Lee Seung-gi

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Lee Seung-gi
190105 이승기.png
Native name
Born (1987-01-13) January 13, 1987 (age 32)
  • Singer
  • Actor
  • Host
  • Entertainer
Musical career
  • Vocals
  • Guitar
  • Piano
Years active2004–present
LabelsHook Entertainment
Korean name
Revised RomanizationI Seunggi
McCune–ReischauerRi Sŭnggi

Lee Seung-gi (Korean이승기; Hanja李昇基; born January 13, 1987) is a South Korean singer, actor, host, and entertainer.[1] Known as the "Ballad Prince", Lee has had numerous hit songs such as "Because You're My Woman", "Will You Marry Me", and "Return". He has garnered further recognition as an actor and rose to international popularity around Asia with leading roles in popular dramas such as Brilliant Legacy (2009), My Girlfriend Is a Nine-Tailed Fox (2010), The King 2 Hearts (2012), Gu Family Book (2013), You're All Surrounded (2014), and A Korean Odyssey (2017–2018). He was a member of the first season of weekend variety show 1 Night 2 Days from November 2007 to February 2012, and the host of talk show Strong Heart from October 2009 to April 2012.[2]

Lee's success as a singer, actor and host earned him the title "Triple Threat" entertainer.[failed verification][3][dead link][4] He was first included in Forbes Korea Power Celebrity list in 2010 placing seventh,[5] subsequently ranking fourth in 2011[6] and sixth in 2012 and 2015.[7][8] The success of his television dramas throughout Asia established him as a top Hallyu star.[citation needed]


Lee graduated from Dongguk University obtaining his degree in International Trade and Commerce on February 20, 2009 and received a Special Achievement Award during graduation. He then continued his studies obtaining two master's degrees, Trade Theory as well as Finance and Cultural Contents at Dongguk Graduate School.[9]


2004–present: As singer[edit]

Scouted by singer Lee Sun-hee, Lee trained for two years before debuting on June 5, 2004, at the age of 17. "Because You're My Girl", his debut song from his first album The Dream of a Moth, became a popular ballad which created a "liking older women" syndrome in South Korea.[10][11] With this song, he won the "Best Newcomer" award in various music awards ceremonies in 2004, such as the M.net KM Music Festival and Seoul Music Awards. In 2007, he also won the "Best Male Solo Artist" award at the M.net KM Music Festival with his song "White Lie" from his third album Story of Separation.[12]

At Yeosu Expo Pop Festival, 2012

Lee released a digital single titled "Will You Marry Me" in 2009,[13] which became a hit in South Korea. With this single, he received the "Digital Single Bonsang" award in the 24th Golden Disk Awards.[14] The same year, he released his fourth album Shadow, which was a success and received 40,000 pre-order copies before its release.[15][16]

In 2010, he recorded a duet version of his 2007 song "Smile Boy" with South Korean figure skater Kim Yuna, which became the official 2010 FIFA World Cup commercial song in South Korea.[17] He also received the "Digital Single Bonsang" award for the second consecutive time at the 25th Golden Disk Awards with his song "Love Taught Me To Drink".[18] This was followed by the release of his fifth album, Tonight in 2011, a departure from Lee's usual traditional ballads and encompasses more of a rock band-style sound and melodies.[19] The title song "Aren't We Friends" instantly topped online music charts upon release.[20] His other single, "Era of Love" also earned the No. 1 spot on this week's Billboard K-Pop Hot 100.[21]

On March 6, 2012, Lee made his debut in Japan with the release of his first Japanese album Time for Love (also translated as Alone in Love) and a single of the same title.[22] Both the album and singled ranked number one on the Oricon Daily Chart.[23][24] To celebrate his success, Lee held a fanmeeting at Tokyo Dome City Hall.[25] He held a concert at Nippon Budokan, Tokyo, on June 1, 2012, three months after his debut.[26][27]

Back in South Korea the same year, Lee released an EP titled Forest.[28] The title song "Return" set a record for being number one for six consecutive weeks on Billboard's Korea K-Pop Hot 100.[29][30]

On June 10, 2015, Lee made his music comeback with his sixth album And... after a hiatus of two years and seven months.[31][32]

On January 21, 2016, Lee's agency, Hook Entertainment, announced that Lee would be enlisting for his mandatory military service on February 1. As a gift to fans, Lee also released a new track on January 21 at noon, titled "I Am Going to the Military".[33] On March 3, 2016, Lee's song "Meet Someone Like Me" was released. The single is the last song Lee recorded before joining the army, and was produced by Psy.[34]

2006–present: As actor[edit]

In 2005, Lee guest-starred in MBC's sitcom Nonstop 5.[35] He then officially debuted as an actor in KBS's 2006 weekend drama The Infamous Chil Sisters.[36]

He was then cast as the male lead in SBS's weekend drama Brilliant Legacy in 2009, co-starring Han Hyo-joo.[37] The drama maintained its top spot in viewer ratings throughout its run, with its final episode attaining a viewer rating of 47.1%.[38] The huge success boosted Lee's popularity as an actor and led to increased advertising offers for the actor.[39] With this drama, he received the "Excellence in Acting" award, the "Top 10 Stars" award and the "Best Couple" award with Han Hyo-joo at the 2009 SBS Drama Awards.[40]

This was followed by SBS's fantasy drama My Girlfriend Is a Nine-Tailed Fox in 2010, playing a university student who (despite strong discouragement from his grandfather) wants to drop out in order to pursue his dream of becoming an action movie star.[41][42] His performance earned him his second "Excellence in Acting" award at the 2010 SBS Drama Awards.[43]

Lee then starred in MBC's action drama The King 2 Hearts (2012),[44][45] fantasy-historical drama Gu Family Book (2013),[46][47] and SBS's police drama You're All Surrounded (2014).[48][49]

In 2015, Lee made his film debut with romantic comedy Love Forecast which co-stars Moon Chae-won.[50][51] In July 2015, Lee was cast in the period comedy film The Princess and the Matchmaker with Shim Eun-kyung, directed by The Face Reader director Han Jae-rim.[52] The film was released in 2018.[53]

In 2017, Lee was cast in the fantasy drama A Korean Odyssey, written by the Hong sisters. This marks his first project after enlistment.[54][55]

In 2019, Lee starred in the spy action drama Vagabond.[56][57]

At KCON, 2014

2007–present: As host and entertainer[edit]

Lee was a permanent member of the first season of 1 Night 2 Days, a segment of KBS's weekend variety show Happy Sunday, from November 2007 to February 2012. Known by his nickname "Heodang", his appearance on the show shot him to fame in Korea and made him a household name.[58][59] In 2008, he received the "Best Popularity" award in the KBS Entertainment Awards due to his popularity with audience in 1 Night 2 Days. He also earned the "Top Excellence Host" award in the 2010 KBS Entertainment Awards and the "Daesang" award with the other cast members of the first season at the 2011 KBS Entertainment Awards.[60]

Lee took on a hosting role in SBS's Tuesday night talk show Strong Heart in October 2009, with Kang Ho-dong.[61] It was recognized as the "Best Program" at the 2009 SBS Entertainment Awards and Lee was awarded the "Netizens' Popularity" award.[62] Lee was again recognized for his role in the talk show and received the "Top Excellence Host" award for two consecutive years at the 2010 and 2011 SBS Entertainment Awards.[60][63] In March 2012, Lee announced his departure from Strong Heart in order to focus on his singing career. He recorded his last episode on March 15, which was broadcast on April 3.[64]

Lee reunited with 1 Night 2 Days cast members and PD Na Young-seok in the travel-reality show New Journey to the West in 2015.[65][66]

In 2017, Lee was announced to be joining the cast of SBS variety show All The Butlers.[67]

In 2018, Lee was announced to be the MC of Mnet's reality/survival program, Produce 48.[68] The same year, it was announced that Lee will join the second season of Netflix's variety show Busted!.[69] Lee was nominated and awarded the Grand Award (Daesang) at the 2018 SBS Entertainment Awards for SBS variety show All The Butlers. He became the youngest entertainer who win the Grand Award (Daesang).[70]

In 2019, Lee joined the cast of Little Forest, a healing variety program designed as a home kids garden development project for children.[71] The same year, he featured in the Netflix travel show Twogether alongside Taiwanese actor Jasper Liu.[72] Meanwhile, Lee didn't stop acting and was starred in the TV drama Vagabond. [73]

In the media[edit]

Lee is known for his clean and positive image, which earned him the nickname of "Nation's umchina" and "Nation's Little Brother".[74] He is one of the most in-demand and popular commercial models and celebrity endorsers in South Korea.[75][76] He endorses a wide variety of products and services and consistently ranks high in the monthly endorser survey of the Korea Advertisers Association.[77][78]

On June 23, 2012, Lee was one of the torchbearers in the 2012 London Summer Olympics Torch Relay chosen by Samsung.[79][80] On October 30, 2012, the National Election Commission of South Korea appointed Lee as the Honorary Online Ambassador of the nation's campaign for a fair and clean presidential election.[81]

Personal life[edit]

Military service[edit]

On February 1, 2016, Lee began his 21 months of mandatory military service as active duty soldier, entering Nonsan Army Recruit Training Center in Chungcheongnam-do.[82] After training there for five weeks he was dispatched to his assigned role following the completion ceremony.[83] Lee was formally discharged on October 31, 2017 from the military at Jeungpyeong County in North Chungcheong Province where he was a member of the special forces (13th Special Forces Brigade 'Black Panther', Republic of Korea Army Special Warfare Command).[84][85][86]



Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^ "What makes Lee Seung-gi, Lee Seung-gi?" Hancinema. June 18, 2015
  2. ^ "[INTERVIEW and PHOTOS] Singer and actor Lee Seung-gi". 10Asia. January 1, 2012.
  3. ^ "Triple threat with singing, acting and hosting skills" Asiaone. March 19, 2012
  4. ^ "'I want to be remembered as multi-entertainer'". The Korea Times. March 11, 2018.
  5. ^ "Korea's Power Celebrity List 2010". Forbes. July 16, 2010.
  6. ^ "Korea's Top Celebrities 2011". Forbes. March 31, 2011.
  7. ^ "Forbes Korea's Top 'Power Celebrity 40' ranking". Manila Bulletin. Archived from the original on August 20, 2013.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  8. ^ "[창간특집 Ⅳ] 2015 KOREA POWER CELEBRITY 40 – 엑소, 한국 최고의 파워 셀러브리티". JoongAng Daily (in Korean). February 23, 2015.
  9. ^ "Lee Seung Gi Enrolls in Grad School". enewsWorld. July 13, 2012.
  10. ^ [서병기의 이슈! 문화비평]이승기 '내여자…' 등 인기몰이. Herald Biz (in Korean). October 7, 2004. Archived from the original on November 9, 2004.
  11. ^ "May–November romances change, in song, film and TV". Korea JoongAng Daily. April 4, 2004.
  12. ^ "이승기, 신혜성 불참한 MKMF '남자가수상' 수상" (in Korean) Newsen. November 17, 2007
  13. ^ 이승기, 디지털싱글 '결혼해줄래'로 가요계 컴백. Hankyung Ilbo (in Korean). June 18, 2009.
  14. ^ "Super Junior sweeps 2009 Golden Disk Awards". 10Asia. December 11, 2009.
  15. ^ "Shadow Popular Even Before Release". The Korea Times. September 12, 2009.
  16. ^ "Male Singers Beckoning Autumn". The Korea Times. September 22, 2009.
  17. ^ "Kim Yu-na, Lee Seung-gi Collaborate on World Cup Commercial Song" The Chosun Ilbo. May 17, 2010
  18. ^ "골든디스크 본상 디지털 음원 본상, 이승기 수상! 활동 많이 못했는데…" (in Korean) BNTnews. December 9, 2010
  19. ^ "Lee Seung-gi Pushes Boundaries with Eclectic New Album". The Chosun Ilbo. October 27, 2011.
  20. ^ "Lee Seung-gi moves back into music". Korea JoongAng Daily. November 2, 2011.
  21. ^ "Lee Seung Gi's 'Era of Love' Tops K-Pop Hot 100". Billboard. October 11, 2011.
  22. ^ "Lee Seung-gi to make debut in Japan in March". The Korea Times. January 31, 2012.
  23. ^ "Lee Seung-gi achieves dominance in Japan in less than a day". Korea JoongAng Daily. March 8, 2012.
  24. ^ "Lee Seung-gi: 'My Debut Single Ranks Atop Oricon Chart Thanks to You'". HanCinema. March 23, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  25. ^ "Lee Seung-gi celebrates single success with fans in Tokyo". Korea JoongAng Daily. March 13, 2012.
  26. ^ "Lee Seung-gi Mesmerizes Fans in Japan's Budokan". HanCinema. June 8, 2012. Retrieved November 4, 2015.
  27. ^ "Lee Seung-gi plays the Budokan". Korea JoongAng Daily. June 5, 2012.
  28. ^ "Lee Seung-gi to release fifth album next month". Korea JoongAng Daily. November 1, 2012.
  29. ^ "Lee Seung-gi album dominates chart". Korea JoongAng Daily. January 5, 2013.
  30. ^ "Lee Seung Gi Talks Making K-Pop Hot 100 History, PSY's Influence and 2013 Plans". Billboard. July 2, 2013.
  31. ^ "Lee Seung-gi returns with new album". The Korea Times. June 18, 2015.
  32. ^ "[New Releases] LEE SEUNG GI". June 16, 2015.
  33. ^ "Actor-singer Lee Seung-gi releases single ahead of conscription". The Korea Herald. January 21, 2016.
  34. ^ "Lee Seung-gi releases Psy song". The Korea Times. March 2, 2016.
  35. ^ '논스톱 5' 스타들 행복한 고민. The Chosun Ilbo (in Korean). September 29, 2004.
  36. ^ 이승기, '소문난 칠공주'로 첫 정통 드라마 도전. The Chosun Ilbo (in Korean). February 27, 2006.
  37. ^ "Lee Seung-gi Branches Out". The Chosun Ilbo. July 4, 2009.
  38. ^ "'Brilliant' drama leaving its own legacy". Korea JoongAng Daily. July 16, 2009.
  39. ^ "Lee, Han Picked as Rising Ad Models". The Korea Times. September 24, 2009.
  40. ^ Ko Jae-wan (January 4, 2010). "Jang Seo-hee wins grand prize at SBS Drama Awards". 10Asia.
  41. ^ "Lee Seung-gi, Shin Min-ah to play couple in new TV series". 10Asia. July 21, 2010.
  42. ^ "Star couple seeks to lure more fans with new soap". The Korea Times. August 10, 2010.
  43. ^ Ko, Kyoung-seok (January 3, 2011). "Ko Hyun-jung wins grand prize at SBS Drama Awards". 10Asia.
  44. ^ Park, HyunMin (June 11, 2012). "Interview Part I: Lee Seung Gi is Not Humble; Just No Time To be Prideful". enewsworld. CJ E&M. Archived from the original on March 5, 2016. Retrieved November 14, 2012.
  45. ^ Park, HyunMin (June 11, 2012). "Interview Part II: Lee Seung Gi Talks Girls, Scandals and Celebrity Life". enewsworld. CJ E&M. Archived from the original on January 17, 2016. Retrieved November 14, 2012.
  46. ^ "Lee Seung-gi and Suzy to star in drama". Korea JoongAng Daily. February 1, 2013.
  47. ^ "[Kang Chi, the Beginning] Lee Seung-gi". KBS World. April 23, 2013.
  48. ^ "Lee Seung-gi, Cha Seung-won, Go Ara Confirm New Drama". 10Asia. February 26, 2014.
  49. ^ Hong, Grace Danbi (April 30, 2014). "Lee Seung Gi is Paying More Attention to His Face Working with Models". enewsWorld. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
  50. ^ "Lee Seung-gi to debut on screen with 'Woman of 3 Men'". The Korea Herald. June 18, 2014.
  51. ^ "Lee Seung-gi, Moon Chae-won's chemistry to hit screen". Kpop Herald. December 2, 2014.
  52. ^ "Lead roles cast in 'Face Reader' sequel". Korea JoongAng Daily. July 11, 2015.
  53. ^ "Director says 'The Princess and the Matchmaker' is exhilarating period comedy-drama". Yonhap News Agency. January 31, 2018.
  54. ^ "Lee Seung-gi confirms lead role in upcoming drama 'Hwayugi'". Kpop Herald. November 5, 2017.
  55. ^ "Lee Seung-gi to Star in TV Version of Chinese Classic After Military Stint". The Chosun Ilbo. November 6, 2017.
  56. ^ "Lee Seung-gi, Suzy reunite for drama 'Vagabond'". Kpop Herald. June 5, 2018.
  57. ^ "Lee Seung-gi, Suzy confident of captivating action scenes in 'Vagabond'". Yonhap News Agency. September 16, 2019.
  58. ^ "A definite character". Korea JoongAng Daily. October 11, 2008.
  59. ^ "Lee says he did not quit shows for new drama". The Korea Herald. March 8, 2012.
  60. ^ a b "Lee Kyung-kyu wins grand prize at KBS Entertainment Awards". 10Asia. December 27, 2010.
  61. ^ "Lee Seung-gi Co-hosts a Talk Show". KBS World. September 25, 2009.
  62. ^ "Yoo Jae-seok, Lee Hyori share grand prize at SBS Entertainment Awards". 10Asia. December 31, 2009.
  63. ^ "Kang Ho-dong scores grand prize at SBS Entertainment Awards". 10Asia. December 31, 2010.
  64. ^ "Lee Seung-gi to leave 'Strong Heart'" 10Asia. February 23, 2012
  65. ^ "'2 Days & 1 Night' members reunite for 'New Journey to the West'". The Korea Times. September 2, 2015.
  66. ^ "Kang Ho-dong, Lee Seung-gi to shoot new show in China". The Korea Times. August 6, 2015.
  67. ^ "Lee Seung-gi to return in 'All the Butlers'". Kpop Herald. December 14, 2017.
  68. ^ "Lee Seung-gi to host new season of 'Produce' audition show". Kpop Herald. April 19, 2018.
  69. ^ "Lee Seung-gi is the newest detective in "Busted"". Inquirer. November 8, 2018.
  70. ^ "[SBS 연예대상]이승기, 대상 영예… 백종원 무관[종합]". Ilgan Sports (in Korean). December 29, 2018.
  71. ^ "[TD포토] '리틀 포레스트' 찍박골의 여름 맞이". TV Daily (in Korean). August 12, 2019. Archived from the original on September 12, 2019. Retrieved September 12, 2019.
  72. ^ "Lee Seung-gi, Jasper Liu co-star in Netflix travel show". The Korea Times. September 10, 2019.
  73. ^ "李昇基 秀智雙雙現身機場搞乜?". 明周娛樂. September 27, 2019. Retrieved December 1, 2019.
  74. ^ "Lee Seung Gi Talks about His 'Um-Chin-Ah' Image and Nicknames". enewsWorld. November 22, 2012.
  75. ^ "이승기,광고 모델 호감도..7개월 연속 1위" (in Korean) Sports Chosun. January 12, 2012
  76. ^ "Lee Seung-gi most popular ad model". The Korea Herald. January 9, 2012.
  77. ^ "이승기, ‘CF킹’ 재탈환…호감도-광고수 ‘1위’" (in Korean) TV Report. November 20, 2012
  78. ^ "Lee Seung-gi the most popular face on commercials". Korea JoongAng Daily. December 22, 2011.
  79. ^ "Lee Seung-gi to carry Olympic torch". Korea JoongAng Daily. March 1, 2012.
  80. ^ "Lee Seung-gi Carries Olympic Torch to Manchester". The Chosun Ilbo. June 25, 2012.
  81. ^ "이승기, 18대 대선 온라인 홍보대사로 위촉" (in Korean) Nate News. October 30, 2012
  82. ^ Hun Ji-hye (March 17, 2016). "Lee Seung-gi to join Special Warfare Command". The Korea Times.
  83. ^ Hun Ji-hye (April 7, 2016). "Private Lee Seung-gi to start parachute training". The Korea Times.
  84. ^ "Actor-singer Lee Seung-gi discharged from military". Yonhap News Agency. October 31, 2017.
  85. ^ Chyung Eun-ju (October 31, 2017). "Actor Lee Seung-gi discharged from military". The Korea Times.
  86. ^ "Lee Seung-gi Completes Military Service". The Chosun Ilbo. November 1, 2017.

External links[edit]