K-pop giants BTS eye Grammys

BTS at an online press conference in Seoul on Wednesday.
BTS at an online press conference in Seoul on Wednesday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

SEOUL • Fresh from scoring South Korea's first No. 1 hit on the United States Billboard chart, K-pop juggernauts BTS are setting their sights on a standalone performance at next year's Grammy Awards - and maybe a trophy or two.

Since their debut in 2013, the seven-member South Korean boy band have surfed the global K-pop craze to dizzying heights.

On Monday, they landed at the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 chart with breezy disco hit Dynamite, their first single entirely in English, which has been lapped up by mainstream pop fans in the US.

For BTS, the global smash hit - the music video for which has racked up more than 285 million views on YouTube - raises hopes of glory at the Grammys.

The band performed at the awards in January this year alongside American rapper Lil Nas X, but have never been nominated.

At an online news conference on Wednesday, band leader and rapper RM, 25, said: "The Grammys is the place that all artists would dream of, and we're hoping that we will be able to stage our own performance, secure nominations and if possible, win an award."

The group said the Billboard achievement still did not "feel real", lamenting being unable to celebrate it with fans. They have cancelled a world tour due to the pandemic.

"All the performances and concerts we had always held have now become a dream," said RM, whose real name is Kim Nam-joon.

"But we still want to do an outdoor show some day, inviting many people and throwing a festival at a big square."

BTS boast an extensive global fan base, collectively called Army, who along with the band have been active on social media, supporting social and humanitarian campaigns. The fans recently raised more than US$1 million (S$1.36 million) for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Dynamite notched 33.9 million US streams and 300,000 sales in its first week, according to Nielsen Music data. BTS also scored their biggest digital sales week in nearly three years.

While their introspective 2018 album Love Yourself: Tear was meant to show fans how the young stars dealt with and overcame their doubts and fears, the band said the new single was designed to give energy to fans who might be grappling with coronavirus gloom.

"Everyone should join hands to help fight the pandemic, in which lifting people's spirits is vital," said vocalist Jimin, 24. "What we should and can do is give a bit of comfort and refresh them - that's another goal of ours."

BTS' management label Big Hit Entertainment said on Wednesday that it plans to raise up to 962.6 billion won (S$1.1 billion) in an initial public offering of shares expected next month.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 04, 2020, with the headline 'K-pop giants BTS eye Grammys'. Print Edition | Subscribe