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B.I puts drug conviction behind him as he makes fresh start

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B.I holds media showcase in Seoul to celebrate the release of his second solo album
B.I holds media showcase in Seoul to celebrate the release of his second solo album "To Die For." Yonhap

By Hong Hye-min

Singer B.I met the press for the first time since his high-profile drug conviction four years ago.

The former iKon member was at a media showcase in Seoul to celebrate the release of his second solo album, "To Die For," on Thursday.

B.I's new album explores the emotions and aspirations of young people growing up, such as their dreams, loves and the meaning of life, which culminate in a movie of sorts of life's most memorable moments.

B.I's new album includes two title tracks, "Fearless," featuring BIG Naughty, and "Die for Love," featuring Jessi.

B.I performed both tracks at the showcase, dazzling the audience with his impressive range as an artist. He chose to include two title tracks in his album precisely because of the unique feel they each bring to the table.

"Fearless" and "Die for Love" are two very different tracks. While "Fearless" has a bubbly vibe to it, "Die for Love" is unlike anything that he's done before from a musical and artistic point of view, B.I said. He added, "I usually prefer having one title track, but I had a hard time choosing between the two. So, I decided to release the album with two title tracks that each have their own unique appeal."

Pondering the question of his identity as a solo artist, B.I said, "I'm constantly thinking about what my identity is, but I don't have a clear answer yet." He added, "I just want to share good music with my fans, and that's the only priority on my mind when I'm creating new music and aiming for good results. I always like trying new things, but that's not to say that my genre has changed. I'm just focused on new styles and new ways of storytelling."

'Every day was torture'

B.I made his solo debut in 2021 with the release of the album, "Waterfall." Reflecting on the two years since, he said the period felt both short and long.

"I just want to thank my fans first and foremost. I'll always be grateful for their love and support, and sometimes I wonder how they could ever love someone like me. I've always given my all in everything I do and will continue to do so in the future."

B.I remains a controversial figure in Korea following allegations of drug use in 2019, and his continued involvement in music even after he was found guilty of the charges and sentenced to four years of probation in 2021.

The singer has apologized for his past mistakes on many occasions. He acknowledged the negative perceptions surrounding the fact that he continued to move forward with his music career and other choices he made during the height of his drug controversy.

B.I said, "Every day was torture, and my mind never felt at ease. There was a lot of reflection and self-blame. I also had thoughts about giving up my career in music. But even when I felt so alone in the world, it was heartwarming to know that there were so many people who were still behind me despite all that had happened. The reason why I continued making music during my probation period was because I wanted to repay this debt that I owed to my fans."

B.I added, "The period of reflection over a past mistake doesn't simply end after a set length of time. This is a weight I will carry for the rest of my life as I continue to ponder over what I did. Even now, I feel a lot of remorse, and I think I will continue to feel this way in the future. Music is my calling and it's the best tool that I can use to give something back to the people I owe a debt to. I wish I could change people's perceptions of me, but I know it will be a gradual, life-long task. I just want to gradually warm up to them, one step at a time. However, how people choose to look at me and pass judgment is entirely up to them, and the choices I make in the future will reflect that."

His second solo album, "To Die For," was released on major streaming platforms at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

Hong Hye-min ( is a reporter at The Hankook Ilbo, a sister publication of The Korea Times. This article, previously published in The Hankook Ilbo, has been translated as part of a news-sharing program.


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