When it comes to the K-Pop world, it is not the strange thing for idols to debut in groups and also debut as a soloist. However, it is often hard to balance how popular they are like a solo act as they are as a group. Here are seven idols who successfully done both soloist and Group too.
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1. WINNER's Mino
Before entering YG Entertainment, Mino had debuted with the ballad boy bang BoM under the stage name "Tagoon." The group inactivated in 2013, and later he signed with YG Entertainment. That same year, he competed in the Mnet survival program "WIN: Who Is Next" under Team A. His team eventually won and was named WINNER. The group debuted in 2014.
As soon as debuting, the group was a huge success, with all ten tracks of their debut album dominating the top 10 spots on the MelOn charts.
In Nov. 2018, Mino debuted as a soloist with the song "Fiancé," a song that blends in trot and hip-hop. The song immediately charted in the MelOn, Genie, and Mnet charts. It was nominated for "Song of the Year" at the Gaon Chart Music Awards and won the "Best Hip-Hop Award" at the Golden Disc Award, solidifying himself with his career as a soloist.
2. Sunmi (formerly of Wonder Girls)
Sunmi debuted as a member of the JYP Entertainment girl group, Wonder Girls, in 2007. The group became famous with numerous hits such as "Irony," "Tell Me," "So Hot," and "Nobody." The group was so successful that in the first two years of debuting, Wonder Girls started touring alongside the Jonas Brothers.
In 2010, JYP Entertainment announced she would be leaving a while from the entertainment industry. In 2013, she returned to the industry and debuted as a soloist. Her debut song, "24 Hours", achieved an all-kill on the music charts. Her comeback, "Full Moon," solidified her as a soloist and an innovative one at that.
She re-joined the Wonder Girls in 2015 and remained with the group until their inactivation in 2017. She ended up leaving JYP Entertainment that year and signed with Makeus Entertainment. She has since seen a successful career as a soloist, with hit songs such as "Gashina," "Heroine," "Siren," and "LALALAY."
3. Girls' Generation's Taeyeon
Taeyeon debuted as the leader and main vocalist of Girls' Generation in 2007. The group ended up becoming highly successful. They are highly regarded as prominent figures in the Hallyu Wave and have earned numerous accolades for their contribution to the spread of Korean culture. They were even given the nickname "The Nation's Girl Group" in South Korea.
Before formally debuting as a soloist, Taeyeon participated in numerous OSTs for dramas, notably "If" for "Hong Gil Dong" and "Can You Hear Me" for "Beethoven Virus." Though just released as soundtracks for dramas, both songs are some of Taeyeon's most well-known songs.
She debuted as a soloist in 2014. Her debut was highly successful, with her song "I" leading SM Entertainment's music sales that year. She has since released numerous top-hits, such as "Starlight," "Why," "11:11," "Fine," "Make Me Love You," "Four Seasons," and "Spark."
4. SHINee's Taemin
Taemin debuted with SHINee in 2008 at just fourteen-years-old. The group was a commercial success upon debut, with their song "Replay" being one the most popular songs of that year. A year later, Taemin made his debut as an actor with the show "Tae Hee, Hye Kyo, and Ji Hyun." Before his formal soloist debut, he released an OST for the drama "To The Beautiful You" titled "U." He also debuted in the SM the Performance in 2012.
In 2014, Taemin made his debut as a soloist, with his debut album "Ace" topping the Gaon Album Chart. He debuted as a soloist in Japan two years later. Taemin is well-loved as a soloist, with his success as both a boy group member, soloist, and his artistic impact earning him toe nickname "Idol's idol."
He debuted with SuperM in 2019.
5. Chung Ha (formerly of I.O.I)
Chungha debuted with I.O.I in 2016 after winning fourth place in the survival show "Produce 101." She also debuted with I.O.I's unit group that year. The group was well-loved by the Korean public. While promoting with the group, Chungha had gained popularity because of dancing skills. I.O.I disbanded in 2017.
Chungha debuted in 2017 with the extended play "Hand on Me." She achieved breakthrough success in 2019 with the single "Gotta Go," which earned her numerous music show wins. The song was named one of the best K-pop songs of 2019 and was included in Billboard's "The 100 Greatest K-Pop Songs of the 2010s."
She has since released numerous hit songs such as "Snapping," "Everybody Has," and "Stay Tonight." She has also collaborated with 88rising's Rich Brian and with Danish singer Christopher.
6. HyunA (formerly of Wonder Girls and 4Minute)
HyunA first debuted as a member of Wonder Girls in 2007. Just a few months after her debut, she left the company due to health concerns. In 2008, she signed with CUBE Entertainment, and she debuted with the girl group in 2009. The group debuted with "Hot Issue", which was highly successful. HyunA has also debuted in the group's Troublemaker and Triple H.
HyunA debuted as a soloist in 2010 with the single "Change," which charted high on various online music charts. She achieved breakthrough success in 2011 with "Bubble Pop." The song was named one of the best songs of that year. The music video became the first by a K-pop artist on YouTube to surpass 100 million views.
In 2016, 4Minute disbanded. She has since been active as a soloist, releasing hit songs such as "Ice Cream," "Red," "Roll Deep," "How's This?," "Babe," "Lip & Hip," and "Flower Shower."
7. BIGBANG's G-Dragon
G-Dragon debuted as the leader and rapper of BIGBANG in 2006. The group is highly successful are has been dubbed as the "King of K-pop" due to their help in the spread of Korena culture worldwide. They are known as one of the most influential groups in K-pop and have gained fame for their musical experimentation, self-production, and stage presence.
G-Dragon debuted in 2009 and is one of the best-selling soloists in South Korea. His success as a soloist earned him the nickname the "King of K-pop." He is also known for his solo activities in fashion and entrepreneurship, making him one of the most influential people in South Korea.