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Versatile idol group BTOB has a lot more to show

Seven-member group to make international debut at Singapore’s Music Matters Festival

This is part of a series featuring new hallyu stars. ― Ed.

Korean idol groups, so far, may have relied on their pretty looks, dance performances that are akin to acrobatics, and trendy music widely accepted by different cultures around the world, to appeal to audiences. However, BTOB, a Korean boy group that debuted two months ago, said they will show new features as K-pop artists in a way that will set them apart in the country’s music industry overflowing with idol groups.

“We are all strong in vocals and each member has different talents. We started with dance music and then ballad, but there are many things left for us to show, such as turning into a band that plays acoustic music,” Seo Eun-kwang, the group’s leader, told The Korea Herald in a recent interview.

“I think our fans love our not-so-handsome but unforgettable looks. We are also trying to get closer to our fans through surprise fan meetings and by opening up ourselves more in online communities,” said Lee Chang-sub, BTOB vocalist.
BTOB (Cube Entertainment)
BTOB (Cube Entertainment)

BTOB, which stands for “born to beat,” is the second boy group launched by Cube Entertainment, well-known for producing BEAST, 4Minute and G. Na. Consisting of seven members ― Seo Eun-kwang, Lee Min-hyuk, Lee Chang-seob, Lim Hyun-sik, Peniel Shin, Jung Il-hoon and Yook Sung-jae ― the group debuted with its first mini album “Born To Beat” in March.

The album includes “Insane,” “Imagine” and “Monday to Sunday,” a track co-produced by Swedish songwriters Jorgen Elofsson who previously worked with Britney Spears and Westlife, and Fredrik Thomander, who collaborated with NSYNC and Arashi. Jung Il-hoon, the group’s rapper also had a hand in making the album by writing lyrics.

Earlier this month, the group released its first digital single “Father,” which shows off their exceptional vocal talents. As Seo explained, the idol group also plans to transition into band with Seo on the piano, Lim on guitar, Lee Chang-sub on drums and Peniel on bass.

“We are working on the band project now. We’ll be able to show a new concept of an idol band that adds performance elements to the music,” Seo said.

The two-month-old group already has more than 10,000 fans registered on their official fan caf on Daum. BTOB will soon launch its fan club “Melody,” named by rapper Jung.

“We are surprised to have many foreign fans coming to the online caf. Peniel from the U.S. and Hyun-sik, who is fluent in Chinese, are in charge of communicating with fans from abroad,” 22-year-old Seo, the oldest member of the group, said.

In a chance to meet their growing foreign fanbase, BTOB will debut internationally this month.

The rookie group joins other K-pop and hip-hop acts such as M.I.B., Bizzy, Drunken Tiger and Yoon Mi-rae at the Music Matters Festival to be held in Singapore on May 22-26. BTOB will stage their first performance abroad at “Music Matters Live,” one of the festival’s programs, to be held in Clarke Quay in the city state on May 24, and will hold interviews with local media there.

“I still can’t believe that we are going to perform in Singapore. We feel so excited and will do our very best there,” said Lim Hyun-sik, who calls himself the center of the group.

Starting with Singapore, the group also plans to start overseas promotion centering in Japan within this year.

“I think we won’t have time to rest this year because we have to work on a new album for our Asia promotion,” said Yook Sung-jae, 17, the youngest in the group.

BTOB has been drawing widespread interest from overseas after the video of the group’s showcase in Seoul was released and viewed by 100,000 people around the world, the agency said.

“For the last two months, we slept just one or two hours a day. But it is not a big deal anymore because we adjusted well to the new environment,” Yook added.

“This kind of busy life is something we expected and prepared for. We’ll work hard not only on good music, but also on ourselves to be visually attractive in the future,” said Peniel, who came to Korea two years ago from Chicago to fulfill his dream of being a K-pop star.

By Cho Chung-un (
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Korea Herald daum