In July of 2023, the survival program known as A2K from JYP Entertainment and Republic Records introduced global viewers to a brand new concept series aiming to implement the K-pop training system into a new venue – with the prize being a confirmed spot in the American rookie girl group labeled VCHA (@official_vcha).
Over the duration of the lengthy A2K YouTube series, its young contestants consistently pushed themselves while gaining invaluable opportunities to hone their potential with assistance from professional vocalists and esteemed choreographers every step of the way. And by the time all six members were selected for the JYP and Republic Records partnership, (including Lexi, Savanna, Camila, KG, Kendall, and Kaylee), VCHA had completely transitioned out of high-stakes competition and initiated another new industry obstacle where chemistry is key.
Now, having reached incomparable levels of enthusiasm after attaining their goal, the newly formed group is quickly stepping up to share their light with fans through the pre-debut single album, SeVit (New Light) including their first cheery pop single “Y.O.Universe,” – which demonstrates everything that VCHA has learned so far.
Congratulations on your debut as VCHA! After wrapping A2K, how would you describe your exciting transition from trainee to VCHA member?
Lexi: Transitioning from a trainee to a VCHA member was unreal. Despite working really hard during the A2K show, I was always unsure of the future and didn’t know what was going to happen so the transition was definitely a shock. Being a trainee meant we trained on different floors of the building, but now that we are artists we work on the same floor as other inspirational artists as well! I feel super honored and I’m grateful for this opportunity given to me.
Camila: I think the biggest difference is that now I’m part of this amazing girl group and I feel like I have a lot of time ahead of me to build a strong friendship with my members and see us grow all together. Whether as before as a trainee I felt like I didn’t have much time to focus on other things because of the intense competition. It’s a lot more exciting now since the pressure of making it or not is not there anymore and now I can focus more on just growing and improving.
Kendall: The transition from a trainee to a VCHA member had some drastic changes, but at the same time was not super different. I say this because as a VCHA member, we finally received lockers in the artists’ area as well as gained access to artist areas. One of the biggest changes was that we were able to truly come together as a permanent group, able to work for the good of the group instead of as individuals. Being a member of VCHA also came with a lot of new experiences which allowed me/us to feel like true artists such as going on music shows and filming music videos. On the other hand, because we have had the experience of being a trainee, our work ethics and training all remained the same as we will continue to work hard as new artists.
A2K offered you the opportunity to work with choreographers and vocal coaches, and you’ve all discussed how that’s helped you grow as artists. That being said, what’s the most significant change or artistic development that you’ve noticed about yourselves since starting this journey?
Savanna: I noticed that I learned how to pay attention to the small details faster. Dance and vocally, I’ve become better at picking up things faster. In general, I’ve become more professional as an artist! I’ve also learned that I can do many different genres of songs/concepts.
KG: The biggest change I’ve noticed about myself since the start of this journey is my dance improvement. I’ve only been dancing for a year and looking back at the first time I danced during the show, I would say I’ve improved a lot. Dance details, the strength, I’ve already grown and learned so much. I really appreciate my trainers and members for helping me improve so quickly.
Kaylee: The biggest change of being an artist is the mindset. I’ve gotten more relaxed and had some more fun on stage so even when I do look at the other members on stage, it’s not because I’m worried. It’s because I’m happy!
After the lineup was revealed, I’m assuming you jumped right into additional training for your debut. How has that rigorous exposure to the K-pop training system compared to your expectations?
Lexi: The training here is phenomenal. We have learned a lot and have been grinding! Truthfully, I saw what was coming and my expectations of K-pop training was exactly what I thought it was going to be.
Camila: It was exactly what I was expecting. The training system is amazing, they help you grow in such a short amount of time. I won’t lie it is intense, but this is what we love to do so we love seeing our improvement and we also enjoy working hard.
Kendall: The training that I’ve experienced has definitely been up to my expectations. I was a K-pop fan before and I know the level of more established artists, so I expected the training to be difficult to be able to live up to those expectations. However, we all persevere it to get better as artists and because this is our dream, we enjoy the training experience.
The friendships you developed as contestants on A2K appeared very genuine to young viewers, which led them to feel very invested in the launch of VCHA. Now that you’re officially connected through music, how would you say those bonds have evolved?
Savanna: We have been spending so much time with each other and learning more about each other in many different ways. In addition, in order to convey the message, we wanted to convey through our song, we had to connect to it as a group emotionally first. Spending all this time together has just strengthened our bond in so many ways, where we can rely on and share anything with each other more than ever.
KG: Since the launch of VCHA, our friendships between each other have grown so much. Obviously, we spend everyday training together, which has allowed us to grow close, but I think what makes us even more close is experiencing many new things in our lives for the first time together. Like coming to Korea and the whole A2K process is something that will always stay with us. One thing I noticed about us is that we all have introvert side, but when together we become more confident as a team. We really bring out each other’s fun side and I think that’s an important quality as a group. To be able to work hard but have fun while doing it.
Kaylee: The bonds between us are definitely stronger since we became VCHA. Even though we were pretty close during the show, it was still a competition and it’s hard to get past a certain point in our relationship, and now the pressure to compete is off our shoulders, we’ve become a lot more relaxed and closer.
Getting to film your first music video is always an epic milestone both as a group and individually, especially after all the effort that it took to get here. Is there something about the video that you’ve been particularly proud to share with fans?
Lexi: I was super proud to be able to connect our backgrounds and past to emphasize the meaning of our song. We are all special because we are unique and different. We all come from different cultures and backgrounds but came together in the end because of our passions that we could share together! Our solo shots in the music video do a great job of showing us as individuals and really enhance our uniqueness.
Kendall: I think one of the most important things about our music video that we would be proud of is how it allows you to get to know each member personally. This is because the music video showcases one particular talent that is special to each member’s journey to becoming a part of VCHA. This also helps portray the message that just being who you are is okay, so we hope that by our fans seeing this, they may get to know us more personally as well as realize that it is good to just be yourself.
KG: I guess overall I’m proud of the entire music video and the storyline behind it. It does a great job describing us as a group, and where we each came from before coming together. It leaves the message that we are all special because we are different. I hope fans who watch the video can be reminded to stay true to themselves and shine just the way they are.
Your Pre-Debut Single “Y.O.Universe” was previewed to you months prior as part of your final challenge, but the official release as a confirmed group must have been somewhat surreal! What was it like to finally hear your own song for the first time as VCHA?
Lexi: We were super shocked to hear our song on official streaming services because we were so used to keeping the show on the down low. Having our song finally released in public is unreal! We are shocked to hear our own voices on the radio and on social media, but it feels great knowing our hard work paid off!
Camila: It was one of the most special moments since we became VCHA. It was amazing to finally hear our voices in the song. I didn’t know what to expect but it turned out amazing. I’m so proud of us and of how much we’ve improved.
Kendall: Wow, to be able to finally hear our songs as VCHA has been such an incredible experience! This is because we have worked so hard to be here and to prepare these songs as a group since the final episode of A2K, so now having them as VCHA’s songs is a different kind of special. It brings us nostalgia from the show, reminding us how we got here, as well as a fresh new feel, when hearing these songs as one new group VCHA, giving us hope for the future!
Savanna: It made the whole thing seem more real. Hearing it with our voices was so amazing it made me feel like a real artist. It gave me more confidence and made me feel incredibly proud of all the hard work we put in to get here.
KG: It was so cool to hear the final product of “Y.O.Universe” since we’ve been working on it for a while. I remember smiling and jamming out because I was so proud of how it turned out. I really love the song. It leaves a beautiful message to the world. It’s bright, energetic, and it brings out our personalities when we perform it together.
Now that you’ve earned a spot in the group and made it through your first release — what other shared goals or major milestones are you looking forward to achieving together?
Lexi: One big thing that we all really want to do is meet our fans. We all came on this show having a role model, so we aspire to be role models for others! We would also love to perform on a big stage one day. We all love to perform, and singing and dancing is our passion so to be able to express our passions on stage with people all around the world is truly a goal we want to achieve.
Camila: One of my biggest goals has to be a world tour. It would mean so much to visit our fans around the world and to be able to perform in different places. Also, I’m very curious about the food and the culture and it would a perfect timing to try new things as well.
Kendall: I know that as a group we are all looking forward to being able to perform back at each of our hometowns, to visit where it all began for each of us would be an incredibly rewarding experience. It would allow us to get to know each member’s history a bit better as well as allow us to perform on stages that we have all attended concerts to see our favorite idols perform on before, to come full circle like that is a dream come true. Also, to be able to meet our fans in person is something we all look forward to, to be able to interact and thank them for supporting us would be amazing.
Savanna: One thing we really hope is to go on a world tour! That would be a huge milestone for us and a great opportunity to see and meet all of the people who support us. We all love traveling so I know it would be such a memorable time for us as a group as well!
KG: We look forward to more performances all around the world. We want to travel and meet fans around the world and experience different cultures. Moving forward, we hope to make many fun and lasting memories with each other and with our fans by our side.
Kaylee: I hope to someday be able to have a world tour!