It’s the day before J-Hope’s headlining appearance at Lollapalooza, and if he was nervous, it didn’t show. Relaxed in a casual Balenciaga outfit, he smiled as he reflected on the historic moment. On Sunday, he became the first South Korean artist to headline a major US music festival while making his solo debut.
Despite his cold demeanor, however, he worked tirelessly for that night and his expectations are high. “It’s actually a huge challenge for me as a J-Hope artist. It’s a really big boost to just move forward,” he said. rolling stone backstage via a translator in a cordoned-off enclave in the artists’ area. “So I had to prepare very hard because it’s a very meaningful moment and an important part of my artistic talent. After this performance, maybe I’m going to feel a lot. I’m sure it’s going to help me as an artist to take the next step.
The prep work included deep dives into perfecting his live delivery of the first two singles (“More” and “Arson”) from his debut solo album, jack in the box, and these are the songs he says he is most looking forward to performing for the first time. “These are also songs that have styles that I’ve never performed before,” he explains. “So I practiced a lot because these are difficult songs to do live.”
Singles, he says, take a lot of energy, and he spent a lot of time rehearsing on them.. “I have to interpret these songs only according to my voice and my mood. Not the usual weapon I have, which is dancing,” he adds. “So in that sense, I focused a lot on those two lead singles which are very meaningful to me.”
Going solo also meant rehearsals without his other six BTS bandmates. The experience was “lonely”, he laughs. “I miss my limbs.” But it also presented good challenges – physically, energetically and mentally – after working the past 10 years in a group setting. “[It’s] very challenging, but also very fun. So actually, I think it’s very positive to take on new challenges, [which] are really going to help me as a person. So I appreciate the whole process. Every moment is very fun and very new and it makes me feel like I’m going back to the good old days.
With jack in the box, J-Hope is the first BTS member to release a solo album — and it’s truly solo, containing no features. “I filled the whole album with just my voice. So I made this album so I could prove myself, you know? I wanted to show people that this is the music I make. It’s the vibe that I have. I wanted to let a lot of other artists hear my music; that I want to let artists know that ‘Oh, J-Hope makes that kind of music,'” he says. have a collaboration, so maybe I can do a really cool and awesome collaboration with other artists. Nothing is set yet, but that’s just my bold ambition. I am open to any future projects like this. If I do a next collaboration, it will probably showcase my ultimate weapon, which is dancing.
It’s only been a few weeks jack in the box happened, but J-Hope already has a big festival performance under his belt and had time to reflect on some lessons learned.
“The most important thing is that I realize that taking on this huge task, it was a huge challenge to do what I wanted to do right now. Looking back, actually, I think I realized that if it wasn’t for now, I wouldn’t have been able to release this album,” he says. “So I think that in itself marks a milestone in my musical journey. So, actually, after this album, I’m kinda slowly starting to figure out where my music should go next. I learned that maybe I was a little arrogant, maybe I was a little lacking and maybe a little inexperienced. But I learned so much through this album. In that sense, I think this album is very, very meaningful to me.