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    Itzy Open Up About Breaking The K-Pop Girl Group Mold, So We Have No Choice But To Stan

    "Since the central theme [of our songs] is the message of 'self-love,' I think that in itself has sort of broken the mold."

    If you didn't already know, Itzy are the emerging queens of K-pop. Just a year into their careers, the powerhouse JYP Entertainment rookies have exploded onto the scene with their infectious, confidence-boosting anthems like "Dalla Dalla," "Icy," and their latest single, "Wannabe."

    Kevin Chow / Via kevinc.how

    I mean, how can you NOT stan a group that sings lyrics like, "Stop with the nagging, I'll take care of it" and "Can’t let you kill my vibe, that’s a no no"?

    But let's rewind real quick and dive into how Itzy came to be. The name "Itzy" means "to have" or "got it," and their slogan/greeting is "All in us," which all together means that they've got everything you could want in a K-pop group — yes, they're that confident. ✨That's also why their premier showcase tour (which brought the girls to five US city stops in January 2020) was called "Itzy? Itzy!" It's basically like saying, "Got it? Got it!"

    BuzzFeed Celeb / Via youtube.com

    Housed under JYP Entertainment, the group is made up of five talented members: Yeji (the leader), Ryujin, Chaeryeong, Lia, and Yuna. Their fans are called Midzy, which thoughtfully combines "trust" in Korean ("믿음" or "mid-eum") and their own name, Itzy. They officially debuted in February 2019 with It'z Different and the lead single, "Dalla Dalla," but the members had already captivated audiences with their incredible performance capabilities even prior to their debut — with Chaeryeong competing on Sixteen (the JYP Entertainment reality competition show that created Twice), Ryujin earning the top female spot on JTBC's show Mix Nine, and Ryujin and Yuna's cameos in BTS's "Love Yourself Highlight Reel." Seriously, it'z all so impressive.

    After releasing their second EP, It'z Icy, last summer and sweeping up multiple New Artist/Rookie of the Year awards, Itzy are back with their first album, It'z Me. And let me tell you: it's full of electronic, EDM-y bops that make me feel like I'm out dancing with my friends — rather than stuck at home 24/7 during a pandemic. (It's the little things, no?)

    We caught up with the fierce ladies of Itzy to talk about their latest album, It'z Me, their bond with Midzy, and the nicest thing fans have said to them.

    JYP Entertainment / Via youtube.com

    Let's begin!

    What is your favorite song on your new album, It'z Me, and why?

    JYP Entertainment / Via youtube.com

    Yeji: "'That's a No No.’ The cheerful beat and the sound make me want to dance, and it’s got a nice melody."

    Lia: "'That's a No No.’ I like how it has a refined and cheerful vibe."

    Ryujin: "'Nobody Like You.' The mood of the song is something that I really like, and makes me think about how refreshing and comforting it is to listen to it."

    Chaeryeong: "'That's a No No.’ I think the song sounds even more exciting and fun because the feel of the track was something we haven’t done before."

    Yuna: "'That's a No No.’ The background sounds are diverse and fun, which I think made the mood of the song even more charming. Without even realizing it, I start feeling good when I’m listening to it."

    Did you have any funny or memorable moments while on set filming the "Wannabe" music video?

    JYP Entertainment / Via youtube.com

    Yeji: "I used a body camera for the first time in an individual scene. The director told me to wrap three blankets around my waist because it’s heavy, but I said it was okay and only used one. It turned out to be very heavy, so I just pushed through it. I was happy, though, because the end result was worth how hard it was!!"

    Lia: "In one of my individual scenes, I kick around food and break things. These are things that you can’t really do in your daily life, so it was really fun to shoot."

    Ryujin: "When we got to shoot the scene where we’re all together, we got to improvise a lot, and even some unexpected things happened on set, so it was really fun."

    Chaeryeong: "It was new and fun for me to film the part where I was running away in my individual scene. One memorable thing I remember from this was when the director asked me not to look so scared, haha."

    Yuna: "There was an individual scene I had where I had to take off my heels, but since they were just the right size, they wouldn’t come off easily. I remember feeling embarrassed after hearing the director call 'Action,' haha."

    What was your favorite part of the recording process for It'z Me?

    JYP Entertainment

    Yeji: "It felt fun and new to sing and record in different tones."

    Lia: "It’s more fun and energetic when all the members go into the recording booth and sing all together, rather than when I go in to record by myself."

    Ryujin: "Maybe because we're all in the same booth when we record the parts where we sing all together, but it’s so fun and gives me a lot of energy."

    What’s the nicest thing a fan has said to you?

    JYP Entertainment / Via youtube.com

    Yeji: "It cheered me up when a fan told me, 'Thanks for being my star.' That gave me a lot of strength and made me think that I need to work even harder to show our fans even more."

    Lia: "There was a fan who said to me, 'Thank you for inspiring girls all over the world,' and that was truly memorable.'"

    Ryujin: "When fans tell me, 'Good job, you worked hard,' it’s especially heartwarming and feels very genuine."

    Chaeryeong: "It was the most moving and memorable when a fan told me, 'Thanks for being my star.'”

    Yuna: “'Your smile makes me smile!' The fact that my smile can make fans smile helped me to have more faith in myself."

    How would you describe the relationship between Itzy and Midzy? What have you learned from Midzy, and what lessons do you hope to pass on to Midzy?

    Vlive

    Yeji: "Itzy and Midzy are like good friends who give each other strength when life gets tough, and the courage to continue forward! I want to tell Midzy that we’re receiving and learning positive energy from how they’re always rooting for us below the stage, and likewise, that we also want to become artists who always root for them as well."

    Lia: "Midzy is like a roof. Just like how five tall pillars mean nothing when there’s no roof to hold them together and provide protection, we need Midzy for Itzy to be complete. We, as Itzy, will do our best to provide good support as pillars so that the roof doesn’t fall through. I learned a lot about love and warmth from Midzy. I want to tell them how beautiful, precious, and lovable they are!"

    Ryujin: "They’re like friends, and because I’m so grateful for the amount of love Midzy gives us, I always wonder how to reciprocate that love back to them. I’m thankful that Midzy has made me into a person who thinks about how to return love, and although I say this often, I want them to know they’re all so cool and beautiful just as they are."

    Chaeryeong: "I want to say Itzy and Midzy are each other’s joy! We’ve learned from Midzy how to love and root for someone, and how to express that love and support. I think we can pass on how to dance to Midzy!"

    Yuna: "I think Itzy and Midzy exist to make every moment of each other’s lives special! Midzy always makes us feel comforted, and I get a great sense of security from their support. I want to thank Midzy for always being there for us, and I want them to know how much we love them!"

    With your hectic schedules and all of the content you put out for fans, how do you take time to focus on yourselves?

    Kevin Chow / Via kevinc.how

    Yeji: "I take some time, however brief, to reflect on myself right before I go to bed or when I’m writing in my diary."

    Lia: "Before I go to bed, I typically organize the schedule for the next day, as well as the thoughts in my head."

    Ryujin: "Whenever I’m in the car or have time for rest, I listen to music that I’ve been wanting to listen to and recharge myself. I like to have that time to myself to think."

    Chaeryeong: "I close my eyes and think when I’m traveling or before I go to bed. I also write down things like how I feel, promises to myself, and self-reflections in a notebook."

    Yuna: "Between busy schedules, I take time to focus on myself by listening to music or reading."

    How would you describe the bond between you and the other members?

    JYP Entertainment / Via youtube.com

    Yeji: "They feel like my second family. It’s weird when they’re gone because they’re always there with me in my daily life."

    Lia: "Perhaps it’s because I’ve known the members since I was a trainee, but we’re so close that it’s hard to express in words how tightly bonded we are."

    Ryujin: "We’ve become each other’s photo albums. Although we’re not old, I can already see myself from the past in the other members, and I can also see the other members in myself."

    Chaeryeong: "I want to say we’re each other’s vitamins! We help each other and become each other’s strength."

    Yuna: "Our relationship is inseparable. The trust between the members has made us become fearless!"

    What is a bucket list item (either personal or careerwise) you want to cross off in 2020?

    JYP Entertainment / Via youtube.com

    Yeji: "This year, I don’t want to get sick — I want to stay healthy, and I’d like to grow more."

    Lia: "I want to grow even more and learn more about myself!"

    Ryujin: "First off, I want 2020 to also be a happy year for Itzy as a group, as well as for each individual member. I hope this can be a year where I can learn more about myself."

    Chaeryeong: "My goal is to become a stronger person. I tend to regret things a lot, so I also want to work on that part of my personality."

    Yuna: "I want to try many different hobbies in 2020!"

    After you debuted, did anything surprise you about being an idol?

    JYP Entertainment / Via youtube.com

    Yeji: "The biggest surprise was meeting our Midzy, who trusted us and waited for us. And thanks to our fans who really supported and loved our music, we won generous awards that we didn’t deserve, and the dreams we’ve had since we were trainees became a reality."

    Lia: "When I see our fans come out to root for us and support us, it still amazes me and stuns me."

    Ryujin: "First of all, I did not expect this amount of love, so it was all a wonderful surprise. Now I think about how I’m going to return the love we’ve been given as we’ve been together and touring as Itzy for a year now."

    Chaeryeong: "It’s still amazing to me that I’m on TV! It’s been a year since we debuted, but honestly, I don’t really feel different. It’s very cool when other senior idol stars talk about us."

    How did it feel like to debut with a song as powerful and full of self-love as “Dalla Dalla”? What did the fans’ reactions mean to you?

    Kevin Chow / Via kevinc.how

    Yeji: "It was easy to immerse myself in the song because the theme of the song was to 'love myself.' I’m really glad that 'Dalla Dalla' was our debut song. It felt rewarding, and it made me happy that our fans were able to relate to the song so well."

    Yuna: "Since it was our debut song, we worked really hard for it, but we were still worried — but because our fans loved the song, it was such a relief. I think I was able to perform with even more confidence because I felt the love the fans had for the song."

    In “Dalla Dalla” you sing, “Don’t measure me by your standards alone / I love being myself, I'm nobody else.” And in “Cherry” you sing, “Because I broke all the rules. Because I’m going to show you the real me.” In your own words, how do you think Itzy breaks the mold?

    Kevin Chow / Via kevinc.how

    Ryujin: "First off, since the central theme [of our songs] is the message of 'self-love,' I think that in itself has sort of broken the mold. I think our style and performances break the usual standards and adjectives/descriptions many people have associated with girl groups."

    Lia: "I think it’s how our songs deliver the message of, 'Don’t be swayed by the norms, and live by what you hope and believe.' I think the ultimate message of those lyrics is to trust yourself."

    If you could do a collab stage with another JYP artist, who would it be with, and what song would you choose to perform?

    Kevin Chow / Via kevinc.how

    Chaeryeong: "We’d love to collab with Twice! We LOVE them! And it would be even better if we could do a song from our producer, Park Jin-young."

    What did you take away or learn from your first US showcase tour?

    Kevin Chow / Via kevinc.how

    Yeji: "As we did the US showcase tour, we saw fans who have been supporting us from far places, and as we went to see our fans and perform for them, we thought that we should work harder to show them even better performances in the future. We were really touched when fans surprised us at the end of the show with a video they had made. We were also very grateful for their words of comfort and support."

    Ryujin: "The tour couldn’t have been any better, thanks to our enthusiastic Midzy. I was able to clearly learn about the kind of energy that’s exchanged with fans during a performance. They’re always very responsive, but they were especially excited when we performed 'Dalla Dalla' at the end of the show. We’ll always remember those moments when fans from every US city on the tour sang 'Dalla Dalla' with us."

    Yuna: "It was memorable when fans stood up for us whenever the songs started, even when it was a seated venue. Seeing them do that made us think that we should repay them with even better performances. We’ll work harder!"

    Thanks for chatting with us, Itzy!

    Mnet

    Be sure to stream and/or buy their new album, It'z Me!

    This interview has been edited for clarity and length.