EL7Z UP: A Royal Combination EL7Z UP: A Royal Combination Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine

EL7Z UP: A Royal Combination

It’s fairly natural to throw around the “queen” title in South Korea’s music scene because, honestly, the industry has always been composed of royalty. In modern K-pop alone, names like Blackpink, LE SSERAFIM, or NewJeans are already dominating global charts, while others like KISS OF LIFE and tripleS continue to blaze their own path with a compelling showing of first-rate music, game-changing concepts, or next-gen artistry. Now, a rare rookie concept group composed of several heavy-hitter industry queens is prepared to combine their respective kingdoms through a legendary moment of unity. Meet EL7Z UP

Made up of seven elite artists, EL7Z UP first joined forces in the trenches of the survival program Queendom Puzzle, an Mnet series designed to create a perfect combination of various reputable girl group members. Throughout the layered series, its contestants were tasked with new lineups, genres, cover tracks, new music, choreography, and a need to gain the support of viewers around the world who would become largely responsible for determining the official lineup of EL7Z UP. By the time the finale arrived and the members were announced, the visionary group officially brought various generations of K-pop together (and with an even rarer mix of labels) taking a massive step towards embracing the notion of large-scale crossovers across South Korea’s mainstream music. So naturally, as seasoned queens of K-pop with solo and group knowledge, the irreplaceable members of EL7Z UP felt fully prepared to embark on this uncommon adventure. 

Their first act as a group – the release of the infectious debut mini-album 7+UP, filling several enticingly fleshed-out tracks with pure tenacity that only experienced, top-tier K-pop stars are capable of. The group’s debut single “CHEEKY” then became the world’s official introduction to EL7Z UP, offering listeners an addictive caffeine boost that seizes the members’ unified strengths in an enchanting glittery-pop arena.

EL7Z UP: A Royal Combination EL7Z UP: A Royal Combination Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Editorial Director: Aedan Juvet | Photography: Apple Monster and DG Entertainment | Cover Design: Laramie Cheyenne

More impressively, the group’s evolutionary determination becomes even clearer on the 10/10 b-side charmer “Die for You,” with an R&B nucleus and delicate line delivery that cements the song as an immortal pop hit. However, on the group’s strikingly original b-side track “Undercover” the women of EL7Z UP channel every ounce of their necessary Queendom Puzzle confidence into an unapologetic banger – only to later charm listeners with the group’s endearing personas on the blissfully angelic “Cloud 9.” So at this point, we have complete faith that the group can master anything that’s thrown their way.

Now, after gracefully conquering Queendom Puzzle, beginning a new era as EL7Z UP, and dropping their first immaculate mini-album, we’re absolutely thrilled to discuss the group’s iconic form of artistry as our new Vanity Teen Magazine digital cover group.  

EL7Z UP: A Royal Combination EL7Z UP: A Royal Combination Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Editorial Director: Aedan Juvet | Photography: Apple Monster and DG Entertainment | Cover Design: Laramie Cheyenne

Congratulations on your debut as EL7Z UP – and it has to be acknowledged that you’re easily one of the most iconic girl group lineups of all time! When you first joined Queendom Puzzle, what did you believe was probably the most appealing aspect of this particular survival program? 

Kei: The best part of being on the show was having the chance to perform many different concepts. I really thought it was a great opportunity to show my charms.

EL7Z UP: A Royal Combination EL7Z UP: A Royal Combination Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Editorial Director: Aedan Juvet | Photography: Apple Monster and DG Entertainment | Cover Design: Laramie Cheyenne

It was really inspiring to see how each of you adapted to challenges over the course of the series while constantly maintaining your individuality. What’s been the most surprising thing that you’ve learned about yourself during the Queendom Puzzle journey?  

Kei: Most of my previous performances had pure and lovely vibes, but through Queendom Puzzle proved my versatility that I even got a new nickname “Black Kei”

YEEUN: From seeing myself overcome all the struggles during the show, I felt reassured about myself.

YEOREUM: It was great to spot my strengths not only in dancing but stage presence, vocals, rap, and many other abilities even I didn’t know about. I was surprised to see myself take a level up with every concept.

YEONHEE: I think holding onto your dreams despite the circumstances is a remarkable ability, and that attitude was my biggest source of energy. Learning how far my efforts can keep me going was really surprising.

NANA: I felt proud of myself for staying strong through all the challenges, and I realized I have an overflowing passion for stage. For each round of competition, my heart would race but I was also very excited!

HWISEO: Some things I learned about myself were that my physical and mental strengths are invulnerable, and I’m a lot more positive than I thought!

YUKI: I learned that I can pull off many different concepts. Especially when I performed “Fighting”, I was really worried. It’s such a bright song, which is something I had never done before, so I wasn’t sure if I could do it well or if my fans would like it. But now when I ask my fans their favorite performance from Queendom Puzzle, the vast majority of them choose “Fighting”. Having the opportunity to try a range of concepts on the show was great, and I gained a lot of confidence from it.

EL7Z UP: A Royal Combination EL7Z UP: A Royal Combination Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Editorial Director: Aedan Juvet | Photography: Apple Monster and DG Entertainment | Cover Design: Laramie Cheyenne

It appears you went straight to work after the series wrapped because we already have several songs, a music video, and live appearances to appreciate! How would you say your prior (or current) group experiences helped you come together for something as ambitious as EL7Z UP?

YEOREUM: Our members were outstanding performers in their respective teams, so their prior group experiences surely help us make up for our weaknesses and overcome difficulties. I feel assured, and I’m delighted to work together with amazing juniors and seniors as EL7Z UP.

EL7Z UP: A Royal Combination EL7Z UP: A Royal Combination Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Editorial Director: Aedan Juvet | Photography: Apple Monster and DG Entertainment | Cover Design: Laramie Cheyenne

“CHEEKY” is a light, bubbly pop song with everything from detailed choreography to demanding vocals, so it’s definitely a perfect fit for a group of queens! What’s something that you or someone in the group contributed to the song that differs from the original demo or choreography? 

YEONHEE: We change up parts of the choreography for each performance, including our poses during YUKI’s rap part and the pair choreography for YUKI & HWISEO and YEONHEE & NANA during the last chorus. These colors we add make our performances more enjoyable, and our fans like them too. 

With the title track “CHEEKY” and its music video, fans get to further witness how each of you truly earned your spot in the group due to your next-level performance capabilities! So now that you’ve been able to efficiently work together through an album cycle, what would you say makes this lineup the perfect combination? 

NANA: I strongly felt that we complement each other. The way we care for each other makes me feel that we really are a team. And that is the source of our synergy on stage too.

EL7Z UP: A Royal Combination EL7Z UP: A Royal Combination Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Editorial Director: Aedan Juvet | Photography: Apple Monster and DG Entertainment | Cover Design: Laramie Cheyenne

From the first few seconds of “Die for You” you just know that it’s bound to be an instant favorite, and upon several listens, I’d argue that it might just be one of the best tracks of the year! Who would you each say best compliments this particular R&B/vocal-heavy concept after hearing its completed version for the first time?

Kei: First of all, thank you so much for enjoying our music! I would choose NANA, her mid-low range voice is so charming.

YEEUN: Every member of EL7Z UP has a unique and attractive vocal color. So instead of choosing a particular member, I’d suggest listening to everyone’s voices with full attention.

YEOREUM: I think it really suits everyone of EL7Z UP, but I was surprised at myself for doing it better than I thought.

YEONHEE: I think “Die for You” is a song where every member of EL7Z UP was able to portray their own color. Our rappers’ vocal tones go so well with the track, and everyone’s emotions also made the song turn out great.

NANA: I expected Kei to pull it off well since her strength is in vocals, and as expected her beautiful and sentimental voice sounds amazing in the song. I’ve been enjoying listening to it.

HWISEO: I knew everyone would sound great, but I also thought this song was something I could sing well, so I gave my best during the recording session.

YUKI: I choose YEEUN! I knew she was an all-rounder, but when I heard the completed version of “Die for You” I fell for her again.

EL7Z UP: A Royal Combination EL7Z UP: A Royal Combination Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Editorial Director: Aedan Juvet | Photography: Apple Monster and DG Entertainment | Cover Design: Laramie Cheyenne

We also have “Undercover,” a mesmerizing banger that highlights a tougher side of EL7Z UP! Between this track and several of the comparable Queendom tracks you’ve worked on such as “SNAP,” who do you think still has the most untapped potential in that style of music?

YUKI: It’s tough to choose just one person! Everyone did a great job and all our vocals perfectly suit “Undercover”. I like it because it’s surely a song that makes our charms stand out.

On songs like “Cloud 9,” you each get to boldly showcase your diverse range with this refreshing and whimsical album addition. After several studio sessions and collaborations on these wonderful tracks, what’s one thing you’ve come to admire about another member’s vocal attributes?

HWISEO: Unfortunately I couldn’t hear the other members record on the spot due to my schedule. But when I came to record and first heard everyone’s voice in “Cloud 9”, I was mesmerized by the vocals because they expressed the floating-on-cloud vibes so well.

EL7Z UP: A Royal Combination EL7Z UP: A Royal Combination Vanity Teen 虚荣青年 Lifestyle & new faces magazine
Editorial Director: Aedan Juvet | Photography: Apple Monster and DG Entertainment | Cover Design: Laramie Cheyenne

You’ve each undergone the “rookie” experience, worked to establish yourselves, and now have another shared bond by forming a legendary concept group together. With all of that in mind, what would you say are some of the biggest perks of joining a group that’s composed of fellow consummate performers? 

YEEUN: The biggest perk is that we can share what each of us has experienced and learned up until now. I’m also enjoying promoting together as EL7Z UP because I can sense the synergy coming from our teamwork as time passes.

Lastly, now that you’ve completed the series, earned a spot in the group, and conquered your first phenomenal release together, what other aspects of yourself do you hope to show the world through EL7Z UP?

YEOREUM: What I want to showcase the most is the synergy of the seven of us. As we prepared for the album I thought all our members were amazing, I can’t wait to show fans all over the world what EL7Z UP has got.

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