K-pop, Mandopop and other Asian pop

Meet Jungkook from BTS: the baby of the group who belts out the ballads

What he lacks in age, he makes up for with vocal strength. The 20-year-old is known for belting out ballads on stage and sending fans crazy, but he also has a keen interest in fitness

PUBLISHED : Friday, 08 June, 2018, 8:32pm
UPDATED : Monday, 11 June, 2018, 9:58am

It’s been several weeks since BTS released their latest album, “Love Yourself: Tear”, but the hype surrounding the world-conquering K-pop group shows no sign of dying down.

The seven-member outfit are arguably the most popular K-pop group in the world, and any doubts about their influence were dispelled last month when Love Yourself: Tear hit No 1 on the US Billboard album charts – a first for a K-pop act.

BTS sent fans wild at the recent Billboard Music Awards, where they performed a live rendition of their latest single, Fake Love. And for many fans, the highlight of the show was the group’s maknae, or youngest member, Jungkook, who not only showed off his impressive vocal skills but also his amazing abs.

In honour of Jungkook and his six-pack, let’s take a look back at the his life and history with BTS.

Early life

Twenty-year-old Jungkook was born Jeon Jeong-guk in South Korea’s southern port city of Busan. At just 14 years old, he wowed the judges at auditions for Superstar K, a K-pop reality TV competition. While Jungkook did not make it to the final round, his vocal skills were impressive enough to catch the eye of scouts at several major entertainment companies including Big Hit Entertainment – and the rest is history.

His role in BTS

While he may be the youngest, Jungkook is the group’s main vocalist. He has said he can’t believe the success BTS have achieved.

“Sometimes it’s just unbelievable. Maybe we had a bit of luck, but we do our best and keep working no matter what. Our fans have supported us so much – they really love us, and we hope to go even higher from here,” he said in a 2017 interview with Elle magazine.

His image

Jungkook has said in the past he was more concerned with improving his dancing instead of his singing, but most audiences know him for his vocal skills.

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Jungkook acknowledges the hard work it takes to maintain an image as a K-pop star. On working out, he says: “One day, I saw [K-pop stars] Taeyang and Jay Park, and thought I should build up my body, too. The [other members of BTS] exercise with me, too, but there’s no sense of competitiveness. I don’t really notice, but people around me have said my muscles are now bigger,” he said in an interview with Ize magazine.

His solo work

Because of his vocal skills, Jungkook has performed quite a few solo numbers on the group’s albums. On the album “Wings”, Jungkook sang Begin, an R&B-influenced track about the brotherhood and love he feels for his fellow members and mentors in BTS.

Shortly before the release of “Love Yourself: Tear”, Jungkook performed Euphoria, the theme for BTS’ “Love Yourself Wonder” series of films and songs.

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Jungkook also loves to cover songs by his favourite bands and musicians. Charlie Puth’s We Don’t Talk Anymore, is one of his best-known covers, showing that Jungkook can also sing well in English.

In his words

“Isn’t a man someone who doesn’t care about what others think? A man does whatever he wants,” he said in an interview with Ize magazine.

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“[Our international success has] made me want to create more fresh and better music, and that’s why we all try to listen and study more music,” he said in a 2016 interview with Elle magazine.

“When I was younger, I thought that everything would just come to me eventually, but now I see I have to take the initiative and practise to improve myself. Last year, I practised because I had to, but now I do it on my own,” he told Ize.

“I have a Maltese [dog] at home. Its name is Gureum [meaning cloud] and I miss a lot. Both of my parents work, and my brother is in the army, so Gureum is always alone. I jokingly asked if we could have a dog in our dorm, but they said no,” Jungkook told Ize.