Two years ago, recording a fully English song was out of the question for BTS. “If we sing suddenly in full English, and change all these other things, then that’s not BTS,” member RM told Entertainment Weekly in March 2019. But that changed by summer 2020, when the band released “Dynamite,” its first English song and a runaway hit. The K-pop superstars followed the song up with two more English songs earlier this year, “Butter” and “Permission to Dance,” both of which also debuted at No. 1. In a new Billboard cover story, though, the band is still uncertain about performing in English. According to the magazine, not all of the members agreed on singing in English in the first place. “There was no alternative,” RM said. Shin Young-Jae, president of BTS’s label Big Hit Music, disagreed with that assessment, though. “I think it’s a testament to the band’s strengths, the way they can come to a friendly resolution and be mindful of the company’s needs,” he said.
Jin, another member, added that learning to sing in English had been difficult, due to differences from how the band’s members learned the language in school. “I had to erase everything in my head first,” he said. And RM went on to maintain his line from over two years ago — that BTS shouldn’t give up its Korean roots for English-speaking markets. “I don’t think we could ever be part of the mainstream in the U.S., and I don’t want that either,” he said, adding he just wants to reach the band’s goal of performing a full American stadium tour. “That’s it.” Jin also added that BTS doesn’t want HYBE, the larger entertainment company that owns Big Hit Music, to have the final say on their career, remembering the band’s 2018 contract renewal with the company. “We ended up telling each other that because we worked so hard up to that point, let’s see how far we can go,” he said. “I don’t know if I should say this, but [we said], ‘Screw the agency, screw everything. Let’s just put our faith in the members and the fans and start again.’”