EXCLUSIVE: H1-KEY on Seoul Dreaming, pressure after Rose Blossom’s success, and personal superstitions

K-pop girl group H1-KEY spoke to us in an exclusive chat about their latest release SEOUL and their favorite moments from the Time to Shine music video.

Ayushi Agrawal
Written by Ayushi Agrawal , Journalist
Updated on Sep 09, 2023 | 02:06 PM IST | 178.8K
H1-KEY: courtesy of Grandline Group
H1-KEY: courtesy of Grandline Group
Key Highlight

K-pop is introduced with new concepts every day and this girl group comprising SEOI, RIINA, HWISEO, and YEL, seems to be on a mission to conquer it all. H1-KEY debuted on January 5, 2022, with Athletic Girl, locking in a new wave of sporty music that they would return to with another release a few months later. Now, making a comeback with their second mini-album, the team is aiming for the skies.

About H1-KEY

H1-KEY is essentially a rookie girl group. A term that has been set apart for its mostly neutral connotation in the world of K-pop where debutants are often tagged as being rookies to the ways of the industry. However, this team of four has taken that title through and beyond with its exceptional lyricism that has resonated with audiences at home and globally. Member HWISEO managed to take it further, being among the winners of the K-pop idol survival program Queendom Puzzle where she took the top spot. This would make her a part of the team EL7Z UP which plans for a debut on September 14.

H1-KEY: courtesy of Grandline Group

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Following the release of Rose Blossom earlier in January which found a calling with domestic fans and launched them atop the Korean music charts, the team is back with their second mini-album Seoul Dreaming led by SEOUL (Such a Beautiful City) which once again banks on strong lyrical presence, our favorite one being Modeun ge banjjangnyeo hollil deusi (English translation: Everything sparkles as if it's enchanted). The lyric is a part of the chorus of the track when the members break into a dance in front of a backdrop of tall structures, highlighting a Seoul-like presence.

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H1-KEY Interview

The quartet recently nabbed their first-ever music show win with the jolly track SEOUL where they can be heard and seen musing about the dreamy city. Soon after their win, H1-KEY exclusively revealed to us, their thoughts and feelings about having taken home the trophy.

In a separate conversation with us, SEOI, RIINA, HWISEO, and YEL spoke about their thoughts on deep lyricism, and shed light on their personal goals.

What is Seoul Dreaming about? What would you like the fans to look forward to with this release? 

SEOI: Seoul Dreaming is for those who are dreaming. We tried to send support to anyone who is striving to achieve their dreams. I hope all the fans get consoled and strive to make their dreams come true through our album.

What does Seoul mean to each of the members? 

SEOI: For me, Seoul is a city of opportunity. I am currently working in Seoul and this city is full of opportunities for people as well as myself.

RIINA: I believe Seoul has a meaning of 'a place where dreams come true.'

HWISEO: Seoul is where I was born and the place where my life began. Seoul is also where my second life as an artist, my lifetime dream, began.

YEL: I was actually born and raised in another region outside of Seoul. I moved back and forth between Seoul and my hometown in order to make my dreams come true. So I feel like Seoul helped me to achieve my dream and that's why I want to call this place a city of passion.

Following the success of Rose Blossom, were you feeling any pressure about having to match its level or surpass it? 

RIINA: I was able to prepare for this album with great enthusiasm thanks to all the love and support we received for Rose Blossom. After I heard the news that many people were desperately waiting for our song, I worked harder in order to live up to all the expectations.


H1-KEY is athletic and blossom-ing at the same time, two very distinct concepts the team has aced already. Why do you think both have worked well for you? 

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SEOI: There is a lyric in Rose Blossom that says "I've been through worse, I've been through the wringer". Many people felt empathy with that part of the song, saying it reflects H1-KEY very well. I think the two concepts we have for our newest album are also extensions of our previous concept. Moving forward to achieve the dream resembles us as a group and suits us very well. I am satisfied with all the concepts we have done so far, but for our next concept, we would love to show you the lovely sides of us.

Do you know that there's a rumor going around about '17 days miracle' where it was noted that Rose Blossom rose on charts after 17 days after its release? Do the members have any such beliefs that have come true over time?

HWISEO: I make a wish at 12:34 AM and 12:34 PM everyday! It's been a habit since I was a child. Making wishes at those times reminds me of my dream everyday and motivates me to make an effort to achieve my dreams!

The Time to Shine music video is yet another interesting peek into the world of H1-KEY. What were the members' favorite bits while filming it? 

SEOI: There's a scene where YEL and I are playing around, scribbling on a mirror and putting on a blanket together. That scene reminded me of the times when we were playing around in real life, so we were able to film that scene very naturally. I really enjoyed playing with our 'Aegi' (meaning 'baby' in Korean, nickname)!

RIINA: The scene when SEOI found YEL while looking through a telescope was so cute! It was as if she found the perfect member at once.

HWISEO: There was a scene where all of us were roller skating at a vintage shop. I really liked that scene since it had been a while since I roller skated and it was so much fun.

YEL: I acted as a professional dancer in the music video, and it was a very nice opportunity to be able to dance with dancers from different countries. Overall, it was a very memorable experience and I think the result is also really cool.

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H1-KEY's songs have some very deep and at the same time inspiring lyrics which reflect life. When did you feel proud about your songs?

YEL: I think being able to present the meaning of the lyrics effectively is very important. Especially when people tell us that they are touched by our lyrics, I feel proud of myself and all the members, thinking we have successfully delivered the message through the lyrics.

Fashion is a key part of being H1-KEY with your definitive styles. Who do the members vote as the fashionista in the team? 

SEOI: We are all into fashion and all of us have different styles! These days I believe our youngest member YEL dresses stylishly with sensible Y2K style.

Now that Hwiseo will be promoting with a new group for the time being, how do the H1-KEY members feel about it and what message do you have for her?

SEOI: This is my short and sincere message: "Bon voyage, CHO HWISEO! I am proud of you CHO HWISEO!'

RIINA: I want to tell her that since she has a wonderful opportunity to be able to show her charms to the world, she can feel free to spread her wings and fly high!

YEL: Having to work with two groups at the same time is going to be tough, but I want her to know I am always supporting her.

What would you like H1-KEY to achieve? 

SEOI: I hope H1-KEY stays happy along with all the M1-KEYs from all around the world. Personally, when I get famous enough as a member of H1-KEY, I want to try acting.

RIINA: I want to let the world know about the true charms of H1-KEY and that of each member. It would be wonderful if H1-KEY's music becomes not just a song, but a separate music genre and gives comfort to many people.

HWISEO: I want to go on a world tour with H1-KEY. After that, I would like to try unit activities or go solo.

YEL:  One of my dreams is H1-KEY being able to perform joyfully on the Coachella stage. Also, I want to go on a world tour and meet M1-KEYs from all over the world.

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What is your message for any fans who listen to your music?

HWISEO: First of all, I want to say thank you to all the people listening to H1-KEY's music and I hope all of you feel comforted and gain strength and hope through our songs! Thank you!

YEL: Hey guys! I wish you guys can gain strength by listening to our song, and let's make all of our dreams come true!

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ALSO READ: EXCLUSIVE: LUN8 talks inspiration from BTS, EXO, K-drama Dream High; reveals ASTRO’s JinJin’s message on debut

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About The Author

After completing her engineering, Ayushi followed her passion for journalism and has been a professional writer for over 4 

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Credits: Grandline Group
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