-pop or pop group. It’s a mix of both, therefore everyone can resonate with us and our music.
We caught up with the rising group to find out more about their reality show experience, how it feels to finally make their official debut and what 2024 holds.
Scroll down to read the full interview.
How does it feel to be making your official debut? What can you tell us about the moments leading up to this?
Lexi: It feels unreal to be making our official debut. Just a year ago, we were normal teenagers going to school and living a normal life and now here we are officially coming out into the world as VCHA! There’s so much passion and emotions that we feel leading up to our debut because now it’s a step forward into our new journey. We’ve worked so hard for our debut and I can’t wait for the world to see what we have prepared for them.
Kendall: The fact that I can finally make my official debut is like a dream come true. To be honest, I could never have imagined being here when I think that two years ago I was just a normal student, but so much has changed and I’ve learned so much and grown as a person that I’m incredibly grateful to have had this opportunity. So I want to work hard and do my best to develop as an artist and put out the best content for our fans.
Camila: We’re super excited to finally debut! We’ve been working so hard for this moment. It’s been such a great process, from listening to the song for the first time, learning the choreography, recording the track, filming the music video etc, it’s finally here and we can’t wait for everyone to listen to it.
VCHA is one of the few groups that had the chance to experience A2K (America2Korea), how did you each find the process?
KG: It was a lot of fun being in A2K, especially traveling to Korea for the first time. I had never traveled overseas before, so experiencing a new country and a new culture was exciting. But the A2K process was very hard. We were trainees at JYP Entertainment where the training was rigorous, and at the same time we were in a competition. Although it was challenging for us, it was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity and my proudest accomplishment. I’m so happy to have won and now be a part of this group. It’s a memory I’ll never forget.
Kaylee: I found the process very enjoyable and it taught me a lot. It’s an experience I don’t believe I will be able to have again and I’m so grateful for everyone that could make it happen!
Savanna: The process was a whirlwind of emotions, but honestly, it was a pretty fun experience. We learned a lot of skills not only limited to singing and dancing. Of course there was pressure from the missions, but having each other made it much better and led to great connections.
What do you think it takes to be successful in the music industry?
Lexi: There are so many things that go into being successful in the music industry, but I think that a big point is being yourself. This is so that you don’t lose yourself in the process of what you love doing, and you can continue to move others with your work. Most importantly, I believe working with dedication to become someone that fans could admire is crucial as well.
Camila: I think success can be interpreted in so many different ways. For me, it’s all about working hard and being happy with the outcome. I want to make a difference, I want to be someone that people can look up. As long as I’m doing what I love and there are people that appreciate it, that means the world to me. Of course always staying grounded and being true to myself.
Savanna: I think that a great connection with the fans is what makes a successful music way into the industry. After all, everything is possible with the support of our fans, so we want to show our appreciation to them in multiple ways that we can.
The name VCHA is based on the Korean word for “shine the light.” What does that phrase mean to you?
Kendall: For me, the purpose of a light is to illuminate something, to shine on something. So we are here to shine the light on others, not to keep it to ourselves, but to hopefully inspire others based on our journey. We hope to represent many people through our different backgrounds, people who may never have thought they could follow their dream, but who, seeing that we are following them, may also find hope to follow theirs as well.
Kaylee: It means that we hope to “shine the light” on the path of this journey. We all have people we look up to and we hope to become role models to other people.
KG: I love the name VCHA. For me, “shine the light” means we have been given this opportunity to
shine our light as performers onto others. We can shine the light on others through our performances, our values, and just being good role models for those who share similar dreams.
How do you successfully merge the art of K-pop with your Los Angeles influences and lifestyle? What are the biggest similarities and differences within the way music is made in each of those areas?
Lexi: Bringing different cultures and backgrounds to merge with the art of K-pop really shows something new since it’s never been done before! The culture behind each area really defines one’s way of making music, but it doesn’t change the fact that music is a passion that we all share and love.
Camila: I think being from different cultures and backgrounds brings so much to this new wave of music. The creation of this group is something that hasn’t been done before, it’s not the typical K-pop or pop group. It’s a mix of both, therefore everyone can resonate with us and our music.
Kendall: I believe that growing up in a certain area, being brought up in a certain way influences each person differently, which is reflected in their music. That’s what makes music personal. So music with a Korean background probably sounds more like other Korean music you heard as a kid, and the same with American music. However, that doesn’t limit the music, because music is inherently experimental and meant to try new things. So when you bring different backgrounds together in music, it creates a new kind of sound that you haven’t heard before and allows a variety of people to indulge in a new sound.
Your single, “Girls of the Year” just dropped and is finally making its way into the world. What’s the song about?
Savanna: “Girls of the Year” is about us really wanting to claim that exact title. We’ve worked super hard and now we’re ready to show everyone what we’ve got. It’s an empowering song that motivates us, and we hope for others as well.
KG: The song is about finally achieving our dreams after working so hard for it. It expresses our journey as VCHA and feeling like the girls of the year now that we are released to the world.
Kaylee: It’s a song about our journey to VCHA. We started off by just practicing and working hard, and we are now reaching our dreams. We are the Girls of the Year and we hope to inspire many people.
Finally, what’s next for you? What are your plans for 2024?
Lexi: This is only the beginning of our beautiful journey, so there’s still so much more to present! Stay tuned and continue to go on this journey with us to see what’s to come!
Camila: There are a lot of projects coming up, we’ve been working so hard for the last few months, and we can’t wait for you to see the final product of our hard work. We’re starting the year with our debut “Girls of the Year,” and it is truly an honor to kick it off with our opening for TWICE in so many different countries. This is just the start, so you can imagine how many more great projects are coming up soon.
Kendall: 2024 is a year in which we want to present ourselves to the world. Our first step is the release of “Girls of the Year”, which we hope you enjoy, and we still have a lot planned, so stay tuned for the future of VCHA!
Savanna: I think what’s on the top of our lists is performing for our fans. We’re so honored that we were actually given that opportunity as we’re opening for TWICE soon! It’s so exciting and we have many more things coming your way!
KG: We have a lot of exciting plans upcoming for 2024, taking us worldwide and to many different stages. We hope to meet our fans around the world and spread our light along the way.
Kaylee: I hope to keep inspiring many people and work hard. We hope to have made a big entrance with our debut and want to keep making music throughout the year!