20 Questions With Red Velvet: K-Pop Queens Talk Shining Together on 'Queendom' Mini Album & More

Red Velvet
SM Entertainment

Red Velvet

Red Velvet collect their crowns as K-pop queens on their new mini album Queendom, which the group released last week.

The five-piece female group reigns over six tracks on the new project, which encompasses dance-pop, electronic, R&B and soul and boasts their strength and beauty on the uplifting bubblegum-pop title track as well as their fashion-forward essence on the braggadocious runway anthem "Pose."

Members Irene, Seulgi, Wendy, Joy and Yeri have sat atop the throne of Billboard's World Albums chart with four different projects since their Aug. 1, 2014, debut. Last fall, their 2017 project was crowned the top girl group album of all time on a Billboard poll. While the quintet has at times splintered off for their own solo and unit musical projects, Queendom represents their unity at its finest.

To commemorate the release of Queendom, the members of Red Velvet answered Billboard’s 20 Questions about what lessons they want their ReVeluv fandom to take away from their new project, what lessons they've learned about being in Red Velvet for the last seven years, what it really means to be a queen, and which other queen they salute.

Check out the Q&A below.

1. What’s the first piece of music that you bought for yourself, and what was the medium?

Seulgi: The first piece of music I purchased was a TVXQ! CD. Since I was very young and of course didn’t have any experience buying a CD from a store, I just grabbed an album that had TVXQ!'s name on it. It turned out to be a different album than what I actually wanted to buy but was so excited to own a copy of their CD. I eventually fell in love with that album too, and listened to it so many times I memorized all the lyrics.

2. Who or what made you realize you could be an artist full-time?

Wendy: My dad had a huge influence on me. He loved music and would listen to a wide variety of genres and artists. Growing up, I was surrounded by music all the time at home whether I was learning instruments or improvising and playing jazz with my dad, so naturally, I was drawn into the musical world at a very young age. He is a big reason why I am very open to different styles of music as well.

3. How did your hometown/city shape who you are?

Yeri: Even if I noticed or not, my "hometown" itself and everything/everyone there had a part in creating the foundation of who I am right now, so I think it’s the core that gives me strength and comfort at the same time. By realizing that, I learned to cherish the people and everything around me and not take their love for granted.

4. What were your childhood dreams?

Joy: Other than pursuing a career in music, I considered becoming a kindergarten teacher because I love children. Being around them gives me so much energy and joy.

5. What was the first concert you saw?

Seulgi: The first concert I ever went to was TVXQ!'s concert in Seoul. It was shortly after I joined the company as a trainee and I remember feeling very excited from the beginning because they were one of my favorite groups when I was young. I remember singing along to all the songs and having a great time. I can still remember that day and the energy that I felt as if it happened yesterday so it must’ve been a very special experience for me. The artist and the fans coming together as one and feeding off each other’s energy is something I will never forget.

6. What’s the last song you listened to?

Irene: "Free Love (Dream Edit)" by HONNE. When I sit back and listen to this song, it makes me fall deep into my emotions.

7. If you could see any artist in concert, dead or alive, who would it be?

Wendy: Beyoncé! It would be an honor to see her performance!

8. What’s at the top of your professional bucket list?

Yeri: Doing what my heart desires in my truest form for a long time. I think this is very inspirational.

9. What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen happen in the crowd at one of your shows?

Joy: On an overseas tour, I was really moved by our international fans who memorized the lyrics in Korean and sang along to all our songs. They even made a special chant for each song. It blew my mind in the best way possible!

10. What do you want fans to take away from your new project Queendom?

Irene: When we’re together, we shine more beautifully so let’s be there for each other forever and always.

11. Which song on Queendom is your personal favorite and why?

Yeri: "Knock On Wood" is one of my favorites! I thought the lyrics about making a wish on a tree were very playful and unique. I also like the kitschiness of this song!

12. What does being a "queen" mean to you?

Joy: Setting your own standard and accomplishing your goals without comparing yourself to other people or their standards.

13. Apart from being in Red Velvet, each of you have kept busy by releasing solo and unit albums, acting in film/TV shows and modeling for various brands. How did branching out from the main group impact your artistry?

Seulgi: While doing solo activities, I was able to discover a new side of myself that I didn’t know about before. I challenged myself to try new experiences and over time, I became more relaxed and my mind felt more at ease. This allowed me to enjoy every moment, which was very refreshing for me. This healthier attitude and mindset also contributed to my ability in coping with various situations without being easily shaken.

14. You recently celebrated your seventh anniversary as a group. What’s been the biggest lesson being part of Red Velvet has taught you?

Wendy: Two big lessons I learned are to make every moment count and to never fail to try more. I always try my best whether I am working with my team members onstage or singing as a solo artist. I am also never afraid of trying different musical styles and expanding my abilities as an artist. I would say these lessons helped us stay strong as a group over the last seven years. Lastly, the biggest lesson I learned through this entire process is that Red Velvet can’t be where we are now without the continuous love and support of our fans, ReVeluv.

15. What’s one piece of advice you would give to your pre-debut self?

Seulgi: The most important thing is to know how to have fun onstage. Stop worrying about what other people think and do what makes you happy!

16. What country or place do you want to perform in most?

Irene: It doesn’t matter where we are as long as we’re with ReVeluvs and having the time of our lives!

17. You’ve all worked in film and television and recently lent your voices to the 2020 animated film Trolls World Tour, alongside Justin Timberlake, Kelly Clarkson, Mary J. Blige and other iconic artists. How did it feel to have your names attached to this all-star project?

Wendy: When I was young, I would watch these great artists perform and dream of becoming a singer one day. Now that I get to work with them as a K-pop star, I am so grateful for the opportunities to collaborate. Dreams come true indeed!

18. What movie, or song, always makes you cry?

Yeri: The movie that makes me cry is My Tomorrow, Your Yesterday. I can’t even count how many times I watched this movie but every time I watch it, it touches me really deeply as if I watched it for the first time. There are no words to express the emotions that this movie captures and the way it makes you feel. Some songs that make me cry are "Places We Won’t Walk" by Bruno Major, "Meet Me in Dreams" by Kwon Jin Ah, "Happy Birthday, Johnny" by St. Vincent and "If the World Was Ending" by JP Saxe and Julia Michaels.

19. What’s one thing that even your most devoted fans don’t know about you?

Joy: I may appear to be happy and outgoing all the time, but I’m actually pretty introverted and reserved. I just try my best to always smile.

20. What does a successful 2022 look like for you?

Irene: I don’t have a set plan yet but meeting our fans in person and performing for them are definitely at the top of my list. In 2022, I want to make more memories with ReVeluvs!