Amy Lee (born May 30, 1989), known professionally as Ailee, is a Korean-American singer and songwriter based in South Korea. Amassing digital sales success in South Korea, she has released two studio albums, five extended plays, twenty one singles, six of which charted within the top five of the Gaon Digital Chart.

Ailee
Ailee in pink outfit in 2019
Ailee in October 2021
Background information
Birth nameAmy Lee
Also known asLee Ye-jin
Born (1989-05-30) May 30, 1989 (age 32)
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
Occupation(s)
  • Singer
  • songwriter
Musical career
Genres
InstrumentsVocals
Years active2011–present
Labels
Associated acts
WebsiteAilee
Korean name
Hangul
Hanja
Revised RomanizationI Ye-jin
McCune–ReischauerI Yechin
Stage name
Hangul
에일리
Revised RomanizationEilli
McCune–ReischauerEilli

Following a short stint at Muzo Entertainment in New York City, she moved to South Korea in 2010, signing to YMC Entertainment. Ailee debuted in 2012 with her first single "Heaven", peaking at number three on Gaon, earning her Best New Artist Awards at Melon Music Awards, Golden Disc Awards, Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards and the Seoul Music Awards. Through the years, she has won four Mnet Asian Music Award for Best Female Vocal Performance titles from "U&I" in 2013, "Singing Got Better" in 2014, "Mind Your Own Business" in 2015, to "If You" in 2016. Her OST, "I Will Go to You Like the First Snow" released in 2017 won various awards and was the most digitally successful song of that year, becoming the best selling record in movies and dramas in the Korean sound record market.[1]

Life and careerEdit

1989–2011: Early life, career beginningsEdit

Ailee was born in Denver, Colorado, on May 30, 1989, and grew up in New Jersey.[2] She attended Palisades Park High School before moving to nearby Leonia. After her Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School graduation, she studied communications at Pace University[3] before dropping out to pursue a career in music.[4] Before her K-pop debut, Ailee was signed under Muzo Entertainment, an independent agency in New York City and New Jersey. Under that label she collaborated with several artists, including Johnnyphlo and Philadelphia-based rapper Decipher.[citation needed] Before moving to South Korea, Ailee created the YouTube channels "mzamyx3" and "aileemusic" to bring attention to her singing on the web.[citation needed]

Ailee moved to South Korea in 2010 after she landed a music label audition through her uncle's connections, she sang "Resignation" by Big Mama during the audition, and was recruited for YMC Entertainment on the spot.[3] During her training, YMC featured her in the label's Wheesung song, "They Are Coming", which it released in October 2011.[5] She also sang in Decipher and Jay Park's song "Catch Me If You Can".[citation needed] In September 2011, Ailee and Wheesung were featured on the MBC's Chuseok special episode of Singer and Trainee. Ailee performed "Halo" by Beyoncé to a positive reaction from the audience. Following her performance of "Halo", judge BMK said, "Wherever she goes, she has the potential to be a big star. She definitely has the voice." After the judges had graded all the participants, Ailee was the first-place winner.[6]

2012: Debut and commercial successEdit

 
Ailee performing in July 2012

On February 9, 2012, Ailee released her debut single "Heaven" along with the music video, which featured Gi Kwang of Beast.[7] On the same day, she made her debut stage performance of "Heaven" on M Countdown.[8] Billboard commented, "From her debut single, Ailee proved that she had an ability beyond her years to communicate the deeper experiences one feels in love. In this dedication track, Ailee's partner protected her and taught her how to love in a harsh world."[9] The success of the single, helped Ailee win her first award at the 2012 Cyworld Digital Music Awards. The single received the Song of the month (February) and Rookie of the month at the award ceremony.[10]

On October 16, 2012, Ailee released her debut EP, Invitation, with the title track "I Will Show You".[11] The EP contained a total of six tracks.[12] It was produced by producers such as Kim Do-hoon, Lee Hyun-seung, Park Guen-tae, Duble Sidekick, Wheesung, and featured artists such as Verbal Jint, Swings and Simon Dominic.[11]

In 2012, Ailee was awarded the Best New Artist Award at the Seoul Music Awards, Melon Music Awards, Mnet Asian Music Awards, and Golden Disk Awards, as well as the New Female Solo Artist Award at the Gaon Chart Music Awards.[13][14][15][16] She has also received the Mnet America Rising Star Award, a special award presented by Mnet America at the pre-show of 55th Grammy Awards.[17]

2013–2014: Commercial popularityEdit

 
Ailee at the 22nd Seoul Music Awards, where she received the award for Best New Artist.

On July 12, 2013, Ailee released her second Ep, titled A's Doll House.[18] The EP's title track, "U&I" topped various music charts within four hours of release.[19][20]

On November 6, 2013, Ailee made her Japanese debut with Japanese-version of "Heaven" and "Starlight" under Warner Music Japan.[21][22]

On January 6, 2014, Ailee released a single titled "Singing Got Better", the single was produced by Wheesung.[23][24] The song peaked at number one upon released on various music chart.[25] The single has received the Best Vocal Performance at the 2014 Mnet Asian Music Awards.[26]

On September 25, 2014, Ailee released her third EP, titled Magazine.[27] The EP's title track, "Don't Touch Me" peaked at number one upon released on various music chart.[28][29] The single has received the Digital Bonsang at the 2015 Golden Disc Awards.[30]

2015–2016: Breakthrough with VividEdit

After wrapping up her joint Unite the Mic Tour with Jay Park and San E in Toronto in March 2015, plans were revealed for Ailee to hold a solo concert three years after her debut. Her first solo concert, titled Fatal Attraction, was held on July 4, 2015 at the Olympic Hall.[31] Ailee was joined on stage several times by different artists, who helped her sing her many duets and collaborations. She sang "Shut Up" with Showry, "Like Nobody Knows" and "Comma 07" with Cheetah, "Wash Away" and "Officially Missing You" with Geeks, "NimA" and "Shower of Tears" with Baechigi, and "Touch My Body" and "Let"s Go Travel" with Shin Bo-ra.[32]

Ailee's first full-length album Vivid was released on September 30, 2015. She won her first trophy for this promotion on October 7, 2015 on Show Champion.[33] Ailee was awarded the Best Female Vocal Award for the third consecutive year at the 2015 Mnet Asian Music Awards, for "Mind Your Own Business".[34]

On July 13, 2016, Ailee was confirmed to participate as a judge on Superstar K 2016.[35]

On August 23, 2016, Ailee released her single "If You", which subsequently topped the Gaon Weekly Chart for Digital Download.[36]

On October 5, 2016, Ailee released her EP A New Empire, along with the music video for "Home" that was officially released on LOEN and YMC Entertainment's official YouTube channel.[37][38] A New Empire peaked at number 10 on the Gaon Album Chart, and number nine on the US World Albums (Billboard) Chart.[39]

On December 2, 2016, Ailee was again awarded with Best Vocal Performance at the 2016 Mnet Asian Music Awards, this time for "If You", a record-breaking fourth consecutive win in the category.[40]

2017–2018: OST success and solo concert toursEdit

On January 7, 2017, Ailee released her debut American single "Fall Back" through WestSide Entertainment under the alias A.Leean.[41] She also released the ballad "I Will Go to You Like the First Snow" (첫눈처럼 너에게 가겠다) on the same day as part nine in a series composed of singles for the South Korean cable television series Guardian: The Lonely and Great God.[42] The single topped the Gaon Digital Chart for three consecutive weeks.[43] The single earned Ailee the Best OST Award at the 2017 Korea Cable TV Awards.[44] The soundtrack has also received several accolades, including the best original soundtrack award at the Seoul International Drama Awards, the Mnet Asian Music Awards, the Melon Music Awards, the Seoul Music Awards and the Golden Disc Awards.[45][46][47][48][49]

 
Ailee busking in Myeongdong, July 2019

Ailee previously held two Christmas concerts in Seoul titled Welcome Home at Kyunghee University's Grand Peace Palace on December 24–25, 2016.[50] Due to the success of the concerts, it was announced that Ailee would be holding her first nationwide tour, titled Welcome Home Tour, which started in Daegu on April 1, 2017.[citation needed] On June 25, 2017 in The City Hall at Taipei International Convention Center, Ailee held her first solo concert in Taiwan titled Ailee – Hello Taipei 2017.[51] On November 18 and 19, Ailee held two concerts at the Pechanga Theater in California, selling out a total of 2,600 tickets combined.[52]

On March 18, 2018, Ailee performed "I Will Show You" at the closing ceremony of the 2018 Paralympic Winter Games at the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium.[53] On September 14, 2018, Ailee was chosen as a member of the South Korean cultural delegation, alongside other selected South Korean artists, for the third inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang, North Korea, where she performed her OST "I Will Go to You Like the First Snow".[54] On November 23, 2018, Ailee announced her second nationwide tour, titled I Am: Ailee.[55]

2019–present: Butterfly, continued touring, I'm, Lovin and AmyEdit

Ailee released her second studio album, titled Butterfly, on July 2, 2019, with the lead single "Room Shaker".[56] On September 10, 2019, Ailee announced on Instagram that she started a new company named, "Rocket3 Entertainment" after being signed with YMC Entertainment for eight years.[57]

On December 13, 2019, Ailee released her first English language single under American label, Sun and Sky Records. The single, entitled "Sweater", was hailed as "a heart-wrenching-yet-soothing ballad" by Billboard.[58]

Ailee released her fifth extended play titled I'm on October 6, 2020, with the lead single "When We Were In Love".[59] The music video was released on October 12, 2020 and was directed by Will Kim.[citation needed] On November 8, 2020, Ailee released "Blue Bird", an OST that would be part nine of singles for the South Korean drama Start-Up.[60]

On May 7, 2021, Ailee released her sixth extended play titled Lovin', ahead of the release of her third studio album. The extended play includes two lead singles, "Make Up Your Mind" and "Spring Flowers".[61]

On July 22, 2021, Ailee joined new label The L1ve as their first official artist.[62]

On October 14, 2021, it was announced that Ailee will be releasing her third studio album Amy on October 27, with the lead single "Don't Teach Me".[63]

Awards and nominationsEdit

DiscographyEdit

  • Vivid (2015)
  • Butterfly (2019)
  • Amy (2021)

FilmographyEdit

Television dramaEdit

Year Title Network Role Ref.
2012 Dream High Season 2 KBS Ailee [64]

Television showsEdit

Year Title Network Role Notes Ref.
2012 Vitamin JTBC Main cast [citation needed]
2013–2014 Great Marriage
2014 MBC Music Ailee's Vitamin MBC Main cast
2016 Superstar K 2016 (K8) Judge [65]
2017 One Night Food Trip: Food Race O'live & tvN Cast member Ep. 6–10 [66]
2018 Hyena on the Keyboard KBS2 Producer With Jeong Dong-hwan (Ep. 1–2) [67]
The Call Mnet Contestant and producer Ep. 1–8 [68]
2019 Vocal Play Channel A Judge [69]
2020 Good Girl Mnet Contestant [70]

Web showsEdit

Year Title Network Role Ref.
2020 G-Star 2020 – Krafton KakaoTV Cast member [71]

Tours and concertsEdit

Welcome Home TourEdit

Welcome Home Tour
Tour by Ailee
LocationSouth Korea
Associated albumA New Empire
Start dateDecember 24, 2016 (2016-12-24)
End dateJune 3, 2017 (2017-06-03)
Legs2
No. of shows7 shows
Ailee concert chronology
  • Ailee Concert (California)
    (2015)
  • Welcome Home Tour
    (2016–2017)
  • Ailee – Hello Taipei 2017
    (2017)

Welcome Home Tour was the first nationwide tour by Ailee, in support of her fourth extended play A New Empire. The tour visited six cities through 2016 and 2017.

Set list
First show in Seoul
  1. "U&I"
  2. "Worth it"
  3. "Mind Your Own Business"
  4. "Home"
  5. "Heaven" with Lee Min Jung
  6. "Now" with Park Su Bin
  7. "Evening Sky"
  8. "Singing Got Better"
  9. "If You"
  10. "Everyone"
  11. "Letting Go" with Amber Liu
  12. "Shake that Brass" with Amber Liu
  13. "Live or Die" with Tak
  14. "Wrong Encounter", "Bruise" and "Run to You" Mix
  15. "No No No"
  16. "Don't Touch Me"
  17. "I Will Show You"
Encore
  1. "All I Want for Christmas is You", "Must Have Love", "White Love" and "Jingle Bells". (Christmas Song Medley)
Final show in Gwangju
  1. "U&I"
  2. "Worth it"
  3. "Mind Your Own Business"
  4. "Home"
  5. "Heaven"
  6. "Now"
  7. "Evening Sky"
  8. "Singing Got Better"
  9. "If You"
  10. "Everyone"
  11. "I Need You"
  12. "Cherry Blossom Ending"
  13. "What the Spring"
  14. "Feelin" with Eric Nam
  15. "Wrong Meeting", "Bruise", "Run to You". (Dance Song Medley)
  16. "No No No"
  17. "Reminiscing"
  18. "I Will Go to You Like the First Snow"
Encore
  1. "Don't Touch Me"
  2. "I Will Show You"
Tour dates
Date City Country Venue Attendance
December 24, 2016 Seoul South Korea Kyunghee University, Grand Peace Palace 20,000[72][73]
December 25, 2016
April 1, 2017 Daegu South Korea Kyungpook National University, Grand Hall
April 8, 2017 Suwon South Korea Gyeonggi Arts Center, Grand Theater[74]
April 15, 2017 Daejeon South Korea Chungnam National University, Chungnam Hall
April 22, 2017 Busan South Korea Busan KBS Hall
June 3, 2017 Gwangju South Korea Gwangju Culture & Art Center, Grand Theater

I AM: Ailee TourEdit

I AM: Ailee Tour
Tour by Ailee
LocationSouth Korea
Start dateDecember 8, 2018 (2018-12-08)
End dateDecember 31, 2018 (2018-12-31)
Legs1
No. of shows5 shows
Ailee concert chronology
  • HER Concert
    (2017)
  • I AM: Ailee Tour
    (2018)
  • I AM: Re-born Tour
    (2019)

I AM: Ailee Tour was the second nationwide tour by Ailee. The tour visited four cities in South Korea, starting on December 8, 2018.[75]

Date City Country Venue
December 8, 2018 Seoul South Korea Olympic Hall, Seoul Olympic Park
December 9, 2018
December 21, 2018 Busan South Korea Auditorium, Busan Exhibition and Convention Center
December 24, 2018 Daejeon South Korea Exhibition Hall, Daejeon Convention Center
December 31, 2018 Daegu South Korea Convention Hall, Daegu Exhibition & Convention Center

I AM: Re-born TourEdit

I AM: Re-born Tour
Tour by Ailee
LocationSouth Korea
Start dateDecember 7, 2019 (2019-12-07)
End dateJanuary 5, 2020 (2020-01-05)
Legs1
No. of shows7 shows
Ailee concert chronology
  • I AM: Ailee Tour
    (2018)
  • I AM: Re-born Tour
    (2019)
  • Show Tok
    (2021)

I AM: Re-born Tour was the third nationwide tour by Ailee. The first leg of the tour visited seven cities in South Korea, starting on December 7, 2019.

Date City Country Venue
December 7, 2019 Incheon South Korea Incheon Culture & Arts Center
December 14, 2019 Gwangju Kimdaejung Convention Center
December 24, 2019 Suwon Gyeonggi Arts Center Grand Theater
December 25, 2019 Daegu EXCO 5F Convention Hall
December 28, 2019 Seongnam Seongnam Arts Center
December 31, 2019 Daejeon Daejeon Convention Center
January 5, 2020 Busan KBS Hall

Solo concertsEdit

Date Title Country Venue Attendance Ref.
July 4, 2015 Fatal Attraction South Korea Gymnastics Stadium, Seoul Olympic Park 3,000 [76]
November 14, 2015 Ailee Concert United States The Show, Agua Caliente Casino Resort Spa N/A
June 25, 2017 Ailee - Hello Taipei 2017 Taiwan The City Hall, Taipei International Convention Center 3,122 [77]
November 18–19, 2017 Ailee Concert United States Pechanga Theater, Pechanga Resort and Casino 2,600 [78][79]
December 23–24, 2017 HER South Korea Sejong University Hall, Sejong University N/A
June 22, 2019 Ailee in California 2019 United States Special Events Center, Fantasy Springs Resort N/A

Co-headlining tours and concertsEdit

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External linksEdit

Awards and achievements
Preceded by 14th Mnet Asian Music AwardsBest New Female Artist Solo
2012
Succeeded by
Preceded by 16th Mnet Asian Music AwardsBest Vocal Performance Female
2013–2016
Succeeded by