A New Generation of K-Pop Girl Group, Red Velvet

SM Entertainment’s girl group, Red Velvet, composed of 5 lovely members are the next shooting star for creating trendy music that will attract many K-pop fans out there. Check out their exclusive interview with Marie Claire Korea!

Red Velvet – Interview per Member

Encaptured by the world of adventurous girls, Red Velvet is the most creative and attractive K-pop girl group existing out there! 

1 Red Velvet MarieClaire Apr2016Wendy’s flower printed blouse from Paul & Joe, pants from Fleamadonna, and white shoes from Flat Apartment. Seulgi’s silk patterned gown, shirts and denim pants are all from We11done by Rare Market, and shoes are from stylist’s collection. Irene’s see-through dress from Bnb12, and shoes from Hollyshop. Joy’s dress from Valentino, and white loafer from Reike Nen. Yeri’s striped knit sweater from Lucky Chouette, and red dress from Reneevon.

‘Ever since SM Entertainment introduced f(x) five years ago, it is their first time in years with a new girl group representing their entertainment company’.

This statement alone already explains that Red Velvet is their next shooting star, but the trouble is when it comes to describing their characteristics. Red Velvet is a very mysterious girl group who has extraordinary songs, unique dress-type school uniforms, and popping group dances. They just don’t match any definition of K-pop singers we know today (cute, sophisticated or sexy). Only their songs ‘Ice Cream Cake’ and ‘Be Natural’, which brings back an old genre of psychedelic rock and a soft tone melody with intense chair dance, attempts to explain Red Velvet.

Their new music videos, especially ‘Dumb Dumb’, reveals more information about the members. For example, the girls wear different hairstyles, put on different colored stockings and dance with no facial expressions. The American Pop Art of the 1980s is being recreated in the song. The mood and atmosphere is very mysterious but still lovely to every detail. The song ‘Dumb Dumb’ was also marked as Asia’s Best Music Video in 2015. Red Velvet did an amazing job placing first place, composing surprising and experimental songs last year. They are different from ordinary young high school students who frequently show up on stage without being ready. Red Velvet is always on top of their work, always ready to show their professionalism on stage. That’s probably why Red Velvet is becoming so popular and successful in everything they do. Their new mini album was released on March 17th, 2016. 

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Detailed flower dress from Balenciaga by MUE, and earrings from stylist’s collection.


I heard Joy comes to you often for advice. How are you girls so different yet so alike?

We are similar in age and don’t have many friends around us, so that’s how we became close and talk to each other often. We used to be roommates too, although our rooms got switched now. So last night when I went to use the public bathroom in our hallway, she grabbed my arm so we can has a catch-up. (Laughs) We just try to meet up whenever we can and go to cafes together for little chit-chats.

What changed the most ever since you made your debut?

When I was in training to become a singer, it was always ‘practice-dorm-practice’. But now it’s ‘schedule-dorm-schedule’. The only thing that probably changed is my traveling pattern (laughs). I can’t really tell a difference in my lifestyle after making the debut because it requires infinite amount of practice.

Red Velvet is popular its sensual music video. How did your recording go for the title song ‘7월 7일 One of These Nights’?

People tend to imagine lyrical dances when it comes to ballad songs. But we tried to stay away from those stereotypical ideas. ‘Dumb, Dumb’ and ‘Ice Cream Cake’ songs maintained sweetness and created an overall mood of fantasy in people’s attire, stage and more. I was kind of worried about filming this ballad music video, but I was lightened by the new and fun atmosphere it created throughout the entire film. We captured the image of a young child and girl, which were nicely expressed in our music videos. So now all we need to do is focus on performing well on stage.

You seem to be very interested in visual projects.

I’m actually quite interested in photography and videos. We’ve always been producing unique visual themes for Red Velvet, and I hope that all our productions turn out to be something that everyone does not expect. That’s why we are putting in so much time and effort to all of our music videos, current and new, to make it successful.

Through this performance, what do you expect from the public?

Red Velvet has done a great job of introducing our start-up album, so the next thing I want to hear is placing first on the music chart or earning triple crown for K-pop. However, I don’t want to focus so hard on the popularity and ranking. Instead, I want to make sure that my girls are able to reveal a new side of them, making more people want to hear about us.

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eri’s striped layered dress from Prada. Joy’s printed ruffle dress from Miu Miu.

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Irene’s black dress with decorated buttons from J.W. Anderson by Tom Greyhound, and earrings from stylist’s collection.


I heard you announced your second mini album.

Yes, our second mini album is called ‘Wish Tree’ from the Winter Garden Project. In the past we had songs like ‘7월 7일 One of These Nights’, which is our official single project ballad album, along with ‘Automatic’ and ‘Be Natural’. But this new song is very different. It is a warm pop ballad that will fuse an acoustic sound with each of the member’s voices. I love hearing my members sing, and I can probably guess all the emotions with my eyes closed.

Was it a big challenge for you to host as MC for KBS Music Bank?

It was definitely another big obstacle. My heart tends to pound every time before going live with the show. I am fine with rehearsals, but when it comes to recording live, it’s a very nerve-wrecking moment. I feel myself getting tense (laughs). Sometimes I even forget my lines when I had it perfectly memorized over night. This new experience has helped me to learn various ways of expressing my emotions, and it’s great that I get to see a lot of singers perform on stage, as a singer myself. I always listen to all the songs of artists performing before the show.

I think I’ve seen another side of you today. You seem more calm and introverted.

Well, being on stage is really fun and I have a lot of things I want to do. That reveals another side of me. However, I tend to be quiet and shy in real life. Sometimes I watch videos of famous artists at home so that I can learn to speak and express my emotions like them… I enjoy being at home and having time to myself. But I also love my girls who get me out of the house by going grocery shopping and doing other things. I’m thankful to have them in my life.

What kind of a team do you want Red Velvet to be?

Becoming great musicians is a definite must, but also living our lives to the fullest is my greatest hope. I try to listen to all their stories, which is actually the best thing I can do for them. I think if everyone is happy, we can produce better music.

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Wendy’s black turtleneck and checker vest  from Paul & Alice.


You are a very good singer. Don’t people suspect that you lip sync?

When I hear that, it makes me feel good but also make me want to do better. I always feel that I’m lacking in something. I love listening to Soul, R&B, and Boyz II Men often. Originally though, I used to like Park Hyo-Shin, Kim Bum Soo, and Gummy. Trying to sing like my favorite singers made my voice become husky like theirs. But ever since I came to SM, my voice got much clearer. I think I found the right voice for me.

Hmm… Boyz II Men? You know most singers of your age are not familiar with this band?

It’s not just Boyz II Men that I like. I also listen to a lot of Indie music. It relieves my stress when I listen to these songs. Indie music is like a friend who approaches me with a sincere voice. It makes my heart speak to the music.

How was recording this new album?

It was different from all the other velvets we’ve presented. The emotions are stronger and more moving, because each of the members reveal their voices distinctively and attractively.

It’s great listening to each parts separately.

Yes. The song whispers a lot of strength in me. There are times when it can also feel like soft whispers to my ears.

You are an ambitious vocalist.

That might be correct, because I get vocal lessons whenever I feel that something is not working well. I practice outside when I have some days off, because a change in the atmosphere can produce a different style of music. I also enjoy looking up international musicians and watch their videos, too. It’s fun getting to know other people’s music because it teaches me different techniques and motivations to try something a bit more challenging.

Red Velvet is a girl group that everyone likes listening to. And you know, ‘liking’ equally means that they want to be like them too.

We are popular among girls of my age, because our performance is very unique and powerful. Although we have strong personalities on stage, we are soft and gentle when we come down from stage. Maybe that’s why they like us so much and want to become like us!

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Joy’s polka dot knit pullover from Mary Katrantzou by MUE, and earrings from mzuu.


You have a strong look on your face when you perform, which is really amazing.

When I focus on something, my facial expressions become very serious, which makes me feel like an actress sometimes. When I perform on stage, there are certain facial expressions that I have to create. That makes the whole singing and acting very different. People used to misunderstand me for having long stares when I was young, but I didn’t know how this could become a positive factor after becoming a singer. It really helps with my performance.

How did you spend your time after releasing your first album?

At first, we had a lot of worries introducing the 5 members of Red Velvet, but we were really happy to see such big loving fans who supported us. I spent a lot of time thinking about myself while preparing for this album, and I hoped that my worries would lessen over time, which actually increased after I became an adult (sadly). Sometimes I am so exhausted that I want to just sit down and not think about anything.

How would you describe yourself and your lifestyle?

I tend to ask a lot of questions. ‘Am I walking in the right direction?’ or ‘Am I using my time wisely?’ These questions enable me to look back at myself and make better decisions. But I have to admit, I worry a little too much (laughs). Sometimes I talk to Yeri about my future and my worries, and she tells me to stop thinking too deep. When she shares her stories with me, it makes me feel much better.

I think the reason why you constantly worry about your personal goals is because you are an ambitious person, right?

Maybe. I am a perfectionist. I think I was like that ever since I was little. When we had presentations in school, I used to practice my lines over and over again because I didn’t want to make any mistakes. I like to plan things before taking it to action. I have a hard time falling asleep if my schedule is not set for the following day. When I have a lot of things to do, I write them on a sticky pad and put it near my night stand. Yeri thinks that I’m making it too hard on myself. But there isn’t really anything I can do to change that because that’s my personality.

Did your today’s photoshoot go the way you planned?

Some photoshoots actually turn out better if it is acted extempore. That shows more improvement. I used to rehearse my lines, facial expressions and body gestures at home before each performance or interview, but later, I realized that only limited my performance. So from then on, I try to play it by ear and freely express my thoughts.

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Seulgi’s layered black sleeveless white top from Jacquemus by Tom Greyhound.


When you sing the part “I’m happy to be myself” in one of your songs called ‘Happiness’, it seems very meaningful. What is it that makes you really happy?

I’m happy to be myself because I became a member of Red Velvet. I’m also grateful to have all my close friends and family in my life.

Because we are talking about Red Velvet, your concepts could have been very experimental and shocking. Were there anything burdening you?

Not really. They always lead us in the right direction with the right concept. You know, having two-toned hair colors were very shocking to everyone in the beginning, but it’s so normal now. Some people even remembered us by our hair color, and blue and yellow hair also lets them distinguish between me and Wendy.

Was that all calculated before?

Wouldn’t you think so? (Laughs) I have pride in our creative concept.

Including your single album, there is a total of five albums that were released. Now how would you describe ‘Red Velvet’?

Red Velvet is the only girl group with a distinct concept of their own. If we can be expressed by a shade of colors, we are definitely the ones that stand out from everything else. We are a group that can perfectly deliver our voices and dances together. Aside from our title song, we are currently working on a different music genre, too.

From seeing all your strong performances on stage, you seem very brave and daring. But how can you say that you are easily frightened?

I tend to get very timid and scared of cameras. But being on stage is a whole different story. All you have to do is just close your eyes and have a great time out there. Everything is a ‘first’ for me, and singing on stage and becoming a host in entertainment programs are a big challenge. I’m so used to being nervous and showing that to my trainers, and it’s kind of difficult to loosen up and seem relaxed. So I’ve been having many thoughts lately.

You’ve been trained for 7 years, so I bet your endurance is great. How do you do that?

I was somewhat sure that I could mind control, but sometimes it’s really difficult. Having negative thoughts affects our mood and it doesn’t really solve any problems. So when I have rough moments, I try to hypnotize myself that it will soon be over. That helps me to overcome my hardships and maintain a positive mindset.

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Joy’s pleated skirt from eyeye, shoes from minelli, red turtleneck from stylist’s collection. Yeri’s checker skirt from Fleamadonna, shoes from Stuart Weitzman, and turtleneck from stylist’s collection. Wendy’s black tennis skirt from mixxmix, shoes from Flat Apartment, and turtleneck from stylist’s collection.

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Irene’s pink suit from Andy & Debb and earrings from Aznavour. Seulgi’s checker long jacket, top, and pants all from Celine, and earrings from mzuu. Shoes from stylist’s collection.

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Irene’s patterned blouse and dress from Marni, shoes from stylist’s collection. Seulgi’s knit vest and skirt from Prada. Wendy’s sweatshirt and flared skirt from Fendi.

Source: Marie Claire Korea

Editor:  Yoo Sun Ae
Photography:  Kim We Mil
Hair: 이 혜영(아베다) Lee Hye Young (Aveda)
Makeup 류 현정, 김 부성 Ryu Hyun Jung, Kim Bu Sung
Styling 최경원 Choi Kyung Won
Reference  April 2016 Issue