Exclusive Interview: Are H1-KEY One-Hit Wonders or 4th Gen K-Pop Legends? Members Talk Fame After ‘Rose Blossom’

h1-key members
h1-key members
Credit: GLG, Sony Music Entertainment

If you haven’t heard of H1-KEY, then you must be a flower between the cracks that hasn’t bloomed yet! The empowering girl group, who are known for their atypical sounds and imaginative lyrics, have become city-pop queens and a group added to everyone’s playlist with each and every comeback.

While originally debuting as a five-member group, the quartet under Grandline Group consists of Seoi, Riina, Hwiseo, and Yel – who have each stolen our hearts with their dazzling group dynamic, endless charisma and refreshing concepts.

Their most popular song “Rose Blossom” peaked and scored the girls their first one after pulling a magnificent chart reversal after a YouTube short went viral. The meaningful lyrics, written by DAY6 member Young K, resonated with audiences in Korea and internationally. Alongside the fairy-like vocals of the girls and the nostalgic echoing sounds of the instrumental, some likened the group’s edgy appearance but heart-warming sounds to 2NE1. The group even surpassed groups like NewJeans and STAYC, who were dominating the charts endlessly at the time.

Now, the girls relished in their victory and discussed not only the surprise they felt after placing 1st but also the future they want to craft for their fans with their music. From their most memorable performances to future possibilities at KCON and world tours, the girls divulged their hopes and dreams with us in this exclusive interview!

H1-KEY has evolved into a girl group that represents growth, empowerment, and feel-good energy. Can you tell us about your success with “SEOUL” and “Rose Blossom?”

SEOI: “We just never imagined such reactions! When ‘Rose Blossom’ started trending again, I couldn’t believe it and felt like the world was pulling a prank on me! And when ‘SEOUL’ (Such a Beautiful City) won first place on music shows, it felt like a dream. In fact, it still feels surreal. I’m very grateful to everyone who gave so much love to our music! :)”

Your music has empowered international fans and Korean fans alike. Is there a song that makes you feel empowered or gives you strength?

RIINA: “If I had to pick a song that comes to mind right now, it would be ‘Fix You’ by Coldplay. I believe this song serves as a source of comfort for many people worldwide, and personally, I’m a fan of the track too. I think it allows us to feel the power of music.”

Now, the lovely ladies of H1-KEY aren’t just pumping out incredible tracks but they are also putting on stellar performances on stage. If you follow our social media, you will remember seeing clips of their performances on our Instagram live during their INK Concert stage!

You performed at the INK CONCERT in Incheon. How did it feel to perform on such a big stage with other artists without any restrictions?

HWISEO: “I recall feeling invigorated by the grand stage, engaging with numerous audience members through eye contact, and singing and dancing excitedly.”

You officially had a comeback with “Deeper” this February. Can you tell us more about the song concept and the message you want to leave fans? How is this song different from your other songs?

YEL: “‘Deeper’ carries the meaning of moving forward for a better self, stepping away from our wounds and pain. When I first heard this song, I felt comforted by the message of even loving my pains. I could also resonate with the words that promise to take care of myself moving forward even more than myself in the present. I hope listeners can also relate to the emotions I felt while listening to ‘Deeper’ and find solace in it.”

Is there any concept H1-KEY thinks would match the group or want to try? Could H1-KEY try something untraditional in K-Pop or follow suit and show more aegyo?

SEOI: “We’re confident that we can pull off various concepts! During our debut, we showcased concepts that are completely different from what we’re doing now, and it’s because we’ve accumulated diverse experiences since our trainee days. Whether it’s city pop or a cute concept, if our fans want it, we’re willing to take on any challenge.”

Speaking of your debut, there are many moments to reflect on. Which was your most memorable stage performance and why?

RIINA: “For me, the day we performed at the Boryeong Mud Festival was the most memorable! Despite the heavy rain, I thoroughly enjoyed interacting with the audience that day and we were able to complete the performance happily.”

h1-key members
Credit: GLG, Sony Music Entertainment

Will the group ever plan to join KCON or perform more internationally?

HWISEO: “I would like to perform on international stages more often this year, and we also have plans for an overseas tour!”

Did you hear that, M1-KEY (the group’s fandom name), a world tour is on the way! Hopefully soon we can cover their international performances and more!

The girls celebrated their 2nd year anniversary with a special program called ‘Unstoppable H1-KEY’ – what were your favorite parts of the trip and how did it help you bond as a group?

YEL: “It was the first time all four of us traveled together, so it was even more memorable and precious as we were able to make good memories while playing games and spending time together. Something that took us by surprise was that there were people who recognized H1-KEY, and it inspired us to work even harder in the future. It was a motivating trip for all of us.”

Are you planning any other future group trips or events for fans?

SEOI: “Of course! While we can’t reveal all the details just yet, we’re gearing up for various exciting events, so please stay tuned and join our future adventures.”

How did it feel to be nominated for the Korean Music Awards? What does this award mean to the group?

RIINA: “We are incredibly grateful and delighted to learn that H1-KEY and our music are being recognized in a positive way. If we’re fortunate enough to win, it would serve as a great motivation for us to strive even harder than we do now. I believe it would also become a significant driving force for us during our journey as artists.”

The girls, ever so bright, offered their fans M1-KEY one more slice of love before finishing our entertaining interview. Do you have a final message for your fans?

h1-key members
Credit: GLG, Sony Music Entertainment

HWISEO: “I want to express my gratitude to all the fans who support and love H1-KEY anytime, anywhere. We will continue to work hard to achieve great results and pay back your love even more. Thank you! Love you all.”

If you are new to H1-KEY’s addictive charms, how much do you want to become a M1-KEY now? Sadly, this concludes our interview but it isn’t the finale for H1-KEY and their seemingly endless success. The girls have a lot more in store for us in the year 2024 and have truly cemented their image into 4th Gen K-Pop history.

What do you think of H1-KEY’s beautiful girl group story? Is there a song that won your heart and made you a fan? Don’t forget to follow H1-KEY on social media for more fun bonus content from each member and keep track of our posts on Instagram and Twitter for more exclusive K-Pop content and interviews!

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