Red Velvet Talks Bringing 'RedMare' Tour to U.S., Reveluv & Dream Collaborators

Red Velvet
Courtesy of SM Entertainment

Red Velvet performs during their RedMare tour on Feb. 17, 2019 in Newark, N.J.

For years, Red Velvet has been one of the best-selling, and best-charting K-pop acts in the U.S. But it wasn’t until last year that the quintet held their first solo show, a fanmeet, in Chicago. That gig represented their first opportunity to meet their Stateside fans -- known as Reveluv -- in an intimate setting. But with their recently completed RedMare concert series, which took them to five cities throughout the country for six nights of shows, Wendy, Seulgi, Joy, Irene, and Yeri were able to bring their addicting brand of dance-pop to much bigger American audiences.

One of K-pop’s most popular girl groups, Red Velvet’s tour, which sold-out multiple dates, emphasized how few female K-pop teams tour in the U.S. Though RedMare is the second of three K-pop girl group concert series’ set to hit the U.S. in 2018 -- Oh My Girl had a small tour earlier this year and BLACKPINK will hit up arenas this spring -- it is only the fifth-ever tour by a K-pop girl group to hit the States since 2009. Prior to Red Velvet, only Wonder Girls, 2NE1, Apink, and Oh My Girl hosted their own Stateside tours, even though male counterparts, regardless of their level of popularity, and, to a lesser degree, female soloists, regularly host concerts in the U.S.

With a focus on their vibrant brand of poppish “red” songs, opting out of the majority of the sleek, R&B-infused “velvet” side of their discography, Red Velvet took to theater venues in Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas and Miami before holding the final date of the U.S. leg of RedMare at Newark’s New Jersey Performing Arts Center on Sunday (Feb. 17). Throughout the two-and-a-half hour set, the five women performed and interacted with the sold-out, diverse audience.

Ahead of Red Velvet’s final Stateside RedMare show, Billboard sat down with the group to discuss the concert series and any potential plans they have for collaborations.

This is the last U.S. stop of your RedMare tour. How do you feel the concert series has gone?

Seulgi: We couldn’t have even imagined that we’d do the U.S. tour. But we’re here, and time flew by so fast. We were able to meet all our fans here in the States, and we’re taking a lot of energy and strength from meeting them.

You've performed in the U.S. a few times prior to this, but has your impression of your American audience changed at all throughout the tour?

Seulgi: The fans all sing along with us, and they might not understand the lyrics -- we’re not sure -- but the energy behind it and the harmony between the fans and Red Velvet is really amazing. We were so surprised they could sing along.

Do your fans in other countries not sing along?

Wendy: They do, but the vibe is different. Different energy. They have their own groove and their own vibe. It’s really free.

Seulgi: Fans everywhere are energetic, but every country has a different response. In Korea, they have fan chants, a structure to the performance. But it’s a little different here, it’s almost a wild passion.

Irene: For me, I remember seeing the audience members just riding the rhythm, dancing along, and it really went beyond my expectations. It gave me a lot of energy. When we dance, there’s a way that we perform and sing. But the way that the audience interprets the dance is a lot different. It makes me really excited to see American fans doing that. It gives me a lot of strength.

What were some memorable moments from the tour that stood out to you?

Wendy: For me, I guess, the very first section of our concert. Because that’s the first time we meet our fans. In each region they have different energy also, so everytime we go on and perform I get different energy from them in the first section of the concert. 

Seulgi: It was my birthday when we were in Dallas, and during that concert the fans did a project where they wished me happy birthday. It was the first time I spent the actual day of my birthday with fans, right in front of me, and I got a little teary-eyed. It was very touching.

Wendy, are you looking forward to bringing RedMare to Toronto, where you grew up?

Wendy: Yes, definitely. Toronto’s my home. [Laughs] It’s going to be the first time my sister sees me perform. So I’m kind of excited and nervous at the same time.

You have one of the highest profile K-pop girl group tours in the U.S. in years, and one of the biggest ones ever ahead of a really busy touring season with many Korean acts heading stateside throughout the first few months of 2019. How does it feel to be leading this surge?

Joy: We’re going to be one of the girl groups with a tour this year, and we just love that we’re starting off this journey. It’s opening up waves for K-pop. We’re making K-pop a lot more known, not just in the States but across the whole world. It just makes me feel really proud. But there’s also a bit of pressure, and I want to end this tour really well.  

Last year saw several of you collaborate with other artists, like Wendy with John Legend on "Written in the Stars" and Seulgi on "Wow Thing" with three other K-pop stars. Who are some other artists Red Velvet, either as a whole or as individuals, would like to work with in the future?

Seulgi: As a group, if the opportunity presents itself we want to work with non-Korean artists, artists that are known worldwide.

Anyone in particular?

Yeri: Charlie Puth, I’m listening to a lot of his songs lately.

Seulgi: I like Billie Eilish.

Yeri: Halsey! And Ariana Grande.

Joy: I want to work with John Mayer.