“Girls, all over the world / Dance tonight / And we could be anything, anything now,” EVERGLOW declare on their bold new single ‘Pirate’, an ode to letting go of one’s inhibitions and taking charge of your own destiny. Three years into their career and the six-member act have solidified their position as the act that exemplifies girl power in K-pop. Back with their third mini-album ‘Return of The Girl’, EVERGLOW – comprising members E:U, Sihyeon, Mia, Onda, Aisha and Yiren – welcome a new era with an imposing confidence that demands attention from the world.
“With ‘Pirate’, we want to take over and lead the world with our energy,” leader Sihyeon tells NME through a Zoom call, discussing the sextet’s propensity for empowering female-centric bangers. “While, of course, we want to be respected as performers and singers, we also want to be recognised [as people] who can act as role models to others,” explains the vocalist. “We are always working towards being individuals who can inspire and connect with people.”
In seeking to empower and energise their listeners, EVERGLOW have also realised how they themselves can find strength in their own music. “Our lyrics tend to carry this overwhelming sense of confidence and hope. So, having to sing and perform these songs all the time kind of [instills] that same confidence in ourselves,” says rapper and vocalist Aisha.
“뻥이 안치고 (casual slang meaning ‘no lie, but’ in Korean),” chimes in Yiren, the group’s bubbly youngest member, earning a chorus of stifled giggles from her bandmates. “거짓말 안하고,” she corrects herself, using a more formal term. “When we’re exhausted and having a hard time during practice, our own music gives us a lot of encouragement and strength.”
Onda also shares her hopes of establishing a sound that is unique to EVERGLOW through the mini-album and their future releases. “When people listen to our music, I want them to think: ‘Oh, this is EVERGLOW, this is their sound,’” she explained.
The girls have clearly grown closer as well, displaying a natural and effortless camaraderie throughout our catch-up. “As time passes, the six of us are becoming like one. Even without speaking, we can understand and communicate with one another,” Aisha tells NME with a gentle smile. Discussing their unbreakable bond, the group also share some of the traits they admire most in one another.
“I want to learn from Aisha,” says Mia. “I tend to speak in a very direct way, and along with my satoori, I think my words tend to come off as blunt and hurtful.” The singer hails from Gimhae, a city in the Southern province of Gyeongsang – a region known for its strong and harsh-sounding satoori, or dialect. “I would like to be able to speak like Aisha, who can be very light [with her words] no matter what she says,” she explains, to which the rapper responds with an embarrassed laugh.
Meanwhile, E:U and Sihyeon, the eldest of the six, expressed their envy towards Yiren’s youthful effervescence. “When we’re just hanging out and chatting, she comments on things in a very child-like and innocent way that makes me think, ‘she’s really cute and innocent’,” shares E:U, while the youngest member looks up from fiddling with her mic pack to cheekily grin and flash an ‘OK’ sign at the camera.
“As I age, I am becoming more and more unable to speak my mind in front of the camera,” adds their leader. “Age?!” Aisha and Onda question in confused whispers as they turn towards her. Sihyeon continues: “But Yiren, she can say things in a very satisfying and refreshing way, she’s refreshing, like soda.” The members nod in unison, agreeing with their leader’s sentiment. “Refreshing!” Yiren suddenly blurts, earning herself another wave of laughter from the group.
Looking back on 2021, EVERGLOW also speak about what they have been most grateful for this year. “I’m thankful that nobody got hurt this year, and that we were able to complete all our activities without any issues. I hope we can continue to do so,” Onda tells us.
And as for what’s on the horizon for the sextet, especially now that the pandemic seems to be in everyone’s rear window? Well, touring, of course – or so they hope. “As things get better, we hope to meet both our Korean and international fans on stage soon,” says Aisha. “We’ll be working hard in order to be able to meet all of you in-person as quickly as possible.”
The Zoom call ends with Sihyeon expressing her desire for the sight of fans singing and dancing along in the crowd as they perform. “I really miss seeing our fans at concerts”, she exclaims. Undoubtedly, the feeling is mutual for Forever – the name of EVERGLOW’s fandom – but with a much larger discography to their name, maybe the wait will be worth it after all.
EVERGLOW’s latest mini-album ‘Return of The Girl’ is out now.