[INTERVIEW] Sistar19's hiatus is 'No More' as duo makes comeback after 11 years

Concept photo for Sistar19's latest digital single ″No More (Ma Boy)″ [KLAP ENTERTAINMENT]

Sistar19 is back after a decade-long break, and even though they may not be 19 any more, they look forward to continuing the “Ma Boy” saga.

“We never considered the 19 [in Sistar19] to be awkward or embarrassing,” Sistar19’s leader Bora said during a group interview held in early January in southern Seoul, ahead of the release of the duo’s digital single “No More (Ma Boy)” on Tuesday.

Sistar19 debuted in 2011 as a two-member subunit of girl group Sistar, aiming to sing songs of love and emotion that a girl around the age of 19 would relate to: Bora was 21 and Hyolyn was 20 back then.

“While we thought about calling ourselves 29, we were already over that age, and it didn't fit the concept — and it was a bit of a stretch to call ourselves 39,” Bora said with a laugh. “I think [19] still fits us.”

The duo’s latest digital single “No More (Ma Boy)” comes 11 years after Sistar19’s last release, “Gone Not Around Any Longer” (2013), and almost 7 years after the group Sistar disbanded back in 2017. But the story from the duo’s debut single “Ma Boy” still continues into “No More.”

“'Ma Boy’ was about a young love; it talked about the beautiful time when you are sending words of affection to your significant other when you are putting a lot of energy into that relationship,” Hyolyn said, adding that the sequel “Gone Not Around Any Longer” was about the story of suffering from the breakup.

“Now that time has passed and you’ve already experienced your breakup, ‘No More’ is about someone who’s been through it all and who’s able to calmly say, ‘I’ll have to let you go now, goodbye,’” Hyolyn added.

Hyolyn took part in the songwriting of the lead track “No More (Ma Boy)” and writing lyrics for b-side track “Saucy.” She was also a the vocal trainer for Bora.

“We didn’t include any rapping in ‘No More,’ so I had to challenge myself to be a vocalist again," Bora said. "I was able to trust [Hyolyn] and take on the challenge because she knows me well enough." Bora spent most of her singing career as a rapper.

“Bora was very fast to catch and understand [the vocal directions], which makes me wish we had helped her to sing more early on. We should’ve shown her vocal skills to our fans more,” Hyolyn said.

The two members shared that Sistar, just like its subunit Sistar19, could also make a comeback in the future, despite the group having disbanded.

“We weren’t completely serious when we first started talking about coming back as Sistar19, it was more along the line of, we should reunite when we can,” Bora said. “I’ve always wanted to be back on stage […] as I focused on my acting career for the last seven years. But I couldn’t find the opportunity, nor did I have the courage to sing again. Thanks to Hyolyn, I’m back on stage, back with my courage."

Concept photo for Sistar19's latest digital single ″No More (Ma Boy)″ [KLAP ENTERTAINMENT]

Since Sistar disbanded in 2017, Bora has kept busy pursuing her career as an actor, starring in dramas “Dr. Romantic 2” (2020), “The One and Only” (2021-22) and more. Hyolyn stayed busy as a soloist, releasing multiple solo albums and becoming the CEO of the self-established agency Bridge Entertainment.

“You know, it’s not like us four members talked to each other and said, ‘I think we should disband the group’ — it sort of just happened,” Bora said.

“We had a set number of years [in our contract] where we had to work as Sistar, and that time was up. So, after that, we wanted to spend time thinking about what we could do with our life and our career on our own,” Hyolyn said.

“Now that we think about it, I don’t think we had to be that decisive and conclusive [about the disbandment of Sistar].”

For Sistar, the term disbandment was never meant to be irreversible.

“Regardless of what the media said about our disbandment or our actual contract expiration, we can just come together again as a group, so I never felt strongly about using the term ‘disbandment,’” Hyolyn said.

“I think we meet each other more frequently since we've disbanded,” Bora said. “And just like how we talked about Sistar19’s comeback, we did talk about reuniting as Sistar. We didn’t have a proper conversation about it though. We are mostly too busy to talk about our lives.”

“We four members would say it if we wanted to [comeback as Sistar],” Hyolyn said.

“Soyou, in fact, would watch Sistar’s performance videos when we meet with each other. She would even tear up when she watches performances of Sistar’s emotional scores. She watches the most Sistar videos, and I think she’s the one who misses Sistar the most. We are not shy about talking about it among ourselves, either.”

Concept photo for Sistar19's latest digital single ″No More (Ma Boy)″ [KLAP ENTERTAINMENT]

Sistar and Sistar19 may have dominated music charts and shows in the past, releasing hit tracks one after another, but the veteran duo isn’t hoping for the same outcome with “No More (Ma Boy).”

“We are here together so we can make fun and happy moments that we can enjoy, regardless of any specific scores or goals that we aim to reach,” Bora said. “It’s important that we find happiness as we promote ‘No More,’ so I just want listeners to enjoy the song with us.”

“Instead of winning trophies or whatever, I just hope this comeback acts as a driving force for both of us as we continue with our separate solo activities,” Hyolyn added. “Of course, we would like it if the song is received well, but it’s not like we can choose that.”

“I hope we can be the cool unnie and noona, not just because we’ve been here for so long, but because we matured over the years and that shows,” Bora said. Unnie and noona, Korean terms for elder sister, are used colloquially to call older females in a friendly way.

To find out more about SISTAR19, visit Celeb Confirmed!