Though he probably needn’t have worried since ARMY are legendarily loyal, in a new interview with NME BTS‘ J-Hope expresses his gratitude to all the fans who’ve heartily embraced his solo album, Jack in the Box.
“I was a bit worried at first, because Jack In The Box album contains my story and what I really wanted to do,” he told the magazine. “There were so many people that actually listened and reacted to my music and my genuine stories, so I’m grateful for that. I realized there are so many people who would listen to and enjoy my album that conveys my own story, I’m very grateful and feel motivated. So, for those who supported my music, I want to try many different things with my music, and show them all going forward.”
The interview was conducted just before J took the stage at last month’s Lollapalooza in Chicago, marking the first time a South Korean artist headlined a major U.S. festival. The rapper said that taking the main stage in Grant Park was a “super super meaning[ful] moment,” heightened by the fact that he was doing it without his 6 BTS bandmates.
“Me being the first South Korean headliner of a major US festival, but also J-hope’s musical journey,” the 28-year-old pop icon said. “I also think [that’s] a meaningful moment, and it’s very clear that it’s a meaningful moment. That is why I prepared really hard for this set.” At the time, he promised that ARMY would not “feel bored at all,” and he definitely delivered during an 18-song set seen by 100,000 that they’ve dubbed “HOBIPALOOZA.”
The performance featured the best and brightest hits from his catalog, including “More,” “Arson,” “HANGSANG” and “P.O.P. (Peace of Piece)” from the newly released LP; tracks from his debut mixtape Hope World, such as Becky G collab “Chicken Noodle Soup,” with a cameo from the “Mamiii” singer; and festival-ready remixed versions of BTS hits “Dynamite” and “BTS Cypher Pt. 1.”
He was, of course, also asked about what the future looks like for BTS now that he’s broken solo and the group members have scattered during a hiatus to focus on their solo efforts. “I learned a lot as a solo artists,” he said. “I think I will continue to grow through this album. I’d like to show even better music through my solo projects. This experience has given me a positive influence overall.”
He also made sure to plug BTS’ upcoming concert in Busan, South Korea as part of the country’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo. “We’re getting ready for that, so please look forward to that concert as well,” J-Hope said.
Watch the full interview below.