Key (singer)

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This is a Korean name; the family name is Kim.
Key at the SMTown Coex Artium on January 2015.jpg
Key at the SMTown Coex Artium in January 2015
Native name 김기범
Born Kim Ki-bum
(1991-09-23) September 23, 1991 (age 25)
Daegu, South Korea[1]
Residence Seoul, South Korea
Education Woosuk University
Musical career
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2008–present
Labels S.M. Entertainment
Associated acts
Key's Signature.png
Stage name
Revised Romanization Ki
McCune–Reischauer K'i
Birth name
Hangul 김기범
Revised Romanization Gim Gi-beom
McCune–Reischauer Kim Ki-pŏm

Kim Ki-bum (born September 23, 1991[2]), better known by his stage name Key, is a South Korean singer, actor and MC. He debuted as a member of the South Korean boy group Shinee in May 2008, and later formed the duo Toheart with Nam Woo-hyun of Infinite in 2014.

Key began his acting career in the 2011 Mnet's series Moon Night '90, playing Lee Hyun Do, a minor role in the drama.[3] In 2016, he starred in his first supporting role playing Kim Ki-bum, in the tvN drama, Drinking Solo.[4] Key has solidified his acting career by taking part in musicals like Catch Me If You Can (2012), Zorro (2014), and Save the Green Planet! (2016).

Key has also ventured into the fashion industry such as by designing Shinee's concert outfits since 2015 and is taking the role of a fashion director for the group,[5][6][7] and also being a model for Jill Stuart Accessory in 2016.[8]

Early life[edit]

Key was born on September 23, 1991[2] in Daegu, South Korea.[1] He was a varsity water-skier in Dae Gu Yeong Shin Middle School.[9] In 2006, he joined S.M. Entertainment after a successful audition at the SM National Tour Audition Casting.[10] In 2007, he appeared as a background dancer in the film Super Junior, Attack on the Pin-Up Boys.


2008–13: Career beginnings[edit]

Main article: Shinee

In 2008, he was chosen as a member of the group Shinee.[11] The group released their first mini-album, Replay on May 22 debuting at #10 and reached the #8 position on the charts.[12] The first television presentation of the group occurred on May 25, 2008 in the program SBS's Inkigayo.[11]

Shorty after debut, Key has appeared on television shows such as Idol Maknae Rebellion as a guest star alongside his Shinee group mates Taemin, Onew, and Jonghyun, for two episodes. Together with other idol group members: Dongho from U-KISS, Shorry J from Mighty Mouth, Jinwoon from 2AM, Yunhwa from T-Max, Seunghyun from F.T. Island and in the later part, Mir from MBLAQ. Key was also part of the cast of the show Raising Idol along with Dongho from U-KISS and Thunder from MBLAQ.[13] Key was also featured in label-mate Xiah's solo performance of "Xiahtic" in TVXQ's concert, 2009: The 3rd Asia Tour Mirotic, in Seoul.[14] In 2010, he was featured in the song "치유 (Healing)" on TRAX's mini album "Trax Mini Album Volume 1".[15] Key was also featured in Girls' Generation's song "Hwaseongin Virus (Boys & Girls)" (Korean: "화성인 바이러스 (Boys & Girls)") on their second studio album Oh!.[16] In 2011, Key collaborated with Leeteuk of Super Junior on a song called "Bravo" for the drama History of a Salaryman. He also took part in EXO's song "Two Moons" on their debut mini album MAMA[17] and BoA's song "One Dream" as the theme song for SBS "K-pop Star" with label-mate Henry of Super Junior-M.[18]

Key was cast as Frank Abagnale Jr., rotating with Um Ki-joon, Kim Jeong-hoon, Park Gwang-hyun and label-mates Super Junior's Kyuhyun with Girls' Generation Sunny and The Grace's Dana, in the Korean production of Broadway musical Catch Me If You Can, marking his theatrical debut. The musical ran from March 28 to June 10 at the Blue Square, Samsung Card Hall, in Hannam-dong, Seoul. On October 24, 2012 it was announced that Key would be participating in the return of the Korean adaption of the broadway musical Catch Me If You Can. The production started on December 14, 2012 and continued until February 9, 2013 at the Opera House in the Seongnam Arts Center.[19] Key also did a cameo in SBS Sitcom "Salamander Guru and The Shadows" in episode 4.[20]

On July 18, 2013, it was announced that Key would be cast as Clyde in the Korean production of the broadway musical "Bonnie & Clyde", alongside the cast Kim Min-jong, Um Ki-joon, Dana of CSJH The Grace, and Hyungsik of ZE:A. The performance ran at the Chungmu Art Hall in Seoul from September 4 until October 27, 2013.[21] Not long after, on October 22, he was cast in another Korean adaptation of the broadway musical "The Three Musketeers" as D'Artagnan.[22]

2014–present: Toheart and acting debut[edit]

Main article: Toheart (band)
Toheart at the 2014 Hong Kong Dome Festival.

In 2014, Key formed a duo with Woohyun from Infinite. It is a collaboration between S.M. Entertainment and Woollim Entertainment.[23] According to the members, it was their idea to form a duo since they are close friends but they weren't thinking of a musical collaboration, instead thinking of photoshoots and similar.[24] In the same year, Key was cast as the lead role for new musical "Zorro", sharing the main role with singer Wheesung and Beast's Yoseob. "Zorro" ran from August 27 till October 26 at the Chungmu Art Hall in Seoul.[25] Key also participated in the MBC variety show "We Got Married Global Edition". His virtual wife was Arisa Yagi, a Japanese model.[26]

In March 2015, Key and CNBLUE's Jung-shin were appointed as the main presenters of Mnet's M! Countdown.[27] The same year Key collaborated with AXODUS, a duo formed by Don Spike and DJ Hanmin. Key took over the vocals for the track "Hold On," and they made a special presentation on July 25, 2015 in Ansan Valley Rock Festival.[28] In July 2015, Key was announced to be part of the musical "In the Heights".[29] Key made his theatrical debut as Byeong Gu in "Save the Green Planet!", based on the 2003 film of the same name.[30] Key also had his own show entitled "Key's Know How" produced by Mnet.[31] Key made his official acting debut in the tvN drama Drinking Solo which is premiering in September. He takes the role of a student who has been studying for the civil service exam for 3 years. His character has lived an easy life so far but he's currently experiencing a life with no income.[32][33]

Public image[edit]

Key is one of the best fashionistas among K-idols, with his peculiar and particularly appealing style often not afraid to mix colors. In media, his style is compared to fashion icon G-Dragon. Both are known not to follow trends, but instead have their own unique style, mixing elements of the new trends with outdated items.[34]

Personal life[edit]

Key was raised by his grandmother from birth; his mother was sick after giving birth and his father was busy with work.[35] On October 10, 2014 Kibum announced on his Instagram account that his grandmother passed away on September 23, 2014. Furthermore, he stated that he wanted to announce it on his own because it didn't feel right for him to announce it through his company.[36] Key graduated from Myongji University with a degree in Film and Musical.[37] He currently attends for his graduate degree in Woosuk University, majoring in "Culture and Education Contents Development". His thesis is titled "The Influence of Styling Education on Appearance Satisfaction and Self-Esteem of Korean Adolescents".[38][39]

Other ventures[edit]


Key and his fans are known to take part in charitable events. In 2012, Key and his fans from Korea, China, Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, Thailand and seven other countries donated 2.12 tons of rice to World Vision, which was able to feed 17,000 undernourished children and elderly among 11 cities.[40] Later on September 23, 2014, on Key’s birthday, fans raised a total of 2 million won and established a well in Cambodia and to be used as medical aid for poor children.[41] In 2015, Key posted on his Instagram account encouraging viewers to help the citizens in Nepal after its devastating earthquake, and sent moral support.[42] In the same year, Key collaborated with designer Ko Taeyong and sold sweatshirts depicting his dogs. All revenue (approximately 1250 million won) were later donated to the Animal Freedom Union.[43] In 2016, Key along with groupmate Taemin and other artists from S.M. Entertainment took part in the "Make a Promise" campaign organised by UNICEF and Louis Vuitton; whereby 40% of the proceeds were donated through UNICEF to the children in need.[44]


Key has also taken part in lyric-writing (mostly writing the lyrics for rap). In 2009, Key wrote the lyrics to “Get Down” in the album 2009, Year of Us.[45] In 2010, Key wrote the rap for the track “Get It” in the album, Lucifer,[46] and the track “Girls, Girls, Girls” in the album Dream Girl – The Misconceptions of You.[47] In 2013, Key also wrote the rap for the track “Colourful” in the extended play, Everybody.[48] In 2015, Key was also credited for writing the rap for the track “Alive” in the album Odd.[49]


In January 2016, Key became a model for Jill Stuart Accessory.[8] A representative explained why he was chosen for the brand stating: "Key, which is chosen as a fashion icon, has promoted professionally in a variety of areas such as music and broadcasting, showing an artistic aspect, which overlaps with sensual style and fashion the concept of the brand."[50]


In 2016, Key became a special editor for the Korean Elle, sharing his personal lifestyle in a column called 'Key Story', which is released bi-weekly by the magazine.[51] He shared tips on colour contact lenses,[52] cameras,[53] applications,[54] and more.



Year Title Role Notes
2007 Attack on the Pin-Up Boys Extra dancer Cameo
2012 I AM. Himself Documentary of SM Town[55][56]
2015 SMTOWN The Stage

Television Series[edit]

Year Title Role Network Notes
2011 Moon Night '90[57] Lee Hyun-do Mnet Deux Episode
2012 Salamander Guru and The Shadows[58] Himself SBS Cameo
2016 Drinking Solo Kim Ki-bum tvN Supporting Role

TV Appearance & Variety Shows[edit]

Year Title Role Network Notes
2010 Raising Idol Cast Members Comedy TV with Dongho from U-KISS and Thunder from MBLAQ
2014 7 Hungry Houseguests[59] Cast Members MBC Ethiopia Episode
Stargazing[60] Cast Members MBC with Kang Ho-dong
We Got Married Global Edition Himself MBC with Arisa Yagi
2015 Make An Order[61] Co-Host Olive TV with Jun Hyun-moo
Key's Knowhow[31] Himself Mnet broadcast on Mnet's Official YouTube Channel
My Little Television Cast Member MBC broadcast on Lifestyle & Pet
2015–present M! Countdown[62] Host Mnet

Musicals and Plays[edit]

Year Title Role Note
2012 Catch Me If You Can Frank Abagnale, Jr. Korean Ver.
2013 Bonnie and Clyde Clyde Chestnut Barrow
2013-14 The Three Musketeers D'Artagnan
2014 Zorro Zorro
2015 School Oz David Hologram Musical
2015 Chess Anatoly Sergievsky Korean Ver.
In the Heights Usnavi
2016 Save the Green Planet! Byeong Gu


Main article: Shinee discography

Collaborations and Featurings[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
Gaon Chart
Billboard K-Pop

(TRAX feat. Key)
2010 Trax Mini Album Volume 1
"Boys & Girls"
(Girls' Generation feat. Key)
25 Oh!
"Barbie Girl"
(Jessica Jung feat. Key)
1st Asia Tour "Into The New World"
"One Dream"
(BoA feat. Henry Lau and Key)
2012 34 51 Only One
"Two Moons"
(EXO feat. Key)
14 Mama
"Hold On"
(Axodus feat. Key)
2015 * Non-album single
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.
"*" Billboard Korea K-Pop Hot 100 was introduced in August 2011 and discontinued in July 2014.

Soundtrack Contributions[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Album
Gaon Chart

Billboard World Digital

(with Leeteuk)
2011 History of a Salaryman OST
"Key of Secret"[67]
2016 TV Animation Magic Adventure-The Crystal of Dark OST
(with Doyoung)
38 Revenue Collection Unit OST
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Key(김기범) 가수". Naver Profiles (in Korean). March 2, 2011. Retrieved August 7, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b Russell, Mark (29 April 2014). K-Pop Now!: The Korean Music Revolution. Tuttle Publishing. p. 67. ISBN 978-1-4629-1411-1. 
  3. ^ "이현도, 샤이니의 듀스 안무에 "너무 멋있다" 흡족". October 27, 2011. Retrieved September 25, 2016. 
  4. ^ "[단독] 샤이니 키, tvN '혼술남녀' 출연…민호 잇는 '연기돌'". Naver via Osen. June 8, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2016. 
  5. ^ "디렉터로 변신한 키". Korean Elle (in Korean). September 19, 2016. Retrieved September 25, 2016. 
  6. ^ Yoo Byung-chul (October 22, 2015). "샤이니 키, SM 문화 강연회 'THE MOMENT' 두 번째 주자로 나서" (in Korean). Retrieved September 25, 2016. 
  7. ^ Stephanie Choi (September 12, 2016). "LIVE REVIEW: SHINEE KEY "THE MOMENT: SHINEE KEY & BRIDGE SHIP HOUSE" – COEX ARTIUM, SEOUL (26.08.16)". Retrieved September 25, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b "샤이니 키, 질스튜어트 액세서리 모델 발탁…'2016년 첫 뮤즈'" (in Korean). Archived from the original on July 2, 2016. 
  9. ^ 샤이니 키, 中시절 수상스키 선수로 전국 대회 출전. Seoul Newspaper (in Korean). September 26, 2008. Retrieved January 19, 2009. 
  10. ^ Hong Jae-hyun (May 29, 2008). 5인조 틴에이저그룹 ‘샤이니’, 실력&풋풋함…“누나들이 예뻐해요”. Donga (in Korean). Archived from the original on July 26, 2016. Retrieved January 19, 2009. 
  11. ^ a b "Shinee's iple profile" (in Korean). Retrieved November 11, 2010. 
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  17. ^ "Exo - Mama". Naver. Retrieved July 18, 2013. 
  18. ^ Kim, Ji-yeon (March 17, 2012). "Boa Sings ′One Dream′ for 『K-Pop Star』". CJ E&M enewsWorld. Retrieved February 20, 2013. 
  19. ^ Sunwoo, Carla "Three join ‘Catch Me if You Can’" Joongang Daily. February 2, 2012. Retrieved March 27, 2012
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  22. ^ Let’s meet SHINee - Versatile artist Key distinguishes himself in musical world Naver Starcast November 12, 2013. Retrieved July 23, 2016]
  23. ^ 투하트 :: 네이버 인물검색 (in Korean). naver. Retrieved 24 March 2014. 
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  26. ^ Hong, Grace Danbi. "SHINee's Key to Join We Got Married Global Edition". Retrieved 10 February 2014. 
  27. ^ "키 이정신 '엠카' 새 MC 전격발탁…특별무대 첫선". Retrieved 19 March 2015. 
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  29. ^ "첸 동우 성규 루나 키 등…뮤지컬 '인 더 하이츠' 캐스팅 [스포츠투데이]". Asiae News. July 9, 2015. Retrieved August 23, 2015. 
  30. ^ "SHINee's Key takes starring role in play" The Korea Times. March 8, 2016.
  31. ^ a b "Key to star in his own reality TV show". Retrieved 22 June 2015. 
  32. ^ "[단독] 샤이니 키, tvN '혼술남녀' 출연…민호 잇는 '연기돌'". Naver via Osen. June 8, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2016. 
  33. ^ "'혼술남녀' 하석진-박하선, 꿀 케미 돋는 대본 리딩 공개". Chosun. July 14, 2016. Retrieved July 17, 2016. 
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  35. ^ Key's tearful Confession Newsen. September 8, 2010. Retrieved September 8, 2010
  36. ^ Key's tearful Confession Instagram. October 10, 2014. Retrieved December 29, 2014
  37. ^ "'高졸업' 샤이니 키 "성인 된만큼 더욱 책임감 갖겠다"". February 10, 2010. Retrieved July 24, 2016. 
  38. ^ "샤이니 키, 청소년 자아관 형성 돕는다". Veritas. April 26, 2016. Retrieved July 17, 2016. 
  39. ^ ""작은키 보완 비법 모르죠?"…샤이니 멤버 키 익산서 특강". Naver via Yonhap News. April 26, 2016. Retrieved July 16, 2016. 
  40. ^ "김동준-써니-규현-키-손동운 다국적팬, 쌀 7.5톤 기부". December 20, 2012. Retrieved September 27, 2016. 
  41. ^ "샤이니 키 팬들, 캄보디아에 우물 기증으로 '생일 축하'". September 23, 2014. Retrieved September 27, 2016. 
  42. ^ "샤이니(SHINee) 키, 네팔 지진 후원하는 격려글… '얼굴도 마음도 1등'". April 28, 2015. Retrieved September 27, 2016. 
  43. ^ "샤이니(SHINee) 키, 동물자유연대에 '꼼가 맨투맨' 수익금 1,250만원 기부… '천사같은 키보미'". December 30, 2015. Retrieved September 27, 2016. 
  44. ^ "기부로 뭉친 SM의 남자들 "작은 시작이 세상 바꿔" [화보]". January 18, 2016. Retrieved September 27, 2016. 
  45. ^ "Shinee's Official Homepage: 2009, Year of Us". SM Entertainment. October 22, 2009. Retrieved September 12, 2016. 
  46. ^ "Shinee's Official Homepage: Lucifer". SM Entertainment. July 23, 2010. Retrieved September 12, 2016. 
  47. ^ "Shinee's Official Homepage - Dream Girl – The Misconceptions of You". SM Entertainment. 25 August 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2016. 
  48. ^ "Shinee's Official Homepage: Everybody". SM Entertainment. October 10, 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2016. 
  49. ^ "Shinee's Official Homepage: Odd". SM Entertainment. May 18, 2015. Retrieved September 12, 2016. 
  50. ^ "샤이니 키, 질스튜어트 액세서리 모델 발탁…'2016년 첫 뮤즈'" (in Korean). Naver. Retrieved July 2, 2016. 
  51. ^ "Key's Prologue". Elle Korea (in Korean). Archived from the original on September 10, 2016. Retrieved September 10, 2016. 
  52. ^ "키 눈동자에 숨겨진 비밀". Elle Korea. April 26, 2016. Retrieved September 12, 2016. 
  53. ^ "키가 애정하는 카메라 대공개!". Elle Korea. May 9, 2016. Retrieved September 12, 2016. 
  54. ^ "키가 쓰는 '마법의 앱'". Elle Korea. May 24, 2016. Retrieved September 12, 2016. 
  55. ^ "Documentary Shows Top K-Pop Singers Behind the Scenes". Chosun Ilbo. 2 May 2012. Retrieved May 4, 2012. 
  56. ^ Lee, Edmund (November 24, 2015). "Film review: SMTown: The Stage". South China Morning Post. Retrieved April 8, 2016. 
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  59. ^ "SHINee's Key Heads to Ethiopia as New Member of '7 Hungry Houseguests'". 
  60. ^ Kim Hee-eun (June 10, 2014). "Shinee's Key stars in new tv show". Korea Joongang Daily. Archived from the original on July 19, 2016. Retrieved July 18, 2016. 
  61. ^ "전현무·샤이니 키, 쿡방 프로 도전…올리브TV '주문을 걸어' 7월 출격" (in Korean). 
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  63. ^ (Korean) Gaon Album Chart. Gaon Music Chart (Korea Music Content Industry Association). Retrieved August 21, 2016.
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  65. ^ "Gaon Chart" (in Korean). Gaon Chart. 
  66. ^ "World Digital Songs". Billboard. 
  67. ^ "샤이니 키, 4일 정오 'Key of Secret' 공개…애니메이션 메인 OST" (in Korean). 
  68. ^ "'38사기동대' OST, 샤이니 키·NCT 도영 특급콜라보". Asiae News (in Korean). July 8, 2016. Retrieved July 9, 2016. 

External links[edit]