Kim Dong-ryool

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Kim Dong-ryool
Birth name Kim Dong-ryool
Born (1974-03-15) March 15, 1974 (age 43)
Seoul, South Korea
Origin Seoul, South Korea
Genres Pop, jazz, ballad
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, record producer,
TV presenter, radio DJ
Instruments Vocal, piano, guitar
Years active 1993 – present
Labels Music Farm (2007-present)
Woollim Entertainment (2004)
Daeyoung AV (1993-2004)
Associated acts Verandah Project
Kim Dong-ryool
Hangul 김동률
Revised Romanization Gim Dong-ryul
McCune–Reischauer Kim Tongryul

Kim Dong-ryool (Hangul김동률; or spelled Kim Dong-ryul; born March 15, 1974) is a South Korean pop singer-songwriter. He is a popular artist who composes, arranges, writes lyrics, produces, and performs his own music. He has been active since 1993.


Exhibition era (1993-1997)[edit]

As an architectural major in Yonsei University, Kim Dong-ryool formed the duet, Exhibition with his close friend, Seo Dong-Wook. Dong-ryool composed their songs and played the piano while Dong-wook played bass guitar.

The duet became famous through an MBC University Song Festival in 1993.[1] They emerged champion and won the special prize with the song "In Dreams" which Seo wrote and Kim composed. From then onwards, Kim began his career of singing, composing, and writing lyrics.

Kim's first album An Essay of Memory, which famous singer Shin Hae-cheol produced, was released in 1994. Even though the duet were new figures in the world of popular music, they did the composing, piano, bass,and computer programming themselves. The album received positive reviews and climbed onto the top ten chart, going on to sell over 600,000 copies.

In 1994, Kim and Seo enlisted in military service together. Upon release, the duet released their second album Strangers in 1996. The album was also produced by Shin Hae-cheol, and instrumentalists Yi, Byeong-Woo, Kim Se-Hwang,and Jeong Won-Young participated in it.Strangers also received positive reviews from critics, but there was a plagiarism dispute regarding "A Testament", a song on the album. The song came under suspicion because of its similarity to "The Girl Who Fell from the Sky", from the soundtrack in Studio Ghibli's animated film Laputa: Castle in the Sky. Experts decided that the main melody and ways of using instruments were similar, so 'A Testament' became a dishonourable song for the duet.[2]

In 1997, the duet decided to return to normal school life. They then released their last album Graduation with five songs which had special personal meanings for them.[1] Especially, "First Love" which was composed by Kim Dong-ryool when he was 14 years old and "In Dreams" which was the song that made the duet very popular.[3]

Carnival era[edit]

After disbanding, Seo Dong-wook became a normal student. But Kim Dong-ryool said, "The only thing I can do is music." He created the project group 'Carnival' with Lee Juck, with whom he became close with through the Jam concert of a popular radio program, At Starry Nights. Both of them were 24, singers and composers. But their music styles were very different. Kim Dong-ryool's songs were still slightly naive and mostly standard classical ballads, while Lee Juck's songs were poignant and heretical.[4]

The two decided to collaborate[5] and their music was of the funk genre. They worked with world famous brass session team, Jerry Hey, and Korean singer and jazz pianist, Kim Gwang-min; subsequently they released the album Carnival in 1997. It had a retro theme, and was a great success for them. They won the Golden Disc Award.[1]

Solo era[edit]

After the success of Carnival, Kim composed several popular songs such as "For a Thousand Days" for Lee Seung-hwan and "Show" for Kim Won-Jun. In 1998 he released his first solo album The Shadow of Forgetfulness with a piano-based sound recalling early Elton John.[6] Critics wrote that he had managed to create a new ballad style which featured classical and polished melodies.[6] After the first album, he held his first solo concert on Christmas Day in 1998.[1]

Even though he was already successful and a well-acknowledged artiste, Kim decided to study music more. He entered Berklee College of Music in 1999 and majored in film scoring.[1] While studying there, he wanted to make real Korean-style music and he became more interested in Korean traditional music and culture.

At the end of his first academic year, he released his second solo album Hope. In this album, he collaborated with not only the London Symphony Orchestra but also 'Samulnori' which is a traditional Korean percussion quartet. In 2001, he released his third solo album Homecoming. He continued to integrate Korean traditional music and classical sound. The critics commented on this album that it had a well-rounded sound and the overall atmosphere was natural and stable.[7]

After graduating top of his class, Kim returned to Korea and released his fourth solo album Exposing in 2004. The song "At Long Last" (이제서야) from this album topped the KBS charts in April.[8] Kim had tried to incorporate some new music styles in Exposing, such as bossa nova, samba, and pop-opera. His music became more comprehensive and mature. Especially, song arrangements were more refined than before.[9]

Kim Dong-ryool held his second solo concert in Seoul and Busan in August, 2004 and released the live recording album Invitation in 2005. He put his music and experience of the past ten years into this recording album. From 2005 to 2007 he hosted the TV music program Kim Dong-ryool's For You and the radio program Kim Dong-ryool's Music Island. A 'Best-Of' compilation album was released in 2007.[1]

In 2008, Kim released his fifth album Monologue. It peaked at number one on the charts and sold nearly 100,000 copies. This record was momentous to the Korean music industry because the rate of physical album sales then had been very low.[10] Most songs from the album became very popular among all generations.[11]

After this breakthrough, Kim held three concerts in 2008. All the advance tickets were sold out in less than 20 minutes. The concerts were designed to be full-scale in every way and Kim rearranged his songs to be accompanied by an orchestra.


1 - Exhibition

Album # Title / Date Released Track listing
1 Volume 1 - Exhibition
Released: 1994-05
An Essay of Memory(기억의 습작)

Sky High(하늘높이)
My Thoughts About You(너에 관한 나의 생각)
A Boy's Tree(소년의 나무)
In Front Of The World(세상의 문앞에서)
Too Many You(그대가 너무 많은)

2 Volume 2 - Strangers
Released: 1996-05
At The Confessional(고해소에서)

At The J's Bar(J's Bar에서)
A Testament(유서)
On The Way To Meeting You(마중 가던 길)
A Bird(새)
Blue Christmas
The Drunken Truth(취중진담)
The Promise of Ten Years(10년의 약속)

3 Volume 3 - Graduation
Released: 1997-01

First Love(첫사랑)
The Pledge(다짐)
In Dreams(꿈 속에서)

2 - Carnival

Album # Title / Date Released Track listing
1 Volume 1 - Carnival
Released: 1997

A Roller coaster(롤러코스터-In Carnival Land)
It Was Like That In Those Days(그땐 그랬지)
A Friend(벗)
A Doll Made Of Soap(비누인형)
A Toast(축배)
A Joke(농담)
Seize Her(그녀를 잡아요) Feat. Seo Dong-Wook, Kim Jin-Pyo
Dreams of Geese(거위의 꿈)

3 - Solo

Album # Title / Date Released Track listing
1 Volume 1 - Shadow Of Forgetfulness
Released: 1998-09
The Beginning(시작)

The Consideration(배려)
My Old Friends(내 오랜 친구들)
Miracle(기적) feat. Yi So-Eun
Lonely Sailing(항해)
A Partner(동반자)

2 Volume 2 - Hope(희망)
Released: 2000-08
It's Been Two Years(2년만에)

A Wall(벽) Feat. Yangpa
Christmas Presents(크리스마스 선물)
A Midsummer Night's Dream(한여름밤의 꿈)
The Transmigration(윤회)
My Cherished Desire(염원)
The Adventure(모험)
A Letter(편지)

3 Volume 3 - Homecoming(귀향)
Released: 2001-10
The Words Of Loving You(사랑한다는 말)

Shall I Love You Again?(다시 사랑한다 말할까)
An Appeal(하소연)
Where Are Arrows We Shoot?(우리가 쏜 화살은 어디로 갔을까)
Fallen Leaves(낙엽)
The Courtship Song(구애가)
A Lullaby(자장가)
Let you leave(떠나보내다) Feat. Seo Dong-Wook

4 Volume 4 - Outpouring(토로)
Released: 2004-03
Let you leave again(다시 떠나보내다)

Because you don't love me(사랑하지 않으니까요)
At long last(이제서야)
Grabber(욕심쟁이) Feat. Yi So-Eun
Behind incense(잔향)
Compromise(양보) Feat. Wanted

5 Farewell(고별)
Second Concert - Invitation

Released: 2005-02

Grand Opening
A Bird(새)
Sky High(하늘 높이)
It Was Like That In Those Days(그땐 그랬지) duet with Lee Juck
A Toast(축배) duet with Lee Juck
Miracle(기적) feat. Yi So-Eun
An Essay of Memory(기억의 습작)
The Courtship Song(구애가)
Because You Don't Love Me(사랑하지 않으니까요)
Fallen Leaves(낙엽) feat. Ha Rim, Jeong Jae-Il
Petition(청원) feat. Ha Rim, Jeong Jae-Il
The Truth In Wine(취중진담)
At Long Last(이제서야)
A Partner(동반자)
The Promise of Ten Years(10년의 약속)

6 Thanks(감사)
Released: 2007-03

An Essay of Memory(기억의 습작)
Sky High(하늘 높이)
Too Many You(그대가 너무 많은)
At J's Bar(J's Bar에서)
A Bird(새)
The Truth In Wine(취중진담)
First Love(첫사랑)
The Beginning(시작)
The Consideration(배려)
A Partner(동반자)
The Words Of Loving You(사랑한다는 말)
Shall I Love You Again?(다시 사랑한다 말할까)
At Long Last(이제서야)
Because You Don't Love Me(사랑하지 않으니까요)
Grabber(욕심쟁이) Feat. Yi So-Eun
Behind Incense(잔향)

7 Volume 5 - Monologue
Released: 2008-01

About It(그건 말야)
Old Song(오래된 노래)
Like A Child(아이처럼) feat. Alex
The Concert
The Figure From Behind(뒷모습)
Let's Start Again(다시 시작해보자)

8 KimdongrYULE
Released: 2011-12

Because It is Christmas(크리스마스잖아요)
Christmas Gift(크리스마스 선물)
New Start(새로운 시작)
Dream of the Winter Night(한겨울 밤의 꿈)
Our Method Of Living in the World(우리가 세상을 살아가는 법) feat. Friends

9 Volume 6 - Walking With (동행)
Released: 2014-10

Confession (고백)
Those Days (청춘) (feat. Lee Sang-soon)
My Very Own (내 사람)
Advice (feat. John Park)
How I Am (그게 나야)
Puzzle (퍼즐)
Where My Heart Is (내 마음은)
Today (오늘)
That Song (그 노래)
Walking With (동행)


Mnet Asian Music Awards[edit]

Year Category Work Result
2008 Album of the Year Monologue[12] Nominated
Best Male Artist "Let's Start Again"[12] Nominated
Best Ballad/R&B Performance Nominated
2014 Best Vocal Performance - Male "How I Am"[13] Nominated

Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards[edit]

Year Category Result
2015 Song of the Year (October) Won


  1. About Composers [1]
  2. Moneytoday [2]
  3. My Daily [3]
  4. IZM Neo Music Community [4]
  5. IZM Neo Music Community [5]
  6. IZM Neo Music Community [6]
  7. KBS [7]
  8. IZM Neo Music Community [8]
  9. Moneytoday [9]
  10. IZM Neo Music Community [10]

External links[edit]