How BTS Went from Pop Stars in South Korea to World-Renowned Billboard Award Winners and Global Music Icons
By: Anna Mengani
BTS, also known as Bangtan Boys are a South Korean K-pop boy group consisting of seven members. The group consists of: Jungkook, V, Jimin, Suga, Jin, RM, and J-Hope. The group was formed in 2010 with record label Big Hit Entertainment, and officially debuted in 2013. Their debut album was “2 COOL 4 SKOOL.”
The group has always leaned towards a hip-hop sound which is extremely apparent in their first album with songs like “We are Bulletproof Pt.2” and “No More Dream.” There is a continuous emotional and musical transition into each song not only in the album “2 COOL 4 SKOOL,” but every single album the group has released since 2013.
Even if you are not fluent in Korean, as an average music listener or as a music critic you can catch on with how catchy BTS’s music is and how fluid the song transitions are in each album.
As BTS dives further into their music career as a group, their music becomes more pop oriented, but always stays true to their hip-hop origin. The real change in the group’s sound happens in “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life Pt.1” which was released in 2015.
After the group released three mini albums where they sing about their dreams, struggles, and memories as teenagers, they delve into an album that presents to their audience how they are now adults. The group allows the listeners to hear their poetic and soft side they have not presented before. The album focuses on uncertainty in adulthood which can be and are beautiful.
The second song of “The Most Beautiful Moment in Life Pt. 1” called” Hold Me Tight” starts off with a soft piano that sounds very dreamy and slow. RM comes in with a hip-hop sounding bass to rap softly and transitions into his regular rap style. The rappers and vocalists’ transition between soft and loud dynamics to pull at your heart strings.
The song is a mixture of melancholy and thrill that puts the listener on edge. The music is as deep as the symbolism of this song. It’s one of the first displays of maturity amongst the members which is a huge step for them as a group.
The major message of the song is that RM feels as if he’s losing his entire existence because he lost someone he loved. He clutches onto his false sense of comfort in another person and wants the pain to go away instead of healing and moving on from the past relationship.
Fast forward to 2017, the album “Love Yourself: Her” comes out with their most viewed music video to date, “DNA.” This music video has 1.1 billion views! From the impressive dancing, vibrant colors, and outfits, this music video is the most viewed in K-pop boy band history.
Although the band’s real rise was from the album “Wings,” in 2016 which made them skyrocket off the charts, especially in the United States, the American music industry is known for loving catchy pop songs with trendy dance moves and that’s exactly what “DNA” is.
The year 2017 was the year BTS was recognized internationally in America at the Billboard Music Awards on the red carpet. They won the Top Social Artist award over Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, and Shawn Mendez.
Despite BTS’s incredible musicality, their fan engagement is one of the best out of every musician in the world. Themselves and their publicist team make the time to engage with fans on all social media platforms, especially Twitter, and the live streaming app V, which is free for all fans to watch. They can send comments, ask questions, etc.
BTS’s whole branding strategy is about being relatable, and they’re hitting all the marks whether it comes to fashion, social media, music, etc. They are artists in every aspect of the world.
During the pandemic, the group has engaged with their fans in a deeper way with the “CONNECT, BTS” project. It is a project where the group commissioned 20 contemporary artists to create public art that aligns with BTS’s philosophy. They also participated in Youtube’s “Dear Class of 2020” video with many global figures.
On October 14th BTS is going to be performing their new hit single “Dynamite” on the Billboard Music Awards and they are also nominated for: Top Duo/Group, Best Song, Best Pop, Best Group, Biggest Fans, and Best Virtual Live. Tune into the Billboard Music Awards on NBC to see if BTS goes home with more awards on October 14th at 8PM EST!