BTS’ Jung Kook on Why He Listed Solo Single, ‘Seven’ and Latto

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Jung Kook His first major solo single, “Seven,” hits midnight ET on Friday morning, as promised. It came with an unpromised surprise: the emergence of one of the hottest female rappers of our time, lattocreates a stand-out look on the runway. The lyrics speak of a hot action to be had between the two of them, but the music sounds high-energy, deeply chilling. In other words, it seems designed for a late entry into the “songs of summer” derby.

in an e-mail conversation with Variation, Jung Kook admits to the summery vibe, but he seems almost taken aback when he hears a hit status projection for the melody, as if it had crossed his mind lately about the Andrew Watt/Cirkut co-wrote and executive producer. “Honestly, I didn’t have a big goal in mind, but if you say so, I’d be very happy if it was a hit,” he says.

Due to translation issues, the singer (like most of her friends) BTS Jung Kook, who does not have a full knowledge of English, conducted the interview with a translator who sent his answers via email. In it, BTS swears that ARMY can expect a full solo album before 2023 is out – or at least hopes – without saying too much about what can already be done and how much more needs to be done. Meanwhile, fans can see how his solo charisma unfolds, excluding group chemistry, as he performs “Seven” on Friday morning’s “Good Morning America”.

Even though “Seven” is officially your first solo worldwide, you already have songs that have surpassed one billion streams on Spotify. And you recently re-released “Still With You” and “My You” on more platforms and “Still With You” became a hit in its own way. Was the strategy to use them to help increase hunger for “Seven”? Do you have confidence that fans supporting these songs won’t quench your thirst for a new song?

“Still With You” and “My You” were released as free tracks, meaning they weren’t officially released. Before the release of “Seven”, which is my official solo release date, I thought it would be good for fans to listen to my previous solo tracks on streaming platforms. It’s like a token of gratitude, so to speak. It wasn’t a strategic move or had anything to do with my self-confidence.

Have you been working on a lot of songs and after making a choice, “Seven” became the strongest song to release as your first global single – or was it always going to be “Seven” and you just focused on perfecting it?

When I heard “Seven” I thought, “This is it”. After that, I focused on practicing and recording many times to perfect the piece. I hope many people can feel as I did when I first heard the song.

These are the big name producer-writers in the way...

Andrew (Watt) and Cirkut worked on the writing and producing of “Seven”. Andrew was so passionate about giving direction during the recording, which made the recording go very smoothly. I am truly grateful to them for helping me debut as a solo artist with great music.

You could choose from a range of guest artists. What made you want him in Lato?

We thought about who would be the best rapper for this summer song and one of the producers suggested Latto. So we reached out to him and he happily agreed to work together on “Seven”. I personally love the sound of rap and I thought his voice added another layer of vitality.

The whole song is sexy, but the lyrics of Latto’s rap make it a little more overtly sexual. This is typical for guest rap. But were you good at taking it a little more directly or excessively than you did?

I thought it was important that it fit the overall mood of the song, and Latto’s unique charm is reflected very well.

Something about the acoustic guitar combined with the rhythm will make people feel breezy – in other words, summery. Looking for a “summer single” of your own?

The song has a breezy and summery feel to it. I hope everyone who listens to “Seven” can have a fun summer every time they listen to it.

If BTS members are only posting material, you’re kind of in the middle of the group, some ahead of you, some following you. This looks like it could be a cozy place – some of the others are already doing it and testing the waters for solo work, but at the same time, fans haven’t had to wait forever for it either. Any idea where you’re heading in the release calendar?

I don’t pay much attention to what order my single work belongs to among others. Each person performs their solo work as it is completed. Personally, I really enjoyed being able to watch other members’ music, stories and promotions expressing their own uniqueness and taste. This was a new source of inspiration for my own solo endeavors.

Some of the band members use their solo albums to explore perhaps the darker side of them, or at least the less played side of them in group situations. But judging from this song, you seem very comfortable with mainstream pop music. Musically or personally, do you think there’s a side of you that you hope you can show that hasn’t gotten a lot of attention?

This is my official solo debut, so everything feels challenged and new and fresh. Of course, while working on my music, I think a lot about delivering good music and performance. But above all else, as this is my first step into the spotlight as a solo artist, I want to show a more mature and grown version of myself.

It feels like it could be a great song… I’m sure the expectations are high. Do you have any goals you have set for this?

Thank you for your compliment! I would love for it to be a “big hit” (laughter). To be honest, I didn’t have a big goal in mind, but having said that, I’d be very happy if it “hit”.

The newly released BTS book sheds light on some relationships within the group. Do you realize how many fans love to hear about interpersonal friendships, even within the group, like the one with Jimin, and is that as important to them as focusing on the whole group dynamic or just one person?

Yes I know. I love that our members can create great chemistry no matter which member they are with and our fans love the chemistry of each of us.

What will follow this single – how much more is in the pipeline?

I’m working hard to release a solo album this year. It’s too early to talk about anything specific, but look forward to it!

On Friday morning, a few hours after the single’s release, you’ll be doing the “GMA” summer concert series. Does it feel natural to be the sole focus, or does it feel a little strange not to have to think about how balance comes about with others?

When I played “Dreamers” on a big stage like the FIFA World Cup opening ceremony, I felt the absence of the members. But to be precise, I would say I have a different mindset. When I go on stage with the members, I focus on balance as a team, and when I go on stage alone, I focus on filling the stage with my own energy. Whenever it happens, it’s always good to have our fans by my side or BTS.

Everyone always talks about how the band got little or no rest over the years. How did it feel to get some of that? Or do you feel like you’re too busy crafting a solo career yet to truly know what rest is?

Recently, I’ve been pretty busy working on “Seven.” It’s nice that we all have time to develop individually, including our solo projects. Whether we’re resting, learning what we want to learn, or focusing on our own music, I think it’s important for all of us to take time like this to ourselves. And after this period, I think we will become even bigger BTS.

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