Akdong Musician

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Akdong Musician
Akmu at Ipselenti Korea University Campus Festival in 2016.jpg
L-R: Lee Suhyun, Lee Chanhyuk
Background information
Also known asAKMU
Nation's Siblings
OriginUijeongbu, South Korea
Years active2012–present
Associated acts
  • Lee Chan-hyuk
  • Lee Su-hyun
Korean name
Literal meaningMischievous Child Musician[2]
Revised RomanizationAkdong Myujisyeon
McCune–ReischauerAktong Myuchisyŏn

Akdong Musician (Korean: 악동뮤지션, also known as AKMU) is a South Korean duo who participated on K-pop Star 2 in 2012 and debuted under YG Entertainment in 2014 after they won the second installment of the K-pop Star series.[3] The duo consists of siblings Lee Chan-hyuk and Lee Su-hyun.

The group's 2014 debut album Play was well received by the public and critics, having sold more than 6.9 million total downloads,[4] as well as being awarded Best Pop Album in the 12th Korean Music Awards.[5] The follow up albums Spring (2016) and Winter (2017) furthered their success. As of March 2017, the duo has sold over 23 million digital songs in South Korea.[6]


2012–13: K-pop Star 2[edit]

Lee Chanhyuk and Lee Suhyun lived with their missionary parents in Mongolia for almost five years before they returned to South Korea to pursue a career in the music industry.[7][8] They were home-schooled by their mother. The siblings, under the name Akdong Musician, became part of the Proteurment agency.[9] Under the company, they did several stage performances and even released an original song called "Galaxy", which was later used as a soundtrack for a Samsung Galaxy S4 commercial.[10]

In August 2012,[11] the duo participated in the preliminary auditions of K-pop Star 2, which were held at Jamsil Arena in Seoul.[8] They passed the preliminaries and were eligible to perform in the show's 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, founder and CEO of JYP Entertainment, praised the chemistry between the siblings and the techniques they had incorporated in their performances. Singer and representative of SM Entertainment BoA highlighted and praised the lyrics of their original song, while Yang Hyun-suk, founder and CEO of YG Entertainment, described them as "true artists" among the people who had auditioned for the show.[12] The duo continued to receive positive responses from the judges,[13][14][15] until after their second performance in the third round.[16][17] The judges pointed out that their lack of confidence was the main reason behind their lukewarm performances in the succeeding rounds.[18][19] In spite of this, they eventually won the competition.[3][20]

Some of their original songs performed during the competition were released under LOEN Entertainment and were well received.[8][21] "You are Attractive", for example, was released on 12 December and immediately reached the number one spot on the Gaon Charts.[22] After the competition, despite not being signed under an entertainment agency, they participated in commercials and composed several songs. One of these songs was "I Love You" for the television series All About My Romance.[10][23]

On 24 May 2013, a month after winning K-pop Star 2, the siblings signed an exclusive contract with YG Entertainment.[24][25]

2014–15: Debut with Play and first concert[edit]

Akdong Musician's debut album Play was released digitally on 7 April and physically on 9 April, twelve months after winning K-pop Star 2.[26] The album has eleven songs, all of which were written and produced by Lee Chanhyuk.[27][28] It has a total of three title tracks accompanied by three different music videos. The first song, "200%", was chosen by Yang Hyun-suk, and the second song, "Melted", was chosen by Akdong Musician. The third title song, "Give Love", was determined by the fans.[29] The album reached the number one spot on the Gaon Charts and debuted at number two on Billboard's US World Albums Chart.[27] Akdong Musician's debut stage was on K-pop Star 3 on 6 April.[7]

The music video for "200%" was released on 7 April along with the digital album. Shortly after its release, "200%", topped the music charts, with the rest of the songs on the album also charting high.[7][30] The music video for "Melted" was released on 14 April. The last and third title song was "Give Love", which was the third high-charting song, after "200%" and "Melted". The music video for "Give Love" was released on 2 May.

On 16 June, Akdong Musician participated in YG Family's cover project, releasing a cover of Taeyang's "Eyes, Nose, Lips".[31]

Akdong Musician's first live concert tour, called "AKMU Camp", took place on 21–23 November at Blue Square Samsung Card Hall, Hannam-dong, Seoul.[32]

On 10 October, Akdong Musician released a digital single, "Time and Fallen Leaves" (Hangul시간과 낙엽; RRSigan-gwa Nagyeop), written and composed by Lee Chanhyuk.[33] It was originally going to be the title track of Play, but was held back for an October release because it suited the autumn season better.[34][32] The song made an "all-kill" two consecutive days after release by ranking number 1 on nine major real-time music charts.[35][36] It also ranked number 1 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.[37]

On 5 November, it was revealed that Suhyun would be a part of the YG Family sub-unit "Hi Suhyun" with Lee Hi.[38] Their debut single, "I'm Different" (Korean: 나는 달라), was released digitally on 11 November.[39]

On 9 October 2015 Akdong Musician released the song "Like Ga, Na, Da" "(가나다같이)" along with a special video in celebration of Korea's "Hangul Day". The song is a joint production from YG Entertainment and Woori Card as part of an official Hangul Day campaign.[40]

2016–present: Puberty series and hiatus[edit]

On 4 May 2016, Akdong Musician released their first extended play titled Spring (사춘기 상), the first record on a new album series named Puberty. The album was promoted with the release of two singles: "Re-Bye" and "How People Move".[41] On 26 April, Akdong Musician released a short film to tease their comeback. It starts out playful in a fantasy-like world until things begin to take a turn for a somewhat dark and creepy ending that gives the feeling of an "Uncanny Valley" effect.[citation needed] After the album's release on May 4, five songs debuted within the top ten positions of the Gaon Digital Chart, with "Re-Bye" becoming a chart-topper.[42] Billboard named Spring the fourth best K-pop album of the year, saying that the record "boast a more theatrical feel to them to show the young duo is growing an exciting pace."[43]

To promote Spring, Akdong Musician held a mini-concert at the Seoul Forest park in front of 10,000 people.[44] The duo stayed the rest of the year performing throughout Asia, helding showcases at Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore and Shanghai.[45]

After Spring Vol. 1, on 22 December, it was confirmed that AKMU would be releasing a short film called "Spring To Winter" to promote their new album, the second in a conceptual two-part album series Puberty.[46] The short film was released on 1 January 2017.[47] In the short film, the duo, playing themselves, argue and disband Akdong Musician, while songs from the new album act as the soundtrack.[48]

On 24 December 2016, it was announced that their second seasonally themed album, Winter would be released on 3 January 2017.[49] This album contains eight tracks; "Last Goodbye (오랜 날 오랜 밤)" and "Reality (리얼리티)" being released as singles.[46] Winter debuted within Gaon Album Chart's Top 10.[50] "Last Goodbye" became the second best-performing song in the first half of 2017 in South Korea.[51] The duo then began a South Korean tour, holding concerts in seven cities nationwide, including eight sold-out concerts in Seoul.[52]

On 15 March 2017, Akdong Musician released a digital single in collaboration with Yang Hee-eun called "The Tree" (나무).[53]

On 20 July 2017, Akdong Musician released their first single album titled Summer Episode, with double title tracks "Dinosaur" and "My Darling".[54] Notably, the single "Dinosaur" marks the duo's first time experimenting with the popular EDM genre, whereas "My Darling" is an upbeat acoustic track.[55]

On 13 September 2017, YG confirmed that Chan-hyuk would enlist for his military service from 18 September.[56] Due to his enlistment, Akdong Musician is on hiatus. Suhyun would continue her career as a solo artist/actress. Chan-hyuk was enlisted in the Korean Marines.[57]

On 4 June 2018, Lee Suhyun became Radio DJ for KBS Cool FM, Volume Up.


  • Lee Chan-hyuk (이찬혁) — lead vocals, rap, lyricist, composer, producer[14]
  • Lee Su-hyun (이수현) — main vocals[14]



Music videos[edit]

Year Title Director
2014 "200%" Yongi
"Give Love"
"Melted" Dee Shin
2016 "Re-Bye" Naive Creative Production
"How People Move" Beomjin (VM Project Architecture)
2017 "Last Goodbye" Unknown
"Play Ugly" (Lyric ver.) Isaac
"Dinosaur" Dee Shin

Concerts and tours[edit]

  • AKMU 1st Live Tour "AKMU Camp" (2014)
  • AKMU Studio (2016)
  • AKMU "Diary" (2017)[58][59]

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ Benjamin, Jeff (11 September 2014). "Akdong Musician: 21 Under 21 (2014)". Billboard.com. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  2. ^ Seo Byoung-gi (14 April 2013). "The real meaning of the birth of 'K Pop Star 2' Akdong Musician". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 9 December 2014.
  3. ^ a b Kang, Seon-ae (7 April 2013). "'K팝스타2' 악동뮤지션, 방예담 누르고 최종 우승" (in Korean). Retrieved 8 May 2013.
  4. ^ "Gaon Download Chart – For the Year 2014". Gaon Chart. Korea Music Content Industry Association. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 4 April 2014.
  5. ^ "Winners of 12th Korean Music Awards". Indieful ROK 2.0. 2015-02-26. Retrieved 2018-04-12.
  6. ^ Akdong Musician discography
  7. ^ a b c Woo, Jaeyeon (8 April 2014). "Akdong Musician Soar to Top the Charts With 'Play'". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  8. ^ a b c Park, Soo-jin (26 March 2013). 가요계 흔드는 ‘악동 뮤지션’... "우리가 부르면 인기 검색어가 바뀐다" (in Korean). The Kyunghyang Shinmun. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  9. ^ Park, Jun-yong (15 May 2013). 악동뮤지션 소속사는 아니지만 우리도 공연해요 (in Korean). OhmyNews. Retrieved 21 May 2013.
  10. ^ a b 악동뮤지션 귀국, 양현석-박진영-보아 '그들의 선택은?' (in Korean). 9 May 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  11. ^ Yoon, Sang-geun (3 August 2012). "'K팝★ 시즌2', 국내오디션 돌입..제2의 박지민은?" (in Korean). StarNews. Retrieved 12 May 2013.
  12. ^ Kang, Seon-ae (19 November 2012). 양현석 예언 적중, '다리꼬지마' 가사 어떻길래? (in Korean). SBS & SBS Contents Hub. Retrieved 12 May 2012.
  13. ^ 악동뮤지션 '매력 있어' 관심 폭발 "매력학과 전공했나" (in Korean). SBS & SBS Contents Hub. 10 December 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2012.
  14. ^ a b c "Episode 4". K-pop Star 2 (in Korean). 9 December 2012. SBS.
  15. ^ "Episode 7". K-pop Star 2 (in Korean). 30 December 2012. SBS.
  16. ^ "Episode 11". K-pop Star 2 (in Korean). 27 January 2013. SBS.
  17. ^ "Episode 13". K-pop Star 2 (in Korean). 10 February 2013. SBS.
  18. ^ 악동뮤지션 못나니 무대에 최초 혹평, 원래는 어땠기에? (in Korean). SBS & SBS Contents Hub. 21 January 2013. Retrieved 15 May 2013.
  19. ^ "Episode 10". K-pop Star 2 (in Korean). 20 January 2013. SBS.
  20. ^ Kim, Jae-yun (10 February 2013). "[K팝] 악동뮤지션, 6번째 자작곡 선보이며 '절치부심'" (in Korean). SBS & SBS Contents Hub. Retrieved 16 May 2013.
  21. ^ "Gaon Singles Chart" (in Korean). Gaon Chart. Retrieved 14 May 2013.
  22. ^ "'K팝스타2' 악동뮤지션 '매력있어', 음원 공개 직후 '실시간 1위'" (in Korean). SBS & SBS Contents Hub. 13 December 2012. Retrieved 13 May 2013.
  23. ^ "'YG행' 악동뮤지션, 이틀째 음원차트 석권 '돌풍'" (in Korean). JCube Interactive Inc. 24 May 2013. Archived from the original on 15 June 2013. Retrieved 24 May 2013.
  24. ^ "악동뮤지션 YG행 "이하이 이어 양현석 품으로"...이유 들어보니". SBS CNBC (in Korean). SBS Contents Hub & SBS Business Network. 24 May 2013. Retrieved 25 May 2013.
  25. ^ Kim JiYeon; Lee, Nancy (24 May 2013). "Akdong Musician Signs With YG Entertainment". CJ E&M enewsWorld. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  26. ^ Yang Hyun Suk CEO (31 March 2014). "NEWS ABOUT AKDONG MUSICIAN". YG Life. YG Entertainment. Retrieved 1 April 2014.
  27. ^ a b Chung, Ah-young. "AKMU's album ranks second on Billboard". The Korea Times. Retrieved 20 April 2014.
  28. ^ "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.
  29. ^ Lee Ji-hyun (2 May 2014). "Music Video of AKMU's "GIVE LOVE" Has been Disclosed… With Eye-Catching Happy Ending"". YG Life. YG Entertainment. Retrieved 12 July 2017.
  30. ^ Benjamin, Jeff (22 April 2014). "Akdong Musician Rules K-Pop Hot 100 With Debut Album 'Play'". Billboard K-Town. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  31. ^ Hong, Grace Danbi (17 June 2014). "Akdong Musician Delivers a Beautiful Cover of Big Bang Taeyang's 'Eyes, Nose, Lips'". CJ E&M enewsWorld. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  32. ^ a b "AKMU holds first exclusive concert". YG Life. YG Entertainment. 9 October 2014. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
  33. ^ Benjamin, Jeff (9 October 2014). "Akdong Musician Drop Stunning, String-Laden 'Time and Fallen Leaves' Single". Billboard K-Town. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  34. ^ "YANG, "No M/V for AKMU's new song: A deliberate plan" [Interview]". YG Life. YG Entertainment. 9 October 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2014.
  35. ^ Ahn Sung-mi (10 October 2014). "Akdong Musician makes chart-topping comeback". The Korea Herald. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  36. ^ Ock Hyun-ju (12 October 2014). "Akdong Musician tops music charts for 3rd day". K-Pop Herald. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  37. ^ Benjamin, Jeff (9 October 2014). "Akdong Musician Drop Stunning, String-Laden 'Time and Fallen Leaves' Single". Billboard K-Town. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  38. ^ 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.
  39. ^ Benjamin, Jeff (19 November 2014). "Lee Hi & Akdong Musician's Suhyun Say 'I'm Different' on Brassy Collaboration". Billboard K-Town. Retrieved 29 December 2014.
  40. ^ Kim, Ga-yeong. "악동뮤지션, 한글날 '가나다같이' 음원 깜짝 공개". TV Report. TV Report. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  41. ^ "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.
  42. ^ "2016년 19주차 Digital Chart" (in Korean). Gaon Chart. Retrieved 18 March 2017.
  43. ^ Jeff Benjamin; Jessica Oak (22 December 2016). "10 Best K-Pop Albums of 2016: Critic's Picks". Billboard K-Town. Billboard.
  44. ^ Ko Dong-hwan (8 May 2016). "'Acoustic' the new K-pop". The Korea Times.
  45. ^ "AKMU Continues Its Showcase in Malaysia". Yahoo! Lifestyle Singapore. Yahoo!. December 18, 2016.
  46. ^ a b Chung Jin-hong (4 January 2017). "Akdong Musician returns on top". Korea Joongang Daily.
  48. ^ Tamar Herman (2017-01-03). "Akdong Musician Breaks Up (But Makes Amends) In 22-Minute Musical Film". Billboard K-Town. Billboard.
  49. ^ "AKMU – 'WINTER PLAN : 사춘기과정'". YG Life. YG Entertainment. 24 December 2016.
  50. ^ "2017년 01주차 Album Chart". Gaon Album Chart. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  51. ^ "2017년 상반기 결산 DIGITAL CHART". Gaon Digital Chart. Archived from the original on 8 July 2017. Retrieved 16 July 2017.
  52. ^ "AKMU concert "Diary" will be held nationwide". YG Life. YG Entertainment. 14 March 2017.
  53. ^ "[정오의 신곡] 양희은X악동뮤지션, '나무' 향기가 나는 짙은 울림". Chosun.com (in Korean). March 15, 2017. Retrieved July 16, 2017.
  54. ^ "AKMU – NEW SINGLE ALBUM 'SUMMER EPISODE' TRACKLIST". YG Life. YG Entertainment. 19 July 2017. Archived from the original on 2017-08-19.
  55. ^ "악동뮤지션, '다이노소어'로 데뷔 첫 EDM 도전" (in Korean). 한국경제TV. 20 July 2017.
  56. ^ "악동뮤지션 이찬혁, 9월 18일 해병대 軍입대 확정".
  57. ^ "Yang Hyun Suk Proudly Shares Photos Of Akdong Musician's Lee Chan Hyuk's Gift From The Military". Soompi. Retrieved 2018-09-11.
  58. ^ Kim, So-yeon. "AKMU wraps up Seoul concerts". K-POP Herald. Retrieved April 11, 2017.
  59. ^ "악동뮤지션 '다이노소어', 실험적 도전 성공…10개 도시 전국투어 피날레" (in Korean). Retrieved July 24, 2017.

External links[edit]