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The South Korean idols turned international supergroup
With a slew of pop hits, awesome synchronised dance routines and a loyal fan base dubbed the “ARMY”, BTS (aka the Bangtan Boys) have been taking the world by storm as well as changing perceptions of the K-pop genre.
Formed in Seoul, South Korea in 2010, the group consists of seven members – RM, Jin, Suga, J-Hope, Jimin, V and Jungkook. They debuted in 2013 with the lead single No More Dream from the album 2 Cool 4 Skool under Big Hit Entertainment. Recorded in Korean, the band later unveiled a Japanese version of the single and through the years would go on to release an impressive discography in both languages.
Although immediately popular at home, BTS didn’t start to take off globally until after the success of their 2015 album The Most Beautiful Moment In Life, Part 1, which spawned the hit I NEED U. Around this time, they also began appearing at K-pop music festivals (or KCONs) in the US and Europe.
In 2016, their Wings album featuring the song Blood Sweat & Tears was supported with their second worldwide concert tour.
The following year, the track DNA reached to No.90 on the UK singles chart and No.67 on the US Billboard Hot 100. Not only did the septet perform that hit to rave reviews at the 2017 American Music Awards, but the fun, super-colourful music video that premiered simultaneously with it became the most viewed of their catalogue.
BTS’ songs range from high-energy hip hop and upbeat dance tracks to slower jams. Among their biggest hits are FAKE LOVE, MIC Drop, ON, Spring Day, Make It Right, Life Goes On and Boy With Luv. Ripe with emotion, vulnerability and personal stories, much of their music charts the members’ lives as well as their struggles with love, loss and growing up in the spotlight.
By 2018, BTS not only scored a UK top 40 single with IDOL, but later were confirmed as the first K-pop act to land a record, Love Yourself: Tear, in the top 10 of the UK albums chart. During their 2019 Love Yourself World Tour, they also made history as the first Korean band to headline and sell out Wembley Stadium.
In addition, BTS released Map Of The Soul: Persona in 2019, landing a UK No.1 album, and then followed that up in early 2020 with another one – Map Of The Soul: 7. On this collection, which surged to the No.1 spot in more than 20 countries, they collaborated with the likes of Ed Sheeran, Halsey and Sia. At the MTV Europe Music Awards held in November, BTS took home four big awards: Best Song for Dynamite, Best Group, Best Virtual Live and, of course, Biggest Fans.
Alongside their music, BTS run several philanthropic efforts and support numerous charities. The band established the LOVE MYSELF campaign with UNICEF in hopes of ending violence against children and young adults while encouraging people to speak and spread love. The K-pop superstars have also received the Order of Cultural Merit from their government for contributions in spreading Korean culture and language.
Originally BTS was an acronym coming from the words “Bangtan Sonyeondan”, which roughly translates into “Bulletproof Boy Scouts”. In 2017 the band, which was growing beyond the bounds of traditional K-pop, rebranded and extended the meaning so that BTS now stands for “Beyond The Scene”.
The seven-piece is comprised of RM (Kim Namjoon), Jin (Kim Seokjin), Suga (Min Yoongi), J-Hope (Jung Hoseok), Jimin (Park Jimin), V (Kim Taehyung) and Jungkook (Jeon Jungkook).
Hailing from South Korea, BTS have released music in Korean and Japanese, with some of their songs incorporating English words and phrases.