Since bursting onto the scene two years ago with their undeniably catchy debut single ‘Bon Bon Chocolat’, EVERGLOW have become synonymous with the phrase “Girl Crush” when it comes to the fourth generation K-pop girl groups. For the uninitiated, the girl crush concept in K-pop refers to groups who fully embrace their cool, mature side, unafraid to carry themselves with confidence and – at times – ferocity.
Known for their powerful performances and intense choreography, EVERGLOW – comprising members Sihyeon, E:U, Mia, Aisha, Onda and Yiren – certainly fit the bill. It was particularly clear with EVERGLOW’s past two releases; Last February’s heavy-hitting EDM hit ‘Dun Dun’ won K-pop fans over with its addictive hook and powerful choreography, while its follow-up ‘La Di Da’ was an empowering synthwave-inspired bop.
Now, after eight months away, the girls are back as “warriors from the future” in the video for ‘First’, which is the title track of their latest single album project ‘Last Melody’. EVERGLOW are readier than ever to take on the world, but along with their usual bold girl crush image, the group have also started to experiment more with their sound on this new release: ‘Please Please’ is an emotional pop ballad, while the cutesy retro-inspired ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ is a step outside of their comfort zone.
The group recently spoke to NME to talk more about ‘Last Melody’, their role models in the K-pop industry, the importance of self-love and what kind of music fans can expect from them in the future.
Hello EVERGLOW, congratulations on the release of your new single album, ‘Last Melody’! How does it feel to be back with new music after an eight month break?
Sihyeon: “Because it’s been some time since we had a comeback, we have been preparing a lot for [‘Last Melody’]. We have practiced and put in a lot of effort and energy into this comeback. We want to thank those who have been supporting us. We have definitely grown a lot through this comeback and the time we spent preparing for it the past eight months. We hope everybody enjoys what we prepared!”
What are some challenges EVERGLOW faced while preparing for this comeback?
Mia: “It was definitely harder than some of our previous performances. This time, the choreography was more of the hip-hop genre but we were able to reflect on and refer to previous performances. Based on that, we were able to practice more and utilise those performances to continuously build up on those and perform well for this comeback.”
EVERGLOW’s comeback releases always seem to be more intense and passionate than the previous ones. How do you think the group, as a whole, have grown in confidence since your debut?
Sihyeon: “More than anything, we really just want to show our appreciation and gratitude to the fans, especially for this comeback, because they’ve been waiting for so long. We really wanted to make up for the time they have waited. I think that is what makes us work harder and come out stronger with every comeback.”
Much like some of your other title tracks, ‘First’ presents EVERGLOW as a group that focuses on female empowerment. Who are your role models when it comes to female empowerment and why?
Mia: “I really enjoy Ailee and BoA. They have various backgrounds and tastes in genres, and they’re able to portray these different genres without hesitation. They’re also really able to immerse themselves in and take on all these genres, whether it’s hip-hop, rap or anything, when it comes to music or dance. They are all-rounders, and I really look up to that.”
Onda: “For me, I really look up to IU as a role model. I really like her music and I’m really inspired by the way she performs. I want EVERGLOW’s music and performances to touch many people like her, and that is why IU is my role model.”
What kind of advice would you give to fans who also want to build their self-confidence?
Aisha: “No matter what happens, one piece of advice I would give is to always love yourself and love everything about yourself. No matter what happens, it’s always important to know who you are and to know where you come from. It’s important to stay true to yourself.”
The ballad track ‘Please Please’ showcases a different side to EVERGLOW’s usual girl crush image. What kind of emotions did you try to express with the song?
Mia: “‘Please Please’ is a really good song to portray a different image of EVERGLOW, and prove that we don’t come off as just strong and passionate. The song gives us a chance to show a more emotional and beautiful side to EVERGLOW where we could convey feelings of sadness and also show each member’s vocal capabilities and colour.”
Although there’s only three songs on it, ‘Last Melody’ is a really diverse project and features the retro-inspired ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’. What encouraged the group to experiment with all these different sounds at once?
Sihyeon: “Instead of always only releasing powerful songs in one album, we wanted to truly appeal to the fans and send them some healing in a sense, by giving them an album with three different songs with various emotions. We hope to be able to appeal to different types of emotions through each song. Hopefully, listeners are able to enjoy all the songs in the album.”
What other genres would you like to try in the future and why?
Mia: “Honestly, we’ve tried quite a few genres such as pop ballads and retro-[inspired songs]. In the future, I hope we can try R&B because each member has their own vocal colour to show off. While our vocals vary a lot, I think we could still match the R&B style well. So I’d like to give it a try and I think it would come out great!”
E:U previously wrote lyrics for EVERGLOW’s last comeback, ‘La Di Da’, as well as the 2019 song ‘Moon’. What are your personal goals when it comes to producing, songwriting or choreographing?
Onda: “We actually all hope to produce and write songs together in the future as a group. We want to be able to either produce a song together or have every member contribute lyrics to a track someday. I hope that will be a great part of EVERGLOW’s future.”
What artists/songs have the members of EVERGLOW been listening to recently? How do you think the music you’ve heard will influence the future sound of the group?
Yiren: “I’ve been listening to a lot of Taylor Swift, who I’ve really liked since I was in middle school up till now. I really like how she is very confident and cool in her image, so I hope EVERGLOW can give off a similar confident image as a team. She could have an influence on our future music, but it’s too soon to say. But Taylor Swift is definitely an artist I’ve been enjoying recently.”
It’s only been two years since EVERGLOW’s debut, but the group have already achieved notable worldwide popularity. What do you attribute your success to, especially in such a cutthroat industry?
Aisha: “I think it could be because our team is very focused on performance. No matter what stage we are on we always try to give our best and perform with passion. In the past two years since our debut we have always tried to show that we’re giving 100 per cent or even 200 per cent to our performance. Maybe that’s just what the fans can see – that we always put in effort on stage no matter what – and are grateful for.”
Looking beyond ‘Last Melody’, what are some of the goals EVERGLOW have for the future?
Sihyeon: “Not only being able to perform offline but also performing more in general. We want to bring happiness not only to fans but also just [to] all kinds of people around the world. We would also really like to make EVERGLOW more well-known and bring joy to those who listen to our music.”
With the ongoing worldwide pandemic, it must have been difficult to meet fans the past year. What would EVERGLOW like to say to FOREVER until you see each other again?
E:U: “Thank you so much for waiting the past eight months while we prepared for this comeback. We love you so much! As a team, we want to become the artists that fans have been expecting and waiting for. Thank you for waiting for such a long time!”
EVERGLOW’s new single album ‘Last Melody’ is out now.