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INTERVIEW'Smooth Sailing' journey isn't enough for K-pop act Cignature

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K-pop girl group Cignature / Courtesy of J9 Entertainment
K-pop girl group Cignature / Courtesy of J9 Entertainment

Cignature drops 4th EP 'Us in the Summer'

By Dong Sun-hwa

The interview with K-pop girl group Cignature started in an unusual way.

The blond-haired Seline first introduced herself with a radiant smile, calling herself a cute puppy, before her bandmate Chloe revealed that her nickname is "Baby Bear." Then, the rest of the members told The Korea Times which animal each of them resembles the most. For Jeewon and Dohee, it was the rabbit and otter, respectively. Semi has been called a kitty by her fans.

The J9 Entertainment stars were shy to talk about these fan-made monikers, but they said they still love them.

"I think all these names match well with us," Chaesol, or "Fennec Fox," said during a recent interview at a studio in Gangnam District, southern Seoul. "Another perk of having symbolic animals is that we can use different animal emoticons to communicate with our followers."

Another point that sets Cignature apart from other K-pop acts is that it does not have an official leader. Throughout the interview, the oldest member Chaesol, 25, was enthusiastic about sharing her group's story, but she was not the only one leading the conversation. Instead of assuming the role of a spokesperson, she let the other members talk as much as they wanted.

Asked whether they feel the need for a leader, all Cignature members shook their heads in unison.

"We are always on the same page when we have to make decisions," Seline said. "For instance, when we have to choose what to eat, six of us usually say they don't care. Then, it is up to the last person to decide the menu."

Chaesol chimed in, saying, "We follow a democratic system. Age does not matter to us as well."

Cignature is composed of seven members, but member Belle could not join the interview due to her hectic schedule. The Korean-Filipino singer is set to appear on "Universe Ticket," an upcoming survival show that will premiere in November. She will also be unable to take part in other promotional activities for Cignature's fourth EP, "Us In The Summer" which came out on Aug. 29.

Therefore, filling the void was one of the most daunting tasks for the remaining members this time.

"It was our first time to sing as a sextet," Seline explained. "We could really feel the difference when we were recording our new songs, so we tried our best to fill the vacuum."

K-pop girl group Cignature / Courtesy of J9 Entertainment
K-pop girl group Cignature / Courtesy of J9 Entertainment

Fronted by the lead single, "Smooth Sailing," the fresh mini-album carries three other tunes ― "Mess with my Mind," "Sorry So Sorry" and "Little Me." According to Cignature members, all of them have different tones and messages.

"Smooth Sailing" is a funky song about girls experiencing their first loves, while "Mess with My Mind" is about lingering feelings after a breakup. "Sorry So Sorry" is a kiss-off anthem and "Little Me" centers on the theme of youth. Simply put, the new EP is a compilation of diverse themes that young listeners can easily relate to.

"Our lead single is bright and upbeat, but other tracks have contrasting vibes," Semi said. "We attempted to reveal different sides of us depending on the mood of the songs."

K-pop girl group Cignature / Courtesy of J9 Entertainment
K-pop girl group Cignature / Courtesy of J9 Entertainment

Since its debut in 2019, Cignature has carved out its own niche in the K-pop universe with its cheerful energy and bubbliness, which are most visible in the songs like "Nun Nu Nan Na" (2020) and "Aurora" (2023). However, the members believe it is time for them to kick off a new chapter in their career.

"When Ryan Jhun ― one of the composers of our lead track ― asked us what we wanted to achieve, we said we want to earn more recognition from the general public," Seline said. Jhun was behind the success of multiple K-pop hits such as "After LIKE" (2022) by girl group IVE and "Kick It" (2020) by boy band NCT.

She continued, "To date, most of our lead singles have been written by composers KZ, Nthonius and B.O. But this time, we got the chance to work with Jhun, so we felt that we should also make some other changes to solidify our presence in the music scene."

Chaesol added that Cignature members have created a new mindset and worked around the clock to hone their performing skills.

"These days, we only sleep for about one to two hours every day," she revealed. "We really want to make a splash this time. We know that our performances on music charts do not define us, but we still want to further promote our music so that we can sing for more fans and repay the love we have received."

Dong Sun-hwa


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