ASIAN VOICES

RM Of K-Pop Band BTS: We Won't Change Our Identity For A Hit Song

The band talked to Entertainment Weekly about staying true to itself.

BTS isn’t planning to switch up its identity anytime soon. 

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the band addressed how difficult it is for a K-pop band to climb the charts and earn accolades in the Western entertainment industry. But it doesn’t mean the band members will change themselves to do so.

“If we sing suddenly in full English and change all these other things, then that’s not BTS,” RM, the group’s leader, told the magazine. “We’ll do everything, we’ll try. But if we couldn’t get number one or number five, that’s okay.”  

RM explained that, though other foreign tracks, like Luis Fonsi’s “Despacito,” have taken top spots on the U.S. charts, the struggle for Asian groups is unique.

“You know, Latin pop has its own Grammys in America, and it’s quite different,” the band leader said. “I don’t want to compare, but I think it’s even harder as an Asian group. A Hot 100 and a Grammy nomination, these are our goals. But they’re just goals — we don’t want to change our identity or our genuineness to get the number one.” 

DJ, producer and frequent collaborator with the group Steve Aoki told Entertainment Weekly that he feels the band has more than just a chance to stand at the top. 

“I think it’s 100 percent possible that a song sung entirely in Korean could crack the top of the Hot 100. I firmly believe that, and I really firmly believe that BTS can be the group that can do that,” he told EW. “It’s going to pave the way for a lot of other groups, which they’ve already been doing — and when that happens, we’re all gonna celebrate.”

Aoki previously told HuffPost that, although K-pop has yet to fully break into mainstream channels, there’s a beauty in discovering the genre itself. 

“It hasn’t been appreciated ― but I think that’s the great thing about K-pop. You have to discover it yourself. It’s not going to be out there in the media, spreading its wings for everyone to see,” he explained. “You have to find it for yourself. When you do, you find an incredible community of people who really know the culture so well and they can help guide you through what is complex and beautiful about the culture.”

And ultimately, he says, it’s a medium to bridge cultures. Which is why he won’t stop working with international acts. 

“At the end of the day, music is a universal community and collaborations that I’ve done and collaborations like mine help in uniting music even further.” 

To read the full BTS interview with Entertainment Weekly, head here

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