K-pop fans have been clamouring for an all-female supergroup from SM Entertainment for some years now, ever since the South Korean company launched the all-male SuperM in 2019. That wish became reality late last year when SM Entertainment announced Girls On Top, a rotational supergroup consisting of members from the company’s large roster of stars.
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For the group’s first ever outing, SM Entertainment brought out the big guns, enlisting seven of the industry’s most elite artists across four generations of K-pop – soloist BoA, Girls’ Generation’s Taeyeon and Hyoyeon, Seulgi and Wendy of Red Velvet, and Winter and Karina from the company’s latest girl group aespa – in a sub-unit dubbed GOT The Beat.
All seven K-pop idols have, in one way or another, helped to pioneer the expansion of K-pop around the world, such as BoA being the first K-pop artist to ever chart on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2009 or aespa going viral in 2021 with their smash hit ‘Next Level’. And earlier this year, the septet took the world by storm with their first-ever single together, ‘Step Back’.
Join NME as we catch up with the members of GOT The Beat as they recall what it was like to work together for the first time, what they learned from one another and the future of Girls On Top.
This all-star line-up is a first of its kind for women in K-pop. When you were first approached about the idea, what were your thoughts?
BoA: “GOT The Beat is a unique combination of members, unlike any unit you’ve ever seen. Regardless of the concept, I was confident that we would have great synergy since all the members have incredible talent and charm. I was genuinely excited to showcase a powerful performance with such amazing members.”
Another very unique selling point of GOT The Beat is that you’ve united four generations of K-pop idols. What would you say is something that each of the generations brings to the table?
Taeyeon: “Before we officially started to prepare for the single, I imagined all of us together and what that would look like. There was nothing to worry about because we had great chemistry from the start. Each member contributed their talent, experiences and strength to this group, fulfilling their roles to the fullest in their given positions which created an amazing synergy.”
You all have some sense of camaraderie, being SM Entertainment artists, but this was obviously a new experience for all involved. What are some traits you’ve discovered about your fellow members through this collaboration?
Seulgi: “Because of our busy schedules, we didn’t really have the time to see members from other groups unless it was for the SMTOWN concert. With aespa, we’ve never performed together so this is my first time getting to know their style and personality. I wanted to get closer to all the members, so we shared many conversations while preparing for GOT The Beat.”
“I was thankful that the older members approached us first and made us feel comfortable. I’m pretty shy, but the nerves quickly disappeared as I chatted and had a great time laughing with the members. On a daily basis, the members are funny and playful but when we’re on stage, they are very professional and exude charisma and confidence. I was able to see this up close which made me fall for them as a fan once again.”
Looking back at the entire process of the song ‘Step Back’, from the recording to fimling the music video, what required the most time and care to execute?
Hyoyeon: “I would say the recording process was pretty smooth but nailing the choreography took more time and effort. It was my first time practicing with BoA, as well as Red Velvet and aespa, and we each have a different pace of learning the choreography which is only natural. We understood the differences and practiced each move repeatedly which allowed us to put together a strong performance in the end.”
Going into the creation of the track, did any of you ever approach each other for guidance based on another member’s strengths?
Winter: “Rather than approaching a specific member for advice, I was able to learn so much from just watching them up close. In particular, I gained a deeper understanding of interpreting and expressing a song as well as tips on stage such as gestures and facial expressions.”
With the exception of BoA, you’re all also members of other accomplished groups. How did GOT compare to some of your past group experiences?
Karina: “Just being able to practice and perform with amazing artists who I’ve loved and admired as a fan for a long time was beyond anything I could have ever imagined, but the insight I’ve gained from this experience made it even more special.”
When you think about the potential legacy of Girls On Top, what do you hope is something that will really resonate with people?
Wendy: “I am grateful to be part of such an exciting, new project. As you mentioned earlier, we all come from different generations of K-Pop and have gone through different experiences in our own groups, so I hope this unique combination of members and the synergy that we have resonates with people. Also, I hope people are reminded once again how uplifting and powerful K-pop is through our energetic music and performance!”
What can fans expect from future Girls On Top or GOT The Beat releases in the future?
BoA: “GOT the beat is a unit based on a concept featuring powerful dance music and performance so I’m confident that when we get together again, we’d be showcasing another powerful performance that will surprise the audience.”
GOT The Beat’s first single ‘Step Back’ is out now.