WARNING: This article contains mentions of suicide.
Big Bang rapper T.O.P recently revealed that he wrote 100 songs in the past five years during his hiatus, while also sharing insight into his struggles with mental health.
The 34-year-old T.O.P, whose real name is Choi Seung-Hyun, unveiled some big plans after five long years of hiatus.
In an interview with Prestige Online on March 9, Choi shared that he would finally be returning to music, but on his own terms. While he is to remain involved in Big Bang activities, he will release his first album as an independent artist, 16 years after his musical debut. The album will include some of the 100 songs of various genres he wrote while on hiatus and will also include a feature film.
In addition to releasing new music, Choi also has plans to start his own record label, wine label and NFT project.
“I don’t want to be a robot-maker,” said Choi. “I want to make a real artist and help real artists… a group that’s completely different from Big Bang.”
In terms of his personal life, Choi said he would continue collecting artwork – his greatest passion. While he refrains from making art himself, he has forged several close friendships with artists he is a fan of, including Japanese sculptor Kohei Nawa.
When asked about a rumor that he spends over 95 percent of his income on art, Choi replied that it is actually more.
He also revealed shocking news about his mental health, confirming that he had tried to commit suicide following all of the negative publicity surrounding his marijuana conviction five years ago.
“This is the first time I’ve spoken publicly [about it]” he said, “I realized later how much hurt and painful memories I gave to the people around me, my family and fans out there.”
He also revealed that he almost gave up on music altogether, but that his love for art kept him going.
“I was born to be sad,” the artist said with a laugh, confessing he had been suffering from depression since a young age.
In his closing remarks, Choi said he was now feeling “happy” about what was to come. While the Big Bang era appears to be coming to an end, T.O.P seems nowhere close to being done as he makes huge, post-Big Bang plans.
If you or anyone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For a list of international suicide hotlines, click here.