BTS Reacts To The Idea That They “Made K-Pop Mainstream”
At BTS‘s Closing Press Q&A for BE, RM and J-Hope fielding a question about K-Pop entering the international pop music mainstream.
On September 1, “Dynamite” became the first BTS song to debut at No.1 on Billboard’s “Hot 100” chart. This made BTS the first South Korean act in history to top the chart. “Dynamite” held onto its No.1 spot for two consecutive weeks then reclaimed the top spot for its fifth week.
This milestone is a historic achievement for BTS, but also for K-Pop as a whole. When asked about their mainstream success, RM talked about K-Pop’s expanding borders and what it means to be a K-Pop star today.
“What are the boundaries of K-Pop?” he said. “Is it still K-Pop even though Korean singers unprecedently sang in English? The boundaries of K-Pop are expanding because the K-Pop market is growing.”
In his opinion, the new definition of K-Pop is up for debate, but he believes that BTS’s “Hot 100” win didn’t happen by chance.
The boundaries of K-Pop must be discussed, and many conversations must be had in order to arrive at a good answer. But in my personal opinion, I don’t think No.1 on the “Hot 100” can be achieved through luck or fortune. It’s a very difficult thing to reach. Therefore, we sincerely think of it as an honorable and miraculous event for us.
BTS hopes that their success will give other artists, especially less well-known artists, more opportunities to break into the mainstream too. For BTS, the most important thing for them is to create meaningful music by remembering, and embracing, their identity.
We think we might face a problem of our identity because we cannot even meet our fans. However, in order to create meaningful results, we must remember who we are and where we are, and achieve better results, including in the American pop market, GRAMMYs. Giving comfort and meaningful songs to people all around the world who listen to our music will be the best thing we can do as artists.
J-Hope also weighed in on this question. He considers “Dynamite” a matter of fate; each step of BTS’s music-making journey led them to it.
[I don’t know if this is] a clear answer, but we ‘fatefully’ met “Dynamite”. As we did what we were supposed to do, and what we want to do now, all these circumstances fatefully allowed us to meet our song.
Watch the Q&A here: