Red Velvet Talks ‘RBB,’ Upcoming Tour & Dream Collaborators: Interview
K-Pop Queens Red Velvet have their eyes set on global domination this year. The group has been extending their reign with some serious bangers since launching in 2014. Last year, they unleashed a slew of content including their most recent mini-album RBB. The project contained their second all-English track “RBB (Really Bad Boy)” and hit the number 2 spot on Billboard’s World Albums chart. In 2019, the quintet has already dropped Japanese-language bop “Sappy” and performed across the country. Next up is North America. They touch down on the continent next week and will kick off their first solo tour here with a performance in Pasadena, California February 7.
I had the opportunity to ask the “Sassy Me” divas a couple of questions about their music and what they have in store for the show. They opened up about favorite songs on the project, talked choreography and reflected on how the music differed between RBB and their late-summer project Summer Magic. The girls also shared some insight into how they determine if a release is successful. Here’s a hint, it has less to do with their (very, very strong) streaming numbers and more to do with fan interaction. Glamorous member WENDY talked her John Legend collab “Written In The Stars,” and we discussed some other artists the group would like to work with in the future. Dive into our interview and revisit the “RBB (Really Bad Boy)” video below!
I wanted to start by congratulating you on RBB. It is literally filled to overflowing with bops. “Sassy Me” and “Butterflies” are some of my favorites. What about you? What were you most excited for fans to hear?
IRENE: “So Good” is my favorite. It particularly showcases our singing and shows off more of our range and how much we’ve grown since our last album.
YERI: “Butterflies”! The expressive choreography highlights our ‘butterfly’ dancing.
WENDY: I really love all our album tracks, but I’m partial to our title song, “RBB.” The concept was really fun, and we sang the song with a lot of energy and confidence, so people who listen to the song will also feel it too!
There was a quick turn-around between Summer Magic in August and RBB in November. Were you feeling particularly inspired this past year?
JOY: “Power Up” and “RBB” are totally different concepts. “Power Up” is bubbly and colorful, while “RBB” is more powerful and fierce. We were able to focus on a lot of different things to express these two contrasting concepts. Our fans really showed so much love and support for both songs, so we felt proud that we were able to broaden our musical horizons. It gave us the confidence and belief that we still have a lot more to show to our fans.
How do you feel the two projects differ?
JOY: As I previously mentioned, the concepts, obviously, are very different for each song, and I’d say the overall mood of the albums themselves is very different as well.
I also want to talk about the choreography, which is so fun. Will we be seeing more of it in any performances coming up?
YERI: Of course! “RBB”’s choreography shows Red Velvet’s both sweet and powerful side. There are parts where we do a ‘V-pose’ with our hands, which shows off a more bright and bubbly side. But then we also showcase very bold and powerful moves, which expresses our curiosity towards this ‘Really Bad Boy’. We hope everyone anticipates and expects even more dynamic performances—we definitely have more up our sleeves!
Right now, the video has more than 30 million views on YouTube, which feels like a major triumph. Do you ever look at numbers when you determine if a song is doing well or are you more worried about fan reaction?
SEULGI: We care about both, but we definitely feel those ‘triumphant’ moments more when we see our fans’ actual reactions rather than those numbers. When we’re performing on stage, fans sing along — and it’s even more amazing when we see our fans overseas singing along to the Korean lyrics. Every time we witness that and experience it, we can’t help but to feel that we need to work harder for these fans, in return for all their love and support. And we’re looking forward to seeing our U.S. and Canadian fans sing along during this upcoming tour!
You’ve been churning out quality material since 2014. Do you ever feel pressure to keep up with newer acts?
JOY: Every time we release a new album, we always try our best to come back with better music and performances. We’re always so grateful to see our fans enjoying what we put out, especially since it’s different every time. The fans’ support overshadows any pressure. So to our fans — please continue to show us lots of love and support!
It seems like K-Pop acts are finding international success with increasing frequency. Who are some of your favorites you think our readers should be listening to?
WENDY: I want to recommend NCT’s songs! NCT, which stands for ‘Neo Culture Technology,’ extends to sub-units NCT 127, NCT DREAM, and NCT U, and the reason why I want to recommend their songs is that all the units have their own distinct music styles, in addition to really dynamic performances. Especially for those who are big K-Pop fans, NCT is definitely a group that delivers a fresh take and perspective on K-Pop.
You’ll be launching your first US tour early next year. What can fans expect when they pick up tickets for the show?
IRENE: Since it’s our first solo concert tour in North America, we’re really nervous and excited at the same time. But we’ve prepared tons of dynamic and special performances for the tour, so stay tuned! We’re super excited to meet all our fans!
Wendy, “Written In The Stars” with John Legend is such a gorgeous collaboration. What was it like working with him?
WENDY: Thank you! It was a dream come true. I grew up listening to John Legend and I still can’t believe I got to work with him. He is seriously a ‘LEGEND’ to me. I just remember feeling like I was frozen and couldn’t speak throughout the whole shoot! If I had a chance to meet him again, I definitely wish I was less nervous, and I’d want to talk with him more.
Do any of you have plans to explore more side projects moving forward?
SEULGI: Nothing’s really fixed, but we’re always open to collaborations! Doing collaborations with other artists is always awesome and it really makes us happy.
I love when we see international artists working together because the final result is usually such a blend of sounds. Are there any other artists you’d like to collaborate with?
JOY: I’m really into John Mayer these days. After listening to his album Born and Raised from 2012, I became a really big fan. Especially since I became more interested in jazz and blues genre recently, and I think his voice and tone suit that genre really well.
IRENE: Tori Kelly! She’s a great artist and I really enjoy her songs.
SEULGI: Recently, I’ve been into Billie Eilish. I really love her voice and tone, and I really hope I get a chance to go watch her live at a concert someday. It would be so awesome if we could do a collaboration with her!
YERI: K-POP artist Sam Kim. His songs are always on my playlist.
WENDY: Jessie J! Jessie J’s “Who You Are” has been one of my all-time favorite songs, ever since before I debuted, so the song really means a lot to me.