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Kim Tae-yeon (born March 9, 1989), known mononymously as Taeyeon, is a South Korean singer. She debuted as a member of SM Entertainment's girl group Girls' Generation in 2007. As the group attained stardom on the Asian music scene, she rose to prominence and further participated in SM Entertainment's projects Girls' Generation-TTS, SM the Ballad, and Girls' Generation-Oh!GG. Aside from group activities, she also recorded soundtrack songs for various television dramas and movies, which proved popular on South Korean charts and earned her the nickname "OST Queen" (OST 여왕).[1]

Kim Tae-yeon at Incheon Airport on August 29, 2019.png
Taeyeon in August 2019
Kim Tae-yeon

(1989-03-09) March 9, 1989 (age 30)
Jeonju, North Jeolla, South Korea
ResidenceSeoul, South Korea
Musical career
Years active2007–present
Associated acts
Korean name
Revised RomanizationGim Taeyeon
McCune–ReischauerKim T'aeyŏn
Signature of Kim Tae-yeon.png

Taeyeon began a solo career in 2015 with her first extended play (EP) titled I, which peaked at number two on South Korea's Gaon Album Chart; the title track was a number-one hit on the Gaon Digital Chart. Her second EP Why (2016) reached number one in South Korea and yielded two Gaon top-ten singles, "Starlight" and "Why". Her debut studio album, My Voice (2017), was also a number one in South Korea and spawned two Gaon top-five singles, "Fine" and "Make Me Love You". Taeyeon has released three further EPs, two in Korean and one in Japanese. She has received five Golden Disc Awards, two Mnet Asian Music Awards, two Seoul Music Awards, one Melon Music Award, and two Gaon Chart Music Awards.

Life and careerEdit

1989–2008: Early life and career beginningsEdit

Taeyeon was born on March 9, 1989, in Jeonju, South Korea.[2][3] Her family consists of her parents, an older brother, and a younger sister.[4] Having believed that she was "only talented" at singing, Taeyeon harbored the dream of becoming a singer at a young age.[5] During her second year in middle school, Taeyeon accompanied her father to SM Academy (a former music institution and auxiliary affiliation of SM Entertainment), to pursue vocal lessons. Although at the time her father did not encourage Taeyeon to become an entertainer, he was persuaded by the school's president to give his daughter a chance after she recognized Taeyeon's "clean" voice. During the next year, Taeyeon accompanied her father from their hometown to Seoul on every Sunday to receive her vocal lessons from The One.[6] She named BoA, Whitney Houston and Utada Hikaru as her pre-debut inspirations.[7][8]

Taeyeon was trained by her former vocal instructor, known professionally as The One, for three years. In a 2011 interview, he described Taeyeon as a "smart" student, someone "unlike others who came to him with dreams of becoming a celebrity... [she] wanted to be a singer and reach the top with her own talents." In 2004, he "wanted to acknowledge Taeyeon's potential" by giving her the chance to be in his song "You Bring Me Joy".[9][10] That same year, she won first place at the SM Youth Best Competition and signed a contract with SM Entertainment. The training process was so tough that it nearly made her quit at one point; she continued, however, and debuted as a member of girl group Girls' Generation in August 2007.[11][12][13] The group gained significant popularity after the release of their hit single "Gee" in 2009.[14] Taeyeon graduated from Jeonju Art High School and was awarded the school's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.[15]

2008–2015: Original soundtracks, TTS and SM The BalladEdit

Taeyeon sang "7989" (featuring Kangta), a track taken from both Girls' Generation's eponymous debut album (2007) and Kangta's fourth studio album, Eternity (2008).[16] After that, Taeyeon gained popularity through her various television soundtracks, recording "If" for the KBS2 drama Hong Gil Dong (2008) and "Can You Hear Me" for MBC's drama Beethoven Virus (2009).[17] "If" was seen as more popular than its respective drama,[18] and "Can You Hear Me" won a Popularity Award at the 2008 Golden Disk Awards.[19] Both tracks remain among Taeyeon's most well-known hits.[17] During this period, she also recorded "It's Love", a duet with Girls' Generation member Sunny, for the MBC drama Heading to the Ground (2009).[20]

Following a radio hosting job in 2009–10,[21] Taeyeon tried out acting, making her theatrical debut in a lead role in the musical Midnight Sun (2010), an adaptation of the Japanese novel of the same name (2006). She played the part of Kaoru Amane, a teenager who suffered from xeroderma pigmentosum, and learned to play a guitar for the role. Her performance in the sold-out shows received good press despite the musical's critical reviews.[22][23] Jang Gyeong-jin of 10Asia praised Taeyeon's "distinct vocals" and commented that her acting stood out among idol stars who had ventured into musical theatre,[24] while Kim Ji-yeong from The Dong-a Ilbo felt "Taeyeon's optimistic and charming personality made her the perfect match" for the role.[25] Despite the favorable response, Taeyeon later described musicals as difficult, citing that her weak concentration made it hard for her to act and sing at the same time.[26]

Taeyeon performing at the Expo Yeosu in July 2012

The same year, Taeyeon worked with Korean songwriter-composer Ahn Young-min on her musical projects. She recorded "Like A Star" (featuring The One), and the song reached number one on the Gaon Digital Chart.[27][28] Her next single, "I Love You", for the SBS drama Athena: Goddess of War soundtrack, reached number two on the same chart.[29] Ahn recalled his impression of the latter song: "I was surprised at how well Taeyeon could sing. This is a rather mature song, so I would be lying if I said I didn't have my doubts, but she blew me away. I was moved to tears listening to her singing."[30] In 2011, Taeyeon lent her voice to Kim Bum-soo's "Different", a single featured on his seventh album Solista: Part 2.[31] The song debuted at number two on the Gaon Digital Chart.[32] Taeyeon and Kim Bum-soo met again at his concert two years later for a live cover version of the latter's 2008 song "Man and Woman".[33]

Following Taeyeon's working relationship with him from the drama Beethoven Virus (2008), musical director Lee Pil-ho was determined to collaborate with her again on the soundtrack for MBC's melodrama The King 2 Hearts (2012) soundtrack, having her record the main theme song "Missing You Like Crazy".[34] It was released in March 2012 and debuted at number two on both the Gaon Digital Chart and K-pop Hot 100.[35][36] Taeyeon's vocal received positive feedback from the song's composer Park Hae-woon: "She fully understood the song in its entirety and expressed each detail very precisely...even though this song requires the lowest note that a female singer can produce, Taeyeon executed them perfectly."[37] The song was named the most popular soundtrack at 2012 Seoul Drama Awards.[38] Later in the year, she contributed her vocals to the song "Closer", for the SBS drama To the Beautiful You, which was number seven on both the Gaon Digital Chart and K-pop Hot 100.[39][40]

In April 2012, a Girls' Generation subgroup named TTS was formed with Taeyeon and fellow members Tiffany and Seohyun. Their debut EP, Twinkle, met with much success and became South Korea's eighth- highest selling album of the year.[41][42][43] The subgroup went on to release two more EPs: Holler (2014) and Dear Santa (2015).[44][45] In January 2013, Taeyeon and Tiffany sang a duet, "Lost in Love", which was featured on Girls' Generation's fourth Korean album, I Got a Boy.[46] Two months later, she recorded "And One", written and composed by Kangta, for the SBS drama That Winter, The Wind Blows.[47] It debuted at the top of Billboard's K-pop Hot 100[48] and reached number two on the Gaon Digital Chart.[49] In July 2013, Taeyeon was invited to record the theme song "Bye" for the movie Mr. Go soundtrack, after its musical director was left with a "deep impression" having heard her cover version of a song during a radio appearance.[50][51]

In February 2014, Taeyeon joined the roster of SM the Ballad, a ballad group initially formed by SM Entertainment in 2010, contributing her vocals to their second album Breath.[52] Her lead single of the same name (a duet with Shinee's Jonghyun) peaked at number three and six on South Korea's Gaon Digital Chart and K-pop Hot 100 Chart, respectively.[53][54] She also recorded a solo song, "Set Me Free", for the album.[52] Her other 2014 releases included "Colorful" for JTBC's campaign "The World Is More Beautiful Because We're Different" and "Love, That One Word" for the SBS's drama You're All Surrounded; the latter entered Top 10 on both Gaon Digital Chart and K-Pop Hot 100.[55][56][57] In February 2015, Taeyeon accepted a personal request from f(x)'s Amber to feature in "Shake that Brass", the lead single taken from her debut album, Beautiful.[58]

2015–2016: Solo debutEdit

Taeyeon began working on a solo album in late 2014, believing her "right time" had come. She previously was afraid of not being ready for a solo debut, but her eight-year career gave her enough experience to be "well-prepared".[59][60] The final product, an extended play titled I, was released in October 2015.[61] The EP peaked at number two on South Korea's Gaon Album Chart.[62] It became the sixteenth best-selling album of 2015 in South Korea, with sales of 119,576 copies.[63] It additionally peaked atop the US Billboard World Albums.[64] The commercial success of I, according to Yonhap News Agency, was the main contributor to SM Entertainment's leading music sales during the fourth quarter of 2015.[65] The lead single, which features rapper Verbal Jint, peaked at number one on the Gaon Digital Chart and has sold over one million digital units.[66][67] To accompany her solo release, she held a series of small concerts titled Taeyeon's Very Special Day.[68] Her concurrent reality show, OnStyle's Daily Taeng9Cam, was the third most popular idol program of 2015 in South Korea.[69] Taeyeon was also named Best Female Artist at the 2015 Mnet Asian Music Awards,[70] and at the 2016 Golden Disk Awards.[71]

Taeyeon performing at the 2016 Style Icon Asia

Taeyeon next contributed her vocals to Yim Jae-beom's "Scars Deeper than Love", Verbal Jint's "If The World Was a Perfect Place" (2015) and Crush's "Don't Forget" (2016).[72][73][74] In February 2016, SM Entertainment launched a digital music platform called SM Station, with Taeyeon's single "Rain" its first release.[75] The song peaked at number one on the Gaon Digital Chart and sold more than one million digital copies. It was the most commercially successful song of SM Station to date.[76][77] A few months later, Taeyeon and Super Junior's Kyuhyun were featured in a commercial for the bottled water brand Jeju Samdasoo, for which she recorded a song "The Blue Night of Jeju Island".[78] She also became a spokesperson for Sword and Magic, a game developed by the company Longtu Korea, for which she recorded a rendition of BoA's 2003 song "Atlantis Princess".[79] Her celebrity endorsements witnessed an increase in sales figures for both brands.[80][81]

After her record label began to focus more on EDM, her follow-up EP titled Why (2016) also saw that incorporated into its track list. The album received complimentary reviews, with Jeff Benjamin from Fuse praising Taeyeon's "powerful vocals" in it.[82][83] It debuted at number one and two on South Korea's Gaon Album Chart and Billboard's US World Album Chart, respectively.[84][85] The lead single peaked at number seven while her other single "Starlight" (featuring Dean) was at number five on the Gaon Digital Chart.[86] With her accompanying concert series, Butterfly Kiss, she became the first Korean female solo artist to hold a full-scale concert while still being an active girl group member. It was a success, setting a precedent in a Korean market which stigmatized concerts held by a single girl group members on the basis that they could not be profitable.[87][88] During the concert she performed a self-composed unreleased song, "Pray", for the first time.[89]

After Taeyeon recorded "All With You" for SBS' television drama Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo,[90] her next single, "11:11", was released in November 2016. It peaked at number two on the Gaon Digital Chart and was chosen by Billboard as the seventh best K-pop song of the year.[91][92] She described the track as an "easy-listening song [to] reminisce and remember the autumn", and later revealed an acoustic version on video-sharing website YouTube.[93][94] For her 2016 work, she was honored by The Dong-a Ilbo as "Voice of the Year", "Singer of the Year" and "Most Hardworking".[95] She also won "Best Female Artist" at the 2016 Mnet Asian Music Awards.[96]

2017–2018: My VoiceEdit

Taeyeon's first studio album, My Voice, having been in the production process for over a year, was released in February 2017 and included the single "Fine".[97][98] Both the album and the song were well-received, topping both the Gaon Album Chart and Gaon Digital Chart, respectively.[99][100] On April 5, 2017, a deluxe edition of the album was released, accompanied by the single "Make Me Love You".[101] The song reached number four on the Gaon Digital Chart.[102] In May 2017, Taeyeon embarked on her first Asia tour, Persona.[103][104]

In December 2017, Taeyeon released her third EP This Christmas: Winter Is Coming.[105] The album debuted at number two on the Gaon Album Chart, and at number six on the Billboard World Albums Chart.[106][107] Hong Dam-young from The Korea Herald highlighted Taeyeon's "calm and undeniable vocal prowess" in the album while praising the songs as "the most sophisticated Christmas tunes" of the year.[108] Its single, "This Christmas," debuted at number two on the Gaon Digital Chart.[109] To promote the album, Taeyeon held a two-day Christmas concert titled "The Magic of Christmas Time".[110]

In June 2018, Taeyeon released her fourth EP, Something New.[111] The EP peaked at number three on the Gaon Album Chart,[112] and at number four on the Billboard World Albums Chart.[113] That same month Taeyeon embarked on a Japan Showcase Tour, exclusively available to members of SM Entertainment's official Japanese fan club.[114] The tour visited Fukuoka, Nagoya, Tokyo and Osaka. Following the success of her sold-out showcase tour, Taeyeon released her debut Japanese single, "Stay", on June 30, 2018. The single is accompanied by a B-side titled "I'm The Greatest". In August 2018, Girls' Generation's second sub-group, Oh!GG, was announced, consisting of Taeyeon and four other members who remained signed under SM Entertainment; the group released their first single, "Lil' Touch" in September.[115] Taeyeon embarked on her second Asia tour from October 2018 to January 2019.[116] On October 12, it was announced that the tour would go to Hong Kong's AsiaWorld Expo Arena, making her the first South Korean female solo artist to hold a solo concert at the venue.[117] Encore concerts of her tour were announced in early 2019, and took place at Seoul's Jamsil Arena on March 23 and 24.[118]

2019–present: Japanese debut and PurposeEdit

In February 2019, SM Entertainment announced Taeyeon was in the midst of preparing a new song.[119] On March 22, she released the music video of her new title track, ahead of its planned release. On March 24, Taeyeon digitally released her new single "Four Seasons", with "Blue" serving as its B-side, as a digital album release.[120] The single peaked at number six on the Billboard's World Digital Songs Chart[121] and within 24 hours, the music video received 2.7 million views on YouTube. In South Korea, "Four Seasons" claimed the number one spot on the Gaon Digital Chart for two consecutive weeks.[122][123] "Four Seasons" became Taeyeon's song with the highest unique listeners on Genie Music[124], surpassing debut song 'I'[125].

In April 2019, Taeyeon embarked on her first concert tour in Japan, ~Signal~, which started on April 13 in Fukuoka.[126] Following the conclusion of her tour, Taeyeon released her first Japanese EP, Voice, on May 13.[127] Taeyeon was also a featured artist in Chancellor's song, "Angel", which was released on May 1.[128] On May 21, she released a cover of Yoon Jong-shin's "A Train to Chuncheon" as part of Yoon's Monthly Yoon Jong Shin and Now 30 projects.[129] In May 2019, she joined the cast of the third season of music variety show Begin Again,[130] which will air in July 2019.[131] She also recorded "All About You" for the TVN television drama Hotel Del Luna; the song topped seven music charts in South Korea.[132] "All About You" claimed the number one spot on the Gaon Digital Chart for two consecutive weeks.[133][134]

Taeyeon released her second studio album, Purpose, on October 28, 2019.[135][136]


In the early years, Taeyeon's music was predominantly ballads recorded for television soundtracks.[104] With the popularity of songs including "If" (2008) and "Can You Hear Me" (2009), she was referred to as the "representative singer of popular OSTs".[17] Since debuting as a solo artist, Taeyeon's musical styles have varied. Her 2015 debut single "I" departs for a pop rock sound.[61] In 2016, the single "Rain" incorporates elements of jazz and R&B,[75] while "Why" utilizes various elements including EDM, R&B and tropical house beats.[137][138]

Public image and impactEdit

Taeyeon performing at the SMWeek concert in December 2013

Taeyeon has been widely regarded as a "talented vocalist" for her soulful vocals.[17][139] Her singing abilities have been subject to attention from several major South Korean producers; in 2009 on MBC's Yoo Jae-suk & Kim Won-hee's Come to Play Park Jin-young of JYP Entertainment expressed his wish to work with Taeyeon because of her "ability to tell a story through singing."[140] Korean composer Yoo Young-seok correlated Taeyeon's singing to "a woman who has been divorced seven times."[141] Taeyeon was selected as the best K-pop vocalist by 40 anonymous music industry officials in October 2015,[142] and was named the best female vocalist in their twenties by twelve Korean music companies in April 2016.[143]

As the leader of popular K-pop girl group Girls' Generation and a successful solo artist,[144][145] Taeyeon has been recognized as a prominent South Korean figure. Janelle Okwodu from Vogue described Taeyeon as "the Beyoncé of [Girls' Generation]" whose fashion styles are "constantly on the go."[146] Gallup Korea ranked her the most popular K-pop idol of 2016,[147] and Forbes Korea named her as the 11th singer and 32nd celebrity in their Top 40 Power Celebrities of 2016.[148] She became the first K-pop female celebrity to reach seven million followers on Instagram in June 2016.[149]

Taeyeon has been cited as an inspiration for numerous K-pop artists. Boy band BTS deemed her as the inspiration for their single "Boy In Luv" (2014).[150] She has also been named as an influence by Lovelyz's Jiae,[151] Melody Day's Chahee,[152] Cosmic Girls' Luda,[153] CLC's Elkie,[154] Sonamoo's High.D.[155] and Baek A-yeon.[156] Vibe's Yoon Min-soo described Taeyeon's musical styles as an example of Korean R&B "K-Soul": "I can feel that sort of emotions from the ballads Taeyeon sings. If you can feel a deep soul from a singer, that's 'K-Soul'."[157]




Year Title Role Notes Ref
2010 Despicable Me Margo Voice-over for the Korean-dubbed version [158]
2012 I Am Herself Biographical film of SM Town [159]
2013 Despicable Me 2 Margo Voice-over for the Korean-dubbed version [160]
2014 My Brilliant Life Herself Cameo (with Tiffany and Seohyun) [161]
2015 SMTown The Stage Documentary film of SM Town [162]

Reality showsEdit

Year Title Network Role Notes Ref
2015 Daily Taeng9Cam OnStyle Cast Her first reality show
2019 Begin Again JTBC Cast (season 3) [130]


Year Title Role Notes Ref
2010 Midnight Sun Kaoru Female lead [22]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Since debuting as a member of Girls' Generation, Taeyeon has received numerous nominations and awards for her solo activities in original soundtracks, radio show hosting and musical theatre dating back to 2008. She has won two Best Female Artist at the Mnet Asian Music Awards, as well as Bonsang awards at the 25th Seoul Music Awards and the 30th Golden Disc Awards.[163][164][165][166]


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External linksEdit