New idols pop up every month in the K-Pop world, many slipping past us, but when one catches our eyes, years passed and before we know it, they have grown more handsome and beautiful as ever.
In our latest weekly series, we cover "5 K-Celebrities Who Grew Up Before Our Eyes" featuring SHINee’s Taemin, JYJ’s Jaejoong, Big Bang’s Taeyang, T-ARA’s Jiyeon and Secret’s Song Jieun.
Lee Taemin entered SM Entertainment in 2005 as a trainee after auditioning at one of the agency’s weekly opened auditions. Three years later, Taemin finally made his debut as the maknae and the main dancer of the current popular idol group SHINee. The group captured the hearts of noonas with “Replay,” and continued on to release hit tracks such as “Juliette,” “Love Like Oxygen,” “Ring Ding Dong,” “Lucifer,” Sherlock” and more. In 2014, Taemin was the first SHINee member to officially go solo, releasing his album “Ace” and successfully promoting the title track "Danger."
Many may not realize, but Song Jieun was initially trained under JYP Entertainment after auditioning for the agency at an early age. She realized her love for music, acting on it, even releasing several OST tracks while she was under JYPE even before her official debut (MBC Air City - “Learning To Fly”). Under this agency, Jieun was originally set to debut as a trio with SISTAR’s Hyorin and BESTie’s Uji. After plans fell through, Jieun left JYPE and joined TS Entertainment, where she would develop a flourishing singing career as part of the group Secret in 2009.
That same year, Jieun also made her solo debut, but her first solo single to hit #1 was the one released with B.A.P’s Bang Yongguk, "Going Crazy," in 2011. She has released several hit tracks with Secret over the years including “Madonna,” “Shy Boy,” “Starlight, Moonlight,” “Poison,” “I’m In Love,” as well as her own solo hit songs, “Hope Torture” and “Don’t Look At Me Like That.” In fact, she will be releasing her first mini-album “25,” which will include one of her own written tracks and the Duble Sidekick title song, “Beautiful 25.”
Kim Jaejoong, born Han Jaejun, is one of the most beloved entertainers in Korea, initially making his debut as a singer as part of TVXQ. Despite being tone deaf in elementary school, Jaejoong practice his singing passionately until he was accepted into SM Entertainment in 2001 when he was 15 years old. Under the group, they released hit songs “Hug,” “Triangle,” “Rising Sun,” “O,” Mirotic” and more. In 2006, it was revealed Jaejoong was adopted into his current family, to which he confessed knowing about it 2 to 3 years prior and has been in contact with his biological mother.
Along with members Junsu and Yoochun, the trio broke away from SM Entertainment in 2009 due to contract issues,ultimately separating from TVXQ, and forming the popular trio JYJ. Since then, Jaejoong has flourished in his career further, expanding his horizons as he went into acting, successfully doing so. In fact, Jaejoong recently received the “Top Excellence” award at the "2014 Korea Drama Awards" for his role in SBS “Triangle”!
Dong Yongbae is one of the longest trainee at YG Entertainment, where he was accepted after making an appearance in Jinusean’s “A-yo” music video in 2001, and was to debut alongside G-Dragon as GDYB. Unfortunately, plans for GDBY were put aside and instead, Yongbae would debut as part of Korea’s current top male group Big Bang as the main vocalist, putting aside the idea of being a rapper. Here is when he chose the stage name Taeyang. Alongside promoting Big Bang, Taeyang has come into his own as a successful soloist as well with tracks “My Girl,” “Only Look at Me,” “Where U At,” “Wedding Dress,” “I Need A Girl,” “Ringa Linga,” “Eyes, Nose, Lips” and more.
Prior to her official debut with T-ARA, Park Jiyeon was originally trained under company as an actress. Despite her original intentions to debut as an actress, Jiyeon made her debut as a singer under T-ARA in 2009 when she was only 16 years old. Jiyeon was one of the first T-ARA member to be exposed in the entertainment area, collaborating with Davichi and SeeYa, as well as appearing in SG Wannabe’s music videos, effectively earning her the nickname of “Little Kim Taehee” due to her resemblance to the popular actress. Under T-ARA, they released hit songs such as “Bo Peep Bo Beep,” “Roly Poly,” “Day By Day,” “Number 9,” “Sugar Free” and more.
Through her time with T-ARA, Jiyeon also stepped into the acting world, appearing in “Master of Study,” as the female lead in “Dream High 2,” and others. Earlier this year, Jiyeon also made her successful entry as a solo artist with the title track “1 Minute 1 Second.” Currently, she is promoting with T-ARA with “Sugar Free.”
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