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XG: Photos From the Billboard Cover Shoot

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Earlier this year — on a warm day in May, Asian ­American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month — a septet of young women fought nerves backstage at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens. Just over a year after its official debut, the group XG was in town for Head in the Clouds, a music festival celebrating Asian and Pacific Islander culture, creativity and art organized by record label 88rising. But the gig held broader significance: It was the act’s first international performance outside of Japan, and in New York, no less.

Despite its early-afternoon billing, the stadium was packed — and chanting, “XG! XG! XG!” — when the group took the stage in glitter-emblazoned suits. The warm welcome made it difficult to believe that this was XG’s first time in New York, and after kicking off the set with its debut track, “Tippy Toes,” the crowd’s chants reached a fever pitch as the members segued into their viral hit, “Left Right.” Fans and casual festivalgoers alike danced freely to the beat, some even singing along to the song’s catchy chorus.

Reflecting today on that Head in the Clouds performance and XG’s subsequent appearance at the festival’s Los Angeles iteration, the group — whose members range in age from 17 to 21 — exudes gratitude. “New York was our first international performance, and the ‘XG! XG!’ chants were really touching,” XG’s Cocona says. In Los Angeles, she says, she even saw some fans wearing makeup inspired by the music video for “GRL GVNG,” XG’s prerelease single from its debut mini-album, NEW DNA. “And it was just really, really cool to see all of that!”

Read the full Billboard cover story here.

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Can Japanese Girl Group XG Make ‘X-Pop’ the Next K-Pop?

Earlier this year — on a warm day in May, Asian ­American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month — a septet of young women fought nerves backstage at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens. Just over a year after its official debut, the group XG was in town for Head in the Clouds, a music festival celebrating Asian and Pacific Islander culture, creativity and art organized by record label 88rising. But the gig held broader significance: It was the act’s first international […]

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