Nine years after their last comeback, SISTAR19 is here for a reunion that proves why Hyolyn and Bora are still certified legends in K-pop.
No conversation about the 2nd generation of K-pop, an undoubtedly influential time for the genre, is complete without mentioning SISTAR. As one of the top girl groups of the time, SISTAR came swinging with timeless bops like Touch my body, Give it to me, and SHAKE IT. It was also during this time that we were treated to SISTAR19, a sub-unit composed of members Hyolyn and Bora. While they may have had only two releases during their initial run, it was enough to get them written in the K-pop history books considering how their debut in 2011 was the classic Ma Boy.
THE QUEENS RETURN
After their comeback in 2013, it’s been radio silent for the duo as SISTAR eventually disbanded, and the members went their separate ways in solo endeavors. But 2024 had a major surprise up its sleeve as Hyolyn and Bora reunited once more as SISTAR19 with the release of their digital single album No More (Ma Boy). “We didn’t really plan to make a comeback around this time, it’s just that the timing worked out,” shares Bora. Even if it may have been over a decade since their last release, the duo quickly proved in their promotions that time hasn’t slowed them down, only made them better.
Their two new tracks, No More (Ma Boy) and Saucy, depict a more mature side of the K-pop idols with music that reflects on the end of a relationship through a more adult POV. With the powerhouse vocals of Hyolyn and fire bars of Bora back on everyone’s radar, they prove that they were, are, and will continue to be the standard. “There’s a lot of lessons that we learned in the last 20 years, we’ve experienced a lot of life, and now we’re able to come back together even better,” reflects Hyolyn.
Following the release of their highly anticipated comeback, we got the chance to speak with Hyolyn and Bora as they gave us a peek into how SISTAR19’s reunion came to be, presenting a more mature side of themselves, and more. Read on below for the full interview.
How would you describe your overall experience working on this comeback?
Hyolyn: I think it will always feel a bit surreal and we were in high anticipation of the first moment getting back on stage together for our fans. We know we’ll experience a combination of excitement, pressure, nerves, but most of all happiness.
What was your favorite part when it came to preparing for this comeback?
Bora: For me personally, I always miss the stage. I’ve always told Hyolyn that I wanted to return to the stage and perform. Hyolyn saw my desire to return to the stage, and once the moment was right we made it happen.
Why did you feel like 2024 was the right year for the subunit to make its return?
Bora: The fact that the two of us are able to work together again it’s very exciting and I’m looking forward to what we can achieve together. We didn’t really plan to make a comeback around this time, it’s just that the timing worked out.
Hyolyn: We’ve always been talking about working together again and doing this project together for a long time. Bora, myself, and the companies that we’re each affiliated with realized now is the perfect time to do this. Everything just fell in line!
How do you think SISTAR19 has evolved from when you first formed in 2011 as compared to now?
Bora: Since our debut we’ve definitely improved professionally and individually as people. As a human being we’ve learned how to embrace others much more than we have in the past. Because those were the lessons that we picked up in the last 20 years, we are able to come back together as a duo better than ever.
Hyolyn: I think over the years I’ve learned to see the bigger picture, not so much focused or concentrated on just one thing. There’s a lot of lessons that we learned in the last 20 years, we’ve experienced a lot of life, and now we’re able to come back together even better.
If you could introduce or describe SISTAR19 to people who haven’t listened to your unit music yet, how would you do it?
GROUP: SISTAR19’s music is for those who want to fall in love, and those suffering from a breakup but want to break away from it and become confident.
It’s been nine years since SISTAR19 was last active. Would you then consider this digital single album a re-debut of sorts?
Bora: I’ve been an actress for some time, but now that I’ve made a comeback as a singer, this kind of feels like a new beginning for me. From this point on I’m looking forward to showing you more sides of me that I haven’t shown before.
Given your popularity as idols and success you’ve achieved over the years, did you feel a pressure to live up to the expectations of this comeback?
Bora: It’s hard not to feel any pressure, but since it’s an album we are releasing after a long time, I would like to use this pressure to be even better and give an even better performance.
Hyolyn: I think it felt more like a burden than a pressure, and also I felt worried. I wondered and am worried whether we will be able to be loved a lot again, whether people will like it. But we are working hard and enjoying the process so that we can give a great performance on stage.
Each one of you has your own strengths you bring to SISTAR19, but how do you two work together as a team to display such chemistry and put out high-quality music and content?
Group: I think branching out to do our individual work has brought us closer together. We definitely have a lot more experience, we’re a lot more relaxed, and there’s a lot more to show our fans. We mesh well together, listen to each other’s ideas, and most importantly respect each other as people and artists. The most crucial thing is we have, and we always will keep in touch with each other constantly.
Given that you have more than a decade of experience in the industry, do you still get nervous when you do comebacks and promotions?
Bora: It’s hard not to feel any nerves. But since it’s an album we’re releasing after a long time, I would like to use these nerves to be even better and give an even better performance.
Hyolyn: I’ve definitely felt worried. I wondered and am worried whether we will be able to be loved a lot again, whether people will like it. But we are working hard and enjoying the process so that we can give a great performance on stage.
Even though Ma Boy was released in 2011, it still remains a popular song, as seen with its recent virality. You even pay homage to the track in No More (Ma Boy). How did you feel seeing the track go viral in the past couple of years and what do you think is the reason behind the song’s newfound success?
Hyolyn: Our biggest thanks will always go to our fans. If it weren’t for them loving us and our music, we wouldn’t have any success at all. They’re the reason for our viral moments, and we thank them for everything they’re done for us. It’s been a long journey!
What message do you have for your fans who have been anxiously waiting for this reunion and comeback?
Hyolyn: I want our fans to know that we see you and know you have been waiting patiently for so long. Some of my happiest moments come from watching our fans sing along to our songs. Let’s move through 2024 together healthy and happy
Bora: We’re doing this project together, and we want our fans to share in all the joy and happiness that we are also experiencing together. As we came together as SISTAR19 again, I feel that our fans are coming together as well. Thank you for everything you do.
Photos courtesy of KLAP ENTERTAINMENT
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