Eric Nam Tells BTS’s Underdog Story From An Insider’s Perspective

He revealed how they went from underdogs to champions, and why.

Some ARMYs have been with BTS since the very beginning of their career, and one of those ARMYs is Eric Nam.


Recently, Eric Nam guested on the audio-video podcast Not Too Deep with Grace Helbig. During the show, he recalled BTS’s early days in the ultra-competitive K-Pop industry, and how the odds were stacked against them.

I’ve seen them go through the entire thing. When they started, they were these underdogs in the industry and I know they were having a very difficult time because Korea, K-Pop, is so competitive. You have hundreds of groups debut every year. Maybe one percent is going to stay around for a few years.

— Eric Nam


He talked about BTS’s non-traditional approach to promoting that helped them find their place in the music industry.

I remember that they were doing things non-traditionally, in the sense that they were shooting a show in LA, and they were doing tiny venues, and they were really just cutting their teeth, I guess, to figure out what their sound and what their image and what their look was going to be.

— Eric Nam


More than anything though, it was ARMY’s desire to see BTS succeed that helped these underdogs become champions.

I think what really took them there was their fandom, the ARMY. They were really rooting for that underdog. They were that perfect underdog story, but it worked because they’re amazing performers…They look like America’s Best Dance Crew, but they can sing and rap at the same time.

— Eric Nam


Eric Nam brought up BTS’s K-CON days. BTS were only the opening act at K-CON in 2014 for “heavy hitters” like Girls’ Generation, but they left their audience amazed.


“They stole the show,” he said. “because their choreography and their charisma and the way they do things, people are like, ‘Is that magic? What is going on?’ From there it was this organic growth of people, international fans, saying these kids are so underappreciated, but they’re so good.”


Check out the clip here: