We have finally made it to the final hurdle as we get to the final BTS member in this series of in depth articles delving into the interviews that each member of the group conducted with social media platform WeVerse. For our final venture, we take a look at the last interview of the series with Park Jimin, one of the two main dancers of the group as well as a beautiful vocalist with a gorgeously high counter tenor range. So let’s conclude this near month long series with a look at what our beloved baby mochi has to say.
All Images Courtesy of WeVerse Magazine
Jimin begins the interview by expressing his shock and awe at the huge success of the three English tracks that BTS has released over the last year- “Dynamite”, “Butter” and “Permission to Dance”- saying that “At some point, it stopped feeling real”. Along with Jungkook, Jimin is also known to get the most emotional with the ARMY fan base (or at least those two are the ones who show it the most) and here you can tell that he is struggling contain his emotion as he discusses the support from fans and well as fan involvement via social media and cover songs,
“The reactions from fans, the cover videos they uploaded and the dance challenges they did—I’m just so thankful for that. It lit up my life. We made those songs with a good purpose in mind, so just hearing people say they enjoyed listening to them was fulfilling. And that was our original goal. “Permission to Dance,” in particular, was the perfect message for right now, so I think I got a lot of comfort from it, too.”
There is a sense that Jimin wants us as fans to know that he too has struggled to cope with the isolation that the pandemic has brought (he does discuss this a little later too) and that “Permission to Dance”- the sweet and fun pop tune- was as much as necessary comfort- as he says- to him as it was to us. He also goes on to discuss how the song helped him to gain a more positive outlook when it came to his sadness over not being able to perform;
“Oh yeah, I might not be able to see ARMY right now, but I will soon… my thinking changed to be more positive.”
I really like Jimin’s honesty about his difficultly maintaining positivity as it feels like a genuine response from a regular person rather than a global superstar. This is also apparent when he shares his worries for the releases of their English songs, stating that;
“At first I was worried whether the feelings we were trying to convey in the songs would get across to people since we’d never tried songs in those styles before, but after giving the performances a shot, we found out they’re really fun and easy for us to follow along to, too.”
Again, Jimin sharing his fears for their new material is refreshing to hear. The fact that he still has his doubts and worries even with BTS’s insane success and- not to mention their domination of the music industry and the numerous glass ceilings that they have shattered- is humbling to know. I feel like I have said that so many times during this seven part series as it seems to be a recurring theme for each member. There is a particular sense of humbleness and relatability in their interviews despite all of them being a part of the biggest band in the world right now. It’s refreshing but it also makes them seem more grounded as people. There is also the theme of the fans being of the upmost importance to BTS and all seven interviews- including this one with Jimin- demonstrate this with their constant discussion of the fans both in terms of their reactions and the bands thought processes with the fans in mind when creating their music.
It is easy to consider the similarities between BTS’s three English songs but Jimin is questioned in regards to the differences between them. He discusses the different attitudes and personas that he takes on with each song. If you’ve seen all three music videos, you’ll know exactly what he means! There is a retro disco pop funkiness to “Dynamite”, a sultry sexiness to “Butter” and a carefree and playful nature to “Permission to Dance”. Jimin links the outfits that the group wear with their songs, connecting the visualisation of his clothing with his “coolness” when performing. There’s also a nice little titbit about Jimin as he reveals that his preference is to dance barefoot as it “always feels more natural”. I feel like not enough people know just how talented BTS are as artists and performers as well as pop stars. They are so much more than just a boy band. If you watch any video of Jimin dancing, you can see the skill, the care and the training. He is an absolute expert at his craft and he needs more recognition for his classical dancing skills. Not to discredit his modern dancing but I think his penchant for barefoot dancing suggests his natural ability and proficiency for movement.
As a dancer, it isn’t a surprise that Jimin goes on to discuss the dancing aspects of the songs. Jimin is a highly talented, trained dancer and yet he still demonstrates an uncertainty when he discusses the difficulties that he had when it came to the “Butter” choreography:
““Butter” was a bit hard for me. It wasn’t a style I was used to, but I thought the actual dance was elegant when I saw the video and it had a lot of footwork, so I thought I’d be good at it, but it was way harder than I thought. During practice I even thought, Why am I so bad at dancing?”
There is that humble attitude again. Jimin is exemplary is so many forms of dance so for him to even think for a second that he is a bad dancer is ludicrous and yet he still has these moments of doubt. Despite his skills, he interestingly still studies his fellow members and takes on something new from each one of them to improve his own performance;
“I watched Hoseok dancing a lot, and since every member has their own style of dancing, I watched the way Taehyung loosened up, and the way Jung Kook danced by the book, and I combined all those.”
Again, there is a certain level of humbleness and level headedness, particularly for a super star such as Jimin. The fact that he is still constantly learning and growing from his fellow members not only suggests this modest attitude, it also suggests the mutual respect and admiration that the group must have for each other in order to keep learning from one another. When you are at the absolute to of your game like BTS are, it’s probably easy to become more laid back about your skills but the group seems to constantly push themselves to be better for both themselves and the fans.
Jimin discusses how he managed to find strength during the difficult time of the lockdown but he also goes back to the fan base once again to acknowledge his desire to give us the best performances to show his appreciation of our support;
“There’s people who’ve been rooting for us throughout this difficult time. I think we have to give them a reason to root for us, then. If we’re going to make them want to see us and make it fun for them to watch us, I wanted to give them a good reason.”
This attitude of working hard and giving the fans the best performances is prevalent throughout all of the interviews and Jimin’s interview is no exception. He goes on to talk about this hard work when it came to the pronunciation of certain English words whilst learning “Butter” as well as the difficulties of hitting the high notes. His dedication to his work and that notion of always putting on the best show is clear with the struggles that he went through to perfect his vocals;
“I guess you could call it the song that most made me think like I was just starting out again. I think I practiced harder than ever before. I think I’ve worked extremely hard to have my own unique style, but then I hit a wall and had to go back to the beginning to find a new way. And I went over it a lot with Jung Kook. What if I sing it like this? Or what about this way? How should I practice? I asked so many questions like that and practiced a lot, too. But I enjoyed the process.”
I like reading about the process of the vocal performances for the group as it gives us a brief glimpse behind the scenes of BTS (pun intended and I regret nothing) and how their musical process isn’t always a smoothly streamlined one.
The pandemic gave BTS a chance to change up their style but also provided an opportunity for introspection thanks to the new songs that the group released during that time, giving way to a “new side” for the group as a whole as well as Jimin personally. He discusses his personal feelings in regards to this and how he discovered things about himself with this chance for reflection;
“I only realized it recently, but I used to be really unstable. I was acting like I was well-grounded when I was around other people, like my family and friends. It meant I had to pretend a lot. I worried about others by saying things like, I’m fine, but how are you? I spoke like I could always take care of anything that came up, but looking back, that wasn’t the case.”
He later mentions that he used to have a hard time letting go and would harbour resentment, leading to him hiding his true feelings- which is certainly a relatable situation for all of us- but that he can now let things go more easily, even if he did feel “empty” at times for letting go of so many emotions. Interestingly, he also brings something up that no other member has in regards to these feelings of uncertainty in regards to doubting his ability to “take care of things”: money;
“I’m making a lot of money at a young age, I end up wondering what money and success ultimately mean. Because I’m young, I hear a lot of people talk, and some people can be jealous or envious. But there’s a lot of people I have to repay and a lot of relationships I need to hang onto. I thought I could take care of all these problems, but looking back, that wasn’t the case.”
I think bringing up money is a really interesting and unusual element of this interview, as most stars won’t bring financial matters into a conversation for fear of being accused of boasting in regards to their wealth. Here though, Jimin uses it to express how having so much money so young affects him as it leads not only to jealousy- as he states- but also to the ultimate questioning of- as Jimin perfectly puts it- what so much wealth and fame actually means in the long run. Personally, I feel that the fact that Jimin is asking himself these questions in the first place is an interesting look at who he is as a person as well as his clear need to hold onto those relationships that matter and repay those that he feels gratitude towards. His parents are clearly an important factor in his life as he mentions that he talked with them as if they were “life coaches”, which is nice to see in such a big star. Having a close relationship with his parents can’t be easy with all of his commitments so it’s sweet to see he still confides in them. In regards to the pandemic, he refers to his own feelings of being “trapped” but is clearly also aware of the struggles of everyday people too;
“I saw how lots of people were having a rough time and how there was a big social crisis”
It is probably easy to lose yourself in the bubble of superstardom when you get as big as BTS but it is good to see that their fame doesn’t get in the way too much and they can still appreciate the hard times of us normal folk. Jimin ends this little segment on self-reflection with what is probably the most relatable statement from all of these interviews. When discussing how overcoming his difficult time led to his mum noting how he was growing up, Jimin says that he told his mother:
“I don’t wanna be an adult—it’s too hard.”
Same, Jimin. Same.
Jimin expresses his desire to grow closer to the ARMY fan base when they can finally put on a show for them again. Their “Map of the Soul Tour” was officially cancelled in its entirety recently so it feels pretty far away at the moment but this is still a dream that all of the BTS fans can try and look forward to. It might not ever be able to be the same as it once was but there is no doubt that if anyone can give us a good show- no matter what the limitations might be- it will be BTS. Jimin also talks about wanting BTS to grow with their music and being able to share that growth with the ARMY;
“I think it’s changing little by little, for real. We used to be like, This is how we feel, this is what our songs are like, this is what we’re performing. But as the scale of our concerts grew and we started playing stadiums, I think we started asking, What do all of you think?”
What do I think? I think that I can’t wait for the day where I might actually be able to see perform in person but until then, I’m content to watch from afar. I really like Jimin’s clear interest in the lives of his fans too and he suggests that he wants to be able to feel a strong connection with them once again;
“We can’t really talk in depth about what’s happening in the lives of each person at our concerts, but I think we’re still looking into each other’s eyes and conversing, even while we’re shouting at each other. Wouldn’t the day come when we can share each other’s feelings more and more, and we can freely tell them that a performance is what you and I, we do together?”
Jimin is clearly an emotional and caring individual who wants nothing more than to share that feeling of togetherness with his fans once again. I think I speak for the entire fan base when I say, we can’t wait for that day to come too Jimin.
Check out the rest of my deep dives into the BTS WeVerse interviews below and make sure to read the entire Jimin interview over on WeVerse Magazine here.