When PSY took over Billboard with ‘Gangnam Style’ for the first time back in 2012, the entire nation supported him with one heart. Now, 5 years later, BTS are writing a new history. They have the honor of being the first idol group to be nominated at the 2017 Billboard Music Awards in the ‘Top Social Media Artist’ category.
You can know the prestige (of the category/show) just by seeing the nominees. Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Ariana Grande, and Shawn Mendes are the other nominated stars. Fan voting begins on May 1st, but there’s not much else we can do other than to trust in their mighty Korean and international fandom, ARMY. BigHit Entertainment’s Bang Sihyuk of course has a cautious but rather big expectation (for the award).
Q. BTS is a highly praised boy group at Billboard, what could be the secret?
“I think it’s because we continuously unravel our stories through music. There aren’t that many groups among K-Pop singers who discuss their own stories. On the other hand, there are many artists who tell their own stories in the US. BTS has boldly touched upon subjects considered to be risky. I think that was what was refreshing to Western critics. Billboard is diligently writing articles to the point that it may seem like our company’s promotional activities. The recent article, titled ‘Can Conscious K-Pop Cross Over?’, is memorable. They captured the stories of our boys and myself, which were written in our music to express the emotions felt by our generation’s youth, well.”
Q. It feels like BTS is gaining more recognition internationally compared to in Korea?
“It seems so. But rather than feeling disappointed about it, it’s more of knowing ourselves well. We are very well recognized through the Korean news/media, but because it’s the truth that BTS has not gained popularity because of a hit with their music, we do not feel disappointed. I personally grew up solely watching American music and culture, so I do have a major bias towards it. Hence, I’m leading BTS’ music to match that direction as well. However, because BTS is a K-pop group, we also try to match the areas outside of our music to Korea. BTS’ style of performances are like K-Pop’s ‘knife choreography’, while incorporating trending dance moves in the US. (I think) that’s why we are receiving love overseas.”
(T/N: The ‘knife choreography’ is referring to the iconic sharp and synchronised dance moves that many idol groups are known for.)
Q. BTS have been nominated at this year’s Billboard Music Awards in the ‘Top Social Media Artist’ category
“We really never dreamed of it. The video of the nominees was released and BTS appeared at exactly 7 minutes 30 seconds. I‘m usually more calm and indifferent, but at that moment, my heart was racing. Chances of winning the award? Nah, although it would be nice to win, I’m already very happy to see them nominated. Because the other nominees are very strong, it won’t be easy, but this award is definitely one made by the fans, so I have a little anticipation of our passionate ARMY. However, rather than winning the award, I am hoping with my gathered hands for the chance to attend the award ceremony. We also coincidentally happen to have no schedules that day. We have yet to receive an invitation, but the members are also highly anticipating it nervously.”
Q. After debuting in June 2013, they are now almost in their 4th year. How do you feel?
“I’m proud. I’m a very greedy and ambitious person. At the beginning, I had the idea to create a ‘Daesang Winning Singer’, ‘Korea’s Best Singer’ without any basis. From time to time, I was ridiculed and pitied. Above all, the members themselves did not initially believe that they will succeed like this. I think they only thought, ‘our company will do its best.’ So, the members related to my dream a bit later. Only afterwards did they feel it starting to become a reality. When they swept the Daesangs last year, it honestly wasn’t to the point that will ‘wow’ me. Recent news seem more unbelievable. BTS are receiving love in the US, which I have longed for, simply with Korean music and being themselves, I’m amazed by their success.
Trans by ARMY Base | @bangtanitl
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