K-pop group BTS has managed to become one of the biggest musical acts in the world without making an English-language song, instead sticking to Korean and Japanese. In a new interview for Entertainment Weekly, the members of BTS discussed why they’ve chosen to remain true to their K-pop roots instead of looking to cross over with an English hit.
“We don’t want to change our identity or our genuineness to get the number one,” RM, the group’s leader, explained. “Like if we sing suddenly in full English, and change all these other things, then that’s not BTS. We’ll do everything, we’ll try. But if we couldn’t get number one or number five, that’s okay.” (RM is also the only of the seven who speaks fluent English.)
BTS believes they could still face an uphill battle by choosing to stick to Korean. “You know, Latin pop has its own Grammys in America, and it’s quite different,” RM told EW. “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.” The last big Hot 100 hit from an Asian artist was PSY’s “Gangnam Style,” the 2012 viral track boosted by its comic aspects, which reached number two. BTS’s Hot 100 peak was last summer’s “Fake Love,” which came in at the tenth spot.
BTS' new album, Map of the Soul: Persona, will be released April 12.