The rapper, actor and art collector offered some serious revelations and major plans for his post-BIGBANG career.
Choi Seung Hyun — better known as T.O.P of BIGBANG — has broken his silence after five long years in an interview with our sister publication, Prestige Hong Kong. In the interview, the cover story for the magazine’s March Art Issue, the rapper speaks on why art has always been important to him, both as an artist who creates music and as a collector of paintings, sculptures and other pieces.
In his first major interview since disappearing from the public eye, T.O.P also addresses a number of heavier topics, including the factory-like nature of Korea’s K-pop system, mental health and his own suicide attempt five years ago, a rumour that had existed online but had never been previously confirmed.
Fortunately, T.O.P overcame that dark period of his life and has returned stronger, with plans to pay back what he has received — and he’s got some very exciting plans to do so. With his debut solo album already confirmed via an Instagram teaser for the cover story, here are five new things we learned about the artist.
5 Things We Learned from T.O.P’s Prestige Hong Kong Interview
T.O.P is working on a feature film:
While the news already broke last week that T.O.P plans to launch his debut solo album “soon” — plus, there’s the matter of that BIGBANG comeback on the way — the artist revealed to Prestige that the album “will be created as a feature film”. The film is also said to include a “global creative team and cast” that will pair with the album.
He almost retired from making music:
Following a highly publicised incident involving T.O.P and marijuana during his Korean military service five years ago, he quietly disappeared from the public eye. According to the artist, it was enough that he almost gave up on music completely. Fortunately, it was the music that helped him heal:
“I was going to seriously stop making music and stop being a musician. But during the bad times, the rough times, my motivation to keep going was the music. I wrote more than 100 songs over the past five years. It’s been my motivation, like wanting to fill up a bookshelf with my work. It’s been my passion. I realised how precious it is to pay back what I’ve received. I feel that I’m reborn.”
He’s getting into the NFT game:
As a renowned art collector (he co-curated an auction of Asian and Western art for Sotheby’s Hong Kong just a few years back), it’s no surprise that he has thoughts on NFTs. For him, they’re a good thing — he sees them as an opportunity for more visual beauty in the world — but he hasn’t bought any of his own… yet. According to T.O.P, he’s working with the Japanese sculptor Kohei Nawa on some kind of NFT project: “It seems like we can both share something interesting soon.”
He’s developing his own wine brand:
For fans of the artist, it’s no secret that he loves wine — his love for reds, whites and champagnes is something he has shared often in the past. With his newfound mission of paying back all the support his fans have given him over the years, he’s going to release his own wine — an affordable one, so all can enjoy it. And best of all? A portion of the profits will go toward supporting an art foundation. That’s worth a toast.
He plans to start his own music label:
After his sixteen years in Korea’s K-pop system, T.O.P knows a thing or two about what goes on behind the scenes. It seems his own experience has inspired him to make some positive change in the industry — namely, by starting his own record label.
“I don’t want to be a robot maker. I want to make a real artist and help real artists. I’m positive about making a group that’s completely different from BIGBANG in the future.”
To read T.O.P’s full cover story, head over to PrestigeOnline.com or pick up your copy on newsstands now.
(Images: Prestige Hong Kong)