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February 18, 1990|
Seoul, South Korea
|Genres||Vocal, Popera, Classical crossover|
|Labels||Sony Music Entertainment, Bongbong Company|
|Revised Romanization||Choe Seongbong|
Sungbong Choi (崔聖奉, born in February 18, 1990) is an artist of the Republic of Korea. After passing qualification examinations for elementary school and middle school, he graduated from the Dae-Jeon Art High School, and made his famous debut on the 2011 season of Korea’s Got Talent. He was the first runner-up of the talent show.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Career
- 3 Music
- 4 Essay
- 5 Broadcasting and interviews
- 6 Philanthropy
- 7 Award
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 External links
Sungbong Choi was born in Seoul, and was abandoned at an orphanage when he was three. He ran away from the orphanage to escape physical abuse, took a bus to Daejeon, and started living in the red light districts. His approach to Jeong-So Park for a music lesson was a life-changing event. Jeong-So Park agreed to teach him for free and got him more support from the church and ChildFund Korea.
After passing elementary school and middle school through qualification examinations, Choi graduated from Dae-Jeon Art High School, and he is currently studying at the Department of Cultural Art Management at Kyung-Hee Cyber University.
During his troubled youth, Choi claims he hid at a night school when he was 14 to escape area gang members. He learned how to read and write and applied for qualification examinations to pass elementary and middle school and enter high school. With hopes of learning music and spending his school years with friends, he entered Dae-Jeon Art High School. To earn school tuition fee and private lesson fees, he worked at a delivery service, but he suffered a grave injury while working the night shift. Choi seriously thought about dropping out of high school, and his music teacher testified that he was often absent because of the underprivileged surroundings. He gained admission to Hanyang University, but due to financial difficulties, was unable to pursue undergraduate education. Instead, he spent his days working as a day laborer.
Korea’s Got Talent
On 6 June 2011, Choi's performance of Ennio Morricone's "Nella Fantasia" on Korea's Got Talent moved judges and audience members to tears. He introduced himself as a manual laborer who had made a living selling gum and energy drinks for ten years. All three judges, Kolleen Park, Jang Jin and Song Yun-ah, were impressed with his vocal talent. Choi advanced to the finals of the competition, finishing second by only 280 votes.
Choi's performance clip was posted to YouTube and triggered a worldwide Internet sensation, receiving praise from pop stars Justin Bieber, BoA, Jung-Hwa Um, several hundred thousand fans on Facebook and also political figures including South Korea's former president Lee-Myung-Park. One version with English subtitles has triggered international press interest  and a worldwide view that Choi was "the next Susan Boyle". The video itself has received over 168,201,756 views as of May 31, 2017, and the number is still rising.
On 4 June 2011, after his first appearance on the show, some people accused him of concealing the fact that he had graduated from art high school although he was rarely able to attend classes due to his financial situation and was said to have received his diploma out of pity.
The KGT production team explained that “It was cut from the film during editing. He stated that he'd graduated from art high school at the second local tryout, and the judges, crews and hundreds of audience members heard that.” KGT later broadcast the re-edited version including the statement.
After his appearance on KGT, other major entertainment companies tried to persuade Choi to sign contracts with them and he signed up with Sony Music Korea Inc. but cancelled the contract in December 2011. He is currently with Bongbong Company.
Artistry – Crossover tenor
CNN commented that “His powerful baritone voice sounds as if it belongs to a man twice his age and build.”  He is currently experimenting with different genres, including Crossover. His vocal tone is soft and emotionally appealing, drawing on his life experiences.
- Invitation Performance by Korean President, Charity performances and speeches
- Invitation Performance by Chairman of Cisco [San Diego, U.S.A, 2012.04]
- You Fest Main Final Concert (with Paul Potts) [Madrid, Spain, 2012.09]
- Singing the Korean National Anthem at the inaugural ceremony of London Olympic [Seoul, 2012.07~08]
- Conducting Chorus of Global Multicultural Festival [Seoul, 2013.05]
- Halftime Performance at Suwon International Olympic “Peace cup” [Suwon, 2012.07]
- Teenager’s Healing Concert by Ministry of Environment [Seoul, 2012.07]
- Singing the Korean National Anthem at the National Assembly on Constitution Day (With the Millennium Symphony) [Seoul, 2012.07]
- Andy – Live In Concert at the Greek Theatre [LA, U.S.A, 2012.08]
- Accompanied Performance with Seoul Philharmonic
- Featuring Korea's Got Talent // Nella Fantasia, Cinema Paradiso [Sony Music] 
- Featuring Popera Vocalist Park Jung So Nella Fantasia // Nella Fantasia 
- Featuring Popera Vocalist Park Jung So Because He Lives // Amazing Grace 
Choi wrote a book entitled Singing is My Life – Memoir of My Journey from Homelessness to Fame (published by Mun Hak Dong Ne, Korea) about his life and career, which has now become a best seller. He said that he does not want to live his life shackled to his past and that he wrote the book in gratitude for the attention and love he has received, which has been of great comfort to him.
Broadcasting and interviews
Choi has appeared on music shows, Documentary films and talk shows both Korea and overseas. He appeared with Justin Bieber on the Spanish TV programme El Hormiguero. CNN and ABC headlined the interview with him. Choi said that he wants to continue to overcome his experiences of the past 22 years. “It is a blessing that I can live my life without starving, being abused and freezing. I’ll keep taking on challenges and trying my best."
TV shows and interviews
Korea's Got Talent season 1 [tvN 2011.06]
- Live Talk Show Taxi [tvN, 2011.09]
- Back Ji Yeon’s People inside [tvN, 2011.09]
- Documentary Film Rebel of 3 color talent [tvN, 2011.09]
- Story on Kind Ms.Mi-sun [tvN, 2011.11]
- Opera star 2012 [tvN, 2012.02]
- Morning Garden [KBS1, 2012.05]
- El Hormiguero [Antena3(Spain), 2012.05]
- KBS Speech 100℃ [KBS1, 2012.06]
- MBN News square [MBN, 2013. 02]
- Book club, CBS, CTS, CGV, TBS etc.……
Magazine article features
- Lady Kyung Hyang [KOREA, 2011,2013]
- Korean Daily 100℃ [KOREA, 2012],
- Woman Sense [KOREA, 2013]
- Woman’s life [KOREA,2013] etc.…
- Public Advertisement for Election Committee 
- Radio Campaign “Wait a Minute” [MBC]
- The Korea Highway Corporation “Belt Song”
Choi is an honorary ambassador of ChildFund Korea, the organization which helped him to improve his own life. He said that he won’t just tell the children to ‘have hope and dream’, but he wants to help them practically by giving them a chance of a better life. He is currently assisting starving children, orphans and foster families and he is also an honorary ambassador of the Chang Dong Social Welfare Center.
“People who suffer have feelings that can’t explain in language. And I hope my performance give consolation and uplifting to them.” He does performances and speeches for the neglected classes of people – multicultural families, single moms, Juvenile Hall, Hospice Centers etc.
He sends money or goods to those who need, with talent donation activity.
- Semifinal Winner of Korea’s Got Talent Season 1
- 9th Candle Award by Pop Culture Critic of College Union
- New Artist by Foreign Correspondents Club
- List of YouTube personalities
- List of South Korean television series
- List of South Korean musicians
- Television in South Korea
- "Street boy-turned-singer ends reality show journey as runner-up". Retrieved August 21, 2011.
- "Sungbong Choi - Susan Boyle of South Korea". Starworld. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
- "The Story of Sung-Bong Choi". sungbongchoidotcom.blogspot.com. Retrieved 2017-02-20.
- Sungbongchoidot (2012-07-01), Jeong-So Park talks about meeting Sung-Bong Choi for the first time., retrieved 2017-02-20
- "Paul Potts of Korea "Learnt how to read and write later on than most others". Newsen. Retrieved May 3, 2014.
- "Paul Potts of Korea becomes a freshman of Department of Culture and Arts Management 2013". KHCU. Retrieved Jan 31, 2013.
- "Korean 'Paul Potts' will go to college next month". The Korea Times. Retrieved Jan 24, 2013.
- Time. 2011-06-07 http://newsfeed.time.com/2011/06/07/the-new-susan-boyle-koreas-got-talent-singer-puts-judges-in-tears/. Missing or empty
- CBS News http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-next-susan-boyle-sung-bong-choi-on-koreas-got-talent/. Missing or empty
- "Korean Susan Boyle: 22-Year-Old Sung-Bong Choi Sings on Korea's Got Talent". TIME. 2011-05-27. Retrieved 2011-06-08.
- "Meet South Korea's answer to Susan Boyle". CNN. 2011-07-20.
- "Meet South Korea's answer to Susan Boyle". CNN. 2011-07-20.