Thursday, June 20News For London

Grammy nomination for BTS sets a precedent for the future of Korean pop culture

The music industry is gearing up for the 61st Annual Grammy Awards, with the nominees having been officially announced just last week. There have been ecstatic responses from fans and supporters the world over, but the one nomination that seems to be fishing in more reactions than any other is that of Korean based pop-group, BTS.

From left: BTS members – RM, V, Suga, Jin, Jungkook, Jimin and J-Hope. Source: Tumblr

The first K-pop group to have received worldwide recognition and embark on an international tour, BTS have made history by bagging this Grammy nomination for the art and visuals of their famed album, ‘Love Yourself: Tear’. It is not only a massive breakthrough moment for the Bangtan septet, but for the Korean music scene as a whole. The album that was placed at No.1 on the ‘Billboard 200’ in May earlier this year, is nominated for best recording package – a category dedicated solely to album visuals. Alongside, Huskyfox the Seoul-based professional branding company is nominated for contributing to the album’s artwork.

“The Grammy’s are notorious for overlooking artists from South and South-east Asia, and its always the same artists or those who are popular at the time being nominated repeatedly in several categories”, opines Riddhi Chakraborty, staff writer at Rolling Stone India and an ardent BTS fan.

“No category is ‘small’ or ‘unimportant’ and this is a massive step for not just K-pop, but Asian artists as well. Being Indian myself, it is a little discouraging to look through the list of nominees across all categories and see almost no representation. With BTS’ nomination, it gives hope to Asian artists that they can get there too. I think that’s what’s most important’.

‘Love Yourself: Tear’ boasts some of the best aesthetic and artistic visuals. Their dedicated fandom, who go by ‘Army’, confirm that the nomination is well-deserved and highly credible to the band’s artistry. BTS have been very popular since its initiation in the Korean music industry for outdoing themselves in their music, choreography and impressive visual quality. The ‘Love Yourself’ album comes in three packages – ‘Her’, ‘Tear’, and ‘Answer’ – in distinctive versions and accompanied by its own set of concept photos.

‘Tear’ as the name suggests, revolves around the themes of heartbreak, sadness and melancholy. Every visual element is represented by sombre and muted moods with each of the boys sporting darker hair colours and simpler clothing. The nomination further is an attempt to appreciate the collective effort that goes into the successful production of an album – right from the technical aspects of sound engineering to how it is manifested visually. It has instigated a significant revolution for inclusion within the dynamic and evolving music industry.

BTS initially gained success in the international arena through collaborations with the likes of popular American artists as Steve Aoki, Nicki Minaj, Andrew Taggart and Desiigner. They made their American debuted in 2017 and also became the first K-pop group to perform at the American Music Awards, later that year. BTS have sparked an interest in South Korean music and culture on a more global level.

22-year-old Svenja is a member of BTS’ Army who believes that K-Pop is on a whole other level and that there is a lot more to it than people seem to see.

“K-pop isn’t just singing. It’s also dancing, the concepts and visuals. BTS getting nominated for the Grammy’s is a huge step for the [Korean music] industry, I believe. I think they’re really opening doors for the industry. Sadly, there are a lot of people who won’t give people from certain cultures and backgrounds a try, simply because they don’t understand the language’, she explains.

K-Pop is a collective term that refers to the growing prominence of the Korean pop culture. BTS (Korean: short for ‘Bangtan Sonyeondan’) comprising of members Jin, J-Hope, Suga, Jimin, V, RM and Jungkook, have become the first K-pop act to earn themselves a Grammy nomination. And while it is essentially the art-director of the album that would receive the accolade, it is still a major milestone in the band’s musical legacy.