Being a member of a boy band, even if you’re active in more ways than one and boast a diverse fanbase, such as the BTS ARMY, still comes with many stereotypes, preconceived notions, and prejudices.
BTS‘s RM and American music artist and producer Pharrell Williams appeared on Rolling Stone Music Now‘s Musicians on Musicians – Special Series. They spoke on various topics, including their upcoming collaboration and about being members of bands. While RM is BTS’s leader, Pharrell formed the hip-hop and R&B production duo the Neptunes in the 1990s, and in 1999, he became lead vocalist of the band N.E.R.D.
RM talked about the pressures he has struggled with as the leader of BTS. He especially talked about the responsibilities one endures as a K-Pop idol.
It was ten years, really intense, as a team, and I actually was in charge of all the interviews and representing the team. That was my role. So, I think I got really… I don’t know, like, ‘Yo, I got to stop this for a bit. We got to shut it down and see what’s going on… Making my mind really calm down.’
Pharrell not only attentively listened to RM, empathetic about what all he had gone through. He recognized that not everyone understands, though, due to prejudices against boy bands.
People … All they think about is you rehearse all the time. They don’t understand that you guys studied, you know, in a different kind of way where we don’t necessarily do that all the time in America.
— Pharrell Williams
Pharrell has worked with several boy bands before. The Neptunes featured on a remix of the Backstreet Boys‘ “The Call,” and he produced *NSYNC‘s iconic song “Girlfriend.” So, he knows a lot about boy bands.
Pharrell Williams: Sometimes, we put groups together. And sometimes … I mean like *NSYNC was put together that way… Backstreet Boys…
RM: New Kids On The Block, One Direction…
Pharrell recognized that boy bands are often dismissed with that label. Yet, he knows that they are actually educated and have great results, releasing quality music. RM especially appreciated Pharrell’s considerate comments.
Pharrell Williams: There’s a lot of them. But here that would get ridiculed as like, “That’s just a boy band,” but you know what? They would have really similar results, and I’m not saying metric for metric, but I’m saying very similar results in like the quality of the artists, the quality of them really understanding their consumers, them really understanding their genre and being able to keep it going for as long as they really want it ’cause they really understood what they were there to do. They got the assignment.
RM: Wow. I mean thank you firstly for such consideration…
Read more from the interview below.