In the Kpop industry, you will learn very quickly that success is fleeting and that life happens no matter how much you plan for it.
iKON went through a rollercoaster of events with their leader, B.I.’s incrimination, Bobby’s new stage of life as a father and the group leaving YG management.
Fighting to stay at the top.
In a brutal competitive setting, holding onto your position can create chronic anxiety. This can lead to Generalised Anxiety Disorder or a consistant feeling of dread and fear that persist even in the absense of real threat.
On an episode of Oh Eun Young’s Golden Clinic, iKON shared that they still feel anxious even years after their debut.
Donghyuk explained: “What’s tricky is that we don’t know why we’re anxious. We remember the overwhelming moment of our debut and getting a momentary taste of the happiness of success because we received so much love. However, all the members have this unidentifiable anxiety.”
Junhoe also explained the two peaks of iKON’s career was during their debut and with “Love Scenario”. However, it wasn’t enough:
“We don’t have that same influence as we did in the past. We’ve been unable to move closer to the top [in terms of popularity]. We haven’t even stayed in the same place. I think [our popularity] has fallen.”
When change happens
Members moving to a new stage of life
When you are dependent on the team for your future, any small change can be destablizing.
Bobby recently married, opened up in an interview about his new role as a father, his accountability and responsibility towards not only the other members, but to his fans and agency.
“I felt really apologetic towards iKON. While it is a blessing [to have a baby], it was a situation where I could become an inconvenience for the group”, he shared.
Bobby tried to separate his life as iKON’s “Bobby” from his person life as”Kim Ji Won” (Bobby’s real name.)
However, psychiatrist, Dr. Oh Eun Young, explained that it would be diffcult for Bobby to juggle responsibilities, especially integrating his happiness as a father into his music later on. In response to Dr. Oh Eun Young’s advice, Bobby shared, “Instead of “Kim Ji Won” or “Bobby”, I will show you who I am, so please look forward to it.”
With the other members’ encouragement, Bobby has opened up to embrace his new role as a father and as an idol. And true to his word, Bobby came up with a single in late March 2023!
When bad news knocks
During the interview, the boys also candidly shared about their leader’s departure due to a drug scandal for the first time.
Donghyuk shared that he felt “dumbfounded” that their leader was no longer part of the team. He added, “I don’t think the members took a single step out of their rooms.”
Junhoe added, “As if it was someone else’s news, instead of feeling sad, it just didn’t feel real.”
Similar sentiments were echoed by Bobby: “I couldn’t even think, ‘what do we do now?’ For a few months, I just lived each day thinking, ‘he’s gone.’ The absence of someone I’d lived with felt bitter, because the friend I had spent years with, up until yesterday, was suddenly gone.” He added, “Since the pillar-like member who did so much for the team was now gone, I thought, ‘Is this the end of iKON?’”
The boys struggled emotionally as they felt that they had no time to process their grief and accept the loss of their leader – a friend, who has been with them for 10 years. Sudden loss and bad news can lead to disbelief and detachement from reality. When left unprocessed, such conditions can lead to depression. Perhaps their session with Dr.Oh helped to process those confusing emotions.
Although it was difficult, the boys shared that during this period, they came together to be each other’s “pillars of support”.
Life will throw you spanners along the way. You can either use it to hurt yourself or you can use it to build another vehicle to travel in.
For example, Donghyuk established himself as a model for New York Fashion week. Chan and JU-NE joined the lineup of idol actors who have managed to capture the hearts of fans in Korean dramas.
To celebrate iKON’s comeback, Lisa from BLACKPINK joined Donghyuk from iKON to dance to “But You Challenge” on Instagram and TikTok.
As we all face hardships and sometimes feel like giving up, it is important to remember that better days are ahead, and you are never alone. Lisa of Blackpink and Donghyuks ‘But You’ challenge shows that there are people who can be there for us. We can reach out for support from our family and friends to share our joy and even our burdens.
Despite life’s twist and turns, Ikon is finding their way through the storm. ‘But you’ remind us that YOU MATTER! More than success, fame and social expectations.
There will be down moments and there will also be moments to Take Off again.
Feeling overwhelmed like iKON? Here are some ways to help manage your emotions: