With the coronavirus pandemic canceling events and delaying tours, 2020 is not the year any artist envisioned having. But K-pop girl group TWICE is still rising.
In the five years since the band’s debut, K-pop has taken off globally, along with the girls’ own fame and sugary, feel-good music. They’ve made history at home and abroad; in South Korea last April, TWICE became the highest-selling girl group of all time, and globally, their album TWICETAGRAM peaked at #1 on the Billboard World Albums chart in 2017. Their music has steadily charted since, with “Feel Special” hitting the #1 song on the World Digital Song Sales chart last October.
Last week, their newest music video, “MORE & MORE,” got over 73 million views in six days. It dropped on June 1, the same day the group released their bubbly, made-for-summer EP MORE & MORE.
TWICE members Chaeyoung, Jeongyeon, Tzuyu, Nayeon, Momo, Sana, Jihyo, Mina, and Dahyun understand the significance of bringing K-pop to a global audience alongside bands like BLACKPINK, BTS, and Red Velvet. “It feels great [to represent the genre abroad]!” Sana told ELLE.com. “There are so many amazing K-pop artists who have helped pave the way for this genre. I’m thankful to the fans for embracing K-pop internationally.”
Jihyo added, “I am very proud to represent K-pop. It’s exciting to hear how the fans enjoy watching our choreography and seeing our outfits onstage and makeup.”
They also have big plans for the future—including hopes to see their ONCE fans on a tour of the U.S. when it’s safe. (ONCE is TWICE’s official fandom name). Ahead of MORE & MORE‘s release, ELLE.com did an e-mail interview with the girls about their songwriting process, what they hope to accomplish in the U.S. music scene, and what they’ve learned about friendship as they live together through their late teens and early 20s. They also offered their go-to quarantine entertainment picks.
ELLE: Nayeon, you wrote “Make Me Go,” and Jeongyeon and Chaeyoung, you co-wrote “Sweet Summer Day.” What do those tracks mean to you? How has your songwriting evolved as you’ve worked on more music?
Nayeon: I really enjoyed working on “Make Me Go!” I feel more comfortable each time I sit down to write, but I’m determined to get better and better.
Jeongyeon: I’m very excited that “Sweet Summer Day” is on the album. It’s the perfect summer song, and I think the fans will enjoy it. I’ve always listened to a wide variety of music, and I know that shows through my songwriting evolution. If I have the chance, I would like to write an emotional, sad ballad.
Chaeyoung: “Sweet Summer Day” means a lot to me because the lyrics are all about expressing our thoughts and allowing them to shine through. I enjoy writing rap verses. The writing has always come natural to me.
Take ELLE through MORE & MORE. What can you tell us about each song’s meaning? What track are you most proud of?
Nayeon: I am very proud of the song “MORE & MORE.” It’s a great love song and has really fun choreography attached.
Jeongyeon: This album means a lot to me in general because Mina is feeling better, and all nine of us are back together. Our title track “MORE & MORE” is my favorite because the dance attached to it is very fun and something we’re all proud of.
Momo: I love every song off this album, but especially “MORE & MORE” because so much preparation went into perfecting this song. Out of all our TWICE songs in general, I really like “TT.” It’s really fun to perform with fans.
Sana: We haven’t released an album since Feel Special nine months ago, so this release means a lot to us. I’m excited to show our fans the new dances, and I love the song “MORE & MORE.” Looking at all our songs, I am proudest of “Feel Special” because it reflects the story of TWICE’s relationship with ONCE.
Jihyo: I’m proud in general of this album since it’s been a while since all nine of us have been together. I am excited to perform the new music for ONCE.
Mina: I am very proud of “MORE & MORE.” The choreography was not easy to learn, but we all worked really hard to remember it, and the teamwork means a lot.
Dahyun: I’m so proud of our new track “MORE & MORE” because we have invested so much time and energy in making this album special.
Chaeyoung: I am very proud of both “MORE & MORE” and “FIREWORK.” “FIREWORK” is a very fun song, and was also a good challenge for us to dip into the Latin genre.This content is imported from YouTube. You may be able to find the same content in another format, or you may be able to find more information, at their website.
Tzuyu: I am very proud of our song “SHADOW.” I feel like this song reflects us as a group well and is different than our previous songs. Also, I am really proud of “CHEER UP” because it makes me feel energised and is very fun to perform.
You girls have been together for five years, through your teens and early twenties. What have you learned from each other about friendship?
Nayeon: It’s important to respect each other first. We all live together, and have realized how important it is to hear each other out and be there for one another.
Jeongyeon: We have all become family. I cannot live without them! They mean so much to me, and we all have great energy together. I have learned so much, but especially how the value of encouraging one another can go such a long way.
Momo: I learned that we are all better together. It’s important to lean on each other through the good and bad times.
Sana: I learned how important it is to encourage each other. We all prioritize remaining considerate of one another.
Jihyo: I have learned that our friendships mean a lot to all of us. It was hard to live together at first, but now we learn from each other and are such good friends.
Mina: I have learned that respecting each other is important. When we moved in, I remember overhearing a member saying, “Let’s do this together.” That really stuck with me because we’re all so close now and enjoy doing everything together.
Dahyun: I learned that we have the best energy when all nine of us are together. The best advice I was given was to enjoy the time together and find happiness through these stages of our lives.
Chaeyoung: We have all became family. It was difficult to move in together at first, but now we’re able to take turns giving advice and lean on each other.
Tzuyu: I have learned how important it is to value everyone’s opinions. The best advice I have been given to navigate fame is to focus on the positive things and what makes me feel encouraged.
What do you do to prepare for a comeback?
Nayeon: We practice really, really hard. It’s important for us to all be aligned with the same energy on stage.
Tzuyu: We are practicing the songs and choreography every day. Also, I have found that spending time focusing on myself has helped me prepare as well.
What is your dream goal to accomplish in the U.S. music scene?
Jeongyeon: My specific goal is for TWICE is to travel across the U.S. together, performing for fans in every state. That would be a dream!
Momo: My absolute dream goal is to dance with Beyoncé on stage. Also, Chaeyoung recently showed me Justin Bieber’s TikTok, and now I hope to one day shoot a TikTok with him. He’s so good at dancing!
Who would you love to collaborate with?
Sana: We’d love to collaborate with Ariana Grande or Doja Cat!
Your touring plans are on hold for now, but is there anything you can tease about what your next tour will be like?
Mina: We aren’t sure what the rest of the year will look like, but I do hope to tour across the U.S. soon. I really want to visit Texas!
Dahyun: We don’t have a schedule for the rest of the year yet, but I really enjoyed visiting so many countries on tour last year. It was very exciting, and I was so happy and thankful to visit all the places we were able to. I can’t wait to see ONCE again!
In this new era, the group has embraced a sexier, grown-up style. How would you describe your personal style now?
Dahyun: I would describe my style as comfortable and casual. On tour and on event days, we usually wear fancy outfits, so in everyday life, I prefer wearing comfortable clothes.
Chaeyoung: I would describe my looks as “Chaeyoung style.” I just wear clothes I think pair well together and look good on me.
You’ve had so many great music videos. What’s your favourite so far and why?
Nayeon: My favourite so far has been “What is Love?” because we had so much fun together filming it, and the outfits were awesome.
Jeongyeon: I really like “Dance The Night Away.” I enjoy the summer vibes, and we all have good memories shooting the video in Okinawa.
Momo: Agree with Jeongyeon. My favorite video is “Dance The Night Away” too. The choreography is very catchy and easy to follow. It’s a really fun song to dance to.
Sana: I really like our video for “What is Love?” It was fun to do a parody of movies, and I especially loved shooting the scene from Ghost with Jeongyeon. Very fun!
Jihyo: I really liked shooting “Dance The Night Away,” because we had so much fun together on set!
Mina: My favorite is video is “What is Love?” I love the scene I shot with Dahyun [parodying 1980 French comedy La Boum]. It was so fun to see her act.
Dahyun: My favorite is “What is Love?” as well. All nine of us had a fun time shooting different movie concepts. It was exciting to see every scene different in the music video.
Chaeyoung: I really like our video for “What is Love?” I played the roles of Marilyn Monroe, Charlie Chaplin, and Matilda. It was fun to act as three different people at one time.
Tzuyu: I personally like our “TT” music video because I felt like we were in a fairy tale.
You’ve all experimented with hair colours over the years. What’s your favourite you’ve had and why?
Nayeon: I like my black hair and think it suits me best.
Jeongyeon: I like to experiment with different colors but like the ashy look best. I like my hair on the lighter side.
Momo: I like to be blonder, and I know ONCE likes my hair lighter too.
Sana: I’ve liked to experiment with my hair being pink, orange, and blonde—but overall, I choose blonde because it’s easy to change colors when that’s your base color.
Jihyo: Personally, I like myself with dark and short hair. It feels very me!
Mina: I’ve tried different colors and looks, but I like my hair black best.
Dahyun: I have experimented a lot, but I like my blue hair right now. It’s so fun!
Chaeyoung: I don’t have a favorite! I like all the different hair styles and colors that I’ve tried.
Tzuyu: I like my hair colour when it is “wine-brown.” I think it fits best.
We’re all in quarantine. Can you give us an entertainment pick (TV show, music, movie, video game, or book) you’ve loved?
Nayeon: To be honest, I really enjoy watching our YouTube reality show, TIME TO TWICE (TTT). It’s fun to see how far the nine of us have come.
Jeongyeon: I like to read a lot of books and poems. Even though poems are short, I enjoy the emotions that come with them.
Momo: I like to watch the TV shows, “The World of the Married” and “Hangout with Yoo” with the members.
Sana: I enjoy listening to music. Right now, I like “Stuck with U” by Ariana Grande and Justin Bieber. I listen to the song every night!
Jihyo: I watch Netflix a lot these days. I just started “Vikings” and am hooked.
Mina: I watch a lot of YouTube. I can watch videos all day, every day.
Dahyun: I like the comedy show “Running Man.”
Chaeyoung: I like to switch off between TV and YouTube videos and listening to music.
Tzuyu: I am watching a lot of TV and YouTube videos during quarantine!
Twice’s EP MORE & MORE is out now and available for streaming on Spotify, YouTube, and Apple Music.