By Nadia Trudel
It’s difficult not to be charmed by the “rookie veteran” girl group VIVIZ.
From notoriously grueling trainee days to the struggle for recognition, unbridled success, and later rebirth, theirs is a unique path. You can’t help but root for Eunha, 25; SinB, 24; and Umji, 23. The three originally debuted in 2015, making up half of the girl group GFRIEND. Originally considered underdogs in the industry, GFRIEND went viral for performing breakout hit “Me Gustas Tu” at an outdoor concert in the rain where, despite multiple brutal falls, the girls kept getting up and dancing. The incident is a shining symbol of their resilience and work ethic.
After the abrupt disbandment of the beloved group in May 2021, the girls could’ve gone their separate ways. Instead, Eunha, SinB, and Umji came together to form VIVIZ. A clever abbreviation of the phrase “vivid dayz,” the group lives up to their sunny name with their bouncy debut track “BOP BOP!” and the refreshing passion of “LOVEADE,” off their new mini-album Summer Vibe. While the musicians tackled innocent, sophisticated, magical, and emotional concepts during their time as GFRIEND, their turn to retro pop makes VIVIZ especially exciting to watch.
VIVIZ has had a busy year between their debut in February and subsequent promotions for “BOP BOP!,” competing against groups like LOONA, WJSN, and Kep1er on the reality competition show Queendom 2, festival appearances, and their summer comeback. Despite their schedule, the artists join a midday Zoom call to chat about the many colors of Summer Vibe they’re bringing to fans. They happen to arrive in order of their age.
There’s main vocalist Eunha, whose bubbly voice makes her instantly recognizable despite keeping her camera turned off. Next is main dancer SinB, on Queendom 2 she attracted attention for her playfully blunt personality, particularly when she was shown getting out of a car looking serious while holding up a sign on her phone that read, “I’m in a good mood.” She presents the most mature image in the trio, with long dark hair and a small smirk rather than a toothy smile. Finally, there’s the maknae, or youngest member, Umji. Her once-flaming orange hair has faded to a soft sunset, and she appears up close and approachable. During the interview, she opts to answer a few questions in English without help from the interpreter.
MTV News: All three of you have been in the music industry for over seven years now. How has the K-pop industry changed since your original debut in 2015 and your debut this year?
Umji: Firstly, I think the genre of music has become very diverse during the past years, and it seems as though the characteristics of content have changed a lot. In the past, there were only platforms that were for television. But now, there are so many good platforms, such as YouTube, and we’re participating in many of them. I think there have been a lot of changes in that sense.
MTV News: After working together for so long, how did reforming as a trio change your relationships with each other or your group dynamic?
Eunha: Although we always had a good relationship before, I think we became even more reliant on each other and love each other more since becoming VIVIZ.
MTV News: The title of your new mini-album is Summer Vibe, what kind of mood were you trying to set?
SinB: You’ll be able to feel the freshness and excitement about summer through the title track and the B-side tracks of the album.
MTV News: Which song on the mini-album is your favorite?
Umji: I really love all the songs, but I think my favorite song excluding the title track is “Love Love Love.”
MTV News: Is there any reason?
Umji: I love the track, especially the chorus and the bass sound. It makes me excited.
Eunha: My favorite song is “SIESTA.” You’ll be able to feel a kind of lethargic and breezy feeling that’s suitable for summer.
SinB: I like the song called “Choom” [Korean for dance]. The title makes it seem like it would be an exciting song to dance to, but it actually has a very calm and somewhat mature feeling. I like how it’s a song you can comfortably listen to.
MTV News: What type of performance can fans expect for your comeback?
Umji: Considering that it’s a song for summer, I think they would be able to witness amazing energy from our members, and rather than us trying so hard, I think it’d be nice if they look forward to seeing VIVIZ enjoy the song.
MTV News: Competition can be stressful, but it can also be very energizing. What was it like participating in Queendom, your first survival show?
Eunha: I was worrying a lot before we went into shooting. I didn’t have any previous experience with competing, so I worried that it would be very stressful. But preparing for the stages was more enjoyable than I had predicted, and I was happy to receive the attention.
MTV News: Which Queendom performance are you most proud of?
SinB: Actually, we’re proud of all of our performances since we put so much effort while preparing for them. That being said, our final stage, the song itself was a song that we had been waiting so long for to be released to the world, so we’re very pleased and proud that we were able to pull off the performance well.
MTV News: In your final stage you performed “Red Sun!,” which was a song from your previous group that was never released. How did it feel to finally perform it?
Umji: Frankly speaking, although it is a song that we received during our time as GFRIEND, the original plan of the song was to make an album or do a performance during a concert as a unit group with the three of us. So, for a long time, “Red Sun!” was a song that the three of us were planning to perform, and we felt a sense of fulfillment to have finally come through with the plan that didn’t happen back then. In addition, since the song wasn’t in our hands, we missed and longed for it. We went into preparing for the performance with the thought that the song had finally found its rightful owners.
MTV News: You recently performed with some of your label mates like Soyou, Lee Mujin, and Mighty Mouth. Is there an artist with whom you’d like to collaborate?
SinB: Actually, we didn’t have fellow company artists until coming to Big Planet Made, and since there are so many artists here, including Soyou, I think it would be wonderful to collaborate with each one of them as the opportunities arise.
MTV News: All three of you have written and composed songs in the past. Are you working on anything right now?
Eunha: We didn’t participate in any songs for this album. However, all of us are still very interested in writing and composing, and we think it would be great if we could participate in making a good song someday.
MTV News: How do you stay energized and creative?
SinB: At this moment, noticing how we are developing and improving makes us want to work harder. Also, because we have a strong desire to show our diverse sides to our fans, we’re putting in the extra effort and trying to learn more about ourselves.
MTV News: Starting a new chapter as a new group, what goals do you have?
Umji: Although there may be times when I get tired while doing what we do, I wish to try to enjoy the hardships to a certain degree and to always remain grateful and happy even during those times.
Eunha: Since we are planning our United States debut, we hope to make the name VIVIZ widely known in the U.S., as well!