It’s not often fans celebrate their favourite artist taking a step back out of the spotlight, but when it comes to BTS’s latest announcement, their devoted fanbase – the ARMY – is over the moon.
Six years after debuting as a group, the Korean boyband – made up of RM, Jimin, Jungkook, J-Hope, V, Jin and Suga – is taking an official break for ‘rest and relaxation’.
A statement from their agency Big Hit Entertainment read: ‘For the first time since their debut, BTS will be going on an official and extended period of rest and relaxation.’
‘This period of rest will be an opportunity for the members of BTS, who have relentlessly driven themselves towards their goal since their debut, to recharge and prepare to present themselves anew as musicians and creators.
‘This will also provide them with a chance to enjoy the ordinary lives of young people in their 20s, albeit briefly.’
BTS probably have a busier schedule than most popstars. The K-pop music industry is unique in that bands not only tour and promote albums and singles, but perform on weekly music shows on which they compete against other acts, remain active on social media and engage with their fans via live streams and regular interviews.
Each single is treated as a ‘comeback’, requiring new concepts and fresh performances each round. Then you throw in BTS’s colossal success in the US and Europe, and they are taking frequent long-haul flights to do even more promo. And to top it all off, the seven members all live together in Seoul.
So it’s no wonder that they’re taking a break – but how refreshing that it is being enforced while the boys are still happy and healthy, rather than it happening due to a breakdown.
The K-pop machine gets a lot of flak for its intensity in creating stars, but the Western music industry – and fans – could do worse than to take a leaf out of Big Hit’s book when it comes to treating artists fairly.
‘Exhaustion’ has become so commonplace that it’s been treated as a joke over the years when it’s used to cancel shows or appearances, but it’s the real deal, and can lead to major burnout.
Ellie Goulding cancelled a string of concerts in 2016 after being told by her doctor her voice may not bounce back if she continued. Justin Bieber cancelled meet and greets the same year as the events left him ‘feeling mentally and emotionally exhausted to the point of depression’.
Yet countless artists are still expected to be at the top of their game night after night on tour, constantly switched on across social media and smiling at all times.
Imagine if your 9-5 extended into the wee hours, with a camera on you deciding whether you’re cheerful enough, and a direct stream to your inbox telling you all the reasons your efforts aren’t good enough?
It’s enough to drive anyone mad – and will in no way improve your output. How can we expect musicians to put on a great show or release a masterpiece when they’re being drilled into the ground?
And it’s not just execs who should take Big Hit’s lead. The ARMY has been so supportive of BTS’s announcement, and while they will of course await their return with bated breath, there’s no animosity directed towards the boys, no messages of ‘you should be grateful, we’re making you rich’ on social media.
When Ariana Grande – in a year where she lost her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller and split from fiance Pete Davidson – wasn’t as full on in promoting her new album as usual, she was faced with a barrage of criticism and was forced to tweet: ‘[Constant promo] destroyed my mental health and was horrible for me. i don’t remember anything ab those years of my life and am doing so much better now. career wise and health wise. stop coming for me and my team when i’ve never been better literally in any department. LITERALLY. [sic].’
We all saw what happened to Britney Spears when she was not given support, but nothing has changed dramatically in the years since. However, Big Hit taking care of BTS makes me hopeful that there could be a change in how artists are treated going forward.
Taking a few months out of the spotlight to be regular 20-somethings will in no way harm BTS’s success. They will come back rested, fired up and better than ever – most importantly, with their health, both physical and mental, in tact. And in a time when everyone claims to care for mental wellness, this should be the blueprint the whole music industry works off.
Got a showbiz story?
If you’ve got a story, video or pictures get in touch with the Metro.co.uk Entertainment team by emailing us [email protected], calling 020 3615 2145 or by visiting our Submit Stuff page – we’d love to hear from you.
Source: Read Full Article