BTS is currently the biggest boy band in the world, but to ascend such heights, the septet needed to have a series of firsts before making their mark in the United States — something that led to member Suga experiencing serious nerves and doubts about the group’s future, he revealed in the Friday (Aug. 25) episode of his Suchwita show.
Suga was joined by South Korean soccer player Lee Kang-in, and discussed his life in recent weeks, particularly how he deals with pregame jitters before large stadium games. When the athlete said that he often feels sleepy before big matches, Suga reflected on a moment of nervousness ahead of BTS’ first performance in the United States.
“I’m the type that doesn’t get nervous much, but in 2017, we did our U.S. debut performance, and I experienced my hands shaking for the first time,” the K-pop star explained. “The pressure that I needed to do well here made me not be able to sleep at night.”
Lee then spoke about feeling the pressure of proving himself to be a good soccer player in light of switching to the Paris Saint-Germain F.C. team, to which Suga likened it to his own experiences with BTS getting international success and recognition for the first time.
“An athlete has to prove himself through his performance, while a singer does that on stage. For example, we received an award at this award show. We went to Billboard,” he recalled of the May 2017 show, before reflecting on their American Music Awards performance, which came in November that year. “When we first went up on the stage at the AMAs in 2017, since it was so big it wasn’t even a dream of mine. I never even thought of whether it’s possible or not.”
He continued, “After [the AMAs], I was really scared because I knew it was just the start. Since I knew this wasn’t a one-time thing, the pressure of what we need to do in order to create what results [we wanted] slowly crept up on me. So after the AMAs, I cried a lot. [I wondered,] ‘Where do we go from here?’ Because no one could tell us what to do now … we worked like crazy. Even people around us worried that this might be a one-time thing. There was a lot of talk that there would be nothing afterwards.”
The hard work ended up paying off. BTS earned its first chart entries on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2017. The following year, the septet had three more entries with tracks “Fake Love,” (No. 10) “IDOL” (No. 11) and “Waste It On Me” (No. 89). BTS further cemented its status as the world’s biggest boyband after hitting No. 1 on the charts with “Permission to Dance,” “Dynamite” and “My Universe,” earning multiple Grammy nominations and more.
Watch Suga’s full Suchwita episode in the video above.