Meet The Women Behind BTS’s “Map of the Soul: Persona” Album

These six female songwriters worked behind the scenes on BTS’s new album.

Map of the Soul: Persona was born from BTS‘s creativity, passion, and hard work, but also from their collaborative efforts with a team of songwriters. Over 20 songwriters participated in creating this seven-track album, including these six, very talented women who shared their experiences with Billboard.


1. Melanie Fontana – “Boy With Luv”

Melanie Fontana, who worked on the title track “Boy with Luv” said that the songwriting process for it was the opposite of how she usually works.

When they sent me the beat for “Boy With Luv,” I think they said they wanted this song to be the single. At first I was like, “Okay, cool. You know what you want. The beat is cool. But how do you know the single is going to be the single? Do you have an idea of what you want? You already have a vision in your head?” To me, it’s very opposite. Usually, the song comes first and then the track can kind of be edited. But with Big Hit [Entertainment], the track comes first and then the topline gets edited, the lyrics and the melody.

— Melanie Fontana


Melanie Fontana and BigHit Entertainment sent the song back and forth, making changes and adding layers until its completion. She said that she didn’t know “Boy With Luv” was going to be a single, or that Halsey would be featured on it, until after she had finished her work on it.

I put a verse, I put a pre [hook], I put a rap, I put a chorus. And then they came back and were like, “Can you fix the verse? Can you fix the pre-hook? Can you actually scrap the pre-hook all together? Can you add to the verse? Scrap the pre-hook, and do a brand new chorus.” And I did it, and then they came back and were like, “Send us the stem [files]. We’re going to try writing on it and recording it.” And then we just let it be. And then I found out on Grammy Sunday, when their A&R was in L.A. with them cause they were presenting. I found out that day it was going to be a single. Apparently they already had Halsey on the song, and they didn’t tell me. I just wrote for them.

— Melanie Fontana


Melanie Fontana also performed with BTS and the BTS band Ghost on Saturday Night Live. She called it the “highest high point” she could ever imagine.

Performing on Saturday Night Live was the highest high point I could ever imagine. I spent a lot of time crying happy tears this weekend. Just bursts of emotion. I was literally broke, flat broke, when I moved to L.A. and I had nothing going on, I knew nobody. So I feel very proud of myself and accomplished.

— Melanie Fontana


BTS’s attitude of gratitude left a lasting impression on her. She expressed how kind the members were, and how they thanked her for helping to create “Boy With Luv” for them.

A thing I noticed about the guys is that they’re really grateful. When I said, “Hey, thanks for having me [perform on SNL],” they were like, “No, no, no. Thank you for saving our song with your beautiful melodies.” I was like, “Wait…” We got to talking, and RM was like, “I was listening to some of your lyrics and I thought they were so cool so I just didn’t change them, I just left them.” It was the “Listen, my, my, baby” and “Oh my my my, oh my my my/ You got me high so fast” parts.

— Melanie Fontana


2. Emily Weisband – “Boy With Luv”

Emily Weisband said she was surprised when she was contacted to work on BTS’s new album. She was already a BTS fan, but since she is a Nashville songwriter who is largely outside of the pop world, she had no idea how BTS even found out about her.

They emailed one of the girls at the publishing company I’m signed to. I have no idea how they heard of me, because I’m not really in the pop world. I’m a Nashville songwriter, so I’m not really in the pop world as much as maybe some other writers on the record are. I’m a country writer. So it was really random. But they sent me the “Boy With Luv” track and I put some melodies on it, back in January.

— Emily Weisband


Like Melanie Fontana, she was unaware that “Boy With Luv” would be the title track, or that Halsey would be on it. She didn’t hear the full song until after it came out.

The first 50 seconds of the song or so, the first verse into the chorus, is a big chunk of stuff that I sent them. Then I got a text like two weeks ago saying, “Congrats on being on the new BTS single” and I had no clue. I didn’t hear the song until it came out, because they had just used some of my melodies on the song that I had put on the track and sent back to them. I was like, “What, are you kidding me?” And I didn’t know Halsey was on it before it came out and I saw the teaser and I heard the track. When the song came out, my publisher called me and was like, “Go listen! It’s just what you sent them.” And it was, just with some Korean lyrics over it. I had just put random words in there that fit the melody, because I knew that if they did use the melodies they’d put Korean lyrics on it so I didn’t pay as much attention to the words for this. It was crazy.

— Emily Weisband


She also said that she was grateful to work on music that has reached so many people all over the world.

Being a Nashville writer, being in the room every day digging into lyrics and that whole thing, it was a super-weird experience for me, in a good way. There are so many ways to make music now with people all over the world who you haven’t met, so it’s just really cool. The fact that we all feel the same things from across the world is just mind blowing to me. I’m just so grateful that they wanted to make it their own and put their words into it.

— Emily Weisband


3. Candace Sosa  – “Mikrokosmos”

Candace Sosa and DJ Swivel experimented with “many melodies” for this beautiful song, and their final contributions can be heard toward the end of it.

We were sent a track and basically I went over to [DJ] Swivel’s house. We just came up with as many melodies as we could for the entire song and we sent it back. They used a little snippet of ours for the end part [hums] and then like the “na na na”s. Basically, our part finishes out the whole song.

— Candace Sosa


Candace Sosa said that she first came into contact with BTS through DJ Swivel, and this led to her working on Jungkook‘s solo song, “Euphoria”.

Basically, my experience with BTS happened through Swivel. I was actually still living in Michigan while now I live in L.A.. About two years ago, I had “Euphoria,” which was a different song at the time. It was supposed to be my song. I reached out to Swivel on a whim because I couldn’t get the mix right and I was just like, “I know this guy is a big producer, mixer, engineer, so let me just reach out.” Being me, that’s what I did at like 3 o’clock in the morning and he responded pretty instantly. I didn’t even expect him to see my message but he heard the song and we were talking back and forth via email, and basically he just liked the song as it was already and wanted to just improve it. So then I handed over the stems, and that’s what became “Euphoria” after he got his hands on it and brought Melanie [Fontana] in. He had the connection through The Chainsmokers and that’s how he got in touch with BTS and they chose it, so that’s how it all started for me.

— Candace Sosa


She called her collaboration experience with BTS “surreal” and said that sometimes the emotional impact of it is so overwhelming that it’s “hard not to cry sometimes”.

Honestly, it’s crazy. I watch interviews and performances with them from time to time, and it’s just so surreal. It’s weird because obviously I’m not BTS, but we helped with the writing and to see them perform and to see the reactions from the audience and to know I’m part of that, it’s hard to fathom. It’s hard not to cry sometimes.

— Candace Sosa


4. Krysta Youngs and Julia Ross – “Home”

These two talented songwriters, who admire BTS’s music as much as their message, were ecstatic to get the call to work with them.

We had written another track for one of [Big Hit Entertainment’s] artists and we are super-big into manifesting and speaking your reality as you see it and as you see your feature. So we did meditations together before we had our sessions and we’re just kind of on the same wavelength. We wrote the song for their other artist and then we got the email, “We want you to write for BTS.” And both of us were like, “Omigod, this is exactly how we saw it happening.”

— Julia Ross


Krysta Youngs called BTS a band that “thrives off being honest”. She and Julia Ross, who feel that authenticity is important in their own work, strongly connected with this.

For me, I think BTS are a band that thrives off of being honest and they pour their heart and soul into everything, and I think that was something that was very attractive to them [about our songwriting]. Because whenever I write, and I know Julia’s the same way, it’s really authentic.

— Krysta Youngs


She also feels that the US music industry could learn from the way that BTS treats their songwriters.

I tweeted this the other day, that I think the American music industry could really learn something from the way that they treat songwriters and how much they respect and value what we do. And, not only that, but that they take the time to tweet and post on Instagram about us. It’s so refreshing, and we feel like we’re part of a bigger family.

— Krysta Youngs


5. Dyson – “Home”

Dyson has known Big Hit Entertainment since before BTS was BTS. She formerly worked with BTS’s former labelmate 2AM‘s Jo Kwon, and stayed in contact with the company over the years.

Long story short, I’ve known Big Hit since 2012. They actually flew me out to Korea at the beginning of my songwriting career. BTS didn’t even exist then, I was writing for another artist of theirs [former BTS labelmate Jo Kwon]. They’ve been an incredible label this whole time. I reached out to them and was like, “Do you need any songs?”

— Dyson


She has worked on a number of tracks, and her melodies ended up being used as part of “Home”, which she calls a “song for the fans”.

They sent me two tracks for this. Or I think it was actually the same track, rather, and I wrote two different ideas on it. So I wrote two full songs and they picked the chorus– they actually used a lot of my melodies on it, which I’m super stoked about. They just told me, “We love your melodies, it’s going to be in the song.” And “Home” exists now. It’s a song for the fans, and I think that’s pretty incredible. It’s just awesome that a fanbase can be so powerful. I think that fans worked so hard for them, it’s an honor to be a part of this.

— Dyson

Source: Billboard