My wife finds it amusing I’ve been delving into the rabbit hole known as being a BTS Army (a fan of BTS), especially as a middle-aged male.
I’m what the young ones would call an “Ahjussi” I guess.
I surprised myself too.
But it shouldn’t be surprising, they represent so many of the values I believe in, not just as performers/entertainers but as human beings.
The Journey Begins…
My wife and I enjoy watching K-dramas (Korean TV dramas) – even though we don’t speak or understand Korean. And I’ve always enjoyed music from all walks of life and different languages (I was a big J-Pop fan in the 90’s & early 2000’s).
I had heard about BTS’ meteoric rise but never really paid much attention…
It started with Jimmy Fallon.
My Youtube kept showing the thumbnail for BTS’ performance at New York’s Grand Central Station.
After a few times of ignoring it, I thought, why not check it out and see what all the commotion is about?
After watching this video like five times in that one sitting, inside my head I’m thinking:
What did I just watch?
That was a freaking amazing performance!
The choreography (or choreo as the kids say), was so spot on with the beat of the music. And they were completely in sync with one another. Not easy to do.
This was a live performance, all in one take.
This performance in itself earned my respect for their talents as performers.
I decided to look up the official video for this song “ON” and I found the “Kinetic Manifesto Film” version of the MV which managed to blow my mind – they actually topped that Grand Central Station performance!
At the time of this writing, there’s about 213 MILLION views.
That’s unbelievable. Absolutely incredible.
Who Are These Guys???
There’s seven group members and clearly they each had their individual characteristics, so I needed to learn who each one of them were.
Luckily, it seems that I wasn’t the only one who would be curious to know more, so I found this:
I started to get to know RM, J-Hope, Jimin, Jungkook, V (Taehyung), Jin and Suga.
By now, I was able to recognize each one. =)
Why Would I Be Fan?
As I searched for Youtube videos about BTS, I’d come across a lot (a LOT) of these reaction videos to BTS.
What I noticed was the incredibly diverse fan base.
As a Canadian-born Chinese, I grew up as only one of the few handful of Asians in school. (That would change in high school and later in life).
But growing up as an Asian male in a Western society wasn’t easy.
The only Asians you’d see on TV or movies were demeaning, stereotypical emasculated men, seen only as nerds, geeks and losers. This isn’t going to be a discussion about representation but it will give you a glimpse of why I was so fascinated by BTS’ popularity.
Anyways, getting back to the reaction videos – I noticed there were so many non-Asian fans and fans from all over the world.
They found the members attractive, cute, sexy and just going crazy over them.
That’s something I would never have seen growing up.
And that made me proud BTS was able to cross that abyss and finally have a fanbase that is international and didn’t care about where they came from and finally dispelled the old stereotypes for Asians.
I literally wanted to cry.
I wish they were around when I was growing up.
But I am glad they are here for my son to see.
They had done what many Asian guys growing up thought they’d never see…they broke the barrier we’ve had to put up with for so long.
From Nobodies to Legends
By now, I’ve already become a fan.
I needed to learn more, then I watched this:
If you follow this site or if you’re completely new to this site, one of my missions in life is to help the underdog and fight injustices. (I know life is unfair, but it doesn’t mean I have to accept it nor make it easy for injustices to happen.)
I know the K-Pop industry is a cutthroat industry.
Stardom can be a brief fleeting moment that is here for one minute and gone the next.
But seeing how they persevered and how they have such high-standards for themselves is gratifying to see.
Their work ethic and professionalism is demonstrated regularly (not just a bunch of meaningless sayings), they actually demonstrate this with their actions.
Just watch some of their practice videos:
Practically every…single…video…you see of their performances, is flawless.
That is the result of endless hours of practice to engage muscle memory.
All of those dance moves are not easy (at least to a klutz dancer like me).
Now, critics may say, “Oh but they lip sync while dancing.” (Any performer knows how hard it is to sing live AND dance the way they do).
But then I watched their live performances where they do exactly that…sing live AND dance.
The critics can just suck it.
There’s just no way you can criticize their performances.
You can see they lay it all out there and give 110% each time.
To me, that exudes professionalism.
I was discussing their popularity with my wife.
We were trying to figure out what is it that makes them have such a rabid fan base.
It helps that their message of “Love Yourself” is found throughout their music. (Did I mention they write/collaborate on their songs too?)
And that is a message that resonates with anyone – no matter where you live or what background you have.
Positivity will ALWAYS beat negativity.
Smart is Sexy
When I was growing up, it wasn’t “cool” to by good at school or study hard.
You’d be labelled a nerd or geek.
But now, I can see things have changed so much…and for the better.
Smart is sexy.
My wife showed me a video of RM in a Korean IQ variety show, and damn he’s super smaahhht!
I love that.
They show you can be smart, cool and talented all at the same time.
Smart is sexy.
BTS the Business
I’m also an entrepreneur at heart and here’s some fascinating items about BTS as a business:
- BTS is only one of two acts from their label, Big Hit Entertainment
- Big Hit Entertainment (thanks mainly to BTS’s global dominance) achieved USD508 million in revenue in 2019
- BTS is so massive, they’re worth $3.6 billion to South Korea’s economy
- The way their fan club is structured is ingenious – built for engagement, rewards customers/fans for buying their stuff
Who’s My Bias?
If you’re new to K-Pop “Bias” means which member is your favourite. My wife asked me this and I’m sure BTS fans would be curious too…
…I can’t honestly say I have a specific one.
I feel like I can identify and resonate with each member:
Rap Monster/RM/Namjoon: He’s like the big brother, father figure of the group and the fact he’s so wickedly smart. I always feel like the big brother too but I’m nowhere near his intelligence.
J-Hope: You can see dancing for him is so natural, his dance moves are so natural and of course his “always-on” smile and happiness. I can only strive to exude happiness like he does.
Jimin: His dancing (he’s a classically-trained dancer) is poetry in motion. You see him taking care of Jungkook like a big bro and he’s also got a fun/happy demeanor. Even as a straight male, his look can be mesmerizing.
V / Taehyung: I love his voice! It’s so distinct, you just know it’s V when he sings. Not to mention his dancing is incredible as well AND he writes tons of songs (I love Inner Child).
Jin: He’s the oldest and I find his “Dad jokes” hilarious.
Jungkook: He’s the youngest but I think he’s got the purest voice and he seems to be good at everything! I can’t imagine what it’s like to be in entertainment at such a young age, but it looks like the other group members look over him like big brothers. His solo, Euphoria (The DJ Swivel piano version is one of favourites).
Suga / Augst’D: I probably identify most with Suga. I’m an Introvert, don’t say much and would much rather prefer to compose music on the piano in my little corner.
Want More? Here’s Some Favourites:
Here’s a few more of my favourite BTS songs/videos:
I hope you enjoyed my dive into becoming a BTS fan and why I don’t think of them as just a K-Pop group.
If you’re new to K-Pop, I hope you check them out…and if you’re an existing fan, I hope this did justice to who they are.
Thanks for reading this far!
As I wrote this post, I had their Map of the Soul 7 album playing on Spotify. I’ve been listening to this every day for the last few weeks.