EXCLUSIVE | P1Harmony talks upcoming Governor’s Ball performance, Asian representation, and UTOP1A tour

P1Harmony is performing at Governor's Ball this weekend.
P1Harmony is performing at Governor’s Ball this weekend.
Photo Courtesy of FNC

P1Harmony is tearing through North America with their P1USTAGE H: UTOP1A tour and amid this epic journey the six-member troupe—KEEHO, THEO, JIUNG, INTAK, SOUL, and JONGSEOB—will be the only K-Pop group to perform at Governor’s Ball this weekend.

amNewYork Metro exclusively spoke with P1Harmony as they geared up for their festival appearance, where they talked candidly about their voyage to stardom, breaking through racial barriers in the music industry, and connecting with their fans.

While it’s been four years since their debut, for band leader KEEHO the path to becoming K-Pop idols has been a hectic road paved with non-stop hard work, so much so he says that the band is not often able to sit down and reflect on how far they have come. He shares that he was only 19 when P1Harmony debuted, and looking back over the years he can see how much he has grown as both a person and artist.

“I think I just have grown so much and I’m so grateful for that opportunity to be able to put myself in positions and put myself in situations where I would normally not feel comfortable. I feel like you have to really take risks in order to grow. So being able to constantly push my limits really pushed me to become a better person,” KEEHO said.

Photo Courtesy of FNC

JONGSEOB adamantly agreed, adding that as the young men have matured their confidence in taking risks and trying new things has allowed them to be more creative with their musical styles.

“As we grow older, I feel we are really able to pull off more genres,” JONGSEOB said. “It’s crazy because for some people they can say four years is a long time and others say it’s a short time, but we definitely feel like in those four years we were able to experiment and try so many different genres of music and put our own swing to it and make it ours.”

While constantly progressing their musical capabilities, P1Harmony promises that their newest style will be fully showcased during their Governor’s Ball performance on June 8 at 3:45 p.m. on the IHG stage.  Since it will be the band’s third time touring the United States, P1Harmony wants their fans, affectionately known as P1ece, to experience a new setlist and choreography.  

“We really wanted to bring to Governor’s Ball, a new side of P1Harmony’s music and performances that haven’t been seen. We released our full-length album back in February, so we’re able to have a lot bigger repertoire to really perform,” Theo said.

“We’re just very honored to be able to just take the Governor’s Ball stage and be the only K-Pop group performing this year and it’s a responsibility to really show people that don’t know what K-Pop is, or don’t really know what P1Harmony is all about and what K-Pop is all about, and hopefully make a good impression on people just being introduced to it all,” Intak added.

For those who are not familiar with K-Pop, KEEHO explained that it is a beautiful multifaceted genre of music that has the ability to transcend language barriers, making it a unifying force.

In February K-Pop Nara in Midtown Manhattan played host to a pop-up for P1Harmony’s album ‘Killin it.’Photo by Amanda Moses

“It’s pop but just in Korean, so the fact that K-Pop is able to break language barriers and be able to be so widespread in countries that do not speak Korean because of the music is what makes it so beautiful. Also, K-Pop is able to make fusions with other genres that you wouldn’t even imagine to be K-Pop and the fact that it is able to do that so seamlessly is beautiful,” KEEHO said.

KEEHO is Canadian and Korean, and states that K-Pop has also opened the doors for many Asian artists to be represented in the music industry. As a child growing up in Toronto, Canada, it was not often that he found that he could proudly share that he was of Korean descent since there was a limited amount of Asian representation in the entertainment industry. However, K-Pop has changed this, and KEEHO shares that he is happy to be a part of a movement that uplifts younger generations to be proud of their heritage.

“I think it’s definitely a wave of representation. I think that’s important in diverse countries like America and I’m from Canada as well too. And so being able to really show Korean representation and music and culture all over the world is such a beautiful and powerful thing,” KEEHO said.

“When I look at my younger cousins and my baby cousins who look at what I do and look at how big K-Pop and Korean culture has become, they’re able to really just go out say, ‘I’m Korean, and I’m proud of it.’ Being a part of that wave and being a part of a new generation where they don’t have to hide that is so beautiful. And I just want to tell our fans and tell people who are enjoying our music and enjoying Korean culture as a whole, I think we should never be ashamed of who we are in our heritage,” KEEHO added.

It is with this pride P1Harmony hopes to represent the K-Pop genre at Governor’s Ball, and for the remainder of their tour. The six city tour kicked off on May 30 in Washington, DC, followed by Atlanta, Nashville, and Miami, and it will culminate in California with a performance on June 14th at the Oakland Arena and then on June 16th in Los Angeles’ The Kia Forum.