K-pop boyband BTS broke the news on Tuesday that they are taking an indefinite “hiatus” to focus on solo endeavors and “figure things out.”
The seven members, who are credited with generating billions of dollars for the South Korean economy as part of the global K-wave, dropped the bombshell during their streamed annual “FESTA” dinner, part of a celebration that marks their anniversary as a group.
Member RM, 27, said that after the Grammy-nominated BTS’ last few singles he “didn’t know what kind of group we were anymore,” adding later that group members were “exhausted.”
“I’ve always thought that BTS was different than other groups,” he continued. “But the problem with K-pop and the whole idol system is that they don’t give you time to mature.”
“You have to keep producing music and keep doing something… I’ve changed as a human over the past 10 years, so I needed to think and have some alone time,” RM said.
“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.”
Jimin, 26, said the members are “slowly trying to figure things out now” and that “we’re starting to think about what kind of artists we each want to be remembered by our fans.”
“I think that’s why we’re going through a rough patch right now, we’re trying to find our identity and that’s an exhausting and long process.”
By the end of the dinner several of the members of the group behind “Dynamite” and “Butter” grew tearful as they voiced gratitude for their supporters, a fandom known online as the “ARMY.”
BTS has said they were going on short breaks before, first in 2019 and later in December 2021.
The news comes just days after the group released “Proof,” an anthology album that included a new single, “Yet To Come (The Most Beautiful Moment).”
J-Hope said that “change is what we need right now” but offered hope for the group’s return by adding “it’s important for BTS to start our second chapter.”
During the hourlong dinner that saw the members drink, joke and reflect on their history together, they said they were working on recording solo projects. J-Hope is slated to headline Chicago’s Lollapalooza on his own later this summer.
BTS’s label enjoyed a surge in profits despite holding fewer concerts during the pandemic.
The septet is the first all-South Korean act to reign over Billboard’s US top singles chart, a milestone they achieved with “Dynamite,” the first BTS song sung completely in English.
They’re also one of few acts since The Beatles to release four albums that hit number one stateside in less than two years.
The group has twice been nominated for a Grammy but has yet to win.
BTS recently made headlines for visiting the White House to deliver a message to US President Joe Biden on the fight against anti-Asian racism.
The floppy-haired stars, dressed in matching dark suits and ties, with white shirts, joined White House press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre at the briefing room podium before meeting Biden.
Member Suga appealed for tolerance, saying that “it’s not wrong to be different. I think equality begins when we open up and embrace all of our differences.”
The White House praised BTS as “youth ambassadors who spread a message of hope and positivity across the world.”
Anti-Asian sentiment and violence in America have grown in recent years in a phenomenon many blame on the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.
BTS’ brief appearance before journalists reportedly garnered more than 10 times the usual traffic on the White House’s YouTube channel.
Footage the group recorded with Biden has notched nearly 3 million views on YouTube.