Country music star Morgan Wallen says he has been “working” on himself during his time out of the spotlight but will not be playing any concerts or festivals this summer.
The 27-year-old faced a backlash from the music industry, with his songs removed from playlists on radio stations and streaming services, after a video emerged in February of him using the N-word.
He later said in a video that he had been on a 72-hour “bender” before he was caught on camera and had been sober since the incident.
In his first Instagram post since early February, Wallen shared a four-page handwritten note to his 2.3 million followers, detailing his plans for the upcoming festival season.
He explained that he had “taken a couple months away” and said: “I’ve found this time away to be very valuable to me in many ways, but I feel like I need a little more of it – therefore will not be performing tour dates this summer.
“That means I won’t be playing festivals or the Luke Bryan tour dates. But it’s important to me personally, if you can, still go to these shows – support country music.”
Wallen also addressed his use of the racial slur directly, writing: “2020… Man, what a tough year for so many. For me, my tough year carried into 2021. I’ve made some mistakes, I’m figuring those out, and I apologised because I was truly sorry and have been making my amends.
“I wanted to let you guys know that I’ve taken a couple months away and feel like I’ve really worked on myself. I’m proud of the work I’ve put in, and in many ways thankful to have had the time to do it. I’ve needed this time off.
“I moved to Nashville at 22. I never really gave myself a chance to survey the man I became during that time. I can already see a big difference between 22-year-old me and 27-year-old me.
“I hope there’s a big difference between the 27-year-old me now and the 32-year-old me one day. I will always strive to be better.
“Not only has this time revealed to me the ways in which I want to improve, but it’s also reminded me that I am still very proud of who I am and the man I am becoming.”
Although he did not specify when he would return from his hiatus, Wallen told fans that “you’ll be seeing me sooner than later”.
The video, which was first published by TMZ in February, showed Wallen outside a home in Nashville, Tennessee, shouting profanities and a racial slur.
He was subsequently suspended indefinitely from his label, Big Loud Records.
Republic Records, to which he was co-signed, said it agreed with Big Loud’s decision and that “such behaviour will not be tolerated”.