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Top 10 Most Popular Korean Solo Artists

Anny spends most of her time on a quest of self improvement. She writes about her own experiences that she hopes can be useful to others.

Here are K-Pop’s most popular soloists, both males and females, who are not or are no longer associated with a K-pop group. These soloists have topped the charts many times and have gained an incredibly large fanbase internationally throughout their career.

Top 10 Most Popular Korean Solo Artists:

  1. IU
  2. Zico
  3. BoA
  4. DEAN
  5. Sunmi
  6. Eric Name
  7. Chungha
  8. Kang Daniel
  9. Heize
  10. Crush

1. IU

Lee Ji-eun, or otherwise known as IU, has been gaining a tremendous popularity since her debut in 2007. Born on 16 May 1993, she made her debut at the age of fifteen with ‘Lost and Found’. It is not until the release of ‘Good Day’ in 2010 that has made her known nationwide and received the title of ‘Nation’s Little Sister’.

Not only is she a singer, she is also a successful songwriter and an actress. She has starred in many dramas, one of them being the South Korean 2019’s hit series ‘Hotel del Luna’. IU has been credited to writing over 50 songs in her career, including her own as well as others’.

IU’s Top Songs:

  1. Good Day (2010)
  2. Palette ft. G-Dragon (2017)
  3. eight ft Suga (2020)

2. Zico

Woo Ji-ho, also known by his stage name Zico, is born on 14 September 1992. He made his debut in as a duo with Park Kyung named ‘Harmonics’, and then again in 2011 with boy-band Block-B, but eventually parted ways in 2018 when his contract ended. Not only is he widely known as a mainstream K-pop soloist, he also has quite a reputation in the underground hip-hop scene.

Although he is famous for being a rapper, Zico is also a songwriter and a record producer. He had written Kim Se-jeong’s ‘Flower Way’, as well as Mino’s ‘Fear’, for instance. His 2020’s release of Any Song has topped the billboards and remained on the charts for 27 weeks.

Zico’s Top Songs:

  1. Any Song (2020)
  2. ARTIST (2017)
  3. Actually (2019)

3. BoA

Kwon Bo-ah, known as BoA, has been in the K-pop scene since 2000. She was born on 5th November 1986, and is considered one of the most successful Korean entertainers in the industry, receiving the title of ‘Queen of K-Pop’. She debuted in 2000 at the age of thirteen and expanded her career to become famously known throughout Korea and Japan. Not only has she made her debut in Korea and Japan, she had released singles in China and the US too.

She is also a songwriter, record producer and an actress. BoA has participated in various shows, such as in Produce 101 Season 2 as a vocal coach. Her multilingual skills (fluent in Japanese, Korean, and English, and speaks some Chinese) has been widely praised as she remains one of the most iconic artists in Asia.

BoA’s Top Songs:

  1. Valenti (2002)
  2. Only One (2012)
  3. No. 1 (2002)


Kwon Hyuk, better known by his stage name DEAN, is born in 10 November 1992. He debuted in the US and Korea in 2015, with his singles being mainly of the genres alternative R&B and hip-hop. He is also a songwriter and a record producer. R&B’s gaining popularity in Korea is also attributed to DEAN’s well-liked albums, with his nickname being ‘R&B Prince of Asia’.

His stage name is derived from an actor, James Dean, and he began writing songs at the age of 18 under the name Deanfluenza. From then on, he has collaborated with many famous artists.

DEAN’s Top Songs:

  1. instagram (2017)
  2. D (Half Moon) (2016)
  3. bonnie & clyde (2016)

5. Sunmi

Lee Sun-mi is a singer-songwriter born on May 2, 2992 and was a former member of the girl group Wonder Girls. She debuted in 2007 in Wonder Girls, but temporarily left the group in 2010 to pursue an academic career. She then returned as a soloist in 2013 with her album ‘Full Moon’. Sunmi returned to her group activities in 2015 until their disbandment in 2017.

After the disbandment, her hit single ‘Gashina’ was released and has remained an iconic song ever since. Sunmi was inspired by BoA who debuted at the age of 13 when she was young as she thought it was the fastest way to make money to take care of her sick father. Unfortunately, her father passed away just three months before her debut with Wonder Girls.

Sunmi’s Top Songs:

  1. Gashina (2017)
  2. LALALAY (2019)
  3. Siren (2018)

6. Eric Nam

Eric Name is born November 17, 1988, and is an American singer-songwriter and television host. He was born and raised in Atlanta, Georgia, United States. He had spent a year studying abroad ini China before deciding to pursue a career in the entertainment industry.

In 2012, Eric competed in the South Korea’s show program ‘Star Audition: Birth of a Great Star 2” and placed within the top 5 contestants. This kickstarted his career as an artist in Korea. He made his official debut in 2013 in South Korea with ‘Cloud 9’, and in 2016 in the US with his single ‘Into you’. Eric is also famously known as television hosts, for instance the After School Club from 2013 to 2016, and 2016’s Yang and Nam Show.

Eric Nam’s Top Songs:

  1. Honestly (2018)
  2. Runaway (2019)
  3. Congratulations (2019)

7. Chungha

Kim Chung-ha, known mononymously as Chungha, is born on February 9, 1996. She has lived in Dallas, Texas for eight years before deciding to move to South Korea to pursue a career in music. She was a former member of Mnet’s survival program Produce 101 Season 1’s IOI which disbanded in 2017. She made her solo debut right after with ‘Hands on Me’ and has gained a tremendous fanbase ever since.

Chungha is known to be an exceptional dancer, also hailed as the main dancer when in IOI. Not only is she a singer, she is also a choreographer. Both IU and BoA are named as her inspirations to continue this career path. Her release of Gotta Go in 2019 has won her first trophy, followed by Snapping which placed first on the charts.

Chungha’s Top Songs:

  1. Snapping (2019)
  2. Gotta Go (2019)
  3. Roller Coaster (2018)

8. Kang Daniel

Kang Daniel (born Kang Eui-geon but legally changed his name to Daniel) is born on 10 December 1996. Like Chungha, he made his debut in the popular Mnet’s survival program Produce 101. He ranked first in Produce 101 Season 2, making him debut as the center of Wanna One in 2017 before the group disbanded in 2018. He was given the nickname “Nation’s center”.

After a lawsuit with his company, Kang Daniel established his own agency KONNECT where he is the current CEO of. His solo debut came after in 2019 with Color on Me which was the highest-first day and first-week sales of any solo artist in the history of K-pop.

Kang Daniel’s Top Songs:

  1. TOUCHIN’ (2019)
  2. 2U (2020)
  3. What are you up to (2019)

9. Heize

Jang Da-hye, better known by her stage name Heize, is born on 9th August 1991. She debuted in 2014 with Heize, and has gained the public’s attention in 2015 after appearing on a reality show Unpretty Rapstar 2. Heize is a singer, rapper, songwriter and a composer signed under Studio Blu and Stone Music Entertainment.

Her genres include contemporary R&B, contemporary Soul, Pop, and Hip hop. She has showcased her unique vocals and songwriter skills in her singles and dramas’ OSTs. Heize says that she writes her songs based on her life, where she regularly writes in her journal.

Heize’s Top Songs:

  1. And July (2016)
  2. You, Clouds, rain (2017)
  3. Jenga (2018)

10. Crush

Shin Hyo-seob, known by his stage name Crush, is an R&B and hip-hop artist. He was born on 3rd May 1992 and made his debut in 2014 with his single ‘Sometimes’ and later with his album ‘Crush on You’. Crush was inspired by Dynamic Duo’s Taxi Driver, which made him pursue music during the first year of middle school.

Not only is he famous for his distinctive vocals in his own songs, his OSTs’ are known widely throughout Korea, such as Goblin’s ‘Beautiful’ and Crash Landing on You’s ‘Let Us Go’.

Crush’s Top Songs:

  1. Woo-Ah (2016)
  2. Sofa (2014)
  3. Oasis (2015)

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Anny Taylor

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