In the hard-working world of K-pop, IZ*ONE hardly seem to break a sweat. In fact, if a small village of goddesses could descend to Earth, they’d look something like this South Korean phenomenon. The remarkably sprawling K-pop girl group (no fewer than 12 members) pair impeccable dance pop with celestial imagery: If you don’t see cascades of flowers, pastel colors and crystals, girls sitting on clouds, and chaste dance scenes, it’s not an IZ*ONE video. That careful and persuasive sweetness pervades everything, including their crystalline soprano voices that deftly trade singing duties and the music-box quality of their melodies, as demonstrated on their debut hit “La Vie en Rose” (no relation to the Edith Piaf classic). Even their most playful dance songs, like the irresistible “Violeta,” seem to float a bit above the fray of a sweaty dance floor. The group formed in 2018 in the wake of the Mnet competition show Produce 48, and under the management of the up-and-coming Swing Entertainment, success was immediate: Their first EP, COLOR*IZ, propelled them to win “New Artist of the Year” at Mnet’s Asian Music Awards in 2018. Not content with dominating South Korea, in 2019 the bilingual powerhouse released their debut Japanese single, “Sukito Iwasetai,” swiftly conquering two markets at once. After a flurry of frothy dance EPs in both Korean and Japanese, they released their full-length Korean debut, BLOOM*IZ, in 2020; it featured the irrepressible single “FIESTA.” The EP Oneiric Diary, released later that year, kept the band’s mystical hot-air balloon afloat with sprightly disco (“Merry-Go-Round”) and ethereal pop (“Secret Story of the Swan”).
ORIGINSeoul, South Korea