Client: MTV (USA)
Before the recent release of their fourth single — the lyrically sagacious, ’90s hip-hop-soaked “Uh-Oh” — the six members of the multinational K-pop group (G)I-DLE felt the prickly onslaught of nerves. Not that this was new; according to Beijing-born vocalist Yuqi, 19, they get nervous before every drop of new material. Their way through it is by communicating with each other. A lot. Not just before a comeback but “almost every day if we have time,” says Thai vocalist Minnie, in English. “Maybe not all six of us every day, maybe just two or three, but we’ll always talk.”
“We often encourage each other before a stage,” Yuqi elaborates, also in English, her long, diamante earrings repeatedly catching the light. “We’ll have a pep talk.” She’s an animated speaker, hands fluidly mapping out the rhythm of her words. The group’s leader, rapper and songwriter, Soyeon, 20, and Minnie, 21, also share this habit, and the latter’s thin metal bangles collide as she talks, filling this beige, windowless room deep inside Madison Square Garden with tiny, bright spirals of noise.