- K-pop is nothing new, but its popularity has spread exponentially in certain parts of the world in recent years.
- Psy (real name: Park Jae-sang) is the artist behind the wildly popular Gangnam Style song.
- G-Dragon belongs to the K-pop group Big Bang, and has written the music and lyrics for many of their biggest hits, including Haru.
- Hyori began her K-pop career with the popular K-pop girl group Fin.K.L. before going solo in 2005.
K-pop is nothing new, but its popularity has spread exponentially in certain parts of the world in recent years. If you are not familiar, K-pop is short for Korean pop music. It is a musical genre that includes R&B, rock, electronic, and hip-hop. Its modern form came into being around the 1990s, and can be traced back to cultural blending that began in the 1950s.
Today’s K-pop is an audio-visual phenomenon that appeals to teens, young adults and music lovers of all ages. It has morphed into a global subculture, thanks to social media and the internet. Hence, the wealth of the top K-Pop Stars has also skyrocketed in recent times. Here is a list of some of K-pop's most celebrated stars of recent times.
PSY (real name: Park Jae-sang) is the artist behind the wildly popular Gangnam Style song. The South Korean rapper and singer earned international fame in 2012, when his humorous music video was the first on YouTube to get over one billion views – closer to three billion, according to one source. It was the most viewed video for five straight years. The song became a worldwide, viral sensation. His newest album is 4x2=8.
9. Kim Jaejoong
This wealthy K-pop idol is a singer, songwriter, designer, director, businessperson, and actor. He started out as a member of the boy band TVXQ, and also starred in Korean dramas, including Manhoel, Protect the Boss, and Triangle. His two Korean studio albums, WWW and No.X, both reached number one.
G-Dragon belongs to the K-pop group Big Bang, and has written the music and lyrics for many of their biggest hits, including Haru. The star has more than 180 songs copyrighted in his name. He has released a solo album called Heartbreaker, has collaborated with other artists, and produces music for others as well. His resume also includes work as a model, fashion trendsetter, and rapper.
7. Lee Hyori
Hyori began her K-pop career with the popular K-pop girl group Fin.K.L. before going solo in 2005. She expanded her fame with endorsements and ads for companies like the Korean soju brand Chum-Churum and Samsung. She married producer Lee Sang-soon in 2013, and the duo produced the Hyori’s Bed and Breakfast variety show. Hyori has also appeared in MANY Korean films and television shows.
Referred to as the "Queen of K-pop", BoA (Kwon Bo-ah) is a singer, songwriter, actress and record producer. This South Korean diva’s entertainment careers spans 17 years, highlighted by chart-topping tunes in South Korea and Japan. She has also appeared as a judge on singing competition TV shows like Produce 101 and Pop Star.
Taeyang (Dong Young-bae) is a South Korean singer and songwriter. He debuted with the boy band quintet Big Bang in 2006. This group became one of the highest-selling Asian digital groups of all time, and one of the most popular boy bands in the world. Taeyang then became a solo singer, and released a string of hit albums in the following years. He is also a major player in the real estate market.
4. Sandra Park
Park started out in the Philippines, rising to fame as a contestant on Star Circle Quest in 2004. She joined the K-pop girl group 2NE1 in 2009; the group became of the best-selling girl groups in history until they broke up in 2016. The popular celebrity guest starred on the Pinoy Big Brother show, and later on All in Uber and Gandang Gabi, Vice!
T.O.P (Choi Seung Hyun) also belonged to Big Bang. The singer songwriter’s album GD & TOP reached number one in Korea, and he has more than 50 song credits. His other work involves acting, record producing, and valuable product endorsements. T.O.P. is also an avid art collector and owns a vineyard in Argentina.
K-pop entertainer Rain does it all: As a well-respected singer-songwriter, music producer, and actor, he has recorded seven albums and 28 singles. His third album, It’s Raining, produced a number-one single and made him an international star. He began acting in 2003, and later nabbed the lead role in the pan-Asian version of Full House. He also starred in two movies, Speed Racer and Ninja Assassin.
1. Choi Si-won
Choi Si-won holds the unique honor of being the first Korean who was able to reach 5 million Twitter followers. The South Korean singer, songwriter, actor, producer, and model is known for belonging to the boy group Super Junior. His solo excursions include acting stints in Korean drams such as Oh! My Lady, Poseidon, and My Fellow Citizens! Si-won has also won recognition for his work as a special representative for UNICEF Korea, and was chosen UNICEF’s regional ambassador for East Asia and Pacific.