The K-pop phenomenon OH MY GIRL is now celebrating a monumental seventh anniversary, with all seven women growing into truly respected performers who are still managing to attain new heights on their own terms. From their soft-spoken self-titled 2015 introductory mini-album OH MY GIRL to their 2022 studio album Real Love, OH MY GIRL has clearly tapped into an evolutionary sweet spot where their magnetic, positive energy attracts nothing but the best without a need to conform to mainstream trends along the way.
The group has always engaged in a unique spin on classics, with a sprightly sound that leaves a wholesome impression on listeners – and multiple mini-albums and singles cracking the top five releases in their own respective eras. Within the last two years alone, multiple tracks (including “Dun Dun Dance” and “Nonstop”) have actually landed as high as No. 1 and No. 2 through Gaon for their back-to-back dose of enthusiastic creativity (not to mention the addictive sleeper-hit “Dolphin”).
Aside from their obvious attentiveness to unity in the form of pop music, the group has even gone on to display some of the most compelling chemistry to date. The seven women of OH MY GIRL have experienced tours, variety show programs, prestigious award wins, and more, teaching the generations to follow about the importance of a genuine bond in music – and its correlation to finding happiness in a complicated industry filled with ups and downs.
Now, OH MY GIRL is back through their title track “Real Love”, gifting the world with a classic anthem that’s intended to convey the overwhelming sentiment of love and infatuate listeners yet again. As this week’s new Vanity Teen digital cover artist, we spoke to the irreplaceable members of OH MY GIRL about their interpretation of “timeless”, guilty pleasures, being dubbed “Queens of K-pop”, and much more.
You’re each so talented with a shared ability to create some of the best feel-good tracks in the past decade! That being said, if you had to characterize what you believe is the biggest recurring sound of an OH MY GIRL release, what’s the group’s most consistent vibe?
SEUNGHEE: I personally feel like the vibe that we have is something that only OH MY GIRL can create and present and that’s our signature sound which is dreamy with a bit of mysteriousness. It’s not a reflection of a single, strong façade but multiple charms that are blended into this mysterious aura. And once you layer that with our sentimental melody and hopeful lyrics then this completes OH MY GIRL’s signature sound.
It’s been almost three years since the release of your first studio album, The Fifth Season, and now Real Love is officially the second full album from the group! What were some of the overall messages that you’re hoping to convey through Real Love?
YUBIN: I think when we encounter or realize something memorable in our everyday lives, for example, when we fall in love, everything around us that we’ve been familiar with is remembered as a special moment because it feels new and unfamiliar. And that instant moment becomes a memory that lingers on us like a special scent unique to each of us. So when we smell that scent again, we become nostalgic, or even takes us down a memory lane. The concept of our new album ‘Real Love’ is made in this way, as a theme of ‘perfume’.
I believe that perfume has the power of reviving special memories, as it takes you from the top note, which hits you with this intensity just like how first impressions leave an impact on you, and to the last lingering scents and blends them all together in time. I hope our new album ‘Real Love‘ could linger in people’s minds for a long time. It also contains messages and hopes that OH MY GIRL will be remembered as a special group to our MIRACLE for a long time just like how a scent of perfume lingers for a long time.
YOOA: For our new album we have included songs of various genres that are quite different from what we have had before, so I think it can be seen as a bit more colorful and entrancing. I wanted to say how much we love and have waited for MIRACLE too, just as how MIRACLE has waited for a long time for our full album as well. Also, I think our new album has a mood that could really encapsulate OH MY GIRL’s growth of how much we have learned. Our title track ‘Real Love’ expresses that as well. Please love and support our new song!
You’ve always been trendsetters (including Hyojung’s influential Aegyo addition to Weekly Idol) so what is something that the members of OH MY GIRL are currently obsessed with?
MIMI: I’m all about working out these days! I’m challenging myself with different sports because I found out that I enjoy trying new workouts. There’s this sense of accomplishment that I feel from really getting into the workouts, sweating, and overcoming my limits. I enjoy boxing these days, but I recently started climbing!
YUBIN: I’m into cooking these days. I became more interested in cooking for my health as I could find all the recipes so easily through so many different media channels. Also, I think it’s good for relieving stress as I can clear my head without thinking about anything while cooking.
ARIN: As OH MY GIRL has been preparing for a comeback, I feel like we’ve been really immersed in boosting and balancing our stamina. We are working hard in order to show our fans a better stage than the last and to stay healthier during the whole promotion period. So, these days I am taking care of myself with nutritional supplements and working out during my spare time!
You’ve actually received at least one (typically more) award nomination or win every year since your debut, and continue to win some of the most prestigious categories like Song of the Year! What’s probably the nomination or win that you’re most proud of?
HYOJUNG: It was our first-time attending Melon Music Awards since our debut at the time, so it came to our surprise when we received the ‘Top 10’ award! And it was the day when YOOA had her solo stage and OH MY GIRL had also performed a variety of stages, so I remember us just being grateful for being able to perform at the awards! We had so much fun as we were preparing for the stages, so I think this award was extremely memorable.
JIHO: All the awards we’ve received are indeed meaningful! I’ve been dreaming of performing at an award ceremony and winning an award, and this came true. I feel really thankful to MIRACLE and our staff who made this possible. I believe the awards are meaningful and symbolic; it especially makes everyone extremely happy. So, every single award means a lot to me.
You’ve been dubbed as “Queens of K-pop”, even placing second in the massively popular series Queendom, so with a new lineup and other talented rookies artists debuting, what’s something you learned from that competition that could be helpful to other women with similar aspirations?
HYOJUNG: Through ‘Queendom’, I personally felt that we communicated a lot to sync together. We shared and listened to one another’s ideas and how we want to express the stages as we worked our way through the missions. And since we each have our own unique way of expressing and interpreting the emotions that we are trying to convey, I feel like this had made our performance that much more special and had delivered OH MY GIRL’s very own stage. And as we performed, we felt how much in sync we were, and thinking about those performances give us the chills. And for all the seniors and juniors that will be participating in the upcoming ‘Queendom’, they’re all perfect in their own special way, so I’m not sure if my advice would be helpful. But as someone had experienced ‘Queendom’, I hope they don’t doubt themselves, or their group’s identity or talents. I want to tell them that they’re the best even at this very moment and that they’ll be able to overcome any obstacles. This is how I would like to encourage them.
YOOA: I learned through ‘Queendom’ that knowing myself is really important. I feel like groups that knew what they’re good at and how they could fully enjoy the stage by identifying what their strengths are, had a better chance of winning. I think OH MY GIRL was able to shine on ‘Queendom’ because we each stood proud together and trusted one another.
JIHO: I also want to add that I hope they just focus on themselves and ignore their surroundings. Focus on what matches their group and their music and what they’re good at. I want to emphasize that it’s important to really maximize what’s theirs. It’s great to challenge oneself with something new but I feel like it’s more important to show their identity more. This is what I realized and focused on as well while we were on ‘Queendom’.
Just last year, you achieved your first No.1 single on the Gaon Digital Chart for “Dun Dun Dance” which was more than deserved in my opinion! Now that you’ve hit such an epic high – do you have any specific goals you hope to attain together in the future?
HYOJUNG: I want to keep moving forward and always be able to stand on stage with gratefulness for having so many fans supporting OH MY GIRL without having to set a certain goal in mind. I believe that the gratefulness in our hearts will reflect who we are as a person. Instead of trying to achieve a certain goal I want us to be always thankful for even the littlest things and be able to continue on with our members together. But if I must name a goal that I want to achieve as a group, then I guess it’d be achieving both small and big opportunities just as how we are doing now!
Since your new era is heavily influenced by the idea of aromas and perfumes – what would you each say is your general comfort scent, and is there a memory behind it?
HYOJUNG: I have a fond memory of donuts. When I was young, my mom would always come home with donuts at least once a week. I absolutely love donuts! And when my mom and I would open the donut box, the aroma of the donuts reminds me of my mom’s love for me. So even today I love smelling the sweetness of the donuts!
MIMI: I don’t like scented perfumes because I like the natural scent that every person uniquely carries. I don’t like smelling anything strong and you know how everyone has their own scent. Since everyone’s scent is unique to their characteristics and personality, I think I like it when people’s scent is natural.
YOOA: I like the scent of a certain soap. It is the scent I remember of my mom, and it brings back my childhood memories when I smell it. Thinking of those times, it gives me kind of comfy and cozy feelings that I fell in love with the scent.
SEUNGHEE: I like the scent that I smell when I come fresh out of the shower. The scent gives me comfort because it wraps me in warmth and this refreshing feeling after a long, hard day. And those types of scents really helps me unwind and feel more comfortable.
JIHO: I love musky scent! Musks are both heavy but light and airy, so it comes to me as an attractive scent. It’s a scent that I loved for a while, so I loved it, even more, when my teaser was matched with a musk-scented perfume. I hope people will think of me when they see musk-scented perfumes!
YUBIN: I personally also like heavier scents, but lately, I’m kind of into fresh and floral scents because it’s spring. I think it depends on the season. Also, I always wear a perfume that suits our stage because it makes me feel more immersed in the atmosphere.
ARIN: I love the sweet scent of Dalgona. I remember playing Dalgona candies while strolling on the shore in front of my house with my family when I was young. It reminds me of those times when we chattered and ate these Dalgona candies while walking, so whenever I smell the scent, I become reminiscent.
You’ve been together for quite some time, and regularly bring in new fans with every comeback! When you think back about your first interactions with fans, to the present day – what are the most consistent personality traits you’ve encountered from MIRACLE?
YOOA: As MIRACLE always says, I think the personalities of OH MY GIRL and our MIRACLE are alike. I’ve seen so many times when we were thinking about the same thing or liking the same thing, so I think the most consistent thing between us is that we have so many things in common. Or maybe it’s because we have spent so much time together that we’re becoming more and more alike.
ARIN: Our MIRACLE always liked to make fun of me – and this hasn’t changed since our debut! I think they like my reaction when I’m being teased. But I can always feel their love and affection behind it, and I think that is why we all still have a good time no matter how much time has passed.
This era introduced a lovely, retro-synthy sound, and your concept photos also emulated that idea perfectly! When you personally envision your perception of a “classic” style – what comes to mind?
MIMI: A classic look to me would be a comfortable and everyday style. Because it’s an everyday style, it’s a look that will be shine whenever and wherever. I can think of many classic looks. Ranging from luxury brands to workwear that gave way to jeans, handmade outfits, a sewing machine, and pearls that I am obsessed with these days! I feel that a lot of the things that I’m into these days are classics.
JIHO: When I think of classic looks, I immediately thought of the basics. The fact that a classic is a “classic” and traditional is because it has been loved by many for a long, long time. And that is the exact reason why I think classics are basics. Therefore, any basic looks that fit you and your style might be your classic look.
ARIN: For me, when I think of “classic style”, a white shirt matched with a maxi skirt comes to my mind. I think it is because it’s the most basic yet stylish and has been loved for a long time. ‘Classics are timeless,’ they say. I think the first thing that comes to my mind is a style that does not go out of fashion.
Your new title track “Real Love” is so addictive from start to finish and shows a new side of OH MY GIRL seven years into your career together! What would you say is a crucial element of OH MY GIRL’s consistent evolution?
SEUNGHEE: OH MY GIRL members aren’t afraid of challenges! And I believe that that’s the center of our ability to evolve. We’re not afraid of showing something new and being able to pull off a variety of concepts without limiting ourselves. We’re a group that’s capable of expressing emotions so no matter what concept we try we will always be able to interpret with our own style and make it into our own!
Check out OH MY GIRL’s album Real Love here, and the music video for the title track included above!