What Happened To Dean? The Popular Korean Artist Who All But Disappeared

His last release was in 2019.

One of the most loved Korean artists, DEAN, has been absent from the music scene for a long while now. His last release as a lead artist was all the way back in 2019,  with “Howlin’ 404,” and ever since the artist has only been featured in other singers’ work — leaving fans wondering what happened to him and when will he release more music.

| Reddit

The Korean singer-songwriter is loved by a massive Korean and international audience. He made his debut in 2016 with the 130 Mood: TRBL extended play and followed it up with several collaborations with both American and South Korean artists. DEAN marked his American debut through the release of his single “I’m Not Sorry” which featured Grammy winner Eric Bellinger. His Korean debut happened later in October, with his second single “Pour Up” which featured popular rapper Zico.

The artist became even more known to the public in 2017, however, when he appeared as a producer in the famous South Korean rap competition Show Me The Money 6. He was part of the same crew as Zico, Penomeco, Millic, and Stay Tuned.

Zico and DEAN | Show Me The Money 6

Though DEAN continued to release more singles and his first single album Limbo, his biggest hit came in 2018 through the popular hit song that topped all South Korean streaming platforms, “Instagram.” The sound was met with incredible commercial success as well as critical acclaim, and it remains one of the most memorable songs in the Korean music scene.

It was soon after the follow-up singles to “Instagram”, “Dayfly” and “Howlin’ 404”, dropped that DEAN simply stopped releasing new music. After 2019, he has only greeted the public through collaborations with Nafla, Tabber, Mokyo, and IU.

Understandably, his “disappearance” has been widely discussed among fan communities with many coming up with several theories on why the singer chose to stop releasing music and when we can expect him to make a grand comeback to the music scene.

One of the main and most agreed-with theories is that the artist has become too much of a perfectionist and wants his comeback to be nothing but flawless. As DEAN’s music has always been highly praised and regarded, fans theorize that he may be struggling to make something that would satisfy his perfectionism and make him think it will live up to people’s expectations.

Another theory is that DEAN’s work on his next album could have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many have suggested that the pandemic might have slowed down the process of creating music for him, just like it has affected many people’s day-to-day work and life.

| Reddit

Lastly, there are also netizens who believe the South Korean superstar may just be silently finishing his enlistment. As DEAN is now 30 years old, it would make sense for him to have either completed his mandatory military enlistment or be in the process of finalizing it.

While some also suggest DEAN is slowly retiring from releasing music, he has suggested multiple times that a new album is, in fact, coming. Though he has never specified a time frame, the biggest hint toward a new release came in September 2021. The singer-songwriter excited fans by uploading several pictures on Instagram and hinting towards a new album called 130 mood: RVNG.

DEAN revealed dozens of music files dated all the way back to 2020 and addressed the fans’ concerns in a short statement, where he shared how hard he and his team have been working.

My team and I have built, destroyed, built again, only to destroy again. We rode this out so many times and went through so much trial and error since 2019.

Dear fans, please hang in there just a little longer. Love you all.

Let me show you how I’m different.

I’m just a workaholic.

— DEAN on Instagram

Though there haven’t been any major updates since then, fans continue to wait for DEAN to finally grace the music scene and bless us with more music soon. And they will always be there to support the singer’s future endeavors.

| You.will.knovv