BTS: What were the members up to before becoming the biggest boy band in the world? Find out

BTS Before Fame
Credits: Big Hit Music

BTS has made its mark as one of the biggest boy bands in the world. Their success and passion for music make us wonder ‘what a life they have’. The members definitely dreamt of becoming musicians and had plans for the same always set in their minds. In reality, just like any of us, few members knew they wanted to pursue music from a very young age, while others might have discovered their love for it a little later in life.

With BigHit Music announcing BTS members taking a hiatus from group activities in order to focus on their solo careers, it’s a good time to have a look back at what the members were doing before they debuted as BTS. This might even help the fans predict what we can expect from all the members’ solo ventures.

BTS Before Fame


Kim Seok-jin, the hyung (older brother) of the group, is actually the maknae (youngest) in his family. Born on December 4, 1992, his family consists of his mother, father, and older brother. When in school, Jin wanted to pursue journalism but seeing Kim Nam-gil in Queen Seondeok changed his mind and arose his passion for acting. 

The universe seems to have to work on Jin’s side, as when in middle school, he was approached by an SM Entertainment scouting manager on the street, but thinking it was a scam, he rejected the offer. He was again approached by a scout on the street, and this time the agent convinced him to audition for the agency – Big Hit Entertainment  (now BigHit Music). 

With no interest or experience in music, Jin auditioned to be an actor. However, to ARMYs’ relief, Big Hit Entertainment convinced him to train as a member of BTS, and the rest is history. Though Jin never left his dream of becoming behind and graduated from Konkuk University in February 2017 with a degree in Film Studies. 


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A post shared by Jin of BTS (@jin)


Min Yoon-gi, better known as Suga and August D, was born on March 9, 1993, in Daegu. At a very young age, he realized his love for rap after listening to Ragga Muffin by Stony Skunk. But it was the song Fly by Epik High that really pushed him to pursue music. Merely at the age of 13, he started writing lyrics and learned MIDI. It was not until he was 17 years old that he began composing and arranging music while working part-time at a recording studio. 

Suga’s career as a rapper had kick-started before being signed to Big Hit Entertainment. He was an active underground rapper and went by the name Gloom. In 2010 as a part of the hip-hop crew D-Town, he produced 518-062, a song honoring the Gwangju Uprising.

Originally set to be a producer, Suga trained alongside his future members RM and J-Hope. Just like Jin, the agency couldn’t let Suga’s potential go to waste and added him to the final lineup of BTS.


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A post shared by SUGA of BTS 민윤기 (@agustd)


Born on February 18, 1994, Jung Ho-seok, known by his beautiful stage name J-Hope, always had a knack for dancing. Before debuting as a BTS member, he was part of an underground dance team called Neuron. He also took dance classes at Gwangju Music Academy – the alumni include 2NE1’s Minzy and TVXQ’s Yunho.

There was a time, though, when J-Hope dreamt of becoming a sportsperson, specifically a tennis player. In episode 129 of Run BTS!, the group was supposed to have a tennis match which resulted in everyone having high hopes for the former tennis player of the band – J-Hope. Unsurprisingly, he lived up to the expectations and was shining in the episode with his tennis skills. 


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Kim Naam-joon, known by his stage name, RM, was the very first trainee to be announced as a member of BTS. He is well known for his rapping and producing skills, but that are not the only things he is famous for. Fans were surprised to know that RM possesses an IQ of 148 and ranked within the highest 1.3 percent in the country in Korea’s College Scholastic Ability Test.

Before BTS, RM was active in the underground hip-hop scene. In an interview with Section TV, he revealed that he owes his career to Sleepy, a member of the hip-hop duo Untouchable. Sleepy recommended RM to a producer at Big Hit Entertainment after witnessing his impressive skills.

[Section TV] 섹션 TV - Rap Monster, 'join in BTS? thanks to SLEEPY" 20150816


Born in 1995, Jimin started attending Just Dance Academy in middle school. He learned popping and locking dance. He also studied contemporary dance at Busan High School of Arts and was a top student. Seeing his talent, a teacher of his suggested he audition for an entertainment company, landing him in Big Hit Entertainment. 

When asked what he would be doing now if he didn’t debut as a BTS member on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, he jokingly answered a talk show host. But, Jimin has talked about how he always wanted to become a performer, and if not for BTS, he would have still pursued the same dream.


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A post shared by JIMIN (@j.m)


Kim Tae-hyung, was born in Daegu, grew up in Geochang, and comes from a farmers background. His initial introduction to music was when his father encouraged him to learn to play the saxophone. He enjoyed it so much that he even considered becoming a professional Saxophonist. 

Fate seemed to have some other plans. On The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, V revealed that his signing with Big Hit Entertainment was a mere accident. He had actually gone to an audition in Daegu to support his best friend. There a scouting manager noticed him and asked him to audition on the spot. And well, talk about being talented, he passed an audition without any preparation.  


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A post shared by V (@thv)


Just like J-Hope, we have another member who dreamed of becoming a sportsman. As a kid, the BTS’ Golden Maknae wanted to pursue badminton professionally. What changed his mind, though? Similar to Jin and Suga, Jungkook was inspired by a sunbae (senior) of his. He saw G-Dragon perform the song Heartbreaker on TV and made up his mind to become an idol. 

This led him to audition for the very famous survival show Superstar K. Jungkook might not have passed the audition to be on the show, but his talent did not go unnoticed. He got calls from a total of 7 different agencies. It was his member RM that inspired him to choose Big Hit Entertainment. “I ended up [at Big Hit] because Rap Monster was so cool,” he revealed in an episode of the New Yang Nam Show.