Kim Hyun-Joong (Hangul: 김현중; hanja: 金賢重; born: June 6, 1986) is a South Korean entertainer, actor, and the leader and main rapper of boyband SS501.
Kim is well known for his role as Yoon Ji-hoo in the 2009 Korean drama Boys Over Flowers, for which he received the "Popularity Award" at the Seoul International Drama Awards 2009 and the "Popularity Award" at the 45th PaekSang Arts Awards and as Baek Seung-jo in Playful Kiss for which he received "Male Popularity Award" at MBC Drama Awards.
With the expiration of the contract, Kim left DSP Media, who managed him as part of SS501 and joined KeyEast in 2010. He debuted as a solo artist with his Korean mini albums Break Down and Lucky in 2011. He is a member of the charity football team FC MEN as well as a style icon in Korea, having won several icon awards.
Early life and education:
Kim Hyun-Joong family consists of his parents and an older brother. He was born on June 6, 1986 in Seoul, South Korea.
During his school days, Kim played bass guitar in a band. However, he dropped out of school when he decided to become a singer. After SS501's debut, nevertheless, Kim returned to school and graduated in 2006.
In 2011, Kim enrolled in Chungwoon University to study stage production management. He, then, enrolled into Kongju Communication Arts (KCAU) to study applied music in February 2012.
Initially he was to debut in a five-member group, of which Han Yeon of B2Y (now disbanded) was to be the leader and Kim the youngest member. During 2001 and 2002, while working as a waiter in a family restaurant located at Jamsil-dong, Kim was introduced to a new set up management company CEO. While the group underwent training together, they were asked by their company to debut in China as a Hallyu project group, but they rejected the offer and disbanded. Kim proceeded to audition for DSP Media (formerly DSP Entertainment) and became a member and the leader of SS501.
2005-08: Debut with SS501 and We Got Married:
Kim Hyun Joong made his entertainment debut as the leader of SS501 on June 8, 2005, along with their debut album entitled Warning. Their second mini album, Snow Prince was released in late 2005, five months after their debut. During this time, they also established their official fan club name, "Triple S", and fan club color, pearl green.
The group earned popularity right away as they won many rookie awards after debut. In fact, SS501 has had their first variety show, SS501 M!Pick by MNET, documenting their pre-debut days and three months after their debut. At the same time, SS501 also appeared on the 2006 show Thank You For Waking Me Up, which proved Kim to be a heavy sleeper.
SS501 soon promoted their first studio album, which was released on November 10 entitled S.T 01 Now. At the same time, SS501 also gained popularity in Japan one year later in 2007, having their own variety shows and learning Japanese language to capture the hearts of Japanese fans. A Japanese fan club was established with the name "Triple S Japan", which officially debuted on March 25, 2007, when SS501 had their first official meeting with the club. The group at this time released several albums which includes Kokoro,Distance, and their self-titled full album, SS501. SS501 also received the "Newcomer Award" by Japan Gold Disc Award in January 2008; this was the first time for Korean artists to receive this award.
Simultaneously, SS501 became active both in Korea and Japan, releasing Deja Vu, and Lucky Days albums.
In May 2008, Kim joined the cast of We Got Married along with Hwangbo in episode 9. Known as the "Lettuce Couple", they won MBC's "Best Couple Award". The couple made their official exit from the show in episode 38, on December 14, 2008 due to scheduling conflicts with Boys Over Flowers.
2009-10: Boys Over Flowers, leaving DSP Media, and Playful Kiss:
While working in Japan in 2008, Kim was cast for his first lead-acting role as Yoon Ji-hoo in the Korean drama Boys Over Flowers, a role for which he won the "Best Actor Award" at the Seoul International Drama Awards 2009 and the "Popularity Award" at the 45th PaekSang Arts Awards. Because of his drama work, Kim, along with his bandmate Park Jung-min, who starred in a musical at the time, were absent for SS501's U R Man album, which the three remaining SS501 members promoted by themselves, with the exception of some special performances that included all five band members.
After SS501 released All My Love,Solo Collection, and Rebirth in September 2009, Kim was diagnosed with H1N1 during promotional activities in Yokohama, Japan for Boys Over Flowers. He was treated in a Tokyo hospital and was discharged on September 15, 2009. While recovering from H1N1, he could not attend the Seoul International Drama Awards; so his SS501 band mates, Heo Young-saeng, Kim Kyu-jong and Kim Hyung-jun accepted the award on his behalf.
Kim became a spokesperson for cosmetics brand Tony Moly, an established company with numerous branches all across Asia, including Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, but ended his contract with Tony Moly at the end of September 2010 and continued to be the spokesperson for another cosmetics brand, The Face Shop.
In May 2010, SS501 released their last album before their contracts ended entitled Destination, produced by Steven Lee. Its title song "Love Ya" was well received, rating high in record sales and online music stores, and topped Music Bank's K-Chart even without promotions. Due to their ending contract with DSP Media, however, the group ended promotions after only two weeks.
On June 19, 2010, Kim appeared at a concert in the Philippines alongside BEAST for the "K-Pop Meets P-Pop: Kim Hyun Joong and Beast Live in Manila" at the Araneta Coliseum. Nine days later, the news that Kim had officially left DSP Media and joined Bae Yong-joon's KeyEast Entertainment company was announced.
Kim played the leading role of Baek Seung-jo in the drama Playful Kiss, a Korean adaptation of the Japanese shōjo manga Itazura na Kiss. Baek Seung-jo is an all around perfect genius with an IQ of 200, who ends up falling in love with Oh Ha-ni, played by Jung So-min. Because of the drama's success in Korea, Playful Kiss was broadcast in China and on November 7, its leading male actor, Kim, was interviewed by CNN's Anna Coren. On October 11, Playful Kiss opened its official YouTube Channel account for the series' Special Edition promotional video and it attracted many viewers.
Kim was invited to perform "Sunshine Again" with other four other singers from Chinese-speaking countries, at the 2010 Asian Games in Guangzhou as the representative of South Korea. He also went to Singapore and Malaysia to promote The Face Shop in December.
2011: Solo debut and Japan Tour:
In May, Kim named his official solo fanclub Henecia, which is a combination of "H" (as in Hyun-joong) and "benecia", which derives from Latin word meaning "blessed". On June 7, 2011, Kim released his solo debut mini album, Break Down produced by Steven Lee. The album exceeded 70,000 pre-ordered copies in just 10 days. It peaked at number one on Gaon Weekly Album Chart for the week starting June 5, 2011 and was the best-selling album for June on Gaon Monthly Album Chart with 100,433 copies sold. It also topped the Japanese Oricon chart in the International Imported Album category for the first week of July. "Break Down" was the first place winner for two consecutive weeks on Mnet's M! Countdown music show (June 16 and 23, 2011) as well as on KBS's Music Bank.Break Down is certified platinum in Taiwan, due to which Warner Music Taiwan CEO Chen Ze Shan handed Kim a platinum record in a press conference held in Taiwan. As far as Kim's popularity in Taiwan is concerned, he was the first Korean to appear on Taiwanese TV show The Person.
In July 2011, Kim held the first of his nationwide concerts in Japan. The tour continued from November in seven cities across Japan: Sapporo, Sendai, Hiroshima, Yokohama, Nagoya, Tokyo and Fukuoka.
On October 11, 2011, Kim released his second mini album Lucky. It debuted at number 5 on Billboard's World Chart and topped the Gaon Chart again for the third week of October 2011 and was the highest selling album on the Hanteo Album Sales Chart for the month of October.
On October 25, 2011, Kim, together with Seohyun, released a digital single entitled "The Magic of Yellow Ribbon", which is the theme song for a commercial for The Face Shop. On October 28, he, along with Ha Ji Won, acted as MC at the 2011 K-Pop Super Concert held at Gwangalli Beach in Busan, which was broadcast on SBS on November 6.
In November 2011, Kim won the 2011 KIA Soul People's Choice "Style Icon Award" for the third consecutive year. On November 9, Kim announced at a press conference for his Japan Tour that he had signed a deal with Universal Music Japan for his Japan-based music activities. Kim successfully completed his Japan Tour that had started on November 9, attracting over 30,000 fans. By the end of the year, at the 2011 Mnet Asian Music Awards, which were held in Singapore, Kim won the award for "Best Male Solo Artist".
On December 15, 2011, Kim released his digital single Marry You / Marry Me, which consists of "Marry Me" and Marry You" as well as instrumental versions of them. Music videos for both songs were released on his official YouTube channel the same day.
2012: Japanese releases, fan meeting tour and City Conquest:
On January 25, 2012, Kim released his first Japanese single Kiss Kiss / Lucky Guy, which consists of Japanese versions of songs from his two Korean mini albums and one original Japanese song. Both singles reached the highest recorded in a day for any overseas artist in Japan. Two weeks after its release, the single reached "Gold" status in Japan for selling more than a million copies.
On May 23, Kim's "First Impact" concert DVD sold 16,000 copies in its first week of release, taking the number one spot for the Overall DVD Chart. This is the first time a Korean artist has taken the number one spot, and a second time a foreign artist has taken the number one spot on the charts, the first being Michael Jackson, with his 2011 DVD.
From May to July, Kim held his Kim Hyun Joong Fan Meeting Tour 2012, making stops in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, China and Thailand.
The singer, who had mostly focused on promoting his albums after his second drama Playful Kiss had come to an end in 2010, was cast for the upcoming drama City Conquest, which will air in late 2012 / early 2013. Kim Hyun-joong will portray the main character of Baek Mir in City Conquest, a wild and strong man, who experienced many hardships and difficulties throughout his life, e.g. growing up without his parents. Baek Mir ends up taking revenge against the evils of society which had destroyed his family. The drama is an adaptation from the original comic by author Shin Hyung Bin.
Only a few days before filming for City Conquest began in Japan, Kim released his second Japanese single Heat on July 4. Along with its lead track "Heat", the single album also includes "Let's Party". The single took over Japan Oricon's Daily and Weekly Charts, where 140,000 copies were sold on its first day, then a total of 183,000 copies for its first week. Moreover, the album also placed third for Oricon singles monthly chart for the month of July, selling 196,850 copies and beating DBSK's Android album with 171,554 copies. There is no question that Kim's Heat single earned a "Gold" certificate as well.
On August 4, 2012, Kim Hyun-joong won the "Best Asian Artist Award" at the 2012 Asia Song Festival held at the Pop Festival Stage of The Expo 2012 in Yeosu, South Korea.
On October 4, 2012, Kim announced at an event to promote City Conquest and to celebrate his Japanese fanclub Henecia Japan's first anniversary, that he would release his first full length studio album in Japan in December. One day later, Universal Music Japan released further information via Kim Hyun-joong's Japanese website including the album's title Unlimited and a still incomplete track listing.
In November, Kim Hyun Joong participated in being a model for Madame Tussauds' display. They created an accurate life-size wax model of him to be displayed at Madame Tussauds' studio in Busan on December 21. The figure was said to have cost 200 million KRW (approximately US$186,000) and was built after 500 measurements were taken.
Kim finally released his first full length Japanese album entitled Unlimited on December 12, which consists of 14 tracks including the Japanese versions of Break Down and Lucky Guy. It topped the Oricon Daily Album Charts, and both the Tower Records' Weekly Album Charts for Shibuya branch and overall Weekly Album Chart upon its release.
2013: Japan Tour 2013 and Korean comeback:
In January, Kim Hyun Joong had his first Japanese tour of this year entitled 'JAPAN TOUR 2013 "UNLIMITED"' tour. He performed his hit songs with a live band, which began on the 6th at Kobe World Memorial Hall and toured various cities across Japan including Saitama, Nagoya, and Fukuoka. In addition, he performed in South America on February 24 for the first time. He, along with Ailee, Baechigi, and Ongals performed in Brazil for the '2K13 FEEL KOREA' event. On the next day, February 25, they visited on a children center in São Paulo to get closer to the people and spend time with them. Then, he headed to Peru for a fan meeting. On the other hand, his Unlimited album has been certified "Gold" by the Recording Industry Association of Japan ('RIAJ') after selling more than 100,000 units to retailers.
In February, it was rumored that City Conquest has been rejected by KBS for the reason that it "lacked in quality". The producers of the drama, however, argued that KBS decided not to air it even after following KBS's requirements and requests, without any words of apology or explanation to the producers and fans. Instead, the team accused KBS of having political reasons for pulling out the drama. Then, again, KBS asserted that those claims were all false and will take strict actions against the producers. After some time, it was announced that Kim Hyun Joong will be withdrawing from the drama and is planning to start in another drama later this year instead. For now, he started his promotions as a singer with his Japan and world tour.
On March 2, Kim Hyun Joong performed at the U-Express Live 2013 at the Makuhari Messe in Japan together with the other artists such as Ringo Starr & His All-Starr Band, Far East Movement, Naoto Inti Raymi and Kara. The concert is one in which only the most popular singers that represent the six labels under Universal Music can perform. He also won the "Creator's Factory Best Actor Award" at the 5th Okinawa Music Festival for the music video Lucky Guy. The awarding ceremony was held on March 26 at the Okinawa Convention Center Theater 2 in Japan.
During this time, Kim Hyun Joong made his comeback in a Korean variety show after a long while. He is cast on the new SBS variety show with Kang Ho Dong, which first aired on April 21.Barefoot Friends's casts, which includes Eunhyuk, UEE, and Kang Ho Dong gathered together for the first time at Incheon International Airport and went to Vietnam to start filming and perform various missions. Aside from Barefoot Friends, Kim Hyun Joong also appeared in the UV concert that was held on May 24 and 25.
Kim Hyun Joong's, then, released his third Japanese single on June 5.Tonight includes five different covers with five completely different image concepts for each of the covers. It also includes three songs: "Tonight", "Cappucino", and "君だけを消せなくて". Once again, his single topped the Oricon Daily charts, with 101,818 copies sold, and taking the number two spot by the end of the week. The album received Gold certificate for selling more than one million copies on June.
On June 6, the same day as his birthday, Kim released his new digital single in Korea entitled "What It Means To Be Alive" as a present for his fans. Two days later, on June 8, Kim held his "2013 KHJ Show - Party People" fanmeeting in Seoul, Korea to meet with his fans after a long while. Other than singing his new-released single live for the first time, Kim also celebrated his birthday, and his debut with SS501 eight years ago at the same time with his 5,000 fans who attended the event. The other members of SS501 celebrated their eight anniversary together with a video greeting message to celebrate and greet their fans, wherein they posted it on their YouTube accounts individually at the same day. However, Kim could not join them in the video because of his shooting on his variety show, Barefoot Friends at that time. Nevertheless, Kim Hyun Joong said:
...It's my birthday party...and my eight anniversary as well...For me, as I always say, I feel happiest when I'm on stage where my fans can see me. I′ll never forget this day I enjoyed with you. I′ll return as a more mature person, so you can look forward to it...For the ending of the show, I think this song best fit. I will sing "Let Me Be The One
Two days after the event, KeyEast stated that he will be releasing his third mini album Round 3 on July 22. They released the first photo teaser of his back muscles with Korean traditional pattern tattoos on the same day, and the second photo teaser of his intense gaze downwards with a tattoo on his neck four days later.Jay Park and Dok2 participated in the lyric-making as well as featuring in the songs "Unbreakable" and "Your Story" respectively. In addition, both songs are created by Steven Lee, and choreographed by Lyle Beniga in the former and Keone Madrid in the latter.
On October 20 and 21, Kim held his "Kim Hyun Joong Premium Live - Tonight" exclusive concerts at the Makuhari International Exhibition Hall, Japan with 20,000 fans and with a special appearance by Bae Yong Jun. By the end of the month, Kim exited Barefooted Friends due to his new KBS drama, Inspiring Generation, which started filming in November in China. The action drama, depicting the story of love and friendship of 'fighters' from Korea, Japan and China, received much attention from the Asia market (including "Ray & Mo" production company, America, and Thailand) prior to its airing.
Inspiring Generation premiered on January 15 with a 7.8% viewer rating.
Known to be a generous artist, Kim Hyun-joong has continually donated to charities and healthcare institutions to share his achievements with those in need.
In 2011, Kim donated US$50,000 to the "Korean Red Cross Association" before his Japanese tour in November, then adding $50,000 to an association that heats homes later on, and another $50,000 for the third time to feed the children in Fukushima following the aftermath of the earthquake, totaling up to $150,000 secret donation.
In 2012, Kim donated 50 million KRW (about US$46,000) on December 3 to The Red Cross once again. He also donated 20 million KRW (about $17,300) to be used for the "Kim Hyun Joong Scholarship" and another 30 million KRW (about $25,950) to the "Summer Campaign for Senior Citizens Living Alone", totaling up to 50 million KRW (about $43,250), as he was touched when his fans donated 10 million KRW ( about $8,860) to the said campaign. At the same time, he was also part of the "Save The Earth reform class" environmental campaign by the Hang Ten (brand) on June 13.
In 2013, Kim donated 100 million KRW (about US$86,500) to "One Foundation" for the victims of the earthquake in Ya'an, China.