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Akmu at Ipselenti Korea University Campus Festival in 2016.jpg
L-R: Lee Su-hyun, Lee Chan-hyuk
AKMU at Ipselenti Korea University Campus Festival in 2016
Background information
Also known asAkdong Musician
OriginSeoul, South Korea
Years active2012–present
Associated acts
Korean name
Literal meaningMischievous Child Musician[2]
Revised RomanizationAkdong Myujisyeon
McCune–ReischauerAktong Myuchisyŏn

AKMU (Korean: 악뮤, also known as Akdong Musician (Korean: 악동뮤지션)) is a South Korean sibling duo consisting of Lee Chan-hyuk and Lee Su-hyun who debuted under YG Entertainment in April 2014 with studio album Play after winning SBS' K-pop Star 2.[3]

Their debut album Play was well received by the public and critics, having sold more than 6.9 million downloads,[4] and was awarded Best Pop Album in the 12th Korean Music Awards, thus establishing their mark in the Korean music industry.[5] The follow up albums Spring (2016) and Winter (2017) furthered their success. As of March 2017, they have sold over 23 million digital sales in South Korea.[6]


Pre-debut: K-pop Star 2[edit]

Lee Chan-hyuk and Lee Su-hyun lived with their missionary parents in Mongolia for almost five years before returning to South Korea to pursue a career in the music industry.[7][8] While in Mongolia, they were home-schooled by their mother. The siblings, under the name Akdong Musician, joined their first label, the Proteurment agency and soon performed on several stages and even released an original song titled "Galaxy", which later was used as a soundtrack for a Samsung Galaxy S4 film commercial in May 2013.[9][10]

In August 2012, the duo participated in the preliminary auditions of K-pop Star 2, at Jamsil Arena in Seoul.[11][8] They soon passed and were eligible to perform in the first round, where they sang a cover of Miss A's "Breathe" and an original song titled "Don't Cross Your Legs". One of the judges, Park Jin-young, praised the chemistry between the siblings and the techniques they had incorporated in their performances. BoA praised the lyrics of their original song, while Yang Hyun-suk, described them as "true artists".[12] The duo continued to awe the judges, until after where their lack of confidence resulted in lukewarm performances in the succeeding rounds.[13] In spite of this, they finished the competition in first place.[3][14] Some of their original songs performed were released under LOEN Entertainment, where "You are Attractive", for example, was released on 12 December and immediately reached number one on the Gaon Charts.[8][15]

Despite not being signed under an agency, they participated in commercials and composed several songs, including "I Love You" for tvN drama All About My Romance.[10][16] On 24 May 2013, a month after winning, the siblings signed an exclusive contract with YGE.[17]

Akdong Musician attending KOCIS Korea President Park Culture Day in January 2014 with President Park Geun-hye

2014–2015: Debut with Play and first concert[edit]

Akdong Musician debuted with album Play and three lead singles on 7 April, twelve months after winning K-pop Star 2.[18] All tracks were written and produced by Chan-hyuk.[19][20] The first single, "200%", was chosen by Yang Hyun-suk, "Melted", was chosen by Akdong Musician, and "Give Love", was determined by the fans.[21] Play claimed number one on the Gaon Charts and number two on Billboard's US World Albums Chart.[19] The duo's debut stage was on K-pop Star 3 on 6 April.[7] The music video for "200%" was released on 7 April, where "200%" topped all South Korean charts, with all songs on Play also charting high.[7][22] The music video for "Melted" and "Give Love" was out on 14 April and 2 May respectively. "Give Love", became the third high-charting song, after "200%" and "Melted". On 16 June, they participated in YG Family's cover project of Taeyang's "Eyes, Nose, Lips".[23] Their first live concert tour, "AKMU Camp", began on 21 November at Blue Square Samsung Card Hall, Hannam-dong, Seoul.[24]

On 10 October, Akdong Musician released the digital single, "Time and Fallen Leaves", written and composed by Lee Chan-hyuk.[25] Originally, it was planned as a lead single of Play, but was held back for an October release due to suiting the autumn season more.[26][24] The song made an "all-kill" two consecutive days after release by ranking number 1 on nine major real-time music charts.[27][28] It also ranked number one on the weekly Gaon Digital Chart the second week of release. The song was not given a music video so the listeners would imagine their own stories.[29]

On 5 November, Su-hyun joined YG Family sub-unit "Hi Suhyun" with labelmate Lee Hi.[30] Their debut single, "I'm Different" (나는 달라), was released on 11 November, followed first stage at SBS' Inkigayo on 16 November and first win one week later. [31][32] On 9 October, 2015 the duo released the single "Like Ga, Na, Da" (가나다같이) with a video in celebration of South Korea's "Hangul Day". It was a joint production of YGE and Woori Card.[33]

2016–2018: Puberty series and Military enlistment[edit]

Akdong Musician at the Melon Music Awards 2014.

On 4 May 2016, they released their first EP titled Spring, the first record on a new album series named Puberty. The album was promoted with the release of two lead singles: "Re-Bye" and "How People Move".[34] Ahead of comeback, the art film "Welcome Home" was released on 26 April. It starts out playful in a fantasy-like world until later the ending gives the feeling of an "Uncanny Valley" effect. All songs debuted within the top ten of the Gaon Chart, with "Re-Bye" becoming a chart-topper.[35] Billboard named Spring the fourth best K-pop album of the year, where the record "boast a more theatrical feel to them to show the young duo is growing an exciting pace."[36] To promote Spring, the duo performed at the Seoul Forest park in front of 10,000 people.[37] Later in the year, they toured throughout Asia, holding showcases at Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Shanghai.[38]

On 1 January 2017, they released the short film "Spring To Winter" ahead of comeback for their second seasonally themed album, Winter.[39][40] In the film, playing themselves, they argue and disband Akdong Musician, while songs from the new album act as the soundtrack.[41] On 3 January, the duo released their second studio album Winter, the second in a conceptual two-part album series Puberty. with lead singles "Last Goodbye" (오랜 날 오랜 밤) and "Reality" (리얼리티).[42][40] Both lead singles were chosen by fans through the live broadcast of MBC's My Little Television. "Last Goodbye" became the second best-selling song within the first half of 2017, earning "Song of the Year" for the month of January at the Gaon Chart Awards and a digital bonsang at the Golden Disc Awards.[43][44] The duo began a tour holding concerts in seven cities nationwide, including eight sold-out shows in Seoul from 23 March onward.[45] The siblings chose small yet multiple venues so they are able to interact and be more intimate with the audience.

The duo performing at Seoul Forest in May 2016.

On 15 March 2017, Akdong Musician released a digital single in collaboration with Yang Hee-eun called "The Tree" (나무).[46] On 20 July, the siblings released their first single album titled Summer Episode, with lead singles "Dinosaur" and "My Darling".[47] Notably, the single "Dinosaur" marks the duo's first time experimenting with the genre EDM, whereas "My Darling" is an upbeat acoustic track.[48] They decided not to promote the singles on music shows as they believed the single "Dinosaur" would not fit well with the music program's fancy stages, further adding the key is too high for a live performance thus wasn't viable. On 13 September, YG Entertainment confirmed Chan-hyuk would enlist for his mandatory military enlistment on 18 September with the Korean Marines, thus halting all Akdong Musician activities.[49] Meanwhile, Su-hyun occupied her time with solo activities as a Radio DJ at KBS Cool FM's Volume Up, permanent cast member on JTBC's Begin Again, soundtrack release for tvN drama Mr. Sunshine and more.

2019: Sailing and transition to AKMU[edit]

On 29 May, 2019, Chan-hyuk successfully fulfilled his mandatory military service with the Republic of Korea Marine Corps and was discharged, thus also simultaneously resuming the activities of Akdong Musician.[50] While serving, they officially chose Chan-hyuk's self-written and produced song to represent the Corps. Su-hyun first revealed the song through KBS Cool FM Volume up. The sibling duo's first appearance since hiatus was on JTBC variety show Knowing Bros with Jeon So-mi on 8 June. Filming took place a day after release. The duo performed at the 2019 Someday Festival on 31 August, where they also revealed a new unreleased song titled "시간을 갖자", later revealed to be track ten on their album Sailing.[51]

On 4 September, it was announced Akdong Musician will return with their first comeback since 2017 in late September.[52] Ahead of their comeback, a mood teaser was released with Su-hyun's voice among crashing waves and an acoustic guitar, followed concept teaser "Begin Sailing."[53] The sibling duo released their third studio album Sailing on 25 September with lead single "How Can I Love the Heartbreak, You're the One I Love" (어떻게 이별까지 사랑하겠어, 널 사랑하는 거지). Through Nylon, Chan-hyuk revealed he wrote most of the songs on Sailing inside a ship over two years in midst of enlistment inspired by the new profound experience. Ahead of release, their lead single was first performed on 19 September at the 2017 Someday Festival.[54] Notably, this release marks Su-hyun's first participation among their albums with song "작별 인사", where she was credited as the arranger.[55] Their lead single reigned as the number one spot on all seven major music streaming platforms in South Korea upon release, alongside the rest of the tracks also charting relatively high.[56] The duo held a live stage titled Sailing On A Fall Night at Yeouido Hangang Park on 29 September garnering over 30,000 people, 7-8 times larger than the size of the venue.[57]

On 25 September, they announced they would primarily go by AKMU, to symbolize their growth, as their original name translated to "mischievous child." The duo further elaborated the decision was made in order to not be limited in their future music.[58]




Date Network Title Notes Ref.
2012 SBS K-pop Star Season 2 Winner [60]
2016 KBS2 You Hee-yeol's Sketchbook Host for "Descendants of the Lyrics" [61]
2017 SBS Choovely's Outing Cast Member [62]

Concerts and tours[edit]

AKMU 1st Live Tour "AKMU Camp"[edit]

Date City Country Venue
November 21, 2014 Seoul South Korea Blue Square Samsung Card Hall
November 22, 2014
November 23, 2014
December 6, 2014 Daegu Chunma Art Center
December 24, 2014 Gwangju Kim Dae Jung Convention Center
December 31, 2014 Busan Busan Citizens' Hall

AKMU Studio[edit]

Date City Country Venue
November 12, 2016 Taipei Taiwan Taipei International Convention Center
December 9, 2016 Singapore Singapore Kallang Theatre
December 22, 2016 Shanghai China Mercedes-Benz Arena (Shanghai)
December 26, 2016 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia KL Live Centre

AKMU "Diary"[edit]

Date City Country Venue Attendance
March 23, 2017 Seoul South Korea Sogang University Mary Hall 4,000[63]
March 24, 2017
March 25, 2017
March 26, 2017
March 30, 2017
March 31, 2017
April 1, 2017
April 2, 2017
April 15, 2017 Gwangju Gwangju Culture & Art Center 16,000[64]
April 22, 2017 Daegu Kyungpook National University Grand Hall
May 12, 2017 Suwon Gyeonggi Arts Center
May 27, 2017 Busan KBS Busan Hall
June 3, 2017 Seongnam Seongnam Arts Center Opera House
June 23, 2017 Daejeon Chungnam National University Jeong·Sim·Hwa Hall
July 1, 2017 Incheon Incheon Culture & Arts Center
July 15, 2017 Changwon KBS Changwon Hall
July 22, 2017 Goyang Aram Theater
Total 20,000[64]

AKMU 2019 Tour[edit]

Date City Country Venue
December 14, 2019 Seoul South Korea TBA
December 15, 2019


  • Raise Your Voice High! (목소리를 높여 high! (열림과 성장의 악동뮤지션 음악 에세이)) (Maribooks, ISBN 978-89-94011-44-8)[65]

Awards and nominations[edit]


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  6. ^ Akdong Musician discography
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  20. ^ "악동 뮤지션 데뷔, 'K팝스타3'에서 데뷔 무대 "전곡을 직접 프로듀싱" 기대만발" [Akdong Musician Debuts with all the songs they produced by Live Performance in "K-POP STAR 3"] (in Korean). Chosun. 31 March 2014. Archived from the original on 7 April 2014.
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  26. ^ "YANG, "No M/V for AKMU's new song: A deliberate plan" [Interview]". YG Life. YG Entertainment. 9 October 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
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  30. ^ Hong, Grace Danbi (5 November 2014). "YG Unveils AKMU′s Lee Suhyun as Final Member of New Unit Group, Hi Suhyun". enewsWorld. CJ E&M. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
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  34. ^ "AKMU confirmed double title tracks for new mini-album… To be released on May 4 at 0 o'clock". YG Life. YG Entertainment. 28 April 2016. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
  35. ^ "2016년 19주차 Digital Chart" (in Korean). Gaon Chart. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
  36. ^ Jeff Benjamin; Jessica Oak (22 December 2016). "10 Best K-Pop Albums of 2016: Critic's Picks". Billboard K-Town. Billboard.
  37. ^ Ko Dong-hwan (8 May 2016). "'Acoustic' the new K-pop". The Korea Times.
  38. ^ "AKMU Continues Its Showcase in Malaysia". Yahoo! Lifestyle Singapore. Yahoo!. 18 December 2016.
  40. ^ a b Chung Jin-hong (4 January 2017). "Akdong Musician returns on top". Korea Joongang Daily.
  41. ^ Tamar Herman (3 January 2017). "Akdong Musician Breaks Up (But Makes Amends) In 22-Minute Musical Film". Billboard K-Town. Billboard.
  42. ^ "AKMU – 'WINTER PLAN : 사춘기과정'". YG Life. YG Entertainment. 24 December 2016.
  43. ^ "2017년 상반기 결산 DIGITAL CHART". Gaon Digital Chart. Archived from the original on 8 July 2017. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  44. ^ "볼빨간사춘기·악동뮤지션 골든디스크 본상 수상.."오빠 보고있어?"". Star News. 10 January 2018. Retrieved 27 September 2019.
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  47. ^ "AKMU – NEW SINGLE ALBUM 'SUMMER EPISODE' TRACKLIST". YG Life. YG Entertainment. 19 July 2017. Archived from the original on 19 August 2017.
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  50. ^ "Akdong Musician's Chanhyuk completes military service after two years in marine corps".
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External links[edit]