A fan of K-pop idol boy band BTS poses for photographs with cut-out of BTS at a pop-up store selling BTS goods in Seoul, South Korea, December 24, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Hong-Ji

SEOUL – The young stars in South Korean boy band BTS said on Monday the theme of their new album dealt with how they overcame doubts and fears encountered since they burst on the K-Pop scene seven years ago.

Having performed at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles last month, BTS stands at the forefront of South Korean pop music. The band has helped gather an international audience for the genre.

On Friday, the band released “Map of the Soul: 7”, its fourth album. The 20 tracks include collaborations with Sia and Troye Sivan.

Plans for a large media event in Seoul for the album did not happen, due to the coronavirus health scare in South Korea. Still, the band instead live-streamed a news conference based on preregistered questions.

“Sometimes, we were uncertain. Sometimes we were lost. Every time that happened, the shadows and fear inside us grew,” rapper Suga told the news conference aired via YouTube.

“It’s been seven years. I think we have grounded ourselves now, and we learned how to do that, the difficulties and wounds we face and fight them.” 

Though several young K-Pop stars have struggled with cyberbullying and depression, Suga did not elaborate on what difficulties BTS faced.

But the group, whose seven members are in their Twenties, took an unexpectedly long vacation last year to “recharge.”

When asked about the comment by Bong Joon-ho, director of the Oscar-winning “Parasite,” who recently said BTS was 3,000 times more influential than him, Suga said he was an avid fan of Bong’s work and hoped more South Korean artists would be introduced to the world. 

Leader and rapper RM likened K-pop to a “gift box” integrating music, dance, video, and interaction with fans. The personal elements the band infuses in its music might have boosted its global popularity, he added. 

“We try to instill personal stories in our music and dance, and I think the concerns and feelings that we have resonate with people around the world,” he said. 

But making music is a “constant battle to show your weakness and fight the fear of expressing your fear,” he added. 

BTS broke into the U.S. market in 2017 and was the first Korean group to win a Billboard music award. The band plans to launch a new world tour in April, kicking off in Seoul.

—Reuters

By Hyonhee Shin