Rookie K-pop girl group Babymonster say it's a ‘dream’ to be Blackpink’s juniors


By AGENCY

Rookie K-pop girl group Babymonster (from left) Rora, Asa, Ruka, Ahyeon, Chiquita, Pharita and Rami. — Photo: YG Entertainment

How does it feel to follow in the footsteps of one of the biggest girl groups in the world?

Not many are in the position to answer the question, but rookie K-pop girl group Babymonster are the exception.

The septet, with members from South Korea, Japan and Thailand, are K-pop agency YG Entertainment’s first girl group in seven years following the massively popular quartet Blackpink.

Babymonster comprises Rora, Asa, Ruka, Ahyeon, Chiquita, Pharita and Rami, who are aged 15 to 22.

In an e-mail interview with Singapore's The Straits Times, South Korean member Ahyeon, 17, says: “It’s a dream to be called the juniors of the girl group we’ve idolised since childhood, and I think the pressure comes from the fact that we have the responsibility to do well on our own. One step at a time, we want to do our best and build an incredible career like our seniors.”

However, Babymonster got off to a shaky start.

Ahyeon was not in the line-up when the group released their first two singles – Batter Up in November 2023 and Stuck In The Middle in February 2024 – due to health issues, leading to speculation that she would not be part of Babymonster going forward.

But she joined them for the launch of their self-titled debut album on April 1, 2024 – considered the official debut of Babymonster – and both Batter Up and Stuck In The Middle were re-released in the album with all seven members singing.

Japanese rapper Asa, 18, says: “With seven members, we have more variety (when it comes to) our individual charms and we can now create a lot of different formations while performing onstage. I think the synergy that comes from having all seven of us together is the best.”

Although the members are from three countries, Ruka, 22, who is from Japan and is the oldest in the group, says they have no problem getting along despite disparate cultural backgrounds.

“On the contrary, since we have many foreign members, it was good that we could go shopping and have fun together on holidays and other days off, and being with the members made me feel less lonely when I missed my family,” she adds.

They are among a wave of young and popular girl groups flooding the K-pop market.

NewJeans, Le Sserafim and Nmixx debuted within the past two years to great success, while rookie quintet Illit recently made history as the first K-pop group to chart on the Billboard Hot 100 with their debut single Magnetic, which was released in March.

But Babymonster have proven to be a strong competitor too.

According to YG Entertainment, their album sold 401,287 copies in one week, setting a new record for the first-week sales of a debut album for a K-pop girl group. And the music video for their title track Sheesh took just 10 days to reach 100 million views on YouTube. Currently, it has more than 220 million views.

South Korean singer Rora, 15, says: “Of course, other girl groups have their charms, but I think our unique appeal is teen hip-hop.”

Thai member Pharita, 18, adds: “We have that iconic YG style that is catchy and good for audiences to sing and vibe to.”

When asked about the lofty dreams they have for their group, be it winning a Grammy or performing at American music festival Coachella like Blackpink, she says: “I think a closer goal for us would be to hold a concert of our own and, hopefully, someday a world tour. In the upcoming years, I’d like for us to perform at big festivals, win awards and let the world know our names and talents.” — The Straits Times/Asia News Network

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