K-pop Artist B.I Talks About New Single “BTBT,” Tattoos, Self-Care & Burnout | Allure Interview

Kim Han-bin, otherwise known as B.I to a legion of fans — initially from his days as the leader and main producer/songwriter of boy group iKon and now as a burgeoning soloist under 131 Label — seems very much at ease when we hop onto a Zoom call on a Tuesday (nighttime for him, morning for me). We both have soft, quiet voices, so it puts me at ease, too, as if I’m chatting with a long-distance friend. 

The last time I saw the artist, unbeknownst to him, was in March 2019 at an event in New York City for a Fortnite event hosted by Samsung. While the circumstances were quite random, I’m forever grateful I had the opportunity to meet the entire group before B.I’s unfortunate departure (more on that later). Part of me regrets not telling him about this chance encounter during our call, but we’re here to talk about his present — and a bit about his past, which doesn’t seem like to loom over him as much as it once did.

“I do a lot of things for self-care, but I work out a bit and I’ve been drinking two liters of water since two years ago for my health,” he tells me. “When I have free time, a day off, I stay home and try to sleep as much as possible.” (Same, though.) 

But let’s be clear: B.I is not one to stay still. “These days I try to change, and the weather’s really nice outside, so I hang out with my friends and try to visit places that I’ve never visited,” B.I. says wistfully. “I try to live a life that I used to not live, so I want to change the way I live.” 

After essentially rebooting his career during a pandemic (he was also named the executive director of IOK, the parent company of 131 Label, in the latter half of 2020), this checks out. His passion for work and life is incredibly obvious throughout our chat, and I can’t help but admire the fact that he can handle so much at once.

When asked about his brief, half-year break from the industry following drug allegations, he takes a moment before saying, “I learned that people can live alone and how precious people around me are.” (For context, in South Korea, drugs are completely illegal and there are strict sentences for possession and consumption, among other offenses.) 

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