Helen asked me if Ha Na and I could do Gangnam Style, a K-pop song by the South Korean musician Psy, at our choir’s concert, Around the World in Song. Actually we performed the song five years ago at a talent show in the congregation I was serving in Ladysmith. That was a hit. Someone came to me after the show saying, “minister rocked the church.”
I spoke to Ha Na, and she suggested that we would do BTS’ Idol this time. BTS is a seven-member South Korean boy band, and is making history as they reached the No. 1 position on the Billboard Top 200 music list recently. To promote their newest album, Love Yourself, they did a world tour visiting 12 countries, including Canada, United States, United Kingdom, Germany and many others.
In collaboration with UNICEF, the group launched “Love Myself” campaign, which advocates against youth violence. RM, The leader of the band gave a speech at the United Nations urging young people to ‘find their voice’. He shared his personal struggles and how he used those experiences to positively influence the people around him. Creating music was how he found his strength. “I had one sanctuary, and that was music. There was a small voice in me that said, ‘Wake up, man, and listen to yourself!’ It took me a long time to hear music calling my name…..I want to hear your voice. I want to hear your conviction. No matter where you’re from, skin colour, gender identity, just speak yourself.”
BTS’ Idol is the most challenging piece I have ever done. In fact, it feels like learning martial arts. But I am glad that we can contribute with the music that can change people’s lives.