What Happens Now? The Beginning Of The Second Chapter Of BTS

When BTS made the announcement that they were taking a break, their decision both simultaneously devastated and excited their hundreds of millions of followers. This is what the seven musicians have been up to in their first year apart.

RM, BTS’s appointed leader (and the first member to join the group), speaks at the 2017 Seoul Music Awards. (Photo Credit: Too Much, CC BY 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons)


Bangtan Soneyondan is a band whose name translates to Bulletproof Boy Scouts. It is also, coincidentally, one of the most impressive musical acts of all time, by any and every metric. For nine years, this group – more commonly known as BTS – put most of its energy towards songs that all seven members made and performed together. They made ripples on the global level with every new song. Last June, however, they announced that they’d be going on a group hiatus to work on individual projects (and serve the compulsory 18 months in South Korea’s military). Fans took to Twitter by storm, some despairing, others serene. As Dakota Barnes ’23 put it, “I feel that BTS going on hiatus is good emotionally and physically for them, because, for as long as they’ve been performing, they’ve deserved a good break, and it will give them time after the members return from enlisting.”

The biggest feeling was one of query. BTS’ millions of fans – called ARMY – asked the question: what now? 

Now, just about a year later, we have our answers. 


Kim Namjoon, RM, The Fearless Leader, has been busy. He emceed for The Dictionary of Useless Human Knowledge. He’s been featuring on an assortment of indie and alternative tracks with artists relatively obscure on the global stage, like Balming Tiger and So!Yoon!. He’s been writing songs like never before (as of April 2023, RM is both the youngest and the second-most credited songwriter in the Korea Music Copyright Association’s database). But most importantly, he has been finding himself over this past year. “After 10 years as a member of BTS, I didn’t know who I was and I wanted to know. I started out as a teenage rapper, then BTS came along, and it was all very intense. Now that the group is inactive, I’ve gone back to thinking about the beginnings and the real reasons why I joined BTS,” he explained in an interview with EFE. Unsurprisingly, he has also been art touristing: “I wanted to see artworks by Goya, Velazquez and Picasso for inspiration, and I’ve been to the Prado and other museums.” He has been collecting art for several years and often posts about his adventures at art museums on social media..


On December 13th, 2022, Kim Seokjin enlisted for his mandatory stint in the military. He didn’t drop off the face of the earth without leaving a goodbye present for ARMY, though: after the massive success of the BTS-Coldplay hit “My Universe,” Jin partnered with his favorite band to write “The Astronaut.”

Jin has always been very vocal about his love for ARMY, and his writing in this track was no different. It “talks about an astronaut who accidentally lands on Earth, but decides to settle down to stay with his loved ones – ARMY,” Jin explained in an interview with MTV. 

You were shining towards me

The only light found in the darkness

On my path to you

– Jin, “The Astronaut”

The Astronaut isn’t the only song Jin has released with themes of space and devotion to his fans: it joins “Moon” and “Abyss” in the cherished-yet-sparse collection of solos fans have from Jin. 


Whatever you know him as, SUGA / Agust D / Min Yoongi is a man of many talents. Many of them shone through in his most recent album, D-DAY. Fans got to see him showcase them live with his corresponding SUGA Agust D Tour, which started at the UBS Arena just outside of New York City on April 26th and will close on June 25th at the Jamsil Indoor Stadium in Seoul.

D-DAY is the final installment of the trio of albums the rapper has worked on under the name Agust D, separate from his work as BTS’s SUGA. It is his most intense album yet, dealing with themes of depression and drug use, but also how to do more than just endure in this world where there is no compromise between humanity and industry.

Though the tour is by far the most visible SUGA has been these past 11 months, he also has been hard at work behind the scenes. Released right before the tour set off, Road to D-DAY follows SUGA’s journey through the making of the album and documents his trek across the globe as he perfects his music. 

More recently, SUGA featured on Halsey’s “Lilith,” the new video game Diablo IV’s anthem. BTS and Halsey have had a long history of partnering up for songs, starting with Halsey featuring on the Bangtan Boys’ megahit “Boy With Luv” in 2018.

In the remaining time he’s had, SUGA has become the face of Maison Valentino’s Essentials collection and an ambassador to the NBA


Philanthropic Sunshine Man Jung Hoseok joined Jin in the military on April 18th. Before that, though, the rapper got a lot done: he was the first of the Bangtan Boys to release a solo album post-hiatus, dropping Jack in the Box on July 15th, 2022, with a brand-new, darkly vivid concept much unlike his 2018 mixtape Hope World. Though he didn’t launch a world tour with the release of the album, he, like SUGA, starred in a documentary about the creation of the album – and he also headlined Lollapalooza.

A month before he enlisted, he also released the single “on the street” with his longtime idol J. Cole. The pair shot the music video in New York City, in Cortlandt Alley, the Bowery J/Z Station, and on a rooftop overlooking the Manhattan Bridge. Speaking about the song, he said, “For me, this song opens a door to my next chapter. I wanted to share new music as a gift to all of my fans. The song includes lyrics that say, ‘To repay you even from afar, just like a butterfly.’ The message I want to deliver is that just like a butterfly, with a flap of my wings, I hope to reach as many people as possible, giving them strength and comfort.”


On March 24th, 2023, Park Jimin released his debut solo album FACE. By the end of its first week out in the world, FACE sold a record-breaking 1,454,223 copies. On top of that, Jimin hit 1 billion streams on Spotify in just 393 days, becoming the fastest solo K-Pop artist to do so and breaking Jungkook’s 409-day record set two months earlier.

Not only is the album a formidable testament to the powerhouse that is ARMY, but however; it’s also a very touching examination of the emotions Jimin experienced over the pandemic. In his own words, “In this album, I look back at myself. I heard that the word ‘face’ has many different meanings. Of course, it has the meaning of the noun, face, but it also means, ‘to face, to [confront],’ as a verb. So in order to stand at this new starting point and begin a new journey, I thought it would be necessary to look back at myself and face myself entirely.” 

In a different interview released before his album, he explained, “I’m a singer but I’m also a listener, and I receive positive energy and comfort from music. Just like other artists’ music has affected how I think and given me strength, I hope people can feel what I feel and resonate with my music.” The millions who bought the album in its first week seemed to agree.

One of the more notable fashionistas of the group, Jimin also signed to Dior as a brand ambassador on January 17th, 2023, and to Tiffany & Co. on March 3rd. He modeled some new Tiffany pieces on Vogue Korea’s April cover.


Kim Taehyung has been the least public about his happenings since BTS was put on pause. What we do know, however, is that in 2022 he starred in a spin-off of BTS’s reality show In the Soop with four high-profile friends – actors Park Seo-joon, Choi Woo-shik, and Park Hyung-sik and rapper Peakboy.

As of 2023, V has been doing his diligent duty as a brand ambassador: in January, he signed to Celine, and in March, he attended the opening of the brand’s latest pop-up store in Korea.


Jeon Jungkook, the Golden Maknae (meaning “an incredibly talented youngest member”), has also been fairly quiet. Quiet, that is, besides writing and performing one of the official anthems of the 2022 Qatar World Cup. “Dreamers,” like every good World Cup anthem, has clear, memorable lyrics with a message centered around global unity.

In 2022, he released the single “Left and Right” with his musical idol Charlie Puth. As per Charlie Puth, the song is about Jungkook: “I’ve always been so enamored with how he’s able to command the stage and I thought ‘why not showcase that in the video?’ It’s just like a perfect bromance, that’s what I’m outlining. I can’t get this friend of mine out of my mind. He’s so fantastic.”

Finally, Jungkook was unveiled as a brand ambassador for Calvin Klein on March 28th, 2023, with nothing less than a billboard on Houston Street to announce the partnership.


BTS’s music has brought people together for the past ten years, starting on June 12th, 2013, when they debuted. They’ve changed countless lives, mine included, and how they have evolved as a group through the years has been awe-inspiring. But, in RM’s own words, “I realized [that] the group definitely has changed. We have to accept that we’ve changed… Whenever I write lyrics and songs, it’s really important what kind of story and message I want to give out, but it was like that was gone now. I don’t know what kind of story I should tell now… I’ve changed as a human over the past ten years. So I needed to think and have some alone time.” And as V recalled, “we could focus on our solo work this time and later, when we gather again as a group, that synergy will be like no other.” 

Barnes could not have phrased it better: “I’m excited for them regrouping! I wonder if they’re going to explore more creativity in their lyrics like they have in the past.”

ARMY can’t wait to see what BTS becomes.

I don’t know what kind of story I should tell now… I’ve changed as a human over the past ten years. So I needed to think and have some alone time.”