EXCLUSIVE: Record-Breaking Debut Girl Group STAYC On Their New Album "Staydom"
Get to know Sieun, Seeun, Sumin, J, ISA and Yoon, plus their own takes on their massive commercial successes and the bonds they've formed with each other along the way
Say hello to Sumin, Sieun, ISA, Seeun, Yoon, and J, the members of STAYC, a new girl group from South Korea that's ready to take over the charts!
STAYC debuted in November last year with a two-track album Stars to a Young Culture. Their first single, "So Bad," was a huge hit when it came out; its music video hit over two million views within 24 hours of its release, while the mini album that came out on the same day turned STAYC into a record-breaking group.
At the same time "So Bad" was rising through the charts to peak at a Top 6 spot, Stars to a Young Culture was selling thousands of copies, making STAYC the only debut girl group in 2020 to sell more than 4,300 copies of their album in its first hour and over 10,000 copies in just one week. All their early achievements signal future local and international success for the six-part group and their label, High Up Entertainment. STAYC is the first girl group that High Up Entertainment has launched.
Prior to releasing their original music, STAYC gained online attention via their YouTube channel that's full of dance and song covers of the likes of the biggest names in K-Pop like BLACKPINK, BTS, Twice, and Red Velvet.
The girls of STAYC have since worked on new material for their second album Staydom that came out in April. Featuring four tracks, Staydom pushes forward the group's emerging sound of youthfulness and freshness. In particular, their single "So What" has especially been helpful in showing what makes STAYC a powerful ensemble; the song has all six of the girls sing verses, showing that all of them are worthy frontwomen of the group, rather than depend on only one or two members to lead the way with the rest of the group providing backing vocals.
The STAYC girls have been busy promoting their newest work around South Korea and overseas including the Philippines where Korean artists are always met with a big, warm welcome.
In an exclusive interview and their first-ever conversation with Metro.Style, we talked to Sumin, Sieun, ISA, Seeun, Yoon, and J to ask them about their successful debut, what they're like on and off stage, and all the work they put in to become one of Korea's most promising music acts of 2021.
Check out what they had to say!
First things first—all the girls are incredibly happy to be STAYC members. They're proud of themselves for seeing hours and hours of training pay off and they're all looking forward to what else is coming their way. They look back on what it took to create commercially successful records.
"Well, in preparation for our debut, we practiced live the most after we finished dancing and singing. So, for a long time, we did practice singing live for six to seven hours a day, and at least we did it for two hours," ISA tells Metro.Style.
"And we did live while running around the practice room," Sumin adds.
Everything the girls went through was pretty much reflective of what it takes to be a K-Pop star; the preparations are rigorous and demanding and the stakes are always sky-high. Despite the challenges of 2020 that have persisted to this year, they showed incredible dedication to and concentration on their work.
In fact, it's an attitude that explains their group's name: STAYC isn't just a play on the name Stacy, but rather an acronym for "star to a young culture," just like the name of their debut album.
"To mention that STAYC means ‘Star to a young culture,’ first of all, ‘Star to a young culture’ has the ambition of wanting to be an artist who exerts a good influence on the young culture," shares Sieun, the first member of the group to be recruited.
"...As much as we want to exert the good influence of a young culture, we want to express our music through our spirituality and young energy, and we want to express our personality and charm," she continues.
With two records to bring STAYC to listeners all over the world so far, its group members dance around the "teen fresh" genre—singing lighthearted songs with themes young people easily relate to while infusing musical and electronic elements that lend an atmosphere of optimism and lightness.
Sieun tells us how their two albums are different despite being anchored on this.
"In the first album, it was a song with a feeling of introducing and expressing what kind of group STAYC is, and if we showed energetic and charismatic appearances on stage, this time we want to convey freeness to the public like the word freedom. We made a lot of effort and tried to show us a lot of different and wacky features and chemistry among us," she reveals. There's also a new focus on their choreography and ability to sing catchy hooks this time around.
"So Bad," the group's first-ever single, lets the girls be themselves and show their growing fanbase what they're each like as individuals.
On the other hand, "ASAP," the first single from Staydom embodies all this by expressing "the wish that the perfect ideal type drawn in the heart appears as soon as possible," Sieun explains.
The girls of STAYC all know what they can look forward to if they keep up their stamina: international stardom.
"I heard that the genre of K-Pop is having a lot of influence around the world these days. And I can feel it a lot," Sumin tells us.
"We, STAYC, also want to deliver more good influence and healthy energies by following K-Pop with other seniors (more senior K-Pop acts)," she says.
The girls also reveal more about each other to their fans. As they train, perform, record, and spend off-duty days together, Sumin, Sieun, ISA, Seeun, Yoon, and J discover more and more about each other.
Seeun and Sumin are always the first to get up in the morning, for example, while Yoon and Sumin are the cooks of the group (they can be expected to make meals for everyone when they're all housed together during training periods!).
And then there's Sieun, the group's most emotional member. She's almost always bound to cry after a sad movie, especially if the story is something she can relate to. As for K-Drama fans, you're going to want to binge-watch titles with Sumin. According to her, she watches them on a daily basis.
ISA is arguably STAYC's most daring when it comes to fashion. She's always switching up her look, plus, if she's ever given the opportunity later on, fashion is even something she wants to formally learn about. It's similar for J—she's the group's most artistic. She draws a lot and could probably have an alternative career as a painter.
Yoon doesn't shy away from her love for gaming; she can play games for hours on end, up until the sun rises. Sumin could never; she's a big fan of the outdoors and talks constantly about wanting to go on hikes.
Everyone knows who to point out when they're asked which of them packs the most stuff in the heaviest luggage when they go on tour—Sieun and ISA!
But if there's one thing all the girls can agree on, it's their common love for K-Pop: performing it, and also listening to other groups. Girls' Generation is at the top of their list (Sieuns' favorite song of theirs is "Party!") while Sumin will always be a fan of Girl's Day and their song "Darling."
Check out STAYC's full Metro Talks interview below!
We also played the "Who's Most Likely To?" game with STAYC. Watch it below:
Photos, videos, and translation courtesy of High Up Entertainment
Coordination: MAXPERIENCE (MPE), Will Kim, and Grace Libero-Cruz
Video editing by Pat Buenaobra