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Ailee busking in Hongdae, July 2019
May 30, 1989
|Other names||Lee Ye-jin|
|Revised Romanization||I Ye-jin|
Amy Lee (born May 30, 1989), known professionally as Ailee, is a Korean-American singer and songwriter based in South Korea.
Before her K-pop debut, Ailee was signed under Muzo Entertainment in America. She moved to South Korea in 2010, where she passed an audition and became an artist for YMC Entertainment. After being recognized for her singing on Singer and Trainee, she started acting on the KBS drama series Dream High 2. Ailee received the Best New Artist Award at the Melon Music Awards, Golden Disc Awards, Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards and the Seoul Music Awards. She has also received a Best Newcomer and Four Best Female Vocal Performance awards at the Mnet Asian Music Awards for "U&I", "Singing Got Better", "Mind Your Own Business" and "If You".
- 1 Life and career
- 2 Awards and nominations
- 3 Discography
- 4 Tours and concerts
- 5 Filmography
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Life and career
1989–2011: Early life and career beginnings
Ailee was born in Denver, Colorado, on May 30, 1989, and grew up in New Jersey. 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 before dropping out to pursue a career in music. 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. Before moving to South Korea, Ailee created the YouTube channels "mzamyx3" and "aileemusic" to bring attention to her singing on the web.
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, and was recruited for YMC Entertainment on the spot. During her training, YMC featured her in the label's Wheesung song, "They Are Coming", which it released in October 2011. She also sang in Decipher and Jay Park's song "Catch Me If You Can". Ailee performed with Jay Park, Art of Movement, Johnnyphlo, Decipher, and Clara C at "projectKorea III", which was held at Rutgers University in 2010. 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.
2012: Debut with "Heaven" and Invitation
On February 6, 2012 the music video teaser for Ailee's debut song "Heaven" was released. The track was written and produced by Ailee's labelmate Wheesung. Ailee released the song on February 9 along with the music video, which featured Gi Kwang of Beast. Later that day, she made her debut stage performance of "Heaven" on M.net's M Countdown, and then on SBS's Inkigayo later in February. 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.' Or, as she describes it, it's simply 'Heaven'." Just one month after her debut, she won two awards at the Cyworld Music Awards: "Song of the Month" and "Rookie of the Month". Ailee also won the Best New Artist Award at the Asia Song Festival.
In March 2012, Ailee made her first appearances on KBS's Immortal Songs 2, performing Patti Kim's song "Light and Shadow" from 1967. Patti Kim later stated that she will be "the next great singer". On 19 May, on part two of the J.Y. Park special, she performed Park's debut song "Don't Leave Me". She beat Davichi's Lee Haeri by one point, 419 to 418, for the win. She appeared on the June 30 episode of Immortal Songs 2, which featured composer Yoon Il Sang. She performed "Fate" by Lee Seung Chul and won again with 402 votes. In August, it was announced that she was making a temporary leave from the show in order to focus on her music. She performed her final stage on August 6, and the episode aired on September 1. Later in August, she made an appearance in the third episode of Jay Park's online web series, Jay Park TV, where she was backstage attending Park's concert in Seoul. She co-hosted the ABU Radio Song Festival with Han Seok-joon on October 11, 2012.
On October 16, Ailee released her debut EP, Invitation, which contained the title track, "I'll Show You" (보여줄게). The EP contained a total of six tracks. 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. On October 18, Ailee made her comeback with "I'll Show You" on M Countdown. On November 23, she won her first trophy in a music program, on Music Bank, beating Psy's "Gangnam Style". For her work in music in 2012, Ailee was awarded the Best New Artist Award at the Seoul Music Awards, MelOn Music Awards, Mnet Asian Music Awards, Golden Disk Awards as well as New Female Solo Artist at the Gaon Chart Music Awards. Ailee was also invited as a VIP guest to perform at a pre-Grammy party for the 55th Grammy Awards and attended both the ceremony and red carpet in Los Angeles. She has received the Mnet America Rising Star Award.
2013–2014: A's Doll House, Japanese debut and Magazine
On July 4, 2013, Ailee announced that she would release her second EP, entitled A's Doll House, on July 12. The EP's single "U&I" topped music charts within four hours of release and earned Ailee her first "All-Kill" status. Popularity for the physical album was also deemed high when nearly all stores in Korea were sold out of the album on the first day of release. Orders overwhelmed the amount of stock, and a representative from Ailee's agency stated, "The rate at which this album is selling is many times greater than the previous album's."
On August 4, 2013, it was revealed that Ailee would be making her Japanese debut with "Heaven" under Warner Music Japan. The music video was released on October 21. Ailee started to promote the song with a showcase at Shibuya O-East, Tokyo, on October 21. The single was released on November 6, and also included the song "Starlight". On November 10, 2013, Korean pop gossip site Allkpop published a story containing several nude photos of Ailee taken prior to her debut as a singer. The following day, YMC Entertainment issued a statement claiming that "the pictures are of her she took when she was offered to be a lingerie model. [She] took nude photos because they wanted a better judgment of her body but the company was unable to be contacted after she took them. She reported them to the police and it was later found that she was scammed by a company who approached other college girls as well. Ailee discussed the matter with her ex-boyfriend, a former AllKPop employee. On 24 November, a 2009 police report filed by Ailee revealed that Ailee had sent the pictures to her friend over Facebook, only to find out her friend's Facebook account had been hacked. As a result of the scandal, Ailee was removed from several advertising campaigns, including for fried chicken company Kyochon. Kyochon responded, "Ailee's commercial contract hasn't ended. But consumers have been showing sensitive reactions to Ailee's recent situation, and Ailee's agency is also not entirely keen on the singer's exposure at this time, so we took certain steps."
On December 16, 2013, it was revealed that Ailee would be making a comeback after a six-month hiatus in January 2014. A music video teaser was released on January 2 ahead of the full release. Both the full music video and the full digital song were released on January 6. The music video features MBLAQ's Lee Joon. Ailee again made an appearance on an episode of Immortal Songs on April 12, 2014. The theme for the episode was "American Songs Famous in South Korea", and Ailee was chosen first to which she performed a rousing and emotional rendition of Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You", a song originally written and recorded by country singer Dolly Parton released in 1974. She received 409 points for her performance, despite later losing in the episode; her performance remains critically acclaimed and well known for its final key change, and remains as one of the most watched Immortal Songs performances on YouTube. On September 16, 2014, it was announced that Ailee would be having a comeback through YMC Entertainment's official Twitter account. On September 21, 2014, the teaser for Ailee's "Don't Touch Me" was released. It was written by Min Yun-jae, Jakops, and Ailee. The full MV was released in September 25, 2014. Later that day, promotions for her EP, Magazine, commenced. It peaked at number two for the Gaon Single Chart. She won the first trophy for "Don't Touch Me" in October 5, 2014, on SBS' Inkigayo.
2015–2016: First solo concert, Vivid and A New Empire
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. On May 19 it was confirmed that Ailee will hold her first solo concert titled Fatal Attraction on July 4 at the Gymnastics Stadium at Seoul Olympic Park, a concert venue that holds the capacity of 3000 seats. According to YMC Entertainment, "Ailee will stage a performance with a power and passion that she wasn't able to show before with her television appearances". Tickets were released on May 27 through online retailer Interpark and broke the record for the fastest-selling tickets on the site. 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 Bora.
On September 20, 2015, it was announced that Ailee would be having a comeback through YMC Entertainment's official Twitter account. On September 8 it was revealed that Ailee had suffered a foot injury while filming for her music video the day before. As a result, YMC Entertainment stated that Ailee's comeback might be pushed back. On September 29 it was announced that Ailee would be going through with her comeback promotions as planned. The one condition was that Ailee would be sitting down for all of her promotion activities. An affiliate related to her comeback activities relayed, "Ailee"s foot is not fully healed yet. But she was so determined to keep her promise with her fans that she insisted on going through with the comeback." A video teaser of her title track entitled "Mind Your Own Business" (너나 잘해) was released on 1theK's YouTube page on September 22. Ailee's first full-length album Vivid was released on September 30, 2015. She won her first trophy for this promotion on October 7 on Show Champion. Ailee was awarded the Best Female Vocal Award for the third year in a row at MAMA 2015, this time for "Mind your own business.
On July 13, 2016, Ailee was confirmed to participate as a judge on Superstar K 2016. On August 16, it was announced that Ailee was currently in preparations for her next album. It was stated that she worked on with a variety of several artists; one of them was revealed to be Yoon Mi-rae. Her new album also included a song featuring hip hop duo and label mate Baechigi. On August 19, the teaser for the music video of "If You", was posted on LOEN and YMC Entertainment's YouTube channel. The teaser features Nayoung of I.O.I. The single "If You", a pre-release track, was described to be a retro-soul tack, produced by the same lyricists and composers of "Dream", a popular duet between Miss A's Suzy and Exo's Baekhyun. The song was also co-written and produced by Park Geun-tae, who also produced Ailee's "Evening Sky" from Invitation. The music video was released on August 23, 2016. "If You" subsequently topped the Gaon Weekly Chart for Digital Download, and BGM charts. On December 2, Ailee was again awarded with Best Vocal Performance, this time for "If You", at the Mnet Asian Music Awards, a record-breaking consecutive fourth-year win in the category. On September 28, YMC Entertainment's official Twitter announced the teaser for the title track "Home" on her EP, A New Empire. On October 5, A New Empire was released, along with the music video for "Home" that was officially released on LOEN and YMC Entertainment's official YouTube channel. The music video and song features Yoon Mirae. The album also features artist Eric Nam. A New Empire peaked at number 10 on the Gaon Album Chart, and number nine on the US World Albums (Billboard) Chart.
2017–2018: OST Success and solo concert tours
On January 7, 2017, Ailee released her debut American single "Fall Back" through WestSide Entertainment under the alias A.Leean. 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. The single topped the Gaon Digital Chart for three consecutive weeks. The single earned her Ailee a Daesang for Best OST at the Korea Cable TV Awards 2017. 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. On May 19 it was announced that "I Will Go to You Like the First Snow" had placed first on the Music Bank OST chart for a record-breaking 20 weeks. The OST has the longest consecutive number one wins of all time, beating out the 2012 Reply 1997 OST "All for You" which had 14 wins. As of June 1 "I Will Go To You Like the First Snow" had achieved 60 PAK (Perfect All Kill) and stayed number one on Melon for 779 hours (March 20, 2017). It is the first time for an OST to stay number one on Melon for more than 600 hours.
Ailee previously held two Christmas concerts in Seoul titled Welcome Home at Kyunghee University´s Grand Peace Palace on December 24–25, 2016. The concerts were in the theme of her "home", which was also the title track of her EP A New Empire. Due to the success of the concerts, it was announced that Ailee would be holding her first nationwide tour. Ailee embarked on the Welcome Home Tour in Daegu on April 1, 2017. She has performed songs from her own discography, as well as songs from her popular performances on Immortal Songs: Singing the Legend, Duet Song Festival and Fantastic Duo. As of June 3 Ailee's tour had visited six cities - Seoul, Daegu, Suwon, Daejeon, Busan and Gwangju. Guest performers have included Eric Nam, Tak, Amber, Lee Min-jeong and Park Soo-bin. On May 5 it was announced that Ailee would be holding her first solo concert in Taiwan titled Ailee - Hello Taipei 2017. The concert will be held on June 25 in The City Hall at Taipei International Convention Center. Tickets for the concert were released on May 27. 68% of the tickets were sold out within one hour, and the concert was completely sold out by the end of the day. On June 21, Ailee held a collaboration concert with Brian McKnight and Zion.T titled Superstage Concert. The concert was held at the Jamsil Arena in Seoul. Ailee performed songs from her own discography and also sang a duet, "Whenever You Call", with Brian McKnight.
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 in Pyeongchang. On September 14 it was announced that Ailee was chosen as a member of the South Korean cultural delegation, alongside other selected South Korean artists Zico and Ali, for the third inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang, North Korea. It was later revealed that she performed her OST "I Will Go to You Like the First Snow" at the banquet. On October 24, Ailee announced her second nationwide tour, titled I Am: Ailee.
Ailee released her second studio album, titled Butterfly, on July 2, with the lead single “Room Shaker”.
Awards and nominations
- Vivid (2015)
- Butterfly (2019)
Tours and concerts
Welcome Home Tour
|Tour by Ailee|
|Associated album||A New Empire|
|Start date||December 24, 2016|
|End date||June 3, 2017|
|No. of shows||7 shows|
|Ailee concert chronology|
Welcome Home Tour is the first nationwide tour by artist Ailee, in support of her fourth extended play A New Empire. The tour visited 6 cities through 2016 and 2017.
- Set list
- Tour dates
|December 24, 2016||Seoul||South Korea||Kyunghee University, Grand Peace Palace||20,000|
|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|
|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 Tour
|Tour by Ailee|
|Start date||December 8, 2018|
|End date||December 31, 2018|
|No. of shows||5 shows|
|Ailee concert chronology|
I AM: Ailee Tour is the second nationwide tour by artist Ailee. The tour visited four cities in South Korea, starting on December 8, 2018.
- Tour dates
|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|
|July 4, 2015||Fatal Attraction||South Korea||Gymnastics Stadium, Seoul Olympic Park||3,000|
|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|
|November 18–19, 2017||Ailee Concert||United States||Pechanga Theater, Pechanga Resort and Casino||2,400|
|December 23–24, 2017||HER||South Korea||Sejong University Hall, Sejong University||N/A|
Co-headlining tours and concerts
- 2014: Winter Concert with Eric Benet
- 2014: Someday Concert with Wheesung
- 2015: Unite the Mic Tour with Jay Park and San E
- 2015: Back to School Concert with Wheesung
- 2016: Come Here! Concert with Yoon Min-soo
- 2017: SUPERSTAGE Concert with Brian McKnight and Zion.T
- 2018: BEST OF BEST CONCERT IN TAIPEI with Taeyeon and Taemin
- 2018: CONCERT with Dynamic Duo
|2012||Dream High Season 2||Ailee|
|2014||Laws of the City||SBS||Series regular|
|MBC Music Ailee's Vitamin||MBC||Main Cast|
|One Fine Day||Season Regular|
|2016||Superstar K 2016 (K8)||Mnet||Judge|
|2017||One Night Food Trip: Food Race||O'live & tvN||Cast Member, Ep. 6–10|
|2018||Hyena on the Keyboard||KBS2||Producer with Jeong Dong-hwan, Ep. 3-4|
|The Call||Mnet||Contestant and producer, Ep. 1–8|
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Ailee.|
|Awards and achievements|
| 14th Mnet Asian Music Awards – Best New Female Artist Solo
| 16th Mnet Asian Music Awards – Best Vocal Performance Female