Rookie K-pop bands rarely remain off the radar for even a month after debuting, but Mimiirose stayed out of the limelight for over a year after it debuted in September 2022.
After a yearlong break, the five-piece girl group said it felt more than ready to reintroduce itself as a brand new group.
"There was a time when we felt anxious after having our comeback postponed several times, although we had just debuted. But every time, the members stayed together and encouraged each other," Yewon said during a recent interview with The Korea Herald in Seoul earlier this month.
The group-- consisting of members Han Ye-won, Yoon Ji-a, Seo Yun-ju, Inn Hyo-ri and Choi Yeon-jae -- debuted in September 2022 with its first single, "Awesome." After almost a year on Sept. 14, Mimiirose returned with its second single, "Live," fronted by "Flirting."
The comeback was actively promoted as the girl group is produced by the nation's famed singer, actor and entrepreneur Im Chang-jung and debuted under Im's management company, Yes Im Entertainment.
The band's entrance into the cutthroat K-pop scene was not so smooth, with its debut songs "Rose" and "Lululu" failing to make it into the local music charts.
Rather than rushing back, the girls took time to develop and hone their talents. It was a time of self-reflection, both as individuals and as a group.
"One of the things we worked on the most was teamwork. We tried to improve ourselves both in terms of our skills and mentality. We trained more, spoke with each other more and tried to make the hiatus worthwhile," Ye-won said.
Yun-ju elaborated on the details, saying, "We monitored ourselves during the promotion of our first single and gave each other feedback on the smallest details like our expressions and gestures during a cover image shoot and our acting during the music video shoot. It was a time of growth."
A testament to the group's hard work is "Live," which symbolizes the girls' earnest message to prove themselves. "Live" is also an anagram of "evil," which is the concept of the album.
"We're back as villainesses. In the music video of 'Flirting,' we each play an evil character, like a gang boss, a thief and killer," Yeon-jae explained.
Mimiirose's first single, "Awesome," had a rose theme, which is symbolic of the group's identity. The band's name combines the words "mi," which means "beauty" in Korean, and "rose."
But under the pink and perky concept of "Awesome," the girls boasted a powerful, robust energy backed by the girls' charismatic performance. Each girl's presence on stage was definitely worth looking forward to.
With the new album, the five girls aspired to prove themselves as a group that can prosper regardless of its label and producer.
"We're backed by really talented people, yet we failed to show our everything through our first single. With the new album, we want to show that we're a group of five versatile members," Ji-a said.
Also included on "Live" are two side-tracks, "A-Ok" and "Tipsy."
According to Ji-a, the bandmates contributed to the album's production, including the choreography of "Tipsy."
"The dance challenge for 'Tipsy' was made completely by us. We created the choreography and shot the challenge video ourselves. We also gave our opinions for the title song's dance and were more involved in the recording of the song," Jia said.
While the group had originally planned to release "Live" in July, it was postponed after Im was embroiled in a stock fraud manipulation case in May.
It was an unexpected obstacle -- and an overwhelming one for a fledgling group of young girls -- but Mimiirose members says that, looking back, it was a necessary delay.
"We had prepared 'Flirting' for a long time, but I think we weren't completely ready earlier this year. ... We wanted to feel perfectly confident. The company and the members agreed and decided to dedicate more time and effort (to the comeback)," Ji-a explained.
Celebrating its first anniversary, the five girls hoped to take to the stage at the year-end music award shows and showcases.
"We really hope to win a grand prize with our song some time," Ye-won said, to which Yun-ju piped in, "I want to hold a concert filled just with our own music."
Yeonjae added, "We really want to meet our fans, especially fans overseas."
At the close of the interview, Hyo-ri said, "We hope we can etch our name, Mimiirose, into the people's minds with our new single. We received a lot of attention with our first single but failed to appeal to the public. Hopefully, we can be recognized as a group to look forward to again this time."