Girl groups are the latest rage in the K-pop scene. One of the popular girl bands is the six-member group T-Ara, which debuted in July with the song "Lie." The group consists of Ji-yeon, Eun-jung, Hyo-min, Bo-ram, Kyu-ri and So-yeon. Three of T-Ara's singles, including "TTL (Time To Love)" and "TTL Listen 2," became huge hits on the Internet.
We met with T-Ara, which has recently released its first studio album entitled "Absolute First Album." Its title track, "Like The First Time," is a retro dance song that was written by Bang Shi-hyuk. But T-Ara is active these days with the trendy dance song "Bo Peep Bo Peep," which was written by Shinsadong Horangi. T-Ara is poised to promote its album by performing two songs and filming music videos for four songs from the album.
On the question how they can survive amid the fierce competition among girl groups, Eun-jung said, "Our song 'TTL' topped 8 music sites, but it fell short of our expectations. Our song became popular but our members are still unknown." Hyo-min added that she was happy that T-Ara had its own music style but sad that the unique individuality of each member hadn't been expressed fully and that the group hadn't received the Best New Artist award.
"Each idol girl group wants to be the best. They all want to be loved as much as the Wonder Girls and Girls' Generation ," said So-yeon.
On the question how they were different from other girl groups, the T-Ara members cited music. "The music of idol groups is too trendy and new to senior people. But our songs are sentimental and easy to listen to. Although our album also contains trendy songs, like 'Bo Peep Bo Peep,' it also contains songs that even older people like, such as 'Like The First Time', 'Apple Is' and 'You You You,'" said So-yeon.
On the rising popularity of their music, the T-Ara members have also been active solo these days. Kyu-ri acts in the TV drama "Queen Seondeok," while So-yeon appears as a supporter on the variety show "The Invincible Baseball Team." Ji-yeon has been cast to appear in the TV drama "God of Studying." Hyo-min is appearing on a variety show and will perform in the musical "Really Like You" next year. Hyo-min said, "Everything I do on my variety show receives a lukewarm response. But I seem to be getting the hang of it. Sunny of Girls' Generation is very good at going with the flow and she does it without embarrassing herself. Narsha is also very determined."
Kyu-ri said, laughing, that her line from the epic drama became very popular among her fans.
The T-Ara member Bo-ram is the daughter of Chun Young-rok and Lee Mi-young. Her fellow group members say that she is very popular among older people because she had won a contest among girl groups on a Chuseok show and is the daughter of famous parents. Bo-ram said, "I met my Dad at an event recently. He told me not to give up and do my best. He has been watching me."
Eun-jung said, "Mr. Chun always treats us like his daughters and takes pictures with us. My parents like his song 'Write Love With a Pencil.'"
It has only been five months since T-Ara's debut. We asked the members about their impressions of K-pop. Bo-ram said, "I'm short for a singer, so I have to do my best to catch the eye. My parents also told me that I have to work hard to survive. After my debut, I realized how hard it must have been for my parents. I want to be popular for a long time, like my parents."
Ji-yeon, Hyo-min and Eun-jung said they realized how cold-hearted and scary the K-pop scene was. They said, "It's very competitive. It's enormous pressure because you have to do really well after practicing for a long time. It's very hard to satisfy the public. But members of different girl groups don't forget to encourage one another."