ITZY has established themselves as one of the fastest-growing K-pop girl groups of all time. The five-member girl group first emerged in the music scene in 2019 with their single “Dalla Dalla,” which quickly made the group a name to watch. Since their debut, the group has continued to rack up a list of impressive achievements—such as amassing over 186 million views on their music video for their single “Wannabe” and earning two nominations at the 2020 Korean Music Awards—all the while spreading a message of confidence and self-love. Today, ITZY releases their highly anticipated third mini-album Not Shy.
The five talented members of ITZY—Yeji, Lia, Ryujin, Chaeryeong, and Yuna—chat with us about their new mini-album and showing the world a new side of the group.
How did you each get into music? Was there a specific moment growing up when you realized you wanted to make this into a career?
Lia: I’ve always loved singing so much. It’s fun and it always made me happy, so I’ve always wanted to be a singer.
Do you remember the day you all met for the first time? What was it like?
Chaeryeong: We had already been spending time together since we were trainees, so it wasn’t awkward. We weren’t as close then as we are now, but since we already knew each other, I was happy when the five of us joined together and became ITZY.
What have you learned from each other since embarking on a music career together as ITZY?
Chaeryeong: The energy that comes from us having perfect teamwork! We have our own styles of course, but we get this energy that comes out when our teamwork shines.
Yuna: I learned to care for others from my fellow ITZY members. Because we work as a team, we learned a lot about how to keep an eye out and take care of each other.
The EP will be released on August 17th. How would you describe how your sound has evolved since your debut single “Dalla Dalla”? What can fans expect from this upcoming project?
Yeji: We tried to make different music that we’ve never made before with a deeper mood and different energy. I feel like we’re getting better at delivering different vibes too!
Ryujin: Since our debut, we’ve expressed various topics through our title tracks and other tracks, but the main message is usually quite similar. Fans may have felt like all of them had similar vibes; however this time, we made music that was totally different from what we’ve made before, so I think we can show our fans a new side of us.
Can you share a memorable moment making this EP?
Chaeryeong: It was nice to have parts that matched perfectly to everyone’s voices! Through the recordings, we’ve become more passionate and serious about it! Though the recording schedule was quite tight, we still had fun!
What do you hope listeners take away from this album?
Yuna: I hope our fans will understand that ITZY has a broad spectrum of music styles. I would love for them to recognize the new messages in our music, too.
How do you measure success for your music? Is it about creating something that you all are personally proud of?
Lia: I take pride and feel like it’s a success when MIDZY says that they get fueled and gain confidence in their everyday lives from listening to our songs.
Between creating new music, practicing for tour, and performing live, I’m sure your schedules are normally packed. What are some of your favorite things to do during busy times to practice self-care?
Yeji: I really like to exercise. I’ve recently started doing Pilates. It is quite hard to follow, but after getting more familiar, I now feel fresh and healthier. After I finish a workout, I feel like I had a productive day.
Chaeryeong: I just try to find ways to calm myself down. I usually take some time to do calming activities, like image training, to reduce stress. I love to take some time to just be by myself in the quiet.
Given how the pandemic has transformed the world, what does a day in your current life look like?
Chaeryeong: Actually, for daily life, nothing much has changed! I wake up in the morning, do my daily activities, and go for training lessons. The only thing that has changed is the fact that I have to wear face masks and check my body temperature every day.
Is there a specific lyric, whether it’s a lyric from a song of yours or another artist’s, that resonates with you most during these uncertain times?
Yeji: There’s a track called “Be In Love” on our new EP. We are indeed in a time when things are hazy and not certain, but the message in this song is “hang in there and wait, we can do this all together.” I was thinking about MIDZY all day while we were recording this song. I miss you a lot MIDZY!
Yuna: “Stuck with U” by Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber. The lyric, “I’m stuck with you,” resonates with me a lot. I think the meaning of this lyric is that “you are the only one that I can focus on,” and it has a positive meaning for me. I was sad at first because I couldn’t meet MIDZY, but on the other hand, I got comfort through my family, and my lovely ITZY members.
What’s a question you wish you knew the answer to, whether it’s related to your music career, personal life, or about the world in general?
Lia: I wonder about the beginning of the world, and also, I wonder if I will meet someone I can grow old with and who will truly love me.
With the experiences you have now, what’s a message you would tell your younger self?
Ryujin: I want to tell my younger self that you are already doing well, so you don’t need to get so nervous and be so hard on yourself with whatever you do.