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Kang Daniel

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Kang Daniel
강다니엘
Kang looks right against a blue background
Kang Daniel in June 2018
Born
Kang Eui-geon

(1996-12-10) December 10, 1996 (age 23)
Busan, South Korea
EducationKyung Hee Cyber University
Occupation
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • entrepreneur
Years active2017–present
Musical career
GenresK-pop
InstrumentsVocals
Labels
Associated actsWanna One
Websitedanielk.konnectent.com
Korean name
Hangul
Revised RomanizationGang Daniel
McCune–ReischauerKang Taniel
Birth name
Hangul
강의건
Revised RomanizationGang Ui-geon
McCune–ReischauerKang Ŭikŏn
Signature
Kang Daniel's Signature (2019).svg

Kang Daniel (Korean강다니엘; born Kang Eui-geon [강의건]; December 10, 1996) is a South Korean singer, songwriter, and entrepreneur. He rose to fame after finishing first in the second season of reality competition series Produce 101 and is a former member of the show's derivative boy group Wanna One. As the group promoted for a year and a half, it achieved both critical and commercial success with all four of its albums topping South Korea's Gaon Album Chart and all five of its lead singles ranking in the top three of South Korea's Gaon Digital Chart.

Following the end of Wanna One's activities as a group, Kang took a six-month hiatus from the entertainment industry and took over management of his career. In mid-2019, he established his own agency to manage his future activities and released his debut extended play (EP), Color on Me, which was a commercial success that topped the Gaon Album Chart. His subsequent works from his color series titled Cyan and Magenta also topped the Gaon Album Chart with the former's title track earning Kang his first top ten single in Korea.

Life and career

Early life and pre-debut

Kang Daniel was born as Kang Eui-geon (강의건) in Busan, South Korea as the only child of his family.[2] After spending his childhood and most of his teen years with his birth name, he decided to legally change it to Daniel due to family and friends having difficulty pronouncing Eui-geon.[3] He began dancing in eighth grade through a b-boy club he joined due to the suggestion from a teacher.[4] During a guest appearance at variety show Hello Counselor, Kang revealed that he was ostracized in elementary school because of his appearance and developed passion and built self-esteem through dancing.[5] Prior to appearing on Produce 101 Season 2, Kang had trained for two years and one month.[6] He initially started as a trainee under B2M Entertainment until the company's acquisition and then became a trainee under MMO Entertainment.[7] One of the most notable moments during his time as a trainee was his appearance on Her Secret Weapon, performing "Invitation" by Uhm Jung-hwa, where he served as a backup dancer to Fiestar's Cao Lu and Spica's Sihyun.[8]

2017–2018: Produce 101 and Wanna One

Kang Daniel at One: The World on June 1, 2018.

In 2017, Kang represented MMO Entertainment in the boy group reality survival show, Produce 101 Season 2. He is known for finishing first in the final episode and becoming the center of the project boy group Wanna One under YMC Entertainment.[9]

Kang officially debuted with Wanna One during Wanna One Premier Show-Con on August 7, at the Gocheok Sky Dome with the debut mini-album 1×1=1 (To Be One).[10][11] During the preparation for this debut, he was also confirmed to join the pilot season of MBC variety show, It's Dangerous Beyond The Blankets, which premiered on August 27.[12][13] In the same month, he was featured on the cover of Weekly Chosun magazine, one of the major news and current events publications in South Korea, with an article focusing on his popularity among the general public.[14][15] Following the conclusion of the mini-album promotion on August 30, he was chosen as the first male celebrity to appear on the cover of InStyle Korea fashion magazine in its 14 years history for its October 2017 issue.[16] He was also signed as a cast member for SBS's variety show Master Key, for which he was awarded the Rookie Award (Variety Category) at the 2017 SBS Entertainment Awards.[17][18]

In 2018, he was involved in several prominent solo activities, most notably as the main model for Davichi's "Days Without You" (너 없는 시간들) music video[19][20] and as the main cast of the second season of It's Dangerous Beyond the Blankets.[21] He was later awarded the Rookie Award (Variety Category) at the 2018 MBC Entertainment Awards for his work at the respective show.[22] He also continued to promote with Wanna One, including as a part of Wanna One's unit "Triple Position" which won Best Unit Award at the 2018 Mnet Asian Music Awards.[23] Although he concluded his contract with Wanna One on December 31, he still appeared with the group until its official farewell concerts on January 24–27 in 2019.[24]

2019: Solo debut with Color on Me

On January 31, 2019, it was reported that Kang would move to LM Entertainment after the end of his activities with Wanna One.[25] However, on March 21, Kang submitted an application to suspend his exclusive contract with LM. His legal representative revealed that LM Entertainment signed joint business contracts that sold Kang's exclusive contract rights to third parties without his prior consent.[26] On May 10, the Seoul Central District Court ruled in favor of Kang, allowing the suspension of his contract and his pursuit of individual activities as a celebrity, without the interference of the company.[27] Following that, on June 10, Kang was reported to have established his own agency, Konnect Entertainment, for his future activities.[28] LM Entertainment's appeal regarding the contract suspension was rejected by the Seoul Central District Court on July 11.[29]

Kang officially debuted as a solo artist on July 25 with the debut EP Color on Me.[30] As reflected on Hanteo Chart, the EP set records for both the highest first-day and first-week physical sales for a solo artist since the chart's inception.[31][32] Its lead single "What Are You Up To" gave Kang his first-ever solo music show win on KBS2's Music Bank on August 9.[33] He kicked off promotions for the EP by holding six different fan-sign events across Korea between July 31 and August 3.[34] Following that, Kang embarked on the first fan meet tour of his solo career, touring six different cities: Singapore, Bangkok, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur, and Manila before returning to Seoul with a two-day fan meet that ended on November 24.[35] In the midst of touring, he also hosted his own radio show on NOW., Naver's online audio streaming service.[36] The "Kang Daniel Show" aired on Chuseok holiday with a total of four episodes released each day from September 11–14; with Gray making a guest appearance on the third episode.[37] In the same month, it was announced that Kang's contract with LM was officially terminated as both sides came to a mutual agreement.[38] Serving as his first comeback, Kang released two digital singles on November 25 called "Touchin'" and "Adulthood".[39][40] Unlike his solo debut, Kang was able to promote "Touchin'" by performing the song on several Korean music shows and won a trophy on SBS MTV's The Show on December 3.[41] However, after a week of promoting, Konnect announced that Kang would be taking a career break due to health issues.[42]

2020: Comeback with Cyan and Magenta

Kang Daniel at SBS Power FM for "2U" promotions on April 7, 2020.

In 2020, Kang returned to scheduled activities with travel reality show Hello, Daniel which premiered on March 4.[43] On March 24, he released his second EP, Cyan, as the first installment of his colors trilogy project.[44] Its lead single "2U" gave Kang his first top ten track in Korea along with several trophies on music shows: The Show, Music Bank, Show! Music Core, Show Champion, and M Countdown.[45][46] Prior to the release of Cyan, it was revealed that Kang and Zico would release a song together as part of the Pepsi and Starship Entertainment collaboration project titled "For The Love of Korea".[47] Their joint single "Refresh" was co-produced by Steve Aoki and released on April 23.[48] The following month, he participated in 88rising's Asia Rising Forever and the TikTok Stage online concert.[49][50] On June 19, Kang released his first-ever drama OST called "Something" through SBS's romantic comedy Backstreet Rookie.[51] He also joined the lineup for KCON:TACT 2020 Summer and the Pepsi Online Showcase, for which he hosted the opening and later performed as Pepsi's global K-pop partner.[52][53] To celebrate the first anniversary of his solo debut, Kang held an online fan meeting on July 25 via ten streaming platforms worldwide.[54] This made him the first Korean celebrity to have a fan meeting broadcast live through China's local platform since the country's ban on Korean culture in 2016.[55]

The second installment of his colors trilogy project and third EP, Magenta, was released on August 3.[56] With this release, Kang surpassed one million cumulative albums sold within 13 months of debuting as a solo artist.[57][58] The lead single "Who U Are" peaked at number 12 in Korea and won trophies on SBS MTV's The Show, KBS2's Music Bank, and MBC's Show! Music Core.[59][60] In November, Kang will release his first artbook Never Standing Still - It's Time to Shine in collaboration with Paul McCartney's exclusive photographer, MJ Kim.[61]

Impact and influence

Kang has been described as "one of the highest-earning and most significant male solo acts in K-pop" with his domestic popularity earning him the nickname "Nation's Center" from South Korean media channels.[62][63] SBS's Late Night Entertainment News described him as "more than a top idol star" and stated that he "created a craze"[64][65] that was recreated in an episode of Saturday Night Live Korea.[66] In 2018, Kang was selected as an honorary ambassador for the special Korean cultural exhibit at the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics.[67][68] The following year, he was appointed the honorary ambassador of Busan as a result of a citizen-voted poll.[69][70] A formal ceremony was held on July 9, 2019 at the Sajik Baseball Stadium where he received a mandate from the mayor of the city[71] and threw the ceremonial first pitch for the Lotte Giants’ home game.[72] In October 2020, Kang participated in the 4352nd anniversary ceremony of Korea's National Foundation Day held by the Korean government at Gyeongbokgung Palace as the only singer invited among 30 national figures, including the prime minister of South Korea.[73][74] His national influence was further seen as South Korean Olympic medalists (Kim Kyeong-Ae, Lee Da-bin, and Hyun Jung-hwa) declared themselves fans of the artist.[75][76][77] South Korean doo-wop trio The Barberettes also revealed that they were fans of Kang as member An Shinae, who wrote, composed, and arranged their lead single "SHOO" divulged that Kang was the inspiration behind the song.[78]

In January 2019, Kang set a Guinness World Record for the "Fastest time to gain one million followers on Instagram" (11 hours and 36 minutes after joining).[79][80] Later that month, his official Daum fancafe became the fastest in history among idols and idol groups to reach 100,000 members, doing so in under 40 hours.[81] He then became the first male celebrity, globally, to front a campaign for Givenchy Beauty after being chosen as its brand model.[82] Kang has also been recognized for his marketing power, having topped the Korean Business Research Institute's 'Male Model Brand Power Ranking' and 'Individual Boy Group Members Brand Power Ranking';[83][84] becoming the first artist in history to spend 13 consecutive months at the top of the latter.[85] His name has appeared in multiple other listicles, such as Gallup's annual list of 'Most Preferred Idols' and Forbes annual lists of '2030 Power Leaders' and 'Korea Power Celebrities'. He was also included in Naver TV's 'Most Popular Videos of 2017', taking up six of the top ten clips based on the number of video plays and four of the top ten clips based on the number of likes, including the number one spot.[86] Two years later, he was included in Naver TV's 'Most Popular Videos of 2019', taking up four of the top ten clips based on the number of video plays.[87] JoyNews24 placed Kang at number five on its 'Power People of 2019' survey among industry professionals[88] and, in late 2019, he was selected as the third most-preferred advertising model by female consumers in their 10s in a survey conducted by the Korean Broadcast Advertising Corporation.[89] By March 2020, he surpassed 100 consecutive weeks at the top of Idol Chart, making him the first and only artist to achieve this.[90] The first episode of Kang's travel reality show Hello, Daniel caused a surge in sales for the travel guide If You Want to Live in Portland and led to increased success for the publishing company.[91][92]

Other ventures

Business

In June 2019, Kang established two companies titled Konnect Entertainment, named as a portmanteau of "Korea" and "connect", and KD Corporation. He is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of both;[93] his activities in the entertainment industry are managed by the former, while all other business-related activities are managed by the latter. KD Corporation announced plans to branch out into various business directions in the future.[94] In February 2020, Cafe De Konnect, a cafe on the first floor of Konnect Entertainment's building in Seoul officially opened for business[95] with a fan-only event on February 19 and 20 before officially opening to the public on February 21. The fan event allowed 100 fans to claim a free drink after showing their membership card from Kang's official fancafe on a first-come, first-served basis.[96]

Endorsements

Kang Daniel at Think Nature fan meet on January 6, 2018.

A year after debuting, Kang became one of the highest-valued celebrities in South Korea's advertisement industry, reportedly making 300 million (USD$250,000) per three-month contract and ₩1 billion ($860,000) per one-year contract.[97] Aside from the endorsement deals he had with his group, Kang also signed six individual advertising contracts during his time with Wanna One.

In September 2017, Kang signed his first sole advertising contract as the model for Think Nature and increased the brand's online sales by 728%.[98][99] Two months later, he was chosen as the model for The Spring Home[100] and earned the company over ₩20 million ($16,645) in 10 minutes during a customized sales event.[101] The following year, fashion brand Los Angeles Project (LAP),[102] the world's leading producer of soju (HiteJinro),[103] electronics company Bokuk, and eyewear brand Kissing Heart revealed Kang as their official model.[104][105] Soon after his solo debut in July 2019, Kang became the model for South Korea's largest telephone company, KT Corporation, advertising the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 Aura Red.[106] Their collaboration generated the sales of 68,000 units and raised KT's pre-booking record by a total of 45%.[107][108] He also became the face of restaurant chain Mexicana Chicken.[109] In September 2019, Kang became a brand ambassador for Givenchy Beauty[82] and modeled various looks from its Le Rouge line in a photoshoot for the October issue of Elle magazine.[110] Later that month, Subway Korea revealed Kang as the new advertisement model for its signature wraps.[111] Shortly after, he was selected as the new face for Calvin Klein Jeans.[112] In October 2019, premium luggage brand Rimowa presented its new collection in collaboration with Kang through photos and videos on Elle and Esquire magazines.[113]

In January 2020, Kang became the new brand ambassador for German sportswear brand Puma.[114] Later that month, Puma and Kang's first collaboration “RS-X Cube” was released as a part of Puma's RS (Running System) collection. To celebrate the sneaker line, Puma launched an offline promotional event in stores called the "KD CUBE ROOM" where visitors enjoyed exclusive content such as unreleased videos, new merchandise, and virtual video calls with Kang.[115][116] In February 2020, Kang collaborated with KakaoTalk's emoticon service, Kakao Friends. Designed by Kang himself, the collaboration line "Apeach Kang Daniel Edition", inspired by his resemblance to Kakao Friends Muzi Series character Apeach and his own nickname "Baby Peach",[117][118] featured goods that fall under the toy, living, fashion, and fan goods categories and was officially released in Korea and globally on February 7 and 21.[119] KakaoFriends also released a limited-edition beverage and dessert menu for three cafes, including Kang's Cafe De Konnect.[120] In July 2020, Mexicana Chicken announced that Kang would continue to be the face of its restaurant chain for another year.[121] Puma and Kang's second collaboration “RS 2.0“ was released in August 2020 as a part of Puma's RS collection.[122][123] In the same month, he also became the model for cure-cosmetic brand Icepray.[124]

Fashion and modelling

Industry officials have said "even if the fashion industry is in a slump, Kang Daniel as a model can still make others spend money", stating that "his fee is the highest among rising stars".[125] Following his debut, he quickly became one of the most sought-after stars among coveted luxury brands and has since collaborated with and endorsed many such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Calvin Klein, and Cartier.[126]

In January 2018, two months after Kang was seen wearing a duffel coat designed by LAP to the Incheon International Airport, it was announced that he became the official model of the fashion brand.[127] A spokesperson from the brand stated, "After Kang Daniel wore our coat, the response we received was really positive" and that "the product was sold out immediately".[128] LAP further launched a separate streetwear line named "Kang Daniel's Pick - Edition" to better align with his personal style;[129] the collection's popularity resulted in long lines at the Daniel's Pick LAP pop-up stores in Japan and Korea.[130] In June 2018, he was chosen as the newest muse for Chanel Fine Jewelry, making him the second Korean male celebrity to take on the role.[131] His collaboration with the French luxury brand as the cover model for the July issue of Elle magazine saw the issue reach a rare high in sales.[132]

In March 2019, Kang returned to the cover of Elle magazine as Louis Vuitton's new style icon.[133] He and actress Bae Doona were chosen to lead the campaign for Louis Vuitton's Twist handbag; the campaign was released through photos and videos on Elle and the brand's official website one week ahead of the opening of the Louis Vuitton Twist Bag pop-up store in Seoul.[134][135] Marking the end of summer and acting as an annual reset for the fashion industry, September issues have historically been considered the biggest fashion moment of the year for magazines. In September 2019, Kang was chosen to be the cover model for the prestigious September issues[136] of fashion magazines Arena Homme+ and Vogue. For his two-version Arena Homme+ cover, Kang modeled pieces from Cartier's Juste un Clou collection as a new member of the "Maison Cartier" ambassador group;[137] according to the magazine, pre-order sales skyrocketed at the news of him being on the cover.[138] Kang was also chosen as a model for Calvin Klein Jeans for its special 50th anniversary celebration.[112] Their collaboration was seen on the October 2019 issue of High Cut fashion magazine, where Kang was the cover model on four different versions and sported Calvin Klein Jeans apparel.[139]

Philanthropy

On June 12, 2018, Kang participated in the Ice Bucket Challenge to promote ALS awareness and also donated ₩2 million ($1,730).[140] Two days later, the Seungil Hope Foundation reported its website crashed due to exceeded traffic and there were nearly a thousand donations since Kang participated in the challenge.[141] In November 2018, photographer Cho Sei-hon selected Jung Woo-sung and Kang Daniel as two people he thought had positive influence in South Korea for his last Letter from Angels exhibition, a 16-year adoption awareness campaign.[142] Two weeks after Kang was revealed as the exhibition portrait model, Cho divulged the orphan photographed with Kang was adopted.[143] On December 10, 2018, Kang donated ₩12.1 million ($10,400) for his birthday to the Miral Welfare Foundation to be used for low-income vulnerable groups’ medical bills and living expenses.[144]

In response to the April Goseong Fire of 2019, Kang donated ₩30 million ($26,000) to Hope Bridge Disaster Relief.[145] Hope Bridge reported in May the donations made in Kang's name amounted to ₩180 million ($155,000).[146] It was then reported that in under three years, the money donated to various charity organizations in his name by his fan club amounted to ₩680 million ($569,907).[147] In early December, Kang recorded ringtone services with KT for people with hearing or speech impairments for International Day of People with Disabilities (IDPWD). Ahead of Christmas, Kang donated ₩30 million in his fan club's name to The Snail of Love, a social welfare group for the deaf and hard of hearing. Konnect also donated 31,000 briquettes through the briquettes bank to thank fans for helping those in need on Kang's birthday.[148]

On February 28, 2020, Kang made a personal donation of ₩50 million ($41,000) to Hope Bridge Disaster Relief to be used to purchase goods such as health masks and hand sanitizers to prevent the spread of COVID-19.[149] After Konnect was contacted to confirm the news, Kang stated through his agency, "I wanted to be a little help to medical staff who are struggling."[150] On April 17, Kang went to The Snail of Love's office to visit the first of ten children who will receive a cochlear implant under the auspices of his and his fan club's names and provided her with gifts. A ceremony was held due to their combined donations exceeding ₩99 million ($81,000).[151][152]

Discography

Filmography

Television shows

Year English title Original title Role Network Note(s) Ref.
2017 Produce 101 Season 2 프로듀스 101 시즌 2 Contestant Mnet Finished in first place [153]
Master Key 마스터 키 Cast member SBS Episode 1, 4–10 [154]
2017–18 It's Dangerous Beyond the Blankets 이불 밖은 위험해 MBC Seasons 1 and 2 [155]
2020 Hello, Daniel 안녕, 다니엘 SBS F!L, SBS MTV Individual reality show [156]

DVDs

  • Hello, Daniel Travel Story in Portland & LA DVD[157]

Hosting

Year English title Original title Role Network Note(s) Ref.
2017 KBS Song Festival KBS 가요대축제 Opening and Part II MC KBS with Solar, Mingyu, and Yerin [158]
2018 Produce 48 프로듀스 48 Special MC Mnet Episode 1 (with Jeon So-mi) [159]
2019 Kang Daniel Show 강다니엘 Show NAVER NOW. Individual radio show [160]

Awards and achievements

Notes

  1. ^ a b As a member of Wanna One only.[1]

References

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