Calling the musicians known as BTS "superstars" seems like a euphemism. Their shows in Chicago, New York and Los Angeles all sold; they have more than 19 million followers on Twitter; they exceeded the record charts of Billboard; and Time just put them on his list of the most influential people.
And yet, these phenomena may not be familiar. So, meet BTS (which means "Beyond the Stage"). These are pop stars of South Korea, the kings of a world known as "Korean pop" – K-Pop. And it's a $ 5 billion industry.
Do you remember Backstreet Boys? This group of boys formed the soundtrack of most of the 1990s in America, alongside bands like NSYNC. Around the same time, thousands of miles away, K-Pop helped put Seoul on the map of pop music.
But now, BTS, whose debut album debuted in 2013, has moved beyond the stage stage in Seoul and landed in America. That their upcoming American tour is one of the best tickets on Earth is even more remarkable considering most of their songs. are not in English.
To watch BTS play "Boy With Luv (Halsey feat)", click on the video player below:
Its members, aged 21 to 26, have their nicknames: Jung Kook, Jin, Jimin, Suga, V, J-Hope and RM.
Correspondent Seth Doane, who met the group in their studio in Seoul, asked, "How did you learn English?"
"I love hip-hop," said RM, who signed first and speaks fluent English. "I love pop music, and I like" Friends. "Yes, the TV show. My mom bought me the entire series. I watched it several times. I just want to talk, listen to and understand musicians in America.I just want to say: "Thank you Mom!"
Not so long ago, BTS boys idolized the stars with whom they partnered with this year's Grammys. RM says, "I suddenly think, like, Am I really here?"
They became the first Korean pop group to introduce themselves to the Grammys after their fans launched a social media campaign. At the awards ceremony, RM said, "Thank you to all our fans for making this dream come true and we'll be back!"
Doane asked, "What does it take to be back?"
"We have to practice the same choreography, like, again and again, several hours a day," RM replied. "We must keep the promise."
Did someone say "choreography"? Everything that BTS does is meticulously choreographed … including, for example, their arrival at the rehearsal, that day in five separate cars. We can not tell you exactly where they were repeating; fans who are too enthusiastic pose a constant security risk.
Doane asked, "Can you describe this enthusiasm?"
"I'm amazed by that," said J-Hope, "to receive all this love."
Jimin said, "I think we were able to quickly engage our fans by being sincere with our feelings, we try to share our emotions with our fans."
And these fans believe that BTS understands them and really supports them. A fan, Alice Meune, told Doane: "This is not just a band – it's a support – they're inspiring and have really helped me in the past."
How? "About loving me myself."
Every time BTS starts a performance, Jung Kook tells us, "I get out my earbuds and listen to screams and howls, it fills me up with energy."
And the fans of BTS (they are called ARMY) are not only enthusiastic; they are enthusiastic consumers.
That's why guys adorn the sides of soda cans and have even teamed up with artists who have designed their alter-egos for stuffed animals.
K-Pop is such a phenomenon that, in the Seoul subway, fans will even Pay to set up giant billboards celebrating the birthday of their favorite star K-Pop. These oversized posters are as close as possible.
This is where we have to mention that the guys have released a new album and that "Sunday Morning" was the first television program on the American network to benefit from this type of behind-the-scenes access.
And in case you are wondering what is happening with face masks, the constant air pollution in much of South Korea makes these masks much more than a fashion message.
BTS boys see themselves as a family. They trained, composed music and grew up together – and yes, they all live in the same house.
"At first, we said to ourselves," Why do we have to live together? "Suga explained." But at one point we realized that it was really valuable. And we became really grateful. "
V said to Doane, "I think it's the people who know me best, we know each other better or more than our families know us."
But they can retreat to their own private spaces. RM showed Doane his workshop and the toys that he likes.
"Are you spending time here composing, thinking about the next song?" Doane asked.
"Yes, and write the lyrics," he says. "And sometimes you go shopping, you know, E-bay."
"So, it's not work all the time?"
"No no no!" he's laughing.
We do not know how long it will last. But there is this: military service is mandatory in South Korea, and group members can not wait long before serving. "As a Korean, it's natural," Jin said. "And, one day, when duty calls us, we will be ready to answer and do our best."
Doane asked, "Are you afraid of breaking up, separating, taking different paths?"
"I do not want to think about it at this point," said Jung Kook. "We have something really good."
RM added: "That's the answer – we just enjoy the ride, live in the present moment and that's all we can do."
Now, this journey brings them back to America, where a series of Mattel BTS dolls, the creators of Barbie, awaits them among others. Twenty dollars per (K-) pop.
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Story produced by Jay Kernis.