words by MARIA MOTA

Multi-faceted South Korean artist B.I, will be releasing his single in collaboration with Soulja Boy feat. DeVita of AOMG, “BTBT” on May 13th  through Transparent Arts, IOK and 131.

B.I says, “’BTBT’ is a song describing the emotional and physical attraction when people fall in love. People say you normally find love where you least expect it. Love passionately without limitations because no matter what happens it’s always a blessing. Had so much fun working with some amazing artists and producers to make this song come to life.”

“BTBT” will be the pre-release single from his upcoming global album project LOVE OR LOVED [L.O.L], followed by two Eps to come later this year. LOVE OR LOVED [L.O.L] describes as “There are tens of thousands of complex emotions and stories in love. With B.I’s unique sentiment, the album tells stories about love. The album contains all the narratives about love, from falling in love and learning about love to losing love.”

B.I was the first Asian and K-pop artist to perform on GRAMMY’s performance series Global Spin, receiving unanimous support and love worldwide, gaining more attention and anticipation for his new music.

What is the meaning behind your stage name B.I?

My stage name is from my actual name, ‘Hanbin’. I used two letters from it. I tried to put more meaning to it in the past, but now I try to take out the meaning. 

What is your first memory of music and was that the moment you knew you wanted to pursue this path?

The first memory that I remember is listening to hip hop as a kid when I was in my parent’s store. They owned a clothing store and always played music while they were working. From then, I dreamed about being a rapper. 

You hit #1 last year on the iTunes charts in 24 countries with the album Waterfall, congratulations! What can you tell us about the creative process behind it?

Thank you, my album Waterfall is a very honest story about myself. I tried to be as honest as possible with the emotions that I felt during the time and put that into my music. I was suffering at the moment, going through rough moments. Those experiences made the album Waterfall. I think that honesty was a key to it. 

What message do you want to portray with your music?

Nothing special yet but what I try to portray in my music is all based on my experiences. It can be something that I experienced, heard certain experiences from others, or saw something that made me feel something. 

What are the major changes from performing as a band to performing as a solo artist?

I can say that I feel more pressure about it. Now I need to do it all by myself, our team is great of course, but on stage and track I am all alone so I try to be better than past. 

What are the next steps for your brand @131_online?

You’ll find out! We are planning lots of cool stuff so stay tuned as well as my music. 

Who or what inspired you the most in your personal life and career?

In my personal life, I am surrounded by good people so I get inspired by them in many ways and I hope that I give inspiration to them as well. As an artist, I am inspired by many amazing artists, but I think Kanye West has inspired me the most. 

How does your day look like when you have a day off?

I am kind of an introvert in real life. So I barely go out. On my day off, I usually stay home and just chill. Read books or watch movies. 

As a rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer what are your plans for the future in the music industry?

I don’t have a grand scheme about my future but I want to do a tour asap. I think I need that liveness and interaction with my fans, I miss that. 

And finally, as the theme of our new issue is Balance, how do you maintain balance and what does it mean to you?

Balance is something that I want to achieve. We use the word balance all the time but it feels very far sometimes. To maintain balance, even though it is not easy, I try to listen to myself carefully. Listen to what I need and what I want.

Photographer JANG DUKHWA
Fashion editor LISA JARVIS
Styling team TAEWOO KOH 
Producer KELLY SUH 
Production A PRJECT