There’s no denying that K-Pop has completely changed the music industry, as it’s become a pop-culture staple in the last decade with a more recent evolution in the last five years alone. In a time where the “genre” is rapidly flourishing, a new super-group of K-Pop royalty emerged from the juggernaut label JYP by the name of ITZY. Comprised of five talented women named Yeji, Lia, Ryujin, Chaeryeong, and Yuna, the group debuted in February of 2019 with “Dalla Dalla” becoming an instant smash-hit for their house music sound with an EDM flare as well as their fine-tuned choreography and fearless vocals.
The video went on to reach 170 million views, with several others since then like the addictively empowering “Icy” the confidence boost from “Wannabe” or their self-made music video for “Nobody Like You” amassing 800,000 combined views for their music videos and millions of unique listeners across streaming platforms around the world. With numbers that are unforeseen to a majority of artists and the undeniable drive behind their success, ITZY is a phenomenal example of artists using their platform to its full capacity — but that level of stardom doesn’t come without graciousness, tenacity and commitment, which undoubtedly describes these five women.
The K-Pop queens most recently dropped their third EP titled Not Shy, with their new video being the album’s title track, involving some of the group’s hardest choreography yet. Chaeryeong (vocalist and sub rapper) emphasizes to us, “I think the choreography of ‘Not Shy’ may look easy, but it’s actually challenging to remember.” About stepping up their intensity, she adds, “I always set high expectations and challenge to do my best for myself.”
“Not Shy” is definitely an anthem that celebrates being your most confident self. Still, the idea of confidence is something that admittedly is something that we all deal with in some capacity, which Lia addresses, “Of course – we all weren’t born confident. We’re building more confidence now, thanks to MIDZY.” Whether or not it comes naturally to them, it’s the fact that fans can observe ITZY’s courageous demeanor, which subsequently inspires countless others.
As far as other tracks on the album, the women make it known that they would love to create visuals for others. In particular, Chaeryeong divulges, “I think it’d be nice to shoot a music video for ‘iD.’ The song is about confident love just like the title song, and the lyrics of the song suit us well!” ITZY’s dazzling edgy-pop production returns for “iD” accompanied by a playful melody to fit right in with some of their past hits, but displays their vocal prowess at every turn.
Aside from their global reach and force of a fandom labeled MIDZY, the five women make sure to stand for something positive and promote an idea that you can respectfully receive others’ opinions but know enough about who you are to stand by your own values. This respect plays a pivotal role in their tight-knit relationship with fans, and these are memories they cherish. Yuna tells us, “I am endlessly grateful for MIDZY and thankful for their support in helping us win the rookie of the year award! MIDZY’s has given us so much love since our debut, and we want to continue to grow so they can continue to be proud of us!”
As a group, ITZY has been met with almost immediate attention for a good reason, and in that time, they have grown and adapted with a level-head, explaining the biggest lesson they’ve learned since debuting. The group’s endearing leader, Yeji shares, “I’m grateful that so many people have acknowledged our work ethic and are fans of our music.” She adds, “After each comeback, we remind ourselves that hard work always pays off! It reminds us to stay humble and work harder to continue to perform better for our fans!”
One of the group’s biggest strengths comes from their adaptability as artists, and they wasted no time to show the scope of their potential. Whether it’s their EDM rooted introduction, the punk-twinged rebellious side of “Nobody Like You,” the addictive beachy summer trance titled “Surf,” or the softer side of the group in their more stripped song “Be In Love,” they explore music through several sub-genres. Resident ITZY rapper Ryujin hopes to explore that more recent, softer side, reiterating, “I want to try making slower, calmer songs like ‘Be in Love’ from our new album.”
ITZY went on their first international tour at the end of 2019 and the beginning of 2020, performing at multiple venues throughout the US. Still, the landscape of live music has changed drastically through the pandemic. Many artists have had to cancel, postpone and reform their plans, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t holding out for a brighter, more music-filled future, and the girls of ITZY would genuinely like to return to places they’ve performed. Although they could choose anywhere in the world they hadn’t seen, the group’s love for their tour established a desire to recreate that same magic. Yuna concluded, “Every place we have visited has been truly memorable to me. If I have the chance, I’d like to return to each place and perform again!”
ITZY’s new album Not Shy is available to stream now, so make sure to check it out, along with the group’s channel for behind the scenes content (including a perfect version of “Not Shy” for Halloween) and much more.