BTS will be taking a break from working and performing as a band. The K-pop stars made the big announcement this summer during their FESTA dinner, part of their 9th anniversary celebration. Members RM, Jimin, J-Hope, V, Jungkook, Jin and Suga told fans that an extended break would give them time to pursue solo projects as well as get some much-needed rest.
The BTS Phenomenon
When BTS debuted in 2013, the Korean boy band did not appear to be all that different from other boy bands that were gaining in popularity with their catchy songs and great choreography. But while most of the acts at the time were leaning heavily on their aesthetics and style, BTS had another gear with which they spoke and sang openly about the struggles of youth, connecting with their fans on a level that others had never imagined possible.
It’s not that BTS wasn’t growing their sound – it’s just that they were thinking and expressing on a much deeper level in a way that resonated with their fans. Fast-forward nearly nine years, and BTS has become one of the biggest music groups of all time. They are a household name for anyone who follows pop culture and have provided an outlet for even their fandom to become famous.
Their fanbase is known as “the Army”, a term coined by BTS leader Rap Monster in reference to their loyalty and dedication to their idols.
Why BTS Is Pausing to Focus on Solo Careers
While BTS has become one of the biggest K-pop acts of all time, the group has also had to overcome numerous obstacles to make it to this point. The rapper explained that after going so fast for so long, he’s creatively and physically exhausted and isn’t so sure of what the group’s direction.
“I always thought that BTS was different from other groups, but the problem with K-pop and the whole idol system is that they don’t give you time to mature,” RM said. “You have to keep producing music and keep doing something. After I get up in the morning and get makeup done, there’s no time left for work. And it’s not just about music and work. I’ve changed as a human over the past 10 years, so I needed to think and have some alone time and then those thoughts can mature into something uniquely mine. … Right now, when we’re at our best, I feel like I should be contributing something to the world, but I don’t know what that is.”
Suga, 29, agreed that they’ve run out of steam. “Out of all the time i’ve made music since 2013, I’ve never purely enjoyed it. It was always painful trying to squeeze out ideas but doing that now compared to 7-8 years ago feels completely different. Back then, I had something to say, but I just lacked the skills. Now I don’t have anything to say. I don’t know what to say.”
V noted that a hiatus could make them stronger. “We could focus on our solo work this time and later when we gather again as a group that synergy will be like no other. We’ll be better than before.”
What It Means For Their Fans
BTS has captivated the attention of their fans on a level that no other K-pop act has done before and there is no reason to think that the solo ventures will be any less successful. The group has broken down stereotypes about Asian-based music, gender roles, and sexuality in a way that no other act has done before. This was a huge step forward for the group and their fans, as it challenged society in a new way and created a more accepting environment where all people could feel accepted and loved.
BTS as a group will be silent for a while, but their fans have so much to look forward to as the individual members have time to think, reflect, and create their own identities and art.
The members of BTS were clearly emotional as they discussed the upcoming break. K-pop is a massive and diverse industry, but BTS is in a class by itself when it comes to their status as pop idols. But this has led to a whole new set of challenges for BTS and BTS fans. While many K-pop acts try to emulate them, fans will have to accept that BTS is taking a break after which time it’s anyone’s guess how they might continue to break boundaries and break records as they always have in the past.
J-Hope will be the first member of BTS to perform solo after this announcement but you can be sure that the others won’t be far behind. He will be performing as a featured artist at Chicago’s Lollapalooza festival in July. J-Hope has also just surpassed 10.6 million followers on Spotify, the first Korean solo artist to do so.