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News From:The Straits Timesposted on 14 February at 8:30 AM
14 February at 8:30 AM

K-pop girl band Miss A on looking for love

By Tan Kee Yun
keeyunt@sph.com.sg

They are four headstrong, sassy ladies who have no problems taking charge of their personal lives and burgeoning showbiz careers.

But label them bra-burning feminists? Hell, no.

K-pop quartet Miss A may have sung “I can live well without a man, so if you’re not confident, don’t come to me, I don’t sell myself easily” on their groovy hit single, I Don’t Need A Man, but the truth is, like most women looking for Mr Right, they need love and affection too.

In an e-mail interview with LOUD ahead of Miss A’s concert here this weekend, 21-year-old South Korean Min (Lee Min Young) said: “I would never consider myself a feminist as my strength comes from those who support everything I do, including my friends, family, and fans.

“Live without a man? I don’t think so! Ha ha.”

The group, signed to Korean music giant JYP Entertainment, also includes 18-year-old South Korean Suzy (Bae Suzy) as well as two Chinese members, Fei (Wang Fei Fei), 25, and Jia (Meng Jia), 24.

Single

Although none of the girls is in a relationship now, they have, at different points over the last couple of years, individually reminisced about past loves, expressed their desire for new romance and even reaffirmed their girly charm.

According to K-pop news site Soompi.com, in February 2011, while the girls were guesting on popular TV show Hyunjang Talkshow Taxi, Min revealed that before her debut with Miss A, she had dated an American boy.

“He was a really cute guy with a hip-hop style,” she reportedly said.

In another interview with celebrity news portal Koreaboo.com in October 2010, Fei admitted to having “dated just once”, adding that her ideal man has to be “kind and humorous”.

“I’m not for bad boys,” she said.

“If he is kind, he won’t cheat and will be filial towards his and my parents. His appearance doesn’t matter.”

Suzy was at South Korean actor Uhm Tae Woong’s wedding last week when she told reporters she hopes to “get married when I find someone I really love”.

Then there’s Jia, who finally had enough of people teasing her tomboyish behaviour.

In June 2011, she tweeted: “Stop calling me oppa (Korean for older brother) and Meng Ge! (Mandarin for Brother Meng) Please, I don’t like it! I’m a sexy girl!”

I Don’t Need A Man is taken off Miss A’s latest EP, Independent Women Part III, which as Min told LOUD, is their way of paying homage to their all-time favourite R&B idols, Destiny’s Child.

“Destiny’s Child is a huge inspiration for us as they set the standard for a successful group,” said Min.
“They’ve achieved so much through their hard work and immense talent.”

Last year, news about conflict and bullying within K-pop gal outfit T-ara – it eventually led to the sacking of one member, Hwa-young, the alleged victim of bullying – shook the pop industry.

Don’t bet on catching Miss A in such controversy because the girls have a tight friendship outside work.
“Like most people our age, we hang out, go shopping, have coffee, meet up with our friends and watch movies,” said Min.

She stressed that despite their cultural differences – Fei is from Hainan Island and Jia is a Hunan native – there were no difficulties gelling as a group.

“Fei and Jia had been living in Korea for three years before I joined Miss A,” she explained. “If anything, the two of them were more Korean than I was at that time.

“Besides, with them around, it has definitely been easier for us to reach out to our Chinese fans. Their background and their ability to speak Mandarin give our fans a stronger feeling of connection.”

Min might not be as prolific an actress as teammate Suzy, but she is slowly coming into her own, what with a supporting role in action flick Countdown (2011) and sitcom Reckless Family 2, which just started airing on Korean TV last month.

“My priorities have always been singing and dancing, but I love acting too, as it has a different performing aspect to it,” she said.

“I especially love acting in my new sitcom Reckless Family 2 as it combines a reality TV element with quite a bit of ad-libbing.”

Miss A, who have been to Singapore before – they were in town for ensemble K-pop concert Mnet Ultimate Live! in 2010, and a year later, for music extravaganza Korean Music Wave 2011, their own showcase, and the 2011 Mnet Asian Music Awards – are looking forward to reuniting with their Singapore fanbase.

Solo Sets

“Local fans can expect another solid performance from all of us as well as dynamic solo sets by each member,” said Min.

“I’m looking forward to meeting all our supporters inSingapore.”

With chubby rapper Psy’s Gangnam Style storming the charts and making waves around the world last year, K-pop looks set to scale greater heights in 2013.

LOUD asked Min what she felt was the charm of K-pop that has endeared it to so many people, even crossing language boundaries.

“The K-pop allure will probably be our musicians’ ability to mix contemporary music with a high-quality Asian pop style,” she said.

WHAT: MISS A INDEPENDENT SHOWCASE SINGAPORE 2013
WHEN: Saturday, 7pm
WHERE: The Star Theatre @ The Star Performing Arts Centre
TICKETS: $58, $88, $118 and $148 from Sistic
(www.sistic.com.sg or 6348-5555.)

This article was first published in The New Paper on Feb 12, 2013.

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