ESQ: Your first move after being discharged from military service was to hold a charity flea market and an auction to raise funds for Snail of Love, which helps people who suffer from hearing loss.
TAEYANG: I thought a lot about how to meet my fans for the first time after my discharge. When you’re in the military, all you wear is your uniform. That made me realise that I have way too many things. I thought about how to deal with my many belongings, which led me to decide on a flea market and donate the profits. The initial intention was how to meet fans, but the idea answered different thoughts.
ESQ: Why did you pick Snail of Love?
TAEYANG: I looked into many charities and I found myself moved by them [Snail of Love] the most. As a singer and a musician, I value the very act of hearing beyond music. Seeing is important too, however, I think a word or some beautiful sound changes people the most. In that sense, I wanted to give special presents to hearing-impaired kids.
ESQ: You said you thought a lot about life while in the service. How was your life in there? As you enjoy and cherish your job as a singer so much, it must have felt strange to not officially perform on a stage for two years.
TAEYANG: I actually had a lot of fun. I think I really needed that time. Of course I had some tough times there too, but overall, I needed that time so much and I think I would’ve been a less mature person without that time. I said it was fun and enjoyable because I had worked without a break since I started my career, hence I used to suffer from mental fatigue all the time. Before entering the service, I had an endless chain of decisions to make, but in the military I just needed to follow the given daily tasks. I found that kind of time so relaxing. It gave me great mental peace.
ESQ: It sounds like you took a break and cleared your head from your previous extremely busy life.
TAEYANG: Right. I got along with my colleagues, too. I wouldn’t have experienced staying with those who are at least 10 years younger than me and from all different places if it wasn’t for the military service. I think I learnt so much because I saw things from different perspectives. I felt and learnt a lot.
ESQ: What did you learn from your younger colleagues?
TAEYANG: They are mostly in their early or mid 20s and they use totally different platforms for cultural experiences. For instance, I use YouTube only for watching something I like. But as I watched them enjoy huge amounts of content on different platforms, I realised for the first time that there are so many platforms where people feel, experience and get influenced by. I became more open-minded.
ESQ: It was like you had seen only a part of life so far.
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