There’s nothing quite like K-Pop boy band BTS. Behind those three letters are seven talented members that broke language barriers with their music and became one of the biggest boy bands in the world. They’ve paved the way for more K-Pop acts to enter the notoriously difficult American market and turned the phenomenon, that is K-Pop, into one of Korea’s biggest cultural export
Their third movie, ‘Bring The Soul: The Movie’ is set to hit selected UAE theatres this Wednesday. So, here are seven things you need to know about the record-breaking South Korean septet dominating the music world.
1. They were not an overnight sensation
BTS — an acronym of ‘Bangtan Sonyeondan’ or ‘Beyond the Scene’ — was put together by at-the-time a small record label and management agency Big Hit Entertainment in 2013.
Though they didn’t achieve much success during their debut days, the seven members — Jungkook, V, Jimin, Jin, RM, Suga and J-Hope — stood out in the highly-manufactured, squeaky-clean industry for their emphasis on self-producing and composing their own music and tackling head-on personal and controversial subjects, which most K-Pop acts have steered away from. They’re excitingly diverse with their sound and have drawn inspiration from literary and philosophical work, from Hermann Hesse’s ‘Demian’ and James R Doty’s ‘The Magic Shop’ to Murray Stein’s ‘Jung’s Map Of The Soul’.
2. They are constantly interacting with fans on social media
BTS is undoubtedly the reigning K-Pop kings of social media. Big Hit Entertainment’s founder Bang Shi Hyuk gave the septet autonomy to personally interact with fans on Twitter and Vlive, and openly share their personal journey, brotherhood and true synergy with endless stream of visual content through their official YouTube channel. Last month, the K-Pop megastars launched BTS Weverse, an official fan community app where the septet upload content and communicate closely with their fans.
Their massive impact on social media and dedication to interacting with fans has once again gotten them on Time’s list of Most Influential People on the internet in 2019 and has seen them win Top Social Artist for two consecutive years in a row at the Billboard awards show.
3. They have a massive ARMY fan base behind them
Some may say their proactive presence mobilised fiercely loyal fan base, also officially known as ARMY or Adorable Representative MC for Youth, since their debut. However, ARMYs have flagged that their universal, socially-conscious music, which also includes social commentary on South Korean society, and lyrics as the reasons they’re infatuated with the K-Pop group.
Fans worldwide showed their appreciation and in return have propelled the chart-topping group to even greater heights in their career, whether it’s breaking records, selling out worldwide tours, presenting at the Grammys, winning accolades, trending tweets, collaborating with top-notch American artists and more. Their local ARMYs in the UAE are no different.
4. They scored three No 1 albums on the Billboard 200 chart
They continue to rewrite K-Pop history and shatter records left and right. In less than 12 months, BTS became the first most K-Pop act to achieve three No 1 albums — ‘Love Yourself: Tear’, ‘Love Yourself: Answer’ and ‘Map of the Soul: Persona’ — on the Billboard 200 chart and the first group since the Beatles to earn this notable achievement.
5. They are the first K-Pop group to address the United Nations
BTS is undoubtedly one of the most hardworking groups around, especially when it comes to their charitable donations and philanthropic work that includes partnering with UNICEF on an anti-bullying campaign to #ENDviolence and spread kindness on the occasion of the UN International Day of Friendship. The chart-topping duo also spoke at the UN’s 73rd General Assembly for the launch of UNICEF’s ‘Generation Unlimited’ campaign, where leader RM gave a motivational speech on self-love and encouraged people to speak up for themselves no matter race, skin colour or gender identity.
6. They are taking their world tour to Saudi Arabia
Not only will BTS be awarded a star at Dubai’s Walk of Fame this October all thanks to their fan’s votes, but they will also take the stage for the first time in Saudi Arabia for their record-breaking ‘Love Yourself: Speak Yourself’ world tour, which was the top-grossing tour for gaining over $50 million during the month of May alone.
7. They are releasing a third movie globally
Following previous record-breaking concert documentary ‘Burn the Stage: The Movie’ and ‘Love Yourself in Seoul’, BTS’s third feature-length film is slated for a global cinematic release starting August 7.
Distributed by Trafalgar Releasing, the latest film, ‘Bring The Soul: The Movie’ finds the band on the final day of their ‘Love Yourself’ concert in Europe on a rooftop in Paris, where BTS have a small after-party and share “their own stories as never heard before”, according to the film’s distributor. It will give a glimpse of the band behind the spotlight and will feature performance clips and group discussions as well as one-on-one interviews with ARMYs.