After 7 years together, GFriend members start over as rookie trio Viviz
SEOUL — K-pop’s latest rookies come with seven years of experience. Eunha, SinB and Umji of girl group GFriend returned to the K-pop scene to make a splash second debut as a rookie trio under new name, Viviz.
Indeed, they seemed at home but nervous at the same time on the stage as they spoke to the media Wednesday during their debut showcase, conducted few hours before the release of their first EP “Beam of Prism.”
“I wasn’t the least bit nervous until three minutes ago, but I am now, standing here like this and thinking that we’re about to perform in front of the media,” Eunha said, her voice trembling.
SinB also seemed more tense than usual. “It’s our second debut, so I trained even harder than when we did as trainees. Because we’ve debuted once, we know what it feels like so there’s the pressure that we have to do better. We told each other that we have to do our best, not just try our best.”
The “re-debut” comes nine months after GFriend disbanded, and over a year since their last release, in November 2020 with album “Walpurgis Night.”
The name takes the last syllables of each of the member’s real names — Sinbi, Eunbi and Umji — and also has a dual meaning of “vivid days,” referring to the act’s promise to “always be true to their own colors.”
“I know that we’ve come a long way, and I wanted to open up another great path. I didn’t want to leave any regrets, so I spent the time honing my skills and mindset,” Umji said.
Marking the girls’ new start is “Beam of Prism,” a seven-track album fronted by “BOP BOP!” Taking the vibrant energy of the word “bop,” an expression used by pop fans to describe a good song, the title song is a hybrid dance genre combining Latin rhythm and disco.
“The title song changed several times before we got this one. We had a lot of concerns on how to conceptualize the album as it’s the first to present the three of us together. And hearing the song, we knew that we had to debut with it,” SinB said.
The members are each represented by different colors — purple for Eunha, blue for SinB and red for Umji — and the colors are somewhat linked to the goals the three each have with the album.
While Eunha wanted to show the “bright energy of a rookie” through purple, Umji said the red is symbolic of her passionate side she hopes to unveil this time. With her hair dyed in cool blue, SinB hoped to prove that she’s not only a good dancer but a talented vocalist as well through the new album.
Although a second debut, preparing for it was more difficult than their first time and any of their previous comebacks.
“What hit me hardest was that a three is different from a six. When we used to work as a six, I could rest briefly before my turn came back. But as a three, I couldn’t spare even those short moments,” Umji said.
“Regardless, I’m satisfied because the set was always full of good energy and the members worked hard,” Eunha added.
Among the tracks is “Love You Like,” which Umji took part in writing the lyrics to.
“Although not a lot of what I wrote has been included in the song, I thought very much about our fans while writing. It shows. Thanking those who’ve waited long for us and reaching out to those who will accompany us on our new journey, I felt the song was our gesture to our fans, holding their hands on our new start.”
Among the other B-side tracks, SinB recommended “Tweet Tweet,” a song of a new style for the members. “Our fans liked the track when the highlight medley was released. I want to perform this song at a concert or a fan meeting.”
Eunha’s favorite was “Lemonade,” which she described as a fresh yet spicy tune that could be enjoyed around the seasons.
Umji recommended “Mirror,” a song that sparked a huge response from fans when the highlight medley was revealed. “It’s a song of emotional melody and its beginning will touch upon the delicate senses inside you.”
All three members had been confirmed to have COVID-19 a few days ahead of their debut, but fortunately none of them had suffered badly and they all recovered quickly.
“I couldn’t believe that I’d got the disease at first and it was like a reminder that I had to be more cautious and take care of my health,” Umji, who was the first to be confirmed of the virus said.
Eunha saw the brighter side, saying, “I actually didn’t feel bad at all. It seemed better that we faced the worst before the debut, and fortunately, we all recovered well and could even take some good rest before the debut.”
Rarely do members of a disbanded K-pop group debut again as a different band, and Viviz may just be the first to show that disbandment — a taboo to most K-pop fans — may not be the end.
“We promised with each other that we had to succeed and set a good example,” Eunha said.
“We worked really hard, always giving suggestions and asking about what we could do next in the company group chat. After a yearlong hiatus, I just wanted to debut fast so that I could sing and perform again,” she added.
While their former bandmates, Yuju, Sowon and Yerin, have also embarked on their new paths ahead of Viviz, the six stay supportive of one another even until now.
“(GFriend) Members told us ‘I know you’ll be great,’ and coming from people who have watched us for a long time, it meant a lot and it really helped,” Umji said.
Their time as GFriend is what makes Viviz special, SinB said.
“Our strength is our experience. We have both the freshness and the expertise. We’ll be showing different sides of ourselves as Viviz that we have never before shown through GFriend,” SinB said.
“If GFriend’s music had been more sentimental, touching upon the heart, Viviz’s music is a bouncy sort that will make you shake to it,” Eunha explained.
“Even we couldn’t imagine how we would work out as it is the first time we were working together. Although seven years have passed, there is still more to show from us,” Umji said.
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