H1-Key© GLG

K-Pop Girl Group H1-Key On Their Journey, Indian Food And More

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Puja Talwar

H1-Key has been striking the right notes. In less than two years since their debut, the K-pop girl band comprising the quartet of Seoi, Riina, Hwiseo and Yel, has made its way to the unofficial K-pop Girl Group Hall Of Fame with other successful bands like NewJeans and Blackpink.

The squad is back with their new single, “기뻐 (Deeper)”, which follows their previous single “Thinkin’ About You”. The tracks are part of their H1-Keynote project, an initiative with which the group hopes to highlight their musical colour as well as comfort their listeners and fans.

In an exclusive interview with HELLO! India, H1-Key spoke about their musical influences, the growing popularity of K-pop and their love for Indian food.

HELLO!: In “기뻐 (Deeper)” one can feel the pulsating vibe as the music and words beautifully blend to say that you keep your head high during the storm. How did this come about?

Seoi: “It’s a song that was completed quite a long time ago and it was written by the dream team of Hong Ji-sang and Young K from DAY6. The title is ‘기뻐’, which means ‘joyful’ in Korean, but it’s a song that’s meant to be slow and carry sincere lyrics, rather than bright and fast, therefore conveying the message of hope!”

Hwiseo: “The song was written by Hong Ji-sang and DAY6’s Young K, the team who created ‘Rose Blossom’. Also, it’s the second part of the H1-Keynote project.”


H!: Your latest project “Thinkin‘ About You” is a warm and mature track that also reflects your growth as an artist. How would you define your music and have you seen a shift in your process and evolution as artists in the last two years since your debut?

Riina: “I think the music of H1-KEY is like a diary. We take pride in promoting heartwarming music that goes into people’s hearts and comforts them or cheers them up. Since our debut, we’ve been working on albums tirelessly and I think that’s what made us grow up and motivated us to truly sing and express ourselves.”

Yel: “It’s hard to clearly define our music through one song, but I want it to be described as a track that gives strength to many people. We’re trying to include this message in our songs. At first, it seemed difficult to express, but now I can confidently say that I can express the emotions in our song better than anyone else. So I hope our fans can gain energy by listening to our music.”

H!: Since your latest is about love and overcoming heartbreak, what is love for you?

Riina: “Maybe a dedication to be in pain for the other person, instead of seeing that person suffering.”

Hwiseo: “I think it’s the relationship between H1-Key and M1-Key!”

H!: How did you choose the name H1-Key? Also, the fact that you are among the top three K-Pop girl groups as per the brand reputation chart; does that challenge you in some way?

Seoi: “Our company provided the name, H1-Key. I’m both amazed and happy by the attention of many people. It motivates me to work harder!”

Yel: “At first, we were surprised to see that we got third place in the brand reputation chart, but now we’re working hard to show you a better version of ourselves.”

H!: How do you deal with constant expectations and your popularity?

Hwiseo: “I can feel that many fans’ expectations for us are gradually rising, so we’re trying to produce high-quality results to meet those expectations! I’m really happy and excited about this process.”

Yel: “Actually, I think we still have a long way to go as we still have a lot to show you! I hope you continue to keep your eyes on our journey.”

H!: K-Pop is super competitive. What would you say has been your biggest achievement and the biggest challenge?

Seoi: “I think, winning first place on the music show and music charts and receiving awards are huge achievements for us! Rather than a challenge, we thought a lot about how the public and fans would react whenever we prepared the album, and I believe such a process helped us to be able to achieve valuable results.”

Riina: “The most thankful and valuable achievement would be staying in the Top 100 chart for quite a long time.”

H!: What makes H1-Key different from other girl groups?

Seoi: “I think our biggest strength lies in sharing hopeful messages that resonate with all ages and relatable music.”

Yel: “A lot of people say that they feel comforted when they listen to our songs and I think that’s our charm. In addition, I think being able to work with various concepts and genres is another unique characteristic to us.”

H!: What do you, as young artists, feel when you see your music and K-pop thriving globally? What do you think makes K-Pop special?

Riina: “I consider the main characteristics of K-pop to be the trendy music and grand performances. The way that K-pop ignites the stage with music and energy, leading the trend, is special and cool in my opinion.”

Hwiseo: “I think there is nothing impossible within the genre of K-pop. Because of this, it can bring out new things that did not exist before, and each generation of K-pop carries a unique charm. The genre is also able to evoke memories for numerous individuals because it reminds them of certain periods even after time passes.”

H!: Who have been your artistic influences? Anyone whose craft you truly admire?

Seoi: “For me, I would pick Crush as my inspiration. His music is based on R&B elements with elevated trendiness and I admire his wide variety of styling as well.”

Riina: “There are so many artists I look up to, but among them, IU and Baek Yerin are the first to come to my mind right now.”

H!: What do you miss about trainee days?

Hwiseo: “I think it was a time when I tried different styles without being tied to one genre.”

Yel: “I have more regrets when thinking about my trainee days. If I go back to that time, I would like to practice singing different genres of songs. Also, I would like to learn how to compose.”

H!: Your fans want you to perform in India. Have you watched an Indian film or tried Indian food?

Seoi: “Bollywood comes to mind when I think of India and when I think of Bollywood, the movie 3 Idiots comes to my mind. Moreover, one of my favourite foods is naan! I love having it with Chicken Makhani.”

Hwiseo: “The first thing that reminds me of India would be curry. I’m very curious to know how local curry would taste!”