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“Success and Fame Are Blood Sweat, Tears”
BTS Is S. Korea's 7-Member Boy Band Hitting the World
By Antonina Veljanovska
EU Correspondent
BTS or Bangtan Sonyeondan (방탄소년단) is South Korea's seven-member boy band. It was formed in 2010 and it debuted in 2013 under Big Hit Music. It is also known as the Bangtan Boys.
Every year, more and more successes follow, full of achievements and awards. The biggest band coming to us from South Korea who with their work and their Armies ("Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth") conquered the world. If you have not yet heard of BTS, it is time to get to know them, because the seven-member band has already conquered the world and holds the top of the music world.

Coined by BTS themselves, the acronym stands for "Adorable Representative M.C. for Youth." The meaning of a military army is also implied here, tying in with the concept of BTS as a bulletproof armour. Put together, the boys hope for their fans to be able fight and stand up for themselves together, with BTS always protecting them in their pursuit.

Comprised of seven members RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jung Kook, the group debuted on June 13, 2013 under Big Hit Entertainment, which is currently the largest company in South Korea.

After debuting in 2013 with their single album 2 Cool 4 Skool, BTS released their first Korean-language studio album, Dark & Wild, and Japanese-language studio album, Wake Up, in 2014. The group's second Korean studio album, Wings (2016), was their first to sell one million copies in South Korea. By 2017, BTS crossed into the global music market, leading the Korean Wave into the United States and breaking numerous sales records.

They became the first Korean group to receive a certification from the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) for their single "Mic Drop," as well as the first Korean act to top the US Billboard 200 chart with their studio album Love Yourself: Tear (2018). BTS also became the fastest group since the Beatles to earn four US number-one albums, doing so in less than two years. Love Yourself: Answer (2018) was the first Korean album certified platinum by the RIAA.

“The first rule is to love ourselves,” RM told “Life has many unpredictable issues, problems, dilemmas. But if you admit it… I think the most important thing to live well [is to] be yourself. We’re still trying to be us.”

In their seven and a half years since appearing on the music scene, BTS made the biggest storm in 2016 at the MAMA (Mnet Asian Music Awards) held in Hong Kong on Dec. 2. For the first time, they won a grand prize that changed their lives. Furthermore, they gained even greater fame that they are now remembered as a mega band that changed the boundaries of Korean music around the world. They are also the first band to top the BBC's US album charts, but their storm does not stop there.

The group has won major awards at the American Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, Billboard Music Awards, South Korea's Melon Music Awards, Mnet Asian Music Awards, Golden Disc Awards and the Seoul Music Awards. In 2020, BTS became the only South Korean band to perform at the Grammys accompanied by Lil Nas X on "Old Town Road."

Their latest and most spectacular success was seen this year, on March 14, 2021 where they were one of the performers of the Grammy, the most famous music show in the world. Although maybe this year the boys from South Korea did not take the Grammy Award, but still had a spectacular performance that was unforgettable and which took place in Seoul.

Although 2020 may have been the worst year for the whole world, but not for BTS. They had huge success with their fourth Korean studio album, Map of the Soul: 7, in February. In August the band released their first English song "Dynamite," which is a huge hit around the world, became the most watched song on YouTube video in 24 hours. "Dynamite," which gave BTS their first number one song on the Billboard Hot 100 charts.

Released on Nov. 20, their album is the fifth album in the Korean-language group BE (Deluxe Edition), intended as a Message of Hope in a difficult year and second in 2020, after releasing Map of the Soul 7 in February.

The band — composed of J-Hope, RM, Suga, Jungkook, V, Jin and Jimin — said they wanted to send “a letter of hope” that life goes on despite the uncertainties during the pandemic.the Soul 7 in February.

Band members were heavily involved in the album, with the pandemic having given them time to immerse themselves in songwriting, production and visual concepts for the album, they said.

“The name ‘Be’ is verb, it is a very open concept,” said Jimin, who took on the role of music project manager. “In our discussions ‘life goes on’ came up as a recurring idea.”

“Life Goes On” is also the name of the album’s opening track. RM said it shared the same roots as “Dynamite,” but was “a little more weighty, sincere and soft.”

“The pandemic unexpectedly put a lot of our original plans to a halt. However it provided us an opportunity to step back and focus on ourselves as well as our music. We reflected the emotions that we felt during this unprecedented period into this album. We were also able to take a step further by taking roles in overall production, such as concept development, composition and visual design,” Jimin.

For the music video ‘Life Goes On,’ Jung Kook took on the role as director. Admitting he was a little “embarrassed” with his new title, Jung Kook said, “I like taking videos so I was tasked with directing the ‘Life Goes On’ video. I wanted to emphasise on simplicity. We talked about the personal sides that we wanted to show and I tried to bring that in the video. It was exciting to know that my work is in this music video and it helped me realise a dream that I want to make more videos.”

‘BE’ consists of a total of 8 tracks: lead single ‘Life Goes On’ along with ‘Fly To My Room,’ ‘Blue & Grey,’ ‘Skit,’ ‘Telepathy,’ ‘Dis-ease,’ ‘Stay’ and ‘Dynamite.’

They have a UNICEF campaign titled “Love Myself.” BTS launched a campaign against violence with UNICEF last year. Also, BTS was chosen as one of the guests for a speech at the 73rd General Assembly of the United Nations on Sept. 24, 2018, discussing this campaign in a deep speech held by the leader RM. Since its inception, 1.6 billion won (approximately $1.4 million) have been raised.

"Tell me your story. I want to hear your voice, and I want to hear your conviction," RM said during their address. "No matter who you are, where you're from, your skin color, gender identity: speak yourself."

But despite their huge success, BTS is trying to stay grounded.



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Antonina Veljanovska, based in North Macedonia, serves as EU correspondent for The Seoul Times. The Macedonian journalist has written for the local new media. She is interested in the Korean culture including K-Pop and fashion. Her hobbies include reading.

 

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