VIVIZ Talks About How Having Members With Different Personalities Makes Them A Better Team
The girls' diverse backgrounds are what sets them apart from others.
The girls' diverse backgrounds are what sets them apart from others.
It's always exciting to hear about a new K-pop group debuting. There's this unexplainable kind of happiness to see dreams finally turning into reality, years of hard work getting the spotlight they truly deserve, and the hopeful eyes of these new artists lighting up in delight, as if to say, "we're finally here!".
There are a number of ways new groups are titled. Some are called "super rookies" while others are labeled "new kids on the block." And there are those who are said to be the new "forces to be reckoned with." But perhaps only a few—or maybe even none at all—can claim the title of "rookies backed with years of experience."
Not until you meet the K-pop trio, VIVIZ.
The words "experienced" and "rookies" contradict each other, so naming VIVIZ with the said title can raise quite a few eyebrows. But for SinB, Umji, and Eunha, being trainees and K-pop debutantes were experiences they know all too well. They've been there. They’ve done it all. And they're here to start anew.
Seven years ago, the world was introduced to the newest K-pop girl group in town, GFRIEND. This was when the members first experienced the euphoria of a K-pop debut. Their premiere album quickly caught the attention of many fans and the group quickly catapulted to commercial success. GFRIEND has released four studio albums, 10 extended plays (EPs), and about 20 singles throughout their career. But who would have thought that Walpurgis Night, released in the latter part of 2020, would be their last? Certainly not the girls. In the first half of 2021, GFRIEND's contract with their agency had ended and the six girls decided to part ways with their entertainment label.
It was a difficult time, both for the members and their fans, but life has to go on. Following their disbandment, the girls took some time off from the limelight and focused on themselves. They used this time away to enjoy the things they couldn't usually do when they were still in GFRIEND—and that was to live a normal life free of the restrictions that come with celebrity status. But you can never unlearn the art, as well as being an artist. Not at all, especially if you've spent years becoming one just like SinB, Eunha, and Umji. They continued to hone their craft and have turned their sadness into the motivation they needed to get back on their feet. Even if it meant going back to square one.
The name VIVIZ, SinB told K-Loka by Cosmopolitan Philippines, "is a portmanteau of the words 'vivid,' and 'days,' with the letter 's' changed to a 'z.' Its meaning conveys our ambition to become artists who will always confidently express our unique colors to the world."
Unofficially, though, VIVIZ is also actually derived from the names of its three members. When the Korean translation is romanized, the characters are read as "BIBIJI." The two "BIs" are from SinB's and Eunha's real names (Hwang Eun Bi is SinB's while Jung Eun Bi is Eunha's real name), while the "JI" is from Umji's stage name. It could have been VIVIWON, had they gone for Umji's real name, Ye Won. Other names they considered for the team were "Three Friends" and "Soulmate," but it's VIVIZ that has the "this is it!" ring to it. It was the name the girls and the people at their company all agreed on.
VIVIZ debuted on February 9, 2022. With the release of their first single, "BOP BOP!," the feeling was quite new—newer than what they were expecting. This was how Umji described the experience as they guested on MBC's Weekly Idol on the same day of their debut. True to its title, "BOP BOP!" is infectiously a bop. I listened to it one time and I couldn't seem to shake the chorus out of my head. Days after, the LSS was still there and I have often caught myself thumping to its catchy rhythm. I share the same sentiments when SinB, Eunha, and Umji said that they all liked "BOP BOP!" as their title track and debut song. And, as expected, so do a lot of their fans they lovingly call "Na.V." The song immediately won its first music show win on MBC's Show Champion just a week after its release.
Beneath the glitter and the glamour of the idol life are blood, sweat, and tears. It's not a secret that the road to stardom is not easy. Despite the hardships, especially having gone through them before, why does this *new* trio from BPM Entertainment continue wanting to become K-pop idols?
"There wasn't so much of a certain moment, but I've always liked to dance and sing since I was young. Therefore, naturally, I became a trainee and then debuted," shares SinB.
For Umji, the reason is that she has gotten such a good opportunity out of it. "Thankfully, I was cast and that led me to a good opportunity. Frankly speaking, I didn't start with a huge dream, but I became more and more invested in this career. It's become more special to me now," she recounts.
Eunha once had a bike with Fin.K.L (one of the first generation K-pop groups) drawn on it which probably cracked open her dreams of becoming an idol. "I've always enjoyed singing. I think I started dreaming of becoming a singer that can dance after watching the diversely talented idols on TV," the eldest member tells us.
Individually, their backgrounds and personalities are diverse as can be. And from being a six-member girl group to a trio, there are a lot of ways the reincarnation of SinB, Umji, and Eunha are different, too. Yet, the girls believe that these changes—the differences they've experienced—are what defines them. "I think the three of us are all so very different, yet we make the best team," said Eunha when asked about what makes VIVIZ different from other K-pop groups. "We understand each other very well and are always supportive of one another, thanks to the eight years we spent together. I'm sure that people will notice it and like that about us."
The previous years surely have lots of ups and downs, and they come with good and bad memories. For Umji, the most challenging part of the last eight years was the training. "Honestly, I think the most challenging time was when I was a trainee," she laughingly reveals to K-Loka by Cosmopolitan Philippines. "I guess I had no choice, but to overcome that period because all of us at that time were focused solely on this path."
While the girls can laugh about it now, the past years aren't exactly a walk in the park. But aside from their burning passion for their craft, we were curious to know what helps them power through the hardest of times.
"It makes me happy every time I think about my dog, Angkko," SinB says. In fact, in one VEGINZ (their reality show uploaded on BPM Entertainment's official YouTube channel) episode, SinB's phone wallpaper is that of Angkko's who, she says, lives at her family's home instead of with her.
For Umji, it's her family that sparks happy thoughts every time. "I still clearly remember the time I spent playing with my older sister and brother at home, and it makes me happy to this day," she shares.
On the other hand, it's their fans that keep Eunha going. "There are so many great memories, but the happiest one I have since debuting as a singer would be the times of our concert when we were behind the stage, right before going up to perform, and we would hear our fans cheering. It makes us so happy whenever we see our fans after the LED screens open," Eunha lovingly narrates.
To date, VIVIZ has one EP out in the market. Beam Of Prism, their debut album, is composed of seven tracks. When asked which song from the album represents the group the most, Eunha confidently pointed out that it's none other than the title track, "BOP BOP!" After all, it's the song they debuted with "and newly experimented with," she says. "It is, and will be, unforgettable," Eunha adds.
As a group whose ambition is to express their unique colors to the world, we wonder what colors actually best represent the members. The three girls took turns choosing their own hues and explaining their picks.
"Black," picks SinB. "Don't you get black when you combine all existing colors together?" she muses. "I think the color black best represents me because it contains all the various colors." Black is often regarded as a color of sophistication, of strength—all of which align with the words SinB picked to describe her personality, too. "'Effort,' 'dance,' and 'SinB' are the three words that describe my personality," she says. Incidentally, the word "SinB" directly translates to "mystery," another characteristic associated with her color of choice.
For Umji—whose personality she described as "meticulous, inquisitive, and active"—chose the color white as her representative hue. Openness, new beginnings, and cleanliness are just some of the characteristics associated with white, and it clearly translates to how Umji views herself too. "I want to be a person who is best represented by white because I wish to be always able to take in all sorts of things without losing my true essence," she explains.
And for Eunha, purple is her color. "It's my favorite! I think purple is a color that has character and is appealing, and I think that's what makes it suit me." A result of the combination of colors red and blue, the color purple has varying characteristics depending on its shade. Often, however, it is associated with romantic energies, ethereal feelings, and nobility and dignity—characteristics that are close to her own personality which she described as "skillful, strong-minded, happy-go-lucky, and ambitious."
Speaking of nobility, more than the challenges of an "experienced rookie" is that VIVIZ also took on the challenge of becoming a contender in Queendom 2. The show brings together six female acts from various stages of their careers with the goal of crowning one *queen* among them all. For Queendom's second season, VIVIZ competed against Hyolyn, Brave Girls, WJSN, Loona, and Kep1er.
"We recently participated in Queendom 2 as VIVIZ, and it's been both exhausting and worthwhile as we prepared a wide variety of songs and performances," narrates Umji when asked about their most memorable experience so far as performers. "I think the six months we spent on the show will last in my memory," she continues.
SinB echoed Umji's sentiments and said that participating in Queendom 2 was their first time joining a survival show. Naturally, the girls had a lot to worry about, especially since preparing for it was on top of the preparations they had to make for their debut promotions. However, SinB and the gang had no complaints. They saw the challenge as blocks that will further build their character. "When we look back in the future, I think we will remember it as being a valuable experience because the process of preparing our performances was more fun than we expected it to be," she recalls.
But no matter where they go, or the achievements they have and will continue to reap, deep down GFRIEND will always be special to VIVIZ. "It still amazes us and we're so grateful that the song, 'Rough,' placed second on the annual chart," says Umji when asked about the most unforgettable achievement the three of them have had so far. "We didn't quite know at the time, but as time goes by, we're realizing more and more that it was an incredible achievement."
"Rough," a song released by GFRIEND in 2016 as part of their Snowflake EP, does indeed hold a special place in their hearts. They performed the song during Queendom 2's first preliminary performance. In the show, the girls visibly had a hard time choosing which song to perform for their first battle. Eventually, the girls performed two GFRIEND songs ("Time for the Moon Night" + "Rough") upon the suggestion of their former leader, Sowon. The performance landed VIVIZ in the third spot of the competition towards the end of the first round. After several rounds of tough music challenges, WJSN bagged the crown with VIVIZ coming third in line to the throne.
They may not have taken home the Queendom crown, but that is only the beginning of VIVIZ's ascent to superstardom.
"I think being a queen means learning how to enjoy and be happy doing what I do," comes SinB's reply when asked about what it means to be a queen. Reaching the height of their careers as GFRIEND members and then starting all over again as the VIVIZ trio must only mean one thing: SinB, Umji, and Eunha are already queens in their own right by having fun doing what they all love best: Performing.
At this point, it's a blank slate for VIVIZ. These three girls each have a crayon in hand, ready to paint the canvas as colorful as they want it to be. So what's next for them?
"We will be actively working and having fun on stage, as we do now," tells SinB. "I think we will also continue to have fun and enjoyable times with our fans." It hasn't been long since the girls concluded their "BOP BOP!" promotions and the dust has also yet to settle after their fantastic run at Queendom 2. Now, they're back with their second mini-album, Summer Vibe.
Having seen the tenacity, the grit, and the drive that VIVIZ has, I'm pretty sure that SinB, Umji, and Eunha will always wow us with their spectacular performances. The girls are in full bloom, and they hold their rightful thrones as the queens of our hearts.
Vivat VIVIZ! Long may you reign.
*This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
PRODUCED BY: Hanna Tamondong
LAYOUT BY: Pau Moyano
SPECIAL THANKS TO: BPM Entertainment and REELS Corporation Inc.