In an industry where seven years is usually the cap on a career for youthful idol acts, Korean girl group Girl’s Day is atypical. Earlier this year, all four of the current members decided to renew their contracts with Dream Tea Entertainment, even as many of their peers have broken up.
After a bevy of hits in the mid 2010s, the quartet became one of South Korea’s most acclaimed female acts, pairing flirty pop with dynamic stage presences.
As one of the most established acts at this year’s KCON 2017 LA, Girl’s Day dominated the stage with performances of recent singles “I’ll Be Yours” and “Ring My Bell” and ended its set with a captivating performance of the sultry “Something.” “Out of our songs, I think ‘Something’ is a really attractive song,” Sojin told Billboard ahead of taking the stage at the Staples Center, the group’s first stateside performance in several years. “People from all around the world would hear this song and say ‘Huh? Someone from Korea made this?’ I’m really proud of it. I really, really like ‘Something.’”
With female K-pop acts less frequently able to perform on their own in the States — Wonder Girls, Apink, and 2NE1 are the only girl groups that held solo tours in the country during the past decade — Girl’s Day’s Los Angeles set was a special occasion for fans and the members alike. “Even though the concert hasn’t even started, we are really loving this energy we are getting from our fans,” said Minah, referring to a fan meeting the girl group held earlier in the day to meet local Dai5y, the group’s fan club.
According to the members, their primary appeal to listeners is pretty blatant: “Each of our songs have a different kind of sexy feel,” said Minah. “Something,” the group’s slinky hit from 2014, offers up a more mature vibe, while “I’ll Be Yours,” the group’s brassy, most recent single, “was a powerful and fun sort of sexy that everyone could listen to and enjoy.”
Throughout its members’ career, Girl’s Day has primary been a quartet, but early on was stylized as a quintet, with Hyeri and Yura replacing two original members in 2011 and a fifth member departing the act in 2012. After bursting into the top tier of K-pop acts in 2013 with the explosive “Expectation” and its stylized suspender-snapping choreography, they saw numerous songs rank high on Korean music charts, while “Something” hit no. 2 on the now-defunct Korea K-pop Hot 100 chart and Everyday #5, the group’s most recent EP, debuted at No. 7 on Billboard’s World Albums chart in April.
Like their songs, each of the four women offer something to the group’s sensual appeal: Hyeri is the girl next door and a rising actress, Minah is known for her breathy, soulful vocals, Sojin is a versatile power vocalist and leader of the team and Yura serves as the group’s rapper and lead dancer. All of them have individually pursued careers as actresses and television personalities, and Minah released a solo EP in 2015 while Sojin has frequently lent her voice to Korean television show soundtracks. New individual projects are in the works. “Sojin and I are in the process of working on some songs,” confirmed Minah. “And as for Hyeri and Yuri, they said that if they have the chance they would like to participate [in solo music] as well.”
But with a new album out in March, their first since 2015, it’s unlikely that there will be much new music from Girl’s Day as a group any time soon.
As they move into the second leg of their career since the contract renewal, the members are seniors in the youthful K-pop industry and consummate professionals. But they’re also world travelers who know how to take advantage of traveling for work: in Los Angeles, Yura and Minah planned to play around at Universal Studios while Hyeri, with gusto, hoped to “return home with some extra weight” as she and Sojin explored the local culinary offerings.
Though they offered no official word on any new music as a group, Girl’s Day is expected to release something in collaboration with the PyeongChang 2018 Olympics, which they represent as honorary ambassadors. “We’re really proud and honored to be ambassadors and the face of such an important event,” said Sojin, adding that the group will work hard to do their best to represent South Korea.
KCON was the quartet’s first performance outside of Asia in a while, and the girls bounced with energy, eager to show off their performance to the Los Angeles crowd. “We’re really looking forward to it,” said Sojin. “And we hope for the opportunity to see you guys again!”