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All about self-love and female empowerment, ITZY is the girl crush group we’re stanning

Get to know ITZY as the girls talk about their sound, dish song recommendations, and share when they last felt truly free.

ITZY’s only three years old, but the group known for their girl crush concept, female empowerment, and fiery stage presence, is already a force to be reckoned with.

We sat with the girls to chat about their newest album, their first global tour in Seoul, and the moments when they felt truly free.

This Is ITZY

From the get-go, Yeji, Lia, Ryujin, Chaeryeong, and Yuna have been embodying their group’s name, ITZY — a play on the Korean word “있지”, which means “to have it all.” 

It didn’t take long after their debut on February 12, 2019, for their songs to become quick favourites among fans. They snagged Rookie of the Year at the 2019 Asia Artist Awards, Best New Female Artist at the 2019 Mnet Asian Music Awards, as well as Digital Bonsangs for DALLA DALLA and WANNABE at the 2020 and 2021 Golden Disc Awards. 

On Spotify, the group already has six songs that have reached over 100 million streams (as of xx) – WANNABE, DALLA DALLA, Not Shy, LOCO, In the Morning and ICY. In fact, WANNABE, has more than 260 million streams (as of 19 Oct 2022)  — no small feat at all. 

In July, ITZY released their new comeback, CHECKMATE. The title track, SNEAKERS, is about feeling free and having the freedom to be yourself. And as a surprise for international fans, the girls included an English version of the song in the album.

Here’s what else we found out: 

Favorite B-side from the new album…

DOMINO: “It’s a song that represents supporting each other and not letting anyone go down, like a domino,” says Yeji. Chaeryeong adds that the message of the song is about “relying and standing up for each other” and they hope that it’ll “give fans lots of strength when they listen to it.”

The last time they felt truly free…

Lia recalls throwing herself into the sea on a trip to the beach. “In that moment, I felt so free and happy!” she shared. For Ryujin, it was when she was enjoying the view of Seoul city from the top of a mountain: “The wind was so nice and cool that day. And when I looked at the lights from the city, it was so beautiful.” Yuna, on the other hand, remembers listening to the mix master version of SNEAKERS when it was released while taking a walk in the park opposite JYP Entertainment. “The sun shined warmly and the wind was pleasantly cool. I felt so alive and free.”

What do they want to show MIDZYs (ITZY fans) on their world tour…

“I want to show how much ITZY has stepped up,” says Yeji. Lia agrees, and adds that she also wants to show how the group has “become much cooler”. On the other hand, both Ryujin and Yuna want to connect better with their international fans, “not only show, but really let you know how sincere we are,” Yuna emphasises. As for Chaeryeong, she can’t wait to have fun on stage and share that energy with MIDZYs all over the world. The US leg of the tour starts October 26. 

Songs that they have on repeat

Chaeryeong’s pick: Ghost by Justin Bieber – “I like the lyrics, melody and vibe.”

Lia’s pick: Emily by Jeremy Zucker and Chelsea Cutler – “I play it on [my] speaker repeatedly and fall asleep. It’s a delicate song and makes me think about the meaning of the lyrics, so I wanted to share it. Highly recommended.”

Ryujin’s pick: Vienna by Billy Joel – “It’s a song I’d want to listen to by a calm riverside [when I’m abroad].”

Yeji’s pick: Break My Heart Myself by Bebe Rexha (feat Travis Barker) – “Ryujin and I showed [a] performance with Bebe’s song. A lot of people loved and liked it.” P.S. You can also listen to Yeji and Ryujin’s version of the song here.

Yuna’s pick: Ah puh by IU – “This song reminds [me] of water play. It’s rhythmical and [lingers] in my ears and my head, which is very addictive.”

For more song recommendations, you can check out all the songs they’re listening to on the ITZY: Idol Lounge playlist.

The ITZY Sound

While girl groups are often known for their bubbly and sweet concepts, like their seniors TWICE, ITZY’s sound is energetic and unabashed. Their songs are often about self-confidence and empowerment – the group’s debut track DALLA DALLA has the girls singing “I love myself!”, WANNABE’s chorus has them chanting “I just wanna be me, me, me” while the second verse of Don’t Give A What talks about setting themselves free and breaking prejudices.

“I think in ITZY’s music, whether the subject was about ourselves or love, we can’t leave out confidence,” says Yeji. In fact, she says that the message of having confidence in everything that you do is one that the group tries to relay in all their songs. This is why, regardless of the concepts that they’ve tried with each comeback, she adds that “confidence and the idea of ‘love myself’ will continue to be the messages we try to convey in new ways”.

With girl power being so synonymous with the group, it’s no wonder ITZY is one of the most well-loved girl groups of K-Pop’s 4th Generation. 

So the next time you need a boost in self-love and confidence, tune in to the group’s This Is ITZY playlist.

For more ITZY antics, watch the members try to compliment each other without laughing in the exclusive videos on K-Pop ON! Track playlist on the Spotify mobile app.