Dong Young-bae (born 18 May 1988), better known by his stage name Taeyang (meaning Sun) or Sol, is a South Korean singer-songwriter. After appearing in Jinusean's music video "A-yo", Taeyang began training under YG Entertainment at the age of 12. After six years of training, he made his debut in 2006 as a member of the South Korean boy band, Big Bang.
His second studio album Rise peaked at #112 on the US Billboard 200 Chart, becoming the highest ranking album by a Korean soloist to enter the chart. The album's title track "Eyes, Nose, Lips" peaked at #1 on Billboard K-pop Hot 100 Chart, giving him his first solo number one single on the chart.
Taeyang's first appearance in the entertainment industry was with Maddie in the hip-hop group Jinusean's music video "A-yo". The collaboration eventually lead him to successfully auditioning into the group's record label YG Entertainment, where he met fellow trainee G-Dragon and former trainee (now a member of 2PM) Jun. K. G-dragon and him were later coined as GDYB. In 2003, Taeyang provided the rap verse in singer Wheesung’s single "Player" on the latter's second album.
Although Taeyang was scheduled to debut alongside G-Dragon as the duo GDYB, the plan was scrapped by their record label. Instead, they were joined by four other trainees (T.O.P., Daesung, Seungri, and Hyun Seung) to form the group Big Bang. The group's formation was documented on television as a documentary. Before their official debut, however, Hyun Seung was dropped and their final lineup consisted of five members. Choosing the stage-name Taeyang (Korean: 태양, meaning sun), Taeyang abandoned the idea of rapping to focus on singing. Their first album, Since 2007, was a fair success, and included Taeyang's first solo song "Ma Girl." The group achieved mainstream success with the release of the song "Lies" (Korean: 거짓말; Revised Romanization: Geojitmal) from their 2007 mini-album Always, which topped several charts upon its release. The singles, "Last Farewell" (Korean: 마지막 인사; Revised Romanization: Majimak Insa) from the mini-album Hot Issue and "Day by Day" (Korean: 하루하루; Revised Romanization: Haru Haru) from Stand Up, became chart-toppers as well.
Taeyang performing on Alive World Tour in September 2012
After contributing to singer Lexy's album, Taeyang was scheduled to release a solo album. Initially scheduled for a September release, the project was pushed back due to conflicting schedules with his group. Taeyang released his debut mini-album Hot on 22 May 2008, backed by a production team that included 1TYM's Teddy Park, Yang Hyun Suk, Kush, and his fellow member .[nb 1] Moving beyond the hip-hop genre of Big Bang, Taeyang incorporated mainly R&B songs into his album, stating that it was his "main focus". He expressed disappointment with the album, however, admitting that he did not write any of the songs. He later stated that he would do so in the future to fully express and incorporate his thoughts and ideas into his music.
The first single released was "Only Look At Me" (Korean: 나만 바라봐), an R&B song written by Teddy and Kush. He had won critical acclaim for the song. G-Dragon later recorded a "Part Two" version to the song. The second single was "Prayer (Korean: 기도)" which featured Teddy of 1TYM. Promotional videos were shot for both. In support of his album, he also staged his first solo concert, Hot. Later on, Taeyang received two awards from the 7th Korean Music Awards: Best R&B/Soul Song for "Only Look At Me" and Best R&B/Soul Album. Taeyang is the first "Idol group" or boyband member to receive such awards.
Throughout the majority of 2009, Taeyang contributed to his group's activities, recording the song "Lollipop" with his group and labelmate 2NE1. He later flew to Japan to promote the group's Japanese albums. After Big Bang's activities have ended, he went back to the studio to prepare for his next solo activities. Taeyang released his first digital single "Where U At", followed by another digital single, "Wedding Dress". Promotional videos were filmed for both "Where U At" and "Wedding Dress." "Wedding Dress" was voted #3 on an online poll for a Dutch radio station.
Taeyang's first full-length album Solar was released on 1 July 2010. Two versions of this album - the "Regular Edition" and the "Deluxe Edition" - was released. The regular edition contained 11 songs, while the deluxe edition limited to 30,000 copies had 13 songs, including "Only Look At Me" and "Prayer" from Hot. On the first day Taeyang's solo album "Solar" released, July 1, deluxe edition of the album had sold out its 30,000 circulated copies. The album was later released on iTunes, charting at the number-two spot on the iTunes' Top R&B-Soul albums chart in the United States and number-one in Canada's, making him the first Asian musician to do so. Two singles were released for promotions: "I Need A Girl", and "I'll Be There." At the end of 2010, I Need A Girl (4 Weeks) I'll Be There (1 Weeks) Only Look At Me (3 Weeks) Korean Song Music Chart's Win. Taeyang won the "Best Male Artist" award at the 2010 Mnet Asian Music Awards at the end of the year and the Seoul Music Awards Best Male Artist award.
Taeyang's new single "Ringa Linga" was released on 9 November 2013. Taeyang ranked #33 in The Critic's List of "100 Most Handsome Faces of 2013". On the 17 May 2014, YG announced that Taeyang's new album will be released on 2 June 2014 with the possible title, 'Rise'. After 'Rise' was released on 2 June, it achieved an "All-Kill" in Korea (#1 on all charts) and was #1 on the iTunes Album Chart in 10 countries (top 50 in 21 countries). At its peak, 'Rise' was #1 on iTunes R&B/SOUL Album Chart in 19 countries to include USA, UK, Canada, Australia, Russia, Hong Kong, and Denmark (top 50 in 25 countries). Rise became the third highest charting K-pop album, and also the highest charting K-pop album by a solo artist, on Billboard by debuting at #112 on Billboard Hot 200, #1 on Billboard World Albums Chart, and #1 on Heatseekers Albums Chart.