Prior to BTS’ debut in 2013, V was the undisclosed seventh member of the K-pop supergroup, and in his first Bangtan Blog post that Koreaboo posted, he confessed how lonely it made him feel because he couldn’t be seen in pictures with the other members or appear in their vlogs.
“To be perfectly, perfectly honest, when they said I was a hidden member, I actually thought I’d been cut from the team,” V tells Rolling Stone. But he’s been able to laugh it off with time. “I can laugh about it now for sure. As long as I can sort of toss around our CEO, our label’s boss, and shake him around a little bit by his cuffs. But yes, I can laugh about it.”
Time has been tricky in terms of when V plans to release his solo mixtape. He first gave the ARMY insight about the 13-track project in the “BE-hind Story” teaser, when the seven members interviewed each other about the collaborative recording process of their fifth Billboard 200 No. 1 album BE. Recording a solo mixtape means V doesn’t get to work in that collaborative environment, and the “pressure” is on him to write the lyrics and melodies and produce the songs on his own. While V has taken initiative for the group many times, including suggesting to cover Coldplay’s “Fix You” during BTS’ MTV Unplugged performance in February, he’s willing to show the true colors of Kim Taehyung — his real name — in his own music.
“Working on my own tape means that I have to do everything related to all the songs on the album. I have to take part in writing the lyrics and the melodies for all the songs and the production process. So, it is a bit of a pressure to bear all of the load that is distributed among the other members for a group album. So it is tough,” he discloses. “But what is good about it is it gives me an opportunity to show who I am, and show the music that really has the color of Kim Taehyung, the color of V, to our ARMY. So that’s great opportunity of course, and that’s what makes creating this mixtape so much fun and fulfilling.”
As for the release date, he’s looking at the end of this year. But with the pandemic delaying the tape, the 25-year-old singer has had more time to hone in on his craft.
“During the last year I had more time. In my work, I really tried to do more producing and then go more in-depth on my music. My melodies before were not that complex, or intricate, I thought. But I was able to focus more energy into it, to listen to more music, and really sort of think about more things,” he explains. “And that, I think, helped me to really dive into the producing aspect of making music. And I had a lot of time to come up with good melodies.”
BTS’ Rolling Stone cover story will be included in a special collector’s box set that includes eight copies of the issue — one group cover and seven additional ones spotlighting each member — which is available here now.