The concept of destiny and manifestation is often tricky; it’s unpredictable, ever-changing, and sometimes out of our control. But for Big Matthew, BM of KARD, his destiny lingered by the wayside until the time was right — he just didn’t know it yet. Now in 2021, the 28-year-old fully embraces and realizes his destiny in his first digital triple single, The First Statement. EnVi sat down with the King turned soloist via Zoom to talk about his dreams, internal struggles, and staying focused.
13IVI: The Prophecy of a King
On Friday, July 2, BM released the lead single from his album titled “13IVI.” In its lyrics, he expressed his desires and goals to keep working hard, regardless of whether people like him or not. The number 13 refers to 2013, the year BM began having visions and dreams of his future self as King. The journey wasn’t smooth sailing by any means, but the LA-born performer soon learned that making it to the top would require immense patience and endurance.
“Back in 2013, that’s when I really started to push myself to be a performing artist, and take this as what I’m going to do for the rest of my life,” BM said. “One day, I had a dream, and it was a very vivid, lucid dream.” He sat on a black couch with his somewhat newly blonde hair, a tan (extravagant) silk shirt, and a gold cross necklace as he began narrating the chilling story.
In BM’s dream, he died and suddenly heard a voice telling him to look in the Bible for the book of Daniel, Chapter 2. He cried and woke up in a cold sweat, understandably shaken by how real the dream felt. “I remember who I felt and thought was God in my dream, telling me to look in the Bible, and thought it was so random.” But instead of ignoring the message, his curiosity grew until he finally looked up the verse in the Bible. The verse that he was referring to is called “King Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream.”
“I didn’t know what any of it meant,” BM confessed. “So, I asked a friend who’s a little more religiously intact than I was and had a strong faith.” When she decoded the verse for him, she responded with, “I think God is going to make you king of something, somewhere.” At that time, BM’s doubts and worries about his future didn’t allow him to see the bigger picture until three years later.
After the dream was long forgotten, BM experienced many hardships as a trainee before finally debuting with members Somin, J.seph, and Jiwoo. Once their company, DSP Media, gave him the rundown on KARD’s overall concept (each member represents a playing card), he naturally asked what his card was. And with a poetic ending, or new beginning, they replied, “You are the King card.”
Feeling Broken & Empowering Others
Throughout BM’s career, he’s always been vocal on issues that resonate with his core values, such as racism, breast cancer awareness, and mental health. During his Clubhouse debut, the rapper and singer revealed that his debut single, “Broken Me,” was written from a dark place in his life. “I was depressed and went through so much anxiety during my trainee days,” he told EnVi. Then he laughed and said, “I would shoot entire [Korean] dramas by myself, just sitting on the floor with a bottle of soju!”
The way BM allows himself to find humor in his story speaks to his character. The 6’1” performer towers over almost everyone but is still quick to pour out all of his emotions and cry when needed. Now that he’s made it to the other side, the artist pays it forward in ways that are genuine and humble. “A lot of people mess with the English version [of “Broken Me”] a little more, actually,” BM said. Whereas the English lyrics discuss his internal pain and struggles, the Korean counterpart apologizes for causing someone else’s pain.
“I think the English lyrics are so much easier to resonate with,” BM said. “When you’re going through it, you feel so helpless, like you just don’t matter.” But in the end, he remedies that helpless feeling with patience, love, and kindness towards himself. “I get a lot of messages and DMs from fans asking for advice, and a lot of times, my music originates from the answer I want to give them.”
BM strongly believes that sharing pain with others is a big step in the healing process, and it shows by the way he treats his fans. There’s a mutual level of respect and trust where he’s comfortable opening up and sharing his feelings and vice versa. “I used to think staying positive was the best thing to do, but I realized, when you can’t, just don’t,” he advised. “Go through it, feel it, but at the end of it, make sure there’s no pieces of it left anymore.”
A powerful statement made by someone who has seen the lowest of lows and is now experiencing his incredible highs. “The only pieces that will be left are the ones reminding you that you overcame it and can do it again.”
Body Movin: Staying Fit & Flirty
Aside from his outstanding dance skills and rap flows, BM also makes his rounds on social media for body positivity and fitness. When they call him Big Matthew, it’s no joke — his muscle mass alone is enough to intimidate innocent bystanders at the gym. From Instagram to TikTok, BM’s gone viral many times by either flexing his body or (hilariously) expressing his sensuality. So it was no surprise to learn he’d have a sexy house banger called “Body Movin” on the album.
With lyrics saying, “kiss me, touch me, lick me, bite me,” the song gets very heated very fast. “It’s pretty self-explanatory in the lyrics,” he said with a shy smile. “I put a little bit of Rated-19 sauce in there.” Because BM already expanded on the lyrical content in his album commentary, he came up with a scenario of how he would grab a girl’s attention at a party. “Oh, I’m in her atmosphere, and I’mma let her know I’m in her atmosphere.” From the confidence dripping from his answer, it’s safe to assume he’s been there before.
According to BM, the key to gauging the other person’s interest is through body language and eye contact. “I’ll enjoy myself and whatever I’m drinking, but if we lock eyes, I’mma let her know I’m feeling her,” he laughed. “From there, she’ll know from non-verbal communication… but respectfully.”
It’s that candid personality that draws fans and even casual listeners to him — a rare quality of what you see is what you get, and that usually involves humor. When BM started a fitness-turned-cancer-awareness movement with the “Big Tiddie Committee,” fans were dying to know which of K-pop’s male stars fit the bill. “I’d nominate Bang Chan [from Stray Kids] to be on the cover of Men’s Health,” he said with a face of astonishment. “His body is insane; he’s getting big.”
Ironically, BM rightfully graced the cover of Men’s Health back in 2019 and hopes to land a second cover in the future. He jokingly said (on Clubhouse) that he ate over 4,000 chicken breasts as part of his diet. But after doing the math, the real total came out to 480 — still a massive amount of chicken breasts. “The first two weeks are hell, and then you get used to it,” BM said. “But you start seeing changes in your body; that’s the payoff.”
Get Real, Collab Possibilities, & KARD’s Reunion
On July 8, BM wrapped season one of his podcast called Get Real on DIVE Studios — a show that discusses all the aspects of life, love, and adulthood. His friends and co-hosts, Ashley of Ladies Code and Peniel of BTOB, joined BM for 54 episodes and chatted with several special guests. “I remember how I felt in the very first episode,” BM said. “I was super nervous and didn’t know if I could do it well… it just felt like a work-based thing in my head at first, but then it just felt like family.”
Showing that heartfelt side of himself again, BM stated that his favorite episode is “Loving Our Style & Our Haters” with artist sogumm. “That’s one I would tell people to go to when they feel self-conscious,” he explained. “That girl has such a great soul; I was mind blown the whole time.” As for season two, there are no set plans yet, with all three hosts taking a break to pursue other projects.
Since BM is focusing on his solo music for a while, he’s open to a few collaborations across the K-pop sphere. SQUAR, a songwriter who worked on “13IVI,” has several credits under NCT’s albums and SoundCloud releases. “I really like Taeyong — he’s got that swag,” BM said. “I’ve kicked it with Johnny a couple of times, and I’ve heard that Mark is a workaholic, and that’s a characteristic I find very, very respectable in a man.”
BM also went on to applaud how positive and composed Mark is even on his busiest days. “It would be really dope to work with him, big respect.” But out of all the collabs fans would love to hear, the dream team will always be with KARD. “I feel like a lot of people are waiting on that,” referring to J.seph’s return from the Korean military. “It’s always going to be stronger with the four of us rather than with solos or duos, so we’re getting ready for that real soon.”
Be Strong, But Be Gentle
Through the trials and tribulations of BM’s journey, the moral of his story is: it’s okay to get knocked down, as long as you pick yourself back up afterward. Debuting at the age of 25 was not exactly the plan he had in mind, but it worked in his favor because he remained resilient and kind-hearted. “When you’re up, enjoy it and take that as a big blessing, and when you’re down, know that you’ll be back up again.”
The First Statement is available on Spotify and Apple Music now.
For more BM content, check out EnVi’s coverage of “Broken Me” here!
Thumbnail courtesy of DSP Media.