Wednesday 15 August 2018

Who are BTS and why are they suddenly everywhere?

K Pop band are on course for world domination

BTS have amassed a global following (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
BTS have amassed a global following (Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)
BTS performs Fake Love at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
BTS' new video for Fake Love has been trending on Twitter in the UK.
Aoife Kelly

Aoife Kelly

Suddenly it seems like BTS are everywhere, appearing on James Corden's Late Late Show and bagging the top spot in the US Billboard chart, but who are they and where have they come from?

Who are BTS?

They're an all-male seven-piece South Korean boy band who mix K-pop with hip-hop and RnB.  They were formed in 2013 and the group members are V, Suga, Jin, Jungkook, RM, Jimin and J-Hope.  BTS stands for Beyond the Scene and Bangtan Sonyeondan (Bulletproof Boy Scouts).  They've released six studio albums, four compilation albums, and 22 singles.

What is K-pop?

K-pop, an abbreviation of Korean pop, has grown beyond its origins of electronic, hip-hop, pop and rock into a subculture of its own.  The artists are all-round performers - stunning singers and jaw-dropping dancers - moulded perfectly and slickly produced to become pop idols.

Why are BTS everywhere now?

South Korean artists have appeared in the US Billboard Hot 100 chart several times since 2009 but BTS are first K-pop artists to top the US album charts. 

BTS performs Fake Love at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)
BTS performs Fake Love at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas (Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP)

Their record Love Yourself: Tear – which is performed predominantly in Korean, but does have some English lyrics – was the first primarily foreign-language number one album in over 12 years, according to Billboard.

They were the first South Korean act to reach 10 million followers on Twitter.

Last year they launched an assault on the US market, performing at the American Music Awards and giving a New Year's Eve performance on Time's Square in New York.  Steve Aoki remixed their single Mic Drop making them the first K-pop group to hit the top 40 in the Billboard chart. 

In May they performed Fake Love from the album at the Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas.

BTS' new video for Fake Love has been trending on Twitter in the UK.
BTS' new video for Fake Love has been trending on Twitter in the UK.

They've also just recorded their second appearance on James Corden's Late Late Show in the US.

The band provided the music for Tuesday's episode, which also featured interviews with rapper and music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs and actor Ashton Kutcher.

They previously appeared on Corden’s CBS show in November 2017 and they've even appeared on The Ellen Show where she described their reception as something akin to Beatlemania.

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