5 K-Pop Korean Solo Artists You Should Know

Updated on March 31, 2015
Psy, the K-Pop superstar who has won the most international fame and popularity.
Psy, the K-Pop superstar who has won the most international fame and popularity. | Source

What is K-Pop?

The term "K-Pop" refers to South Korean popular music, typically of the hip-hop, dance, rap, and R&B styles. Though the lyrics are primarily Korean, K-Pop music is heavily influenced by American popular music.

The K-Pop genre emerged in the early 1990s and quickly took Korea by storm. By the late 90s, the major K-Pop music labels such as SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment, and JYP Entertainment were producing tons of wildly successful popular music.

K-Pop Idols

Unlike Western artists, K-Pop artists are not just musicians. They are all-around performers. Once discovered (typically at a very young age, and often for their extreme good looks), Korean artists undergo a rigorous training program in which they study dancing, choreography, foreign languages, and other necessary entertainment skills. Basically, they are trained and sculpted (sometimes literally-- plastic surgery is pervasive in the K-Pop scene) to be perfect, successful media personalities. Many K-Pop stars have wide-ranging careers that include television hosting, film acting, and backup dancing, as well as singing. They are incredibly driven and hard-working individuals!

K-Pop Solo Artists

Idol groups (studio boy bands and girl groups such as Girls' Generation and Super Junior) are extremely popular right now in the K-Pop music scene, which means that the solo artists are often overlooked. But solo artists (such as Drunken Tiger) were some of the earliest genre-defining acts, and they remain some of the longest-running popular stars.

If you haven't heard of them yet, these are a few fantastic K-Pop solo artists you won't want to miss!

#5: G.NA

Stage Name: G.NA

Real Name: Gina Jane Choi

Debut: 2010

Entertainment Label: Cube Entertainment

Studio Albums: 2

Fun Fact: Before her debut, G.NA performed as a backup dancer for Hyun-Ah of 4Minute in her solo music video "Change." Also, G.NA's debut song was a duet with K-Pop superstar, Rain. She was the first female singer to perform with him in a duet since 2006.

Source

"Oops!" - G.NA

#4: Jay Park

Stage Name: Jay Park

Real Name: Park Jaebeom

Debut: 2008

Entertainment Label: SidusHQ

Studio Albums: 1

Fun Fact: Jay Park is Korean-American, having been born in the United States. He is the former leader of the K-Pop idol group 2PM and his blood type is A.

Source

"Demon" - Jay Park

#3: Rain

Stage Name: Rain

Real Name: Jung Ji-Hoon

Debut: 1996

Entertainment Label: Cube Entertainment

Studio Albums: 7

Fun Fact: Rain has won the TIME Magazine poll of the world's 100 most influential people 4 times. He was voted the winner in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2011, and he has been listed as one of the top 100 people by TIME itself. Before beginning his career, Rain was rejected in multiple auditions because he did not have a fashionable Western-style eyelid crease (a look that many K-Pop stars undergo plastic surgery to achieve).

Source

"Rainism" - Rain

#2: BoA

Stage Name: BoA (Beat of Angel)

Real Name: Kwon Boa

Debut: 2000

Entertainment Label: SM Entertainment

Studio Albums: 15

Fun Fact: BoA was the first Korean artist to rank #1 in the Oricon charts (the Japanese popular music ranking charts). She produced her first album at just 13 years of age and has since released albums in the Korean, Japanese, and English languages. BoA is a practicing Catholic.

Source

"Eat You Up" - BoA

#1: Psy

Stage Name: Psy

Real Name: Park Jae-sang

Debut: 1999

Entertainment Label: YG Entertainment

Studio Albums: 5

Fun Fact: Psy was the first Korean performer to top the U.S. music video charts with his video "Gangman Style," which became a viral internet sensation worldwide. The lyrics "Oppan Gangnam Style" (translation: your big brother's got Gangnam style), were named the 9th most famous quotation of 2012 by the Yale Book of Quotations. Psy was a class clown growing up, and one former teacher even told the media that he disrupted her class by frequently making overly-sexual jokes.

Source

"Gentleman" - Psy

Vote for Your Favorite

Which K-Pop solo artist do you like most?

See results

K-Pop Solo Artist Quick Reference

Artist
Real Name
Debut
Label
Studio Albums
G.NA
Gina Jane Choi
2010
Cube Entertainment
2
Jay Park
Park Jaebeom
2008
SidusHQ
1
Rain
Jung Ji-Hoon
1996
Cube Entertainment
7
BoA
Kwon Boa
2000
SM Entertainment
15
Psy
Park Jae-Sang
1999
YG Entertainment
5

Questions & Answers

    Comments

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      • profile image

        luna 

        2 months ago

        ummm you kinda forgot about Taemin

      • profile image

        HOW CAN YOU FORGET TAEMIN OF SHINEE! 

        3 months ago

        HOW CAN YOU FORGET TAEMIN OF SHINEE!

      • profile image

        titi 

        11 months ago

        It's weird how they forget to mention the KING of kpop himself G-dragon lol

      • profile image

        Adam 

        17 months ago

        Where is Park Hyo Shin????

      • profile image

        wellboyt 

        2 years ago

        no IU ? are youuuu mad?

      • profile image

        Oh Leizel 

        3 years ago

        You forget Oh Sehun from EXO

      • profile image

        Mei Rong 

        3 years ago

        you forgot Ailee! that girl is a queen

      • profile image

        China Abarquez 

        3 years ago

        You forgot Baek Ji-young. She's considered as the queen of ost. And she wins different awards. Well, from your own list I voted for G.NA

      • profile image

        kpopmusic.. 

        4 years ago

        where is IU???

      • travel_man1971 profile image

        Ireno Alcala 

        4 years ago from Bicol, Philippines

        What a tribute to Korean solo singers.

        My cousin, Grace Eve is also making waves as Filipina singer (who looks like Korean) in South Korea. You might as try to know her or feature her in the future.

      • profile image

        swilliams 

        4 years ago

        My step-mom is Korean I watch some of these singing shows with her. I also watch the Korean Soap Opera "The Heirs." Good Stuff! Voted up Tweeted out!

      • profile image

        hlwar 

        5 years ago

        Rain is so over-rated. I only enjoyed maybe three of his songs, and as an actor he always manages to come across pretentious. Of course, he's popular so everyone should, and will, know him. Whether it's deserving is all matter of opinion.

      • profile image

        2NE1 

        5 years ago

        You forgot the queen of kpop! Lee Hyori! ^.^

      • jabelufiroz profile image

        Firoz 

        5 years ago from India

        I know Park Jae-sang as psy.

      • profile image

        Phoebe Pike 

        5 years ago

        Psy became popular so quickly it makes my head spin. You couldn't go anywhere without hearing that song!

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