Life imitated art after VCHA, — composed of the six winners of A2K, which that stands for "America to Korea" — moved to South Korea last year after triumphing in JYP Entertainment and Republic Records' reality competition.

Lexi, Camila, Kendall, Savanna, KG and Kaylee are the first of their kind from the two labels' joint venture: a global girl group comprised of talented members hailing from the U.S., trained under the world-renowned system K-pop is known for.

With their debut single finally out and a highly anticipated tour with TWICE on the way (VCHA will open for the girl group in Las Vegas, Brazil and Mexico), it makes sense that VCHA's band name is a play on the Korean word "bechwuh," or "to shine light upon." After all, they're finally stepping into the spotlight.

For their first in-person interview, PopCrush caught up with VCHA bright and early at the JYP Building in Seoul to talk about their transition into the fast-paced world of K-pop, getting starstruck by their faves and why they are truly 2024's girls of the year.

Watch VCHA's "Girls of the Year" Music Video:

How do you define "Girls of the Year"?

Kaylee: I think of "Girls of the Year" as a song that expresses a confident and upbeat energy. Since it's our debut, the lyrics show how we are confident in our abilities and that we are the girls of the year.

KG: ...It defines how special it is to finally be debuting and achieving our dreams together. Being able to live out our dreams is what makes us the girls of the year!

What was your first impression of the song? Do you have any behind-the-scenes memories from when you first recorded it?

Lexi: When I first heard "Girls of the Year" I was super excited. I felt all kinds of emotions running through my body as I was listening to it. I was getting very hyped as the song went on and I could not wait to start working on it! When I was recording, it was genuinely so much fun. It felt like a party which made everything very memorable. When we learned the dance, we were so excited that we didn’t even want any breaks during the class! It was high energy and we were super pumped.

Camila: "Girls of the Year" left a really good impression on me. When I first heard the song, I immediately fell in love. It was totally my style and I could already picture the six of us performing it. We all felt like it was the best song for us and our debut because it represents us very well in terms of sound, style and concept. So I was very happy that we got the amazing song for our debut. A behind-the-scenes moment that I would love to share is that we love to sing Disney songs during our free time and we make the whole room into a musical.

It's been a crazy a year for you guys. What has the adjustment, even the day-to-day, been like?

Kendall: Before, we were regular people going to school, doing all of the things a regular teenager would do. The show allowed us to start practicing all day, which is more like what idols do. As we got into the environment — being in Korea and being trained by professionals — it helped us transition smoothly.

Savanna: Every day we usually get here [early] and have lessons the whole day, then leave around 6/7/8PM. We’re just working, and though it's still challenging to me, in my opinion it gets easier.

Kendall: Of course it’s learning everything at first, but as time goes on we have to make everything perfect and so we really get down to the details, monitoring ourselves. When the pressure is on [and] we are really down to the wire, we sometimes put [in] extra hours to make sure that everything is perfect.

Have you experienced any culture-shock moments, whether through the move to Seoul or just through training?

Savanna: Maybe this was during the show, but after we were training and meeting the staff, we had to go to music shows and make sure we were presenting ourselves well and that we weren’t being unintentionally disrespectful of the cultural norms or anything like that. Basic things like, don’t lean on your hip when you’re standing.

Lexi: It’s the same thing for me. Obviously we’re from Canada and America so it’s just adapting to a completely new culture. But it’s all just 'cause we want to be able to respect the culture well.

We're here in the iconic JYP practice room that's been used by so many legendary groups before you. It makes us wonder, have any of you been starstruck?

Camila: Every time we see artists, that would be one of the moments. The first group I saw was TWICE while going to the elevator and then suddenly it opened and it was them and I gasped. I was trying to hold it back ‘cause I don’t want to be crazy but I was definitely really amazed. They were so beautiful!

Kendall: Our first, biggest one was when we first saw the building. We were freaking out. And when we went into the dance practice room the first time we freaked out again. Everything was so new and I thought, "How am I here?"

Savanna: When we first saw J.Y. Park, that was definitely...

Kendall & Camila: Yeah, I didn’t process that he was real!

Watch VCHA's "Y.O.Universe" Music Video:

You are now the youngest and most global girl group of JYP. There must be some pressure on you, no?

Kendall: Just being in JYP there’s a lot of pressure to deliver because of those that came before us. They've built such a reputation and it’s not something we would ever want to taint. We want to live up to the reputation and even break [the expectations of] what people think we might do. And so for us, I think it’s just a lot of being where we are. We have to deliver all the time... and we will deliver.

For those who don't know, you all come from a fan-to-professional perspective. Who was the artist or what was the song that inspired you to take this path?

Camila: Shakira! She’s so good at everything! Her presence, her singing, her dancing, it’s just amazing. As for for K-pop, I remember the first groups I saw were Blackpink and BTS. I was like, "Oh, this is cool," and then I started getting more into it and then I found TWICE and admired everything about them.

Savanna: It was TWICE's "TT." I was 9 or something and I had a really close friend who liked TWICE a lot and we learned the dance. So I was like, "Oh! This is fun." Then once I saw Stray Kids, I really loved the stage presence. That’s my favorite part of K-pop: how you can feel the energy literally coming at you.

Lexi: One of the first songs I listened to was “Dalla Dalla” by ITZY. I drove two hours to take a class because I wanted to learn the dance. And even though I wasn’t the best, it was so much fun looking into their music.

Kendall: I didn’t know if this was what I wanted to do for a very long time because I was more of a STEM kid. I would do musicals at my church and I was involved in choir outside of school, but it was just because it was something that I liked to do. I wasn’t going to pursue it seriously. The first group I got into was Stray Kids and the first K-pop song I ever listened to was “Christmas EveL." I thought that was really cool — they were singing, dancing and performing. I was like, "I’ve never seen this in America."

KG: I started in music when I was 7. I started with instruments before vocals, then guitar, piano and percussion. Then when I was 13, I attended KCON ... When I saw ITZY performing "Sneakers," that was it.

Kaylee: My introduction to K-pop was my mom since she grew up in Korea. She was introduced to [K-pop during the days] J.Y. Park first debuted, and when I was growing up she would listen to a lot of 2PM.

Is there anything in particular you guys want to do once you get the ball rolling?

Camila: I want to go on tour in the future.

Savanna, Lexi & KG: KCON!

Kendall: I think it would be really cool to have a variety show of our own.

Kaylee: If we get to do one, fans would be able to see our true personalities and our relationships with each other since we’re all very introverted in a way.

What should the world be ready for when it comes to VCHA?

Savanna: Always expect better. We’re not perfect yet, so I don’t want it to come across that we are perfect because no one’s ever perfect. The world should always be ready for us to improve because everything we come out with in the future, I have faith that it’ll always be better than anything we did before. We’re always going to bring something new to the table.

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