K-pop superstars BTS are celebrating a “dream” after their first all-English song debuted at number one in the US music chart.
Loud and happy screams erupted in unison from the seven-member pop stars BTS when they learned Dynamite had become their first chart-topper on the all-genre Billboard Hot 100.
“Dream,” yells band member RM. “It still doesn’t feel real,” adds Suga, speaking in Korean through a translator. “We’re really happy.”
The upbeat song even supplanted WAP, the raunchy smash hit by Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion, to claim the summit.
“Never expected it,” RM told the Associated Press. “Never! It’s like the song of the year.”
But getting their first chart-topping track seemed inevitable for the K-pop boy band, who have found major success in the US in the last few years.
They have had four albums top Billboard’s 200 albums chart, they’ve achieved Top 10 successes on the Hot 100 with Boy With Luv, On and Fake Love, and in just minutes they have sold out US sports stadiums that some pop stars need to join forces to perform at.
Even at US awards shows, they have gone from winning honours like “top social artist” to being named best group and best pop act, beating the likes of Maroon 5, Imagine Dragons, twenty one pilots and the Jonas Brothers. At Sunday’s MTV Video Music Awards, they won all four prizes they were nominated for.
Asked if BTS — who released their debut single in 2013 — felt like they had begun to earn more respect from the US, RM said: “We definitely feel that.”
“I think in the perspective of culture, I think it’s really important to be familiar. So first, we think… that for many Americans (they were) not familiar with (us) — we look different, we (sing) different, we got some different choreography, music videos, like everything, even lifestyle,” he said.
“But I think as time goes by, we’re doing these shows and songs and concerts and awards, I think quite a lot of people in the American music market is getting, like, kind of close (to us). I think it’s very good and that’s what we wanted actually.”
It could also be time for BTS’s first Grammy nomination.
“When we see (Western) artists… get nominated for Grammys, they would go, ‘Yeah! Yeah!’,” said j-hope, standing up from his chair and throwing a small punch in the air.
“Like Travis Scott,” he continued. “The nomination is meaningful to even (famous) people like that and to imagine that we could be nominated for Grammy, again, it would be such an honour and a great feeling.”
Nominees for the 2021 Grammy Awards will be announced later this year. The show does not have a K-pop category, and while there is a best world music album award, there is no song category for world and international music, so BTS would compete for best pop duo/group performance — a highly competitive award reserved for big hits or collaborations featuring uber-popular performers.
But the success of Dynamite could explode into a Grammy nomination for BTS.
“The sheer thought of a nomination is thrilling,” said j-hope.
“I mean, we hope. We hope so,” said RM. “No one knows about the Grammys… but we’re just doing our best.”
Although Dynamite has charted new territory for BTS, the song was not even supposed to be released, RM explained. BTS had plans to tour but that changed due to coronavirus: “The pandemic blew everything away.”
So they recorded Dynamite to give die-hard fans, the BTS Army, “hope, positive energy”, RM said. “And we think that it really touched their hearts.”