In case you hadn’t heard by now, Weeekly are returning later today on January 25th with a single named “Stranger” that’ll be released in both Korean and English, marking the start of a new chapter for them. For whatever reason, Asian Junkie got an opportunity to ask the girls some questions and they were nice enough to answer.
While’s there’s some general information in it, there’s also a lot of good stuff about following trends, adapting to markets, the complications and adjustments of debuting during a pandemic, friendships made on survival shows, the potential of being a virtual idol, and more. Perhaps most importantly, they provided a bunch of thorough answers, which gave more insight into their thinking than one usually gets from idols.
Asian Junkie: With American advancement in motion, are there any promotions lined up that will differentiate it from a typical comeback? Will you be doing any English-language songs?
Lee Soojin: We are definitely planning a new promotion that distinguishes us from the previous comebacks. Since we’ll release an English version of our upcoming song “Stranger” for the first time, I believe this song will build a strong connection between us and our international fans. We’re also preparing for our U.S. tour so please look forward to it!
Monday: Weeekly is releasing our first English song, “Stranger”, on January 25th! We want to continue aspiring to release English songs to communicate more intimately with Daileees all over the world.
Lee Jaehee: We are releasing the English version of “Stranger” and also planning a U.S. tour this year, with the hope of communicating with global fans through music. We’re looking forward to it!
Zoa: While aiming to branch out into the U.S. market, we worked on an English song for the first time. I personally love pop music, and I am excited to have the opportunity to release the English version of “Stranger”. I hope Daileees will like it too.
Park Soeun: Since we are releasing the English version of the song, audiences might get to hear the English version of “Stranger” during our U.S. tour. We are making efforts to connect with international Daileees in various ways, so I hope you are also looking forward to it!
Jihan: Weeekly’s first English single “Stranger” will be released on January 25th! We are trying our best to be with our global fans. We worked hard on practicing and recording the English version of “Stranger” this time, so we would be truly grateful if you could give it a listen!
AJ: When making the transition to the Western market, many K-pop fans fear their groups might lose their unique color or sound, do you feel any pressure to change concept, persona, or music to fit in with Western audiences?
Jihan: Trends change easily, and the preferred K-pop styles vary in different countries. It is cool to follow and adapt to the changing trends, we also believe it’s important for our team to have our own unique color. Therefore, we want to engage in activities with songs that seamlessly blend the genres loved by K-pop fans worldwide with the unique style and strengths of Weeekly.
Park Soeun: It would be a lie to say that we don’t feel any pressure. Since it’s unpredictable what aspects of Weeekly the public will prefer, we are putting in effort to explore various expressions and find the right color for Weeekly while showcasing different aspects.
Lee Jaehee: I do feel some pressure occasionally when it comes to trying new concepts. I want to maintain a unique and distinctive style for Weeekly without falling behind the trends. But I do consider these pressures not as burdens but as positive challenges, in the process of always presenting new and different aspects.
Lee Soojin: I may feel a linguistic barrier when it comes to communicating with global fans, but I don’t feel any pressure about being on stage. We will showcase the unique energy and color of Weeekly in various ways, as performers and artists, so our fans, there is no need to worry.
Zoa: I believe that music can unite the world. While it’s essential to maintain the distinctive color of K-pop, I also see the combination of Western influences, colors, and concepts as an integral part of K-pop. I think there is charm in the music that blends together, bringing the appeal of harmonizing different styles, rather than feeling pressured. I prefer to think of K-pop as music that can embrace any color.
Monday: I believe it’s our task as Weeekly to showcase a variety of aspects and freely switch between them rather than confining ourselves to one defining style. It’s our goal to put in an effort to embody a diverse range of colors.
AJ: Since the time you’ve entered, what changes have you noticed within the music industry/idol industry?
Lee Jaehee: Indeed, the music/idol industry continues to evolve as time goes on and I think us idols have a social impact on a wide audience.
Zoa: Just like fashion trends cycle and repeat, it seems like the musical trends also cycle.
Monday: I dreamed of becoming a singer by listening to the music of so-called ‘second-generation’ Sunbae-nim (senior) idols. When comparing the music from that time to today, it seems that the public is increasingly leaning towards more easy-listening music. This change is particularly noticeable when looking at the annual charts on music streaming platforms.
Jihan: With the rise of short-video content, there’s a new culture of filming challenge videos with other artists. I find it great that through this challenge culture, artists, both seniors and juniors, can become closer. It’s also an advantage to be able to show fans new aspects through various challenges with different songs.
Park Soeun: From my perspective, it feels like things have become incredibly liberated. There seems to be a trend of trying out many new things, such as music, performances, and music videos.
Lee Soojin: Since our debut, many things have changed due to the impact of COVID. It was challenging not having opportunities to be with the fans, but starting with the fan song “Good Day (Special Daileee)” in 2023 and continuing through the activities for our 5th mini album ColoRise, the time spent with fans has become even more precious to me.
AJ: You debuted in 2020, which was a tumultuous time for everybody and presented many unique challenges, how did Weeekly manage to not only get through that period but seemingly thrive during that time?
Monday: It would be a lie if I said there were no challenges. It’s truly disheartening to get used to stages without fans and their support, and music shows without audiences. But we could endure thanks to the love and support of Daileee from all over the world. We will visit you more often as you’ve patiently waited!
Lee Soojin: Honestly, during the COVID period, I didn’t realize how challenging it was not having our promotions with fans because I’ve never had a chance to be with Dailees in person. However, looking back, I realize it was quite tough not being able to meet fans. By thinking that we will eventually be able to meet fans in person and feeling their support from afar, we have been able to withstand and get closer to them by making efforts in various ways.
Jihan: It was such a pity that we weren’t able to communicate with our fans directly for almost two years. So, we tried our best to communicate with our fans through various platforms since we couldn’t meet them in person. Also, Weeekly members have spent a lot of time practicing even harder and creating stronger bonds among us.
Park Soeun: Looking back now, I realize there’s a significant difference of energy between having fans and not having them as an audience. During times when we couldn’t meet fans directly, the support from the members meant a lot and provided so much strength. That’s why I always appreciate our members.
Zoa: Debuting in 2020, it was such a shame that we could not have many opportunities to meet fans in person not only during promotions but in all activities. However, thanks to the support and love sent by our Daileees, the strength we gained was more significant than the size of the sadness, allowing us to endure.
Lee Jaehee: I could face difficult moments thanks to our fans. There were many challenges and hardships in various ways, and the situation prevented us from seeing fans frequently. However, the constant support and encouragement from the fans, who always stood by our side, gave us the strength to persevere.
AJ: Are there any sub-units you’d be interested in doing? Are there any plans?
Jihan: We showcased our first unit song in the ColoRise album. We are very grateful that many people liked it. We would love to show different units beyond what we presented this time. I would like to try a unit with Monday and Soeun where we can showcase our vocal styles and it would be great if there is choreography as well.
Lee Jaehee: I always wanted to try unit groups since our debut, and having the opportunity to release a unit song was great through the ColoRise album. I would like to collaborate with different members next time, showcasing a more diverse side.
Park Soeun: This album allowed us to showcase unit songs for the first time. Since we haven’t had the chance to perform our unit song “Sweet Dream” after the showcase stage, I have a strong desire to present it to our fans in the future.
Lee Soojin: I want to try various units. I would like to showcase a fantastic performance with Soeun as the ‘SooSos’ duo or with Zoa as the ‘Oldest & Youngest’ combination. I am open to exploring different collaborations with all the members and performing if we have the chance.
Monday: I would like to try a unit with Soojin and showcase a lot of the charisma of the ‘unnies’.
Zoa: I would like to form a ‘The Talls’ unit with Monday and Soeun. Also, if the opportunity arises in the future, I would also like to try a solo stage.
AJ: Was there one comeback concept that was your favorite or that you’d like to revisit at some point?
Lee Soojin: All the concepts that Weeekly has done were great. I will go for “Tag Me” because I want to revisit the feeling of our debut.
Lee Jaehee: I like the lively and vibrant atmosphere of the “Holiday Party” concept. For our next comeback, I would like to try the party theme again.
Zoa: I dream to be an artist who can pull off any concept, so I would love to challenge myself with various styles. However, if I were to choose a specific one, I would like to try songs that capture a retro vibe.
Monday: Since “After School” received a lot of love, it would be great to try a similar concept again as a sequel. The heart fluttering moments after school that contain heartwarming emotions within — that’s the feeling I want to capture! If you have any great songs, please feel free to reach out. I’ll be waiting! ☺
Park Soeun: I want to try ‘summer song’. I want to present the clean and refreshing side of Weeekly.
Jihan: I would love to make a comeback with a refreshing song that reminds people of summer! In fact, I would like to promote a song that has a seasonal vibe but sounds good no matter which season you listen to it. Also, I wish to revisit the Korean high-teen concept, as it’s the one that resonated the most with the audience and received a lot of love from our fans. It was the concept that we excelled at and suited the best.
AJ: [For Jihan, Soojin, Soeun, Zoa] One of the things fans enjoy about shows like Queendom Puzzle is the interactions between groups and idols that might not normally get the chance to do so, did you manage to make any connections on the show that you didn’t have before?
Jihan: Since the feature of Queendom Puzzle is to create new stages with members from different groups, we naturally became friends with each other. I was on the same team with Nana from woo!ah! from the beginning to the last stage and we got so much closer because of that, and we still keep in touch.
Lee Soojin: Before this show, I didn’t have a chance to make connections with fellow artists during our album promotion or collaborating with them. Being on the show, I gained a lot of valuable experiences and had the chance to meet different talented artists in the same field. I’ve received insightful advice from them, and we do TikTok challenges to support each other during our promotion periods.
Park Soeun: Yes. I became close to Kei from Lovelyz and Hwiseo from H1-KEY. We stay in touch regularly even to this day. Participating in Queendom Puzzle was truly a precious experience, as it was not only helpful for personal growth but also created wonderful connections with other artists.
Zoa: Initially, I was nervous because we had to create stages with different artists, not with Weeekly members. However, contrary to our concerns, we were able to enjoy creating stages with other artists. Among the cast, tripleS’s Jiwoo and I were the youngest, and I am truly grateful that all the ‘unnies’ took good care of us. Even now, I stay in touch with them.
AJ: [For Monday, Jaehee] GIRL’S RE:VERSE was such a unique show, and part of the fun was seeing idols adjusting to life as a virtual idol, did you feel it’s something you’d be open to doing in the future? Do you think other idols would be open to it seeing the success of other virtual idol groups?
Monday: I would definitely try it again, if there is another chance. Personally, I wish I had done better, especially about being shy for most of the time. If there’s another season, I want to participate again with a different character. I really appreciate the unique rock vibe of virtual idols, and I think it would be great if other idols also attempted those concepts. I particularly love the song “Like A Star” and would love to challenge a concept like that as Weeekly.
Lee Jaehee: We had so much fun participating in GIRL’S RE:VERSE. I felt bad that it ended too soon and would love to experience it once more if the opportunity to be a virtual idol comes again. Given the uniqueness of the program, I think other idols who have watched GIRL’S RE:VERSE might have thought about giving it a try as well.
AJ: [For Monday, Jaehee] Due to having separation from your real self on GIRL’S RE:VERSE through being presented as an avatar, were you able to express yourself more honestly on the show?
Monday: I feel like I was able to show fans the side of an introvert that they hadn’t seen before. While I have always shown a lively and outgoing side in Weeekly, participating in GIRL’S RE:VERSE allowed me to reveal a new side of myself, especially my reserved nature.
Lee Jaehee: As we could be friends with other avatars, I became friends with many Sunbae-nim (senior idol members) as I was able to express myself honestly and sincerely.
AJ: [For Monday] On Double Trouble, your performances consistently stood out to me, is making a solo debut something you’d like to do at some point? If so, what kind of sounds/genres do you prefer?
Monday: Thank you for the compliment! Participating in competition by myself for the first time, sharing the stage with incredible senior artists was a memorable experience. For me, it felt more like a time to learn more than a competition. Performing with artists other than Weeekly members was challenging yet refreshing. I hope to have an opportunity like this again. Moreover, if there is a chance to release a song solely with my voice, I would like to share a track with a refreshing pop sound.
Thank you to Weeekly, IST Entertainment, and Lobeline Communications for agreeing to do this and answering my questions!