Some may say that K-pop’s reach has gone global. But a new group in town is on a mission to bring the genre to an even more global level. Meet VCHA, the latest addition to JYP Entertainment’s stellar line-up of girl groups. We’re no stranger to the groups from the company—from Wonder Girls to ITZY and TWICE. But VCHA is not just any group, they’re a global girl group, perhaps the first of its kind. Camila, Lexi, Kendall, Savanna, KG, and Kaylee debuted through the competition series, A2K, a collaborative endeavour by J.Y. Park in partnership with Republic Records’ founder Monte Lipman. 

The six-piece from diverse backgrounds from across US participated in challenges to be part of the final line-up. Fresh off their debut, they’re still reliving the moment. While the stakes are high and the pressure is on, the members admit they’re also making the most of the experience that turned them from fans into superstars. It’s not a stretch to say that the standard for K-pop these days is to go global and VCHA is the embodiment of that. The group, though different, represents what it means to follow your dreams. While challenges lie ahead, especially for such a bold concept, they’re also ready for the world. 

VCHA, which takes inspiration from the Korean phrase, ‘Shine a Light’, debuted earlier this year. But before that, they put out a pre-debut single, ‘SeVit (New Light)’ which comes with three other tracks: ‘Y.O. Universe’, ‘Go Getter’, and ‘Know Me Like That’. This was quickly followed by a second pre-debut single, ‘Ready for the World’, the complete version of the A2K theme song. A few months into 2024, they’re taking to the stage as the opening act for their senior labelmate, TWICE in the group’s final ‘Ready to be Me’ Once More concerts. Just as we’re recovering from their debut two-track release, ‘Girls of the Year’ and ‘Xo Call Me’, their second single, ‘Only One’ is out on March 15.

Ahead of their performance and new song release, Lifestyle Asia caught up with VCHA to shed light on their journey so far. Read our interview to find out how their lives have changed since debuting, their love for K-pop, and what it means to be a global girl group.

VCHA reflects back on their A2K journey and how they got into K-pop

Lexi: Before A2K, I was a normal teenager who attended school and after-school activities. But now, here I am, as an idol in VCHA. So much has happened in such a short amount of time and that could only happen because of hard work, determination, passion, and lots of support.  

Kendall: Honestly, this journey was unpredictable. I didn’t expect my life to change so drastically, nor did I expect such a reaction from viewers. Through this whole experience, I’ve learned so much about myself, from actual skills to being more introspective about my own thoughts. But the most important thing I’ve learned is that you know yourself best, so always trust yourself.

This group is such a refreshing concept in K-pop. Do you feel any pressure in that aspect or are you all just mostly enjoying it?

Camila: I believe that this group is in fact a new concept. We all come from different backgrounds and cultures and that makes it special. We’re just super excited to show the world our hard work and we hope to inspire anyone out there that has a dream like we do. We want to be a great example of how no matter where you come from, you can achieve anything. 

KG: I think it’s a mixture of both. The concept of a global girl group representing diversity is new. So, there is some pressure to do it well and represent others well. But I think it’s really cool and meaningful. The opportunity for A2K presented itself. Honestly, it felt like I manifested it. So, I am really enjoying it, and I hope others can be inspired and believe they can do anything they put their mind to.

How was the transition process from being a contestant to a trainee to now an official member of the group? And what would you say is the biggest lesson that you’ve all learned?

Savanna: The show taught me a lot of life lessons besides singing and dancing, so while transitioning to an official member of the group, I used those lessons during the process. We all grew so much during the show, and I have much appreciation for it. One of the biggest lessons that I personally learned was just being patient with myself, and giving some things time. I tend to want to get everything right away, but being patient with yourself is very important.

Kaylee: I learned so much throughout the show and I’m using everything I’ve learned to become a better person and member of VCHA. We’ve all grown up so much from the show, and I’m so grateful that I was able to take part in it.

You all dreamed of being K-pop idols and had this expectation or even image in your mind before you all started. Does those ideas and images live up to the expectation now that you’ve debuted?

Camila: Our perspective of being an idol has definitely changed. As a fan and regular listener, we only get to see the final product. But being behind the scenes of this whole experience made me realise that it’s not easy. There is so much work and effort put behind everything single video and performance. It’s such a long process, something I could’ve never imagined. It’s a lot of hard work and hours of training. But in the end, it pays off.

Kendall: Viewing idol life and living in it completely changed my perspective on many things. Any expectations I had were broken. There were so many unexpected aspects of life in this industry that caught me off guard. There were some things I expected, such as the effort that goes into every little detail. But it all made me realise that you really have to love what you do. As long as you have a passion for what you do, you can achieve anything. 

VCHA “Girls of the Year” M/V

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