Lee Jong-hyun

Lee Jong-hyun (born May 15, 1990) is a South Korean musician, singer-songwriter and actor. He was the ex-lead guitarist and vocalist of South Korean rock band CNBLUE. He made his acting debut in an omnibus movie Acoustic in 2010, followed by his television debut in the Korean drama A Gentleman's Dignity in 2012. He appeared in television dramas Orange Marmalade (2015), Lingerie Girls’ Generation (2017) and Evergreen (2018).

Lee Jong-hyun
Lee Jong-hyun at MOKO, Mong Kok, HK (3).jpg
Lee at MOKO
Born (1990-05-15) May 15, 1990 (age 30)
Busan, South Korea
  • Guitarist
  • musician
  • singer
  • songwriter
  • actor
Musical career
Years active2009–2019
Associated actsCNBLUE
Korean name
Revised RomanizationI Jong-hyeon
McCune–ReischauerYi Jonghyŏn

In August 2019, Lee departed CNBLUE after the backlash over a private direct message towards a YouTuber, and amidst allegations of him viewing illicit videos and having inappropriate sexual conversations degrading women in the Jung Joon-young KakaoTalk chatrooms, a part of Burning Sun scandal.[1]

Life and careerEdit

Early lifeEdit

Lee Jong-hyun was born on May 15, 1990,[2] in Busan, South Korea. His family consists of his parents and two older sisters. He lived in Busan before his family moved to Japan when he was four years old. His family moved back to Busan and he finished his elementary school and middle school there.

He was an ulzzang at "BESTNINE" alongside Mblaq's Lee Joon, fellow member Jung Yong-hwa, and Block B's Jaehyo before debut.

The talent scouter from FNC Music (currently known as FNC Entertainment) who visited Busan to see Jung, came across Lee in the street, and suggested him to audition at the company. On his way to his audition, he met his current fellow CNBLUE member Jung at the Seoul Station. They then met Kang Min-hyuk, also a current fellow member of CNBLUE, at FNC Music where they auditioned. Eventually, only the three of them passed the auditions and Lee began training in bass technology at FNC Academy.

Before Lee embarked on his musical career, he was a judo athlete who won a gold medal in a judo championship amongst athletes in his hometown when he was in high school. However, he decided to give up on sports upon realizing that this was not the field that he would excel in after losing in a match in just a few seconds. He then started to focus on music. At first, he learned singing, then piano. Then, upon watching English singer-songwriter and guitarist Eric Clapton playing the guitar, he was inspired to learn to play the guitar.

Music careerEdit

Lee debuted with CNBLUE in South Korea on January 14, 2010 with their lead single "I'm a Loner". Before their Korean debut, they debuted as an indie band, with Lee being the leader, in Japan in August 2009. Jung Yong-hwa then took over his place following the band's Korean debut. They made their major debut in Japan in October 2011.

Lee, together with Jung, composed many of the band's released songs, such as "Blind Love", "Lie", "Rain of Blessing", "Kimio", "My Miracle", "Come On", "No More", "These Days" etc., which all gained positive feedback. "Come On" ranked number 5 on Oricon's Weekly singles chart while "Blind Love" ranked number 4. "Get Away", one of his compositions, was used as the ending theme song for the Japanese broadcast of American TV series Gossip Girl.[3]

Lee released his first solo single "My Love" in 2012, as part of the soundtrack for SBS drama A Gentleman's Dignity, which he starred in. The song was written by Lee himself. "My Love" debuted at number four on the Gaon Digital Chart.[4] It eventually became the 34th best-selling song in South Korea that year with 2,187,150 digital downloads.[5] The song earned Lee five award nominations, ultimately winning "Best OST" at the 2013 Seoul Music Awards.[6]

In December 2013, Lee and his fellow label-mate Juniel formed a duo called "Romantic J" and released a digital single album titled "Love Falls".[7] Inspired by the movie Music and Lyrics, the song was compose by Lee, with lyrics written by Juniel. The single peaked at #27 on the Melon Chart. The duo subsequently promoted the song through Mnet's M Countdown and SBS MTV's The Show.

On August 2, 2015, Lee held his first solo fan meeting in Japan at the Tokyo International Forum and met with 10,000 fans.

Lee made his solo debut in July 2016, with the studio album Sparkling Night. The album debuted at number seven on the weekly Oricon Albums Chart[8] and number nine on Billboard Japan magazine's Hot Albums,[9] eventually selling 13,529 copies.[10] Lee then embarked on the "Welcome to Sparkling Night" tour, his first series of solo concerts. The first two concerts took place from August 9–10 at the Osaka International Convention Center in Osaka, followed by a concert on August 13 at the Nagoya Congress Center in Aichi, and two final concerts from August 17–18 at the Tokyo International Forum in Tokyo.[11][12]

Acting careerEdit

In 2010, Lee made his acting debut in the omnibus film Acoustic alongside fellow member Kang Min-hyuk.[13]

On May 27, 2012, Lee made his small screen debut in SBS weekend drama A Gentleman's Dignity.[14][15] He earned positive reception for his debut role and won the "New Star" award at the year-end SBS Drama Awards.[16]

In May 2015, Lee starred in the fantasy high-school drama Orange Marmalade, alongside labelmate Seolhyun from AOA, where he plays a vampire.[17] He also joined the fourth season of the Korean reality show We Got Married, pairing with actress Gong Seung-yeon.[18][19][20] Shortly after, he reunited with Gong in the youth historical drama My Only Love Song.[21]

In 2017, he starred in the teen drama Lingerie Girls’ Generation in which he played a former gangster of Daegu who turned to be a kindhearted local handy man.[22] The same year, he was cast in the Japanese film Ikiru Machi, which is about the Great East Japan Earthquake in 2011.[23]

In 2018, Lee starred in the fantasy romance drama That Man Oh Soo opposite Kim So-eun.[24][25]

Controversy and departureEdit

Inside trading of stocksEdit

In June 2016, Lee and fellow CNBLUE member Jung Yong-hwa were accused of insider trading of FNC stocks based on information that their label, (FNC Entertainment), was signing popular comedian, host, and television personality Yoo Jae-suk. While Jung was acquitted of all charges, Lee was fined. Lee apologized and stated that he bought the stocks without verifying the information, but once he realized legal issues could result from the purchase, he held onto the stocks.[26]

Group chat roomsEdit

On March 12, 2019 Lee's agency issued a statement that Lee was not connected to alleged chat rooms and sexual activities, which Jung Joon-young was part of.[27] However, on March 14, it was reported that Lee was involved in the Burning Sun scandal with Jung in a one-to-one chatroom where Jung had shared sexual hidden camera footages of himself as Lee engaged in "inappropriate sexual conversations, and inappropriate conversations degrading women".[28][29][30] On March 15, 2019, Lee admitted that he watched sex videos shared by Jung and he had made disparaging remarks about the women filmed. Investigation is still ongoing.[31] In August 2019, Lee departed CNBLUE after the backlash over inappropriate messages he sent to a YouTuber, which brought renewed attention to the Burning Sun issue.[1][32]


The proceeds collected from "LEE JONG HYUN Solo Concert in Japan - METROPOLIS" which was held in June 2018 were donated for the Great East Japan Earthquake and the Kumamoto Earthquake through the Japanese Red Cross Society.[33]

Mandatory Military ServiceEdit

Lee enlisted in his military service in August 2018.[34]

Lee was officially discharged from his military service on March 25, 2020.[35]


Television seriesEdit

Year Network Title Role Notes
2012 SBS A Gentleman's Dignity Collin Black
2013 KBS2 Drama Special – Adolescence Medley Yang Yeong-woong Cameo, Ep 2-3
2014 LINE TV One Sunny Day Couple guy Cameo, Ep 4 & 8
2015 KBS2 Orange Marmalade Han Si-hoo
2017 NAVER TVcast, Netflix My Only Love Song On Dal
KBS2 Lingerie Girls’ Generation Joo Young-choon
2018 OCN Evergreen Oh Soo


Year Title Role Notes
2010 Acoustic Kim Seong-won segment: Bakery Attack
2018 Ikiru Machi Do-Hyun

Variety showEdit

Year Title Network Notes
2015 We Got Married MBC Cast member (with Gong Seung-yeon)
Fluttering India KBS Cast member (with Changmin, Kyuhyun, Min-ho, Suho and Sung-kyu)[36]
Cool Kiz on the Block KBS Ep.125: The Tenth Sport, Judo (2015.10.20)
2016 Battle trip KBS Ep.10: "The Real Men's Trip" with Joonyoung & Taejoon,
2017 King of Mask Singer MBC Contestant as "All Together Cube One Wheel" (Episodes 101–102)[37]
Law of the Jungle SBS Season 34, Cook Islands with Kim Byung-man, JB (Got7), Solbin (Laboum)[38]



Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales
Sparkling Night 7
  • Released: January 24, 2018
  • Label: Warner Music Japan
  • Formats: CD, digital download


Year Title Peak positions Sales Album


2010 "High Fly" (with Kang Min-hyuk) 102 Acoustic OST
2012 내 사랑아 ("My Love") 4 2
  • KOR (DL): 2,187,150+
A Gentleman's Dignity OST 2
2013 사랑이 내려 ("Love Falls") (with Juniel) 27 52
  • KOR (DL): 112,735+
Romantic J: Winter Special Digital Single Album
2014 사실은 말야 ("Young Love") (with Melody Day) 76[43]
  • KOR (DL): 52,666+
Digital Single
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.
Note – Billboard K-Pop Hot 100 Chart was established in August 2011. Releases before this date have no chart data.[44]

Video albumsEdit

Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales


1st Solo Concert in Japan ~Welcome to SPARKLING NIGHT~ Live at Tokyo International Forum 13 24

Song writing and production creditsEdit

List of songwriting and production credits for Lee Jong-hyun
Year Released Artist Title Album Role Notes
2016 CNBLUE "Be My Love" Puzzle Co-composer, Lyricist
"The Seasons" Blueming Co-composer, Co-lyricist
2015 Ailee "Fill Your Glass"[48] Vivid Co-composer, Co-lyricist
CNBLUE "Footsteps" 2gether Co-composer, Lyricist, Co-arranger
"Drunken night" 2gether Co-composer, Lyricist
"Hero"[49] 2gether Co-composer, Lyricist
"Lucid dream" colors Co-composer, Lyricist
"Irony" White, colors Composer, co-lyricist
"White" White, colors Co-composer, co-lyricist
2014 Nam Young-joo "Fragile and Kind" Fragile and Kind Co-composer, co-lyricist
CNBLUE "Foxy" Wave Co-composer, co-lyricist
"Paradise" Wave Co-composer, lyricist
"How awesome" Wave Co-composer, lyricist
"Monster" Go Your Way Co-composer, lyricist
"Heart Song" (English version) / "Footsteps" (Korean version) Truth (English version) / 2gether (Korean version) Co-composer, lyricist, co-arranger (Korean version)
"Sleepless Night..." Can't Stop Co-composer, co-lyricist
2013 Romantic J (Lee Jong-hyun and Juniel) "Love Falls" Love Falls (Digital Single Release) Co-composer
CNBLUE "I Can't Believe" What Turns You On? (English version), Present (Korean version) Co-composer, lyricist (English version) / Co-lyricist (Korean version)
"Crying Out" What Turns You On? Co-composer, lyricist
"With Your Eyes" Blind Love, What Turns You On? Composer, lyricist [50] Charted at #3 (Japan Recochoku K-Pop weekly Asia chart)
"Blind Love" Blind Love, What Turns You On?(Japanese version), Present (Korean version) Co-composer, lyricist (Japanese version) / Co-lyricist (Korean version), co-arranger [50] Charted at #1 (Japan Recochoku K-Pop weekly Asia chart), #4 (Japan Oricon), #7 (Japan Billboard Hot 100), #4 (Japan Billboard Hot Single Sales)
""Na Geudaeboda" (나 그대보다; "Myself More Than You")" Re:Blue Co-composer Charted at #41 (Korea Gaon), #48 (Korea Billboard), #6 (Taiwan KK Box)
2012 "Starlit Night" Robot, What Turns You On? Composer, lyricist
"These Days" Code Name Blue Composer Unreleased Korean version first performed at Blue Night Concert in Seoul (2012)
"No More" Code Name Blue Co-composer
"My Miracle" Come On, Present Co-composer
"Come On" Come On, Code Name Blue Composer #5 (Japan Oricon), #8 (Japan Billboard Hot 100), #5 (Japan Billboard Hot Single Sales)
"Get Away" Where You Are, Code Name Blue Co-composer Unreleased Korean version first performed at Blue Night Concert in Seoul (2012)
2011 "Rain of Blessing" In My Head Co-composer
"Illusion" 392 Composer, co-lyricist
"Coward" 392 Co-composer, co-arranger
"Kimio" (Japanese Version)/"Yes" (Korean Version) 392 (Japanese Version), First Step +1 Thank You (Korean Version) Composer, co-lyricist (Korean Version) #102 (Korea Gaon) (Korean Version)
"Wanna Be Like You" (Korean Version) First Step (Korean Version) Co-lyricist (Korean Version) Charted at #73 (Korea Gaon) (Korean Version)
"Lie" 392 (Japanese Version), First Step (Korean Version) Co-composer Charted at #52 (Korea Gaon) (Korean Version)
"Eclipse" (Japanese Version)/ "Love Follows the Rain" (Korean Version) (previously released in single "The Way" in 2010 as Part 3), 392 (Japanese Version), First Step (Korean Version) Co-composer Charted at #39 (Korea Gaon) (Korean Version)
"A.Ri.Ga.Tou" (Japanese Version) / "Thank You" (고마워요) (Korean Version) Thank U (Japanese Version), First Step (Korean Version) Composer, co-lyricist (Korean Version) Charted at #69 (Korea Gaon) (Korean Version)
2009 "Never Too Late" Voice, Thank U Co-composer

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref
2012 5th Korea Drama Awards Best OST "My Love" (A Gentleman's Dignity OST) Nominated [51]
14th Mnet Asian Music Awards Nominated [52]
4th MelOn Music Awards TStore Best Song Nominated [53]
Best OST Nominated [54]
SBS Drama Awards New Star Award A Gentleman's Dignity Won [55]
2013 22nd Seoul Music Awards Best OST "My Love" (A Gentleman's Dignity OST) Won [6]


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