Seven of K-pop’s hottest solo acts first found fame as members of girl groups Girls’ Generation, Wonder Girls and Blackpink. We take a look at how girl band success has helped catapult these singers to flourishing standalone careers
K-pop introduced the world to some of the most charismatic and multi-talented artists of the decade. On top of the synergy among members of legendary groups like Girls’ Generation, Wonder Girls, Blackpink, Mamamoo, plenty of the bandmates who have gone solo prove they each have what it takes to shine on their own. Here are some of the most successful ladies who have empowered the industry.
Ahn Hye-jin, also known as Hwasa, is one of the most prominent divas of the k-pop industry. She joined Mamamoo in 2014, and launched her solo debut “Twit” in February 2019, hitting the peak at number three on Billboard World Digital Song Weekly Sales. She later set another record with the iconic EP Maria, which ranked first in 20 countries on the iTunes Album Chart.
Even if you’re not a k-pop fan, chances are you’ve heard of Girls’ Generation. The unofficial South Korean national girl group churned out hit songs including “Gee, Oh!”, “I Got a Boy” and“Party”. As the leader of the group and main vocalist, Kim Taeyeon, a.k.a Taeyeon, gained popularity after her first ballad“If” topped every chart in South Korea in 2008. Her debut album, I, was released in 2015 and the accompanying music videos amassed some 200 million views on YouTube. The chart-topping soloist found success with each of her subsequent releases worldwide. Including her latest single “Weekend”, which now sits on top of the charts on Korean, Chinese and global streaming platforms.
With three solo Asia tours under her belt and appearances on magazine covers around the world, including the #legend April 2021 issue, the K-pop queen proves she’s earned her well-deserved crown.
Taking the spotlight in the Mnet’s survival show, Produce 101, and in the 11-member I.O.I girl group, Kim Chung-ha – widely known as Chungha – was a Korean-born living in Dallas, Texas. She eventually returned to South Korea to pursue her dream. The song that launched her solo career is none other than the single “Gotta Go”. It became the second most downloaded and eighth most-streamed song in South Korea. In February 2021, Chungha’s multi-genre album Querencia marked her first solo debut that testifies to her musical growth.
Blackpink’s Rosé launched her first solo EP –R– in 2021 and fans truly got to appreciate her unique vocals. Born in New Zealand and raised in Australia, Roseanne Park moved to South Korea to become a K-pop star and found success with Blackpink in 2016. Her first single “On the Ground” got more than 200 million views in four months and took the number one spots on Billboard Global 200 and Global Excluding US charts. She’s also carving a name out for herself in the fashion world and was named global ambassador of Saint Laurent in 2020.
Lee Sun-mi, better known as Sunmi, is a member of the legendary girl group Wonder Girls. After leaving the group for academic pursuit, Sunmi returned solo with her 2013 debut EP Full Moon topped the 24 Hours charts nationwide. With “Gashin” and the latest perfect-retro-pop-for-summer “You can’t sit with us”, she was once again put into the spotlight. She recently joined Mnet’s new audition programme Girls Planet 999 as a mentor of the future talents.
K-pop dancing queen is what best describes Kim Hyoyeon, a.k.a DJ Hyo (or simply, Hyo) and Girls’ Generation member. She joined SM Entertainment at the age of 11 and was the group’s main dancer and rapper. After 11 years with her bandmates, she landed her first solo singles “Mystery” and later pop-dance “Wannabe”. Besides her talent as a DJ, fans are loving her hits“Dessert”and the newest “Second”.
Kim Hyun-ah, widely called Hyuna, went from being a part of 4Minute to launching a solo career as singer, songwriter and rapper. Her first catchy summer tune “Bubble Pop!” caught the public’s attention, making her the first female K-pop solo artist to reach 100 million views on YouTube and with that, sold millions of copies of her music on iTunes. Beyond the surprise appearance on Psy’s global hit Gangnam Style, her voice and charisma came across strong in Ice Cream, Red, Flower Shower, and the recent I’m not cool.