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XG on first GCC performance, first mini album, future plans

XG's exclusive interview with ANJ.
XG performed in the GCC region for the first time on Nov. 11 in Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Arena as part of the K-pop festival Hyperound K-Fest 2023. They are looking forward to returning to the GCC region in the future (ANJ)
XG performed in the GCC region for the first time on Nov. 11 in Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Arena as part of the K-pop festival Hyperound K-Fest 2023. They are looking forward to returning to the GCC region in the future (ANJ)
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18 Nov 2023 03:11:56 GMT9
18 Nov 2023 03:11:56 GMT9

Manar Elbaz

ABU DHABI: Japanese global girl group XG sat down with Arab News Japan before their first performance in the GCC region to discuss their first trip to Abu Dhabi, their first mini album, their upcoming showcase in Japan, and the future of the band. 

XG, short for Xtraordinary Girls, is a Japanese girl group currently located in South Korea. The seven-member girl group, consisting of JURIN, CHISA, HINATA, HARVEY, JURIA, MAYA, and COCONA, debuted in 2022 with their single “Tippy Toes.” The band was formed by XGALX and cultivated a worldwide fanbase that they call ALPHAZ.

The group describes their sound as X-Pop, a genre blend between hip-hop and R&B. “XG’s music puts R&B and hip-hop at the center and then adds the originality of XG,” JURIN said. “The character X refers to something special. It is about being ‘Xtraodinary’ in our way.”

In September, the group released their first mini album titled ‘NEW DNA’, featuring upbeat songs such as ‘NEW DANCE’ and ‘PUPPET SHOW’ with highly-produced visuals that take their artistic journey to the next level.

“From ‘GRL GVNG’ to ‘PUPPET SHOW,’ (the mini album) follows one story. In that story, you can see that everyone is truly different,” HARVEY told Arab News Japan regarding the album. “We were able to act out our individual was interesting.”

“We have a chant called HESONOO that we often use, and it means no matter when it is or how far away we are, we all share the same DNA. It is a bond that we have shared since our trainee days,” she added.

In the visual video for ‘HESONOO,’ the first track off their new album, the band captures their bond by showcasing themselves in a belly while being connected by their umbilical cord in a setting that translates their love for space.

They shared that they resonate with this song the most, alongside the second track of the mini album ‘X-GENE.’ “They are not exactly XG style, but they go from rap to vocals in a way that’s really cool,” said COCONA. “I feel like they made a huge impact on me the first time I heard them.”

The girl group shared with Arab News Japan that they love the sound of Arabic music and would love to hear more of it. “I personally love the sound of Arabian-style music. (It is) mysterious and beautiful,” said HINATA.

Moreover, XG is often known for posting mixtapes on YouTube where they sing and rap in Korean, English, and Japanese. Last year, snippets of their mixtape ‘GALZ XYPHER’ went viral on the short-form content application TikTok, getting praised by thousands of viewers for their spectacular talent at their young age.

“In ‘GALZ XYPHER,’ I did the fast rap, and it was challenging for me,” said MAYA. “We are still learning Korean as well as English, so we still have challenges that we face while we prepare… but we always have fun.”

XG’s music and lyrics mainly discuss empowerment and confidence, something that they struggled with but aspire to help others overcome. “I often wondered why I didn’t have more confidence in myself, and I worried about this a lot,” said HINATA. “Rather than thinking like this…I realized that just loving myself is the most important thing.”

Meanwhile, JURIN said she gets her confidence from being around her bandmates. “All of the members are (here) together, so I really feel like I can be more confident. I realized that having such members and friends is really important for me,” she shared.

When asked about advice to give to young Arab girls who dream of being in the entertainment industry, JURIA that people should always follow their goals and not give up. “The desire to accomplish your goals and to make your dreams come true.. the power of these intentions is really important,” she said. “In addition to that, having confidence in yourself is really important.”

Although XG debuted last year, the band has achieved incredible milestones, including, but not limited to, becoming the first Japanese girl group to be on the cover of Billboard magazine, first Japanese group to be in Apple Music’s ‘UpNext’, and first Japanese group to enter the US Mediabase top 40 with their single ‘SHOOTING STAR.’ Recently, they also topped the Billboard 100 charts with their mini album.

“First and foremost, we are so grateful. Our fans, ALPHAZ. They have such high expectations for us, and we always want to surpass those, with the desire to show that XG can exceed all the expectations,” said JURIN as she reflected on the band’s achievements.

With all these achievements in a short amount of time, it could put pressure on the group to achieve more; however, JURIN said it gives them motivation and energy. “We hope that from now on, people will continue to expect an XG that is “Xtraoridnary,” she said.  

While reflecting on their achievements as a group, the band cited doing live shows and meeting ALPHAZ as their most memorable moments. “This year we went abroad a lot, and we were able to go perform, and at each performance…everyone had different reactions whenever we went, and everyone had a different way of having fun,” COCONA said. “Every day, all those people came to see us. It felt like the audience ended up actually giving us power every day.”

Besides live shows, CHISA also shared that being with the band every day is what she cherishes the most. “I’m truly filled with gratitude; whether it’s courage, the joy of music, or happiness, I hope we continue to deliver it,” she said.

“In the past year, we debuted, and even before that, I was with the members every day, and it left a huge impact on me. Spending 365 days together next to the members makes me feel like I’m super happy every single day,” she added. 

XG performed in the GCC region for the first time on Nov. 11 in Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Arena as part of the K-pop festival Hyperound K-Fest 2023, alongside various acts such as ENHYPEN, DPR IAN, Epik High, and more.

Before the show, CHISA told Arab News Japan that she hopes the fans will enjoy and look forward to the performance. “We hope to bring lots of energy to the venue and to enjoy it together with the audience,” she said.

The Japanese girl group exceeded everyone’s expectations with their performance on Saturday, as the audience shook Etihad Arena with cheers of excitement during their intro. Starting their set with their chart-topping single ‘SHOOTING STAR,’ the band performed many hits such as ‘LEFT RIGHT’ ‘TGIF,’ ‘NEW DANCE,’ and ‘PUPPET SHOW,’ leaving the crowd wanting more.

Besides their extraordinary talent, the band is also known for their incredible fashion choices. Each member has their own individual style that reflects their character. For their first performance in the region, the band wore a mixture of black and pink outfits that reflect their unity as a group.

MAYA’s outfit during XG’s performance in Abu Dhabi. (xgofficial on Instagram)

“I think that with fashion and music, the main thing they have in common is that you can freely express yourself and have fun,” said HARVEY. “I found myself really drawn to these charms. I enjoy seeing how people express themselves through fashion. I get a lot of inspiration from everyone around me.”

HARVEY cited British-Yemeni designer Kazba Asker, who is known for using traditional Middle Eastern elements in her designs, as her favorite Middle Eastern designer. “I’ve been really interested in her lately. I really like her, and her designs are super cool,” HARVEY shared.

Furthermore, the girls look forward to performing across the region in the future, especially in Saudi Arabia, to meet more Arab ALPHAZ. “We have a lot of places that we want to go to visit and meet our fans all over the world. It’s definitely a dream and a big goal,” said MAYA. “Going to Saudi Arabia is one of our biggest dreams. Maybe in the future, we hope we can visit there and see our ALPHAZ there as well.”

The band wants to thank all the Arab fans for the energy ALPHAZ gave them during their first trip. “For always being together with XG, thank you so much,” JURIN said. “This was the first time we were able to come to the UAE like this; with its incredible, beautiful scenery and beautiful fragrances, we really fell in love. We believe that this performance will be Xtraordinary. We hope to enjoy it together.”

The group is currently preparing for their first album showcase in Japan, taking place on Nov. 26 at Pia Arena. “We are so happy and excited to be able to do it,” said JURIN regarding the sold-out showcase. “We want all the ALPHAZ to be shocked. That is the kind of show we hope to put on, so please look forward to it,” she added.

Additionally, the band hinted that they have more surprises coming in 2024. “There are so many challenges that we have taken on, and there is something that we have not yet been able to show the ALPHAZ, an unknown appearance, and we hope that you look forward to it,” said HARVEY.

“We are planning to show you an outer-space level that goes beyond your imagination, so please look forward to 2024 and beyond.”

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