MAX and Suga's "Blueberry Eyes" collaboration originally dropped on Sept. 15, but the song continues its worldwide domination well into November. So far, it's garnered over 70 million global streams, 22 million YouTube views, and the No. 1 spot on iTunes in 66 countries. Fans love the track so much, MAX dropped jazz and acoustic remixes of it, and now, the singer's teamed up with Steve Aoki for another take on the single. MAX's quotes about the impact "Blueberry Eyes" has had explain what the song's popularity comes down to: staying true to the vision.
MAX finds it so cool seeing his collab with Suga reach new levels of success, but he doesn't take all the credit for it. Instead, he thanks his fans for putting the song on, and all over, the map. "All the numbers are a reflection of fans' focus and hard work," MAX tells Elite Daily. "They're so passionate about getting it to those places, and I think the numbers are a really great way to celebrate with them."
MAX's favorite part about "Blueberry Eyes" going viral is seeing how fans interpret the song creatively. Ahead of the single's release, MAX launched a contest asking fans for merchandise ideas inspired by the title. In the end, he received nearly 3,000 submissions, and eventually turned one into a hoodie for other fans to purchase off his website. "It's so cool to see how many talented and amazing humans are so supportive of the song," he says. "Seeing how it's a part of the soundtrack of their lives and knowing this song is all over the world in people's ears and their daily lives is [what fulfills me the most]."
On Nov. 12, MAX collaborated with Aoki on a "Blueberry Eyes" remix that puts a new twist on the song fans never expected. The pair got to know each other after MAX signed to Dim Mak Records in 2018 as part of his duo, Party Pupils. Despite knowing Aoki for years, the right opportunity to collaborate with him didn't come until now.
"[Aoki's] done so many great records [with BTS]," MAX says, referring to Aoki's collaborations with the boys on "Mic Drop," "Waste It On Me," and "The Truth Untold." "I keep my ears on the ground for what the fans love, and I know he's one of the few they trust in the same way. It felt like between our personal relationship, us never releasing anything quite yet, and the love he's already garnered from this wonderful fanbase, this was the perfect, organic, wonderful mix of talent to create a new version."
MAX gave Aoki complete control over the remix, and what he got in return was something truly special — an '80s-inspired re-imagining of his originally jazzy and upbeat track. "Somehow, [Aoki] transported me into a Back to the Future world mixed with this [Singing in the Rain] world. It almost adds to the romance in a completely new light," MAX shares. "Having him put his magic on this was amazing."
After working with so many artists, MAX realizes giving his partners free rein inspires the best results. "I found that when I collaborate with people, it's best to [let them] create what's natural for them," MAX says, adding that's why he never pressured Suga to rap in English. "His native language is Korean, and that's where he feels the most creatively enriched to speak his truth."
MAX says him and Suga being true to themselves as artists is what really makes the song so relatable to fans. "I love that it's a combination of our languages and the fact that that's brought so many people together who may be more into western music or Korean music. It's like they're all coming toward the middle with this song," MAX explains.
Despite the language barrier, MAX and Suga still keep in touch through text message. Most recently, MAX sent Suga well wishes for a speedy recovery after his surgery to repair a torn shoulder labrum. On Nov. 6, Big Hit Entertainment announced Suga would be taking a temporary break from BTS to recuperate. MAX understands the feeling of being forced to step away from your passion unexpectedly to take care of your health. In 2018, he had surgery on his vocal cords and couldn't speak for months, causing him to cancel the rest of his shows that year.
"I think we all feel a little invincible, and we're so concentrated on our dreams and getting there, but any trauma in your life gives you a new perspective," MAX explains. "It humbles the best of us when something makes us realize we don't get to do this forever ... The fact that we get to do what we love is such a gift, and getting to reflect on that gift just brings more inspiration. It makes you love what you do even more."