With a refreshingly fearless attitude in their self-crafted smash singles, one of which was the No. 1 K-pop song of last year as chosen by Billboard critics, (G)I-DLE has become creative leaders in the latest generation of South Korean–pop acts. Now, the girl group takes another big step to stay ahead of the pack.
Billboard can exclusively reveal that Asian-focused music and media company 88rising and K-pop mega-label and management agency Cube Entertainment officially come together via a new single from the latter’s chart-topping girl group.
Releasing this week, “I DO” comes as the K-Pop Stars to Watch‘s first-ever original English single. The heartfelt mid-tempo strikes a noticeably different chord than the group’s recent string of brash and bold bangers like “Queencard,” “Nxde” and “Tomboy” and shines via a sweet, emotional and easy-to-sing-along-to vocal performance from members Soyeon, Minnie, Miyeon, Yuqi and Shuhua. Cube and 88rising confirm that “I DO” is the first track off HEAT, the name of (G)I-DLE’s upcoming EP co-executive produced by 88rising via the collaboration.
“We’re very excited about the release of HEAT, which will be our first EP fully in English,” says Woohyung Ahn, CEO of Cube Entertainment, to note the company’s first original English-language project in its nearly 17-year history. “HEAT is all about being confident and bringing the spirit of an endless summer with you wherever you go. We hope that the release of HEAT will allow us to bring the message and mission of (G)I-DLE to the whole world.”
“We’ve been a fan of (G)-IDLE for a long time because, creatively, they are so in tune and involved with the music and stuff they put out,” adds 88rising CEO and founder Sean Miyashrio. “That was something to me that was refreshing about the group that I always felt. I was just like, ‘Wow, they really know what they want to do which is really important—it makes the process so much more meaningful when there is such a firm belief and point of view the artists have and I felt really honored that they would be open to collaborate with us.”
88rising executive vice president John Yang shares, “When we met (G)I-DLE members, they were just so full of excitement and positivity; their energy is contagious—it’s something I haven’t experienced before and, naturally, we just got really excited about what we could do together.”
Cube noted 88rising’s “in-depth knowledge about the music industry” and strength in “A&R and creative infrastructure” throughout the collaboration process, while Yang specifically highlighted (G)I-DLE’s 24-year-old leader and primary songwriter and producer. “Soyeon knows what she wants and thinks of every member in so much detail for every song from the delivery of the vocal to the tone and the overall cadence of the song—she truly is a genius.”
While 88rising has bulked up its roster with signings from the K-pop space like LØREN, Jackson Wang, BIBI, Chung Ha and Seori in recent years, Miyashrio notes this EP has been in the works for a year after their initial introduction.
“Just like I need to have a real connection with the artists and projects we work on…we just got to work, simple as that,” the 88rising CEO and founder says. “(G)I-DLE are super confident and have a great understanding of who they are and what they want to do. At the end of the day, we just want to support what already is such a force however we can; that’s what makes all of this fulfilling.”
“I DO” drops on Thursday, July 13, at 8 p.m. ET (Friday, July 14 at 9 a.m. KST) alongside an official music video. Meanwhile, HEAT releases globally on Thursday, Sept. 7, at 8 p.m ET. Pre-order for the record will go live alongside the release of “I DO.”