Lee Tae-min

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Lee Tae-min
Taemin marieclaire2021.jpg
Lee during an interview for Marie Claire Korea in July 2021
Born (1993-07-18) July 18, 1993 (age 29)
Seoul, South Korea
EducationMyongji University
Occupation
  • Singer
  • actor
  • dancer
Musical career
Genres
Instrument(s)Vocals
Years active2008–present
Labels
Member of
Korean name
Hangul
Hanja
Revised RomanizationI Tae-min
McCune–ReischauerI T'aemin
WebsiteOfficial website
Signature
Lee Tae Min signature.png

Lee Tae-min (born July 18, 1993), better known mononymously as Taemin, is a South Korean singer, actor and dancer. He debuted as a member of the boy band Shinee in May 2008 and the supergroup SuperM in 2019, both under SM Entertainment, and has subsequently been labeled by media outlets as the "Idol's Idol".[1][2] As an actor, Lee's first role was as Junsu in the 2009 MBC comedy Tae-Hee, Hye-Kyo, Ji-Hyun.

Lee debuted as a soloist in 2014 with the release of his first extended play (EP), Ace. It peaked at number one on the South Korean Gaon Album Chart, and its lead single "Danger" reached number five on the Gaon Digital Chart. His first studio album, Press It (2016), also charted at number one on the Gaon Album Chart. Lee made his solo debut in Japan in July 2016 with the release of his second EP, Sayonara Hitori.

In 2017, Lee released his second Korean studio album, Move, and the title track gained attention for its distinctive choreography. In 2018, Lee released his first Japanese studio album, Taemin, and embarked on his first Japanese tour, named Sirius. His third Korean studio album, Never Gonna Dance Again (2020), led by singles "Criminal" and "Idea", was widely recognized by critics as one of the best K-pop releases of the year.

Career[edit]

2008–2013: Career beginnings[edit]

Lee Tae-min was born on July 18, 1993.[3] He joined SM Entertainment as a trainee with talent in singing and dancing and was chosen to debut as a member of Shinee in 2008 at age 14. The group officially debuted on May 25, 2008, performing on the music program Inkigayo on SBS.[4] Lee made his acting debut the following year in MBC's comedy Tae Hee, Hye Kyo, Ji Hyun as Junsu.[5] In January 2012, he voiced the main character in the Korean version of the animated film Koala Kid.[6] He also joined the singing competition program Immortal Songs 2 as a contestant.[7]

On September 19, 2012, Lee released his first soundtrack song (OST), "U", for the drama To The Beautiful You.[8] On October 16, it was announced that Lee, alongside Super Junior's Eunhyuk and Super Junior-M's Henry, Girls' Generation's Hyoyeon, and Exo's Kai and Luhan would participate as a six-member dance team for the Veloster theme song "Maxstep", the collaboration between SM Entertainment and Hyundai. A video teaser of the song premiered at the PYL Younique Show on October 17.[9]

In April 2013, SM Entertainment revealed that Lee would be taking part in the reality variety show We Got Married with Son Na-eun as his partner, replacing the previous couple Kwanghee and Sunhwa.[10] In the same year, Lee made a three-episode appearance on the drama Dating Agency: Cyrano as idol singer Yang Ho-yeol with the stage name Ray.[11] In June, he featured in Super Junior-M's Henry solo song "Trap" alongside Super Junior's Kyuhyun.[12] In December, Lee participated in the soundtrack of the series Prime Minister & I, providing vocals for the track "Footsteps", the first track to be previewed on the series, at the end of its third episode.[13]

2014–2016: Solo debut with Ace, Press It and Sayonara Hitori[edit]

Lee at the showcase for his first full album Press It in May 2016

In May 2014, Lee appeared in the musical Goong in Japan.[14] On August 18, 2014, Lee made his solo debut with the release of his first extended play (EP) Ace.[15] The six-song EP peaked at number one on South Korea's Gaon Album Chart, while its lead single "Danger" reached number five on the Gaon Digital Chart.[16][17] The music video for "Danger" was released on August 16, choreographed by American choreographer Ian Eastwood and SM Entertainment's performance directing team BeatBurger. Lee traveled to Los Angeles to learn the routine.[18]

On February 3, 2015, Lee was confirmed for the cast of the first season of Match Made in Heaven Returns.[19] On April 14, Lee joined JTBC's program Off to School as a cast member.[20] On June 1, he released the song "That Name" in collaboration with bandmate Jonghyun for the soundtrack of KBS2's Who Are You: School 2015.[21] The song debuted at number 36 on the Gaon Digital Chart.[22]

Lee released his first studio album Press It on February 23, 2016. The album contained ten songs, including the lead single "Press Your Number", which was co-produced by Bruno Mars.[23][24] Lee told reporters at a media showcase hosted by bandmate Minho at the SM Town Coex Artium in Gangnam-gu, Seoul, "After my EP, I did perform with Shinee but I also spent a lot of time preparing my next solo album, […] I took a lot of private lessons for voice and dance, and looked over my past songs. I want to say that I’ve become a stronger performer."[25] The album debuted at number one on the Gaon Album Chart.[26]

In June 2016, Lee's Japanese debut was announced with the EP Sayonara Hitori and a showcase on his 23rd birthday. The EP was released on July 27 and included four new songs, as well as the Japanese version of "Press Your Number".[27] Later in June, Lee was confirmed to be part of the cast of Mnet's dance program Hit the Stage.[28] He was partnered with Koharu Sugawara, who choreographed his Japanese debut song "Sayonara Hitori",[29] and placed first in the second episode.[30]

2017–2018: Flame of Love, Move and Taemin[edit]

In July 2017, Lee held his first solo concert in Japan at the Nippon Budokan in Tokyo,[31] attracting 28,000 fans.[32] His second Japanese EP, Flame of Love, was released the same month.[33] Lee held his first Korean concert, Off-Sick, over three days at the end of August, playing to a total of 12,000 people.[34] Encore Off-Sick concerts were announced on September 7 and took place on October 14 and 15 at Jamsil Gymnasium,[35] attracting 20,000 fans.[36][37] This was later followed by additional shows in Japan.[38]

In August 2017, Lee's first Japanese drama, Final Life: Even If You Disappear Tomorrow, was announced.[39] The crime series, directed by Masatoshi Kurakata and Takeshi Maruyama, was an original Japanese work for Amazon Prime Video and released in September. It starred Lee and Shota Matsuda.[40] Lee also provided vocals for the soundtrack for the drama, "What's This Feeling".[41] His first reality series, The Taemin: Xtra Cam, was broadcast through V Live, showing preparations for his upcoming album and behind-the-scenes concert footage.[42]

Lee joined the reality show The Unit as a mentor in October 2017.[43] His second studio album, Move, was released the same month.[44] Its lead single of the same name gained attention for its unique choreography and sparked a trend called "Move Disease" after a performance of the song went viral in South Korea.[45][46][47] The album debuted at number two on the Gaon Album Chart and number three on the Billboard World Albums Chart.[48][49] On December 10, a repackaged edition of Move was released, titled Move-ing. It added four new songs to the tracklist, including the lead single "Day and Night".[50] That same month, Lee was scheduled to perform at the annual KBS Song Festival but pulled out a week after the death of bandmate Jonghyun.[51]

Lee took part in the JTBC program Why Not? The Dancer in May 2018. The show saw him travel to Los Angeles alongside Eunhyuk and Highlight member Lee Gi-kwang in their quest to become choreographers.[52] He later joined the music program The Call,[53] where he collaborated with artists such as Bewhy and UV.[54][55] Beginning on September 21, 2018, Lee embarked on his first Japanese concert tour, Sirius.[56] It consisted of 32 sold-out shows across 16 cities, attracting 100,000 people.[57] On November 5, Lee released the self-titled studio album Taemin, his third overall and first in Japanese.[58]

2019: Want, Famous and debut with SuperM[edit]

Lee released his second Korean EP, Want, on February 11, 2019.[59] The choreography for the title track was created by Koharu Sugawara.[59] The EP entered various Billboard charts, including number four on World Albums, Lee's fifth entry to date, and number five on Heatseekers Albums, a new career high.[60] He followed the release with his second Korean concert T1001101, which played at the SK Olympic Handball Gymnasium from March 15 to 17.[61]

Lee began his first Japan arena tour, XTM, in Hokkaido on June 8.[62] Fourteen shows were scheduled, with three more added in August to accommodate demand.[63] On August 4, Lee digitally released his third Japanese EP Famous, with a physical release on August 28 through EMI Records and Universal Music Japan.[64] The lead single and title track "Famous" was released on July 26, 2019, along with a music video. The EP topped the Oricon Albums Chart, his first release to do so.[65]

In August, Lee debuted as a member of SuperM, a K-pop supergroup created by SM Entertainment in collaboration with Capitol Records. The group's promotions began in October and were aimed at the American market.[66] SuperM's self-titled debut EP was released on October 4, with lead single "Jopping".[67] Lee returned to Japan with his T1001101 concerts in December, performing at Yokohama Arena and Osaka-jō Hall over three days.[68]

2020–present: Never Gonna Dance Again, Advice and military service[edit]

Lee was scheduled to hold a concert, Never Gonna Dance Again, in Seoul in March 2020, but it was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[69][70] Ahead of the release of his upcoming album, he starred in the online reality show Rare-Taem, in which he completed missions based on the results of a board game.[71] Lee's third Korean studio album, Never Gonna Dance Again, was released in two parts in September and November 2020, respectively.[72] The project, together with lead singles "Criminal" and "Idea", was widely recognized by critics as one of the best K-pop releases of the year.[73][74][75][76]

Lee released the song "My Day" for the soundtrack of tvN drama series Navillera in March 2021.[77] On April 19, 2021, he announced during a broadcast on V Live that he would be enlisting for his mandatory military service on May 31, serving as a member of the military band.[78][79] He released his third Korean EP, Advice, on May 18. The album featured five songs, including the lead single of the same name.[80] He previewed the single at an online concert called N.G.D.A. (Never Gonna Dance Again), which he held through the Beyond Live platform on May 2. The concert drew nearly 90,000 viewers across 119 countries.[81] Lee participated in the theme song for the 2020 Summer Olympics, which he recorded prior to his enlistment.[82]

On January 14, 2022, it was announced that Lee would complete his military service as a public service worker due to worsening symptoms of depression and panic disorder.[83]

Public image and musical style[edit]

Lee is noted for his distinctive and intricate dancing style, which often incorporates elements of contemporary dance. His frequent use of androgynous fashion and make-up, especially since his 2017 single "Move",[84] has earned him recognition as a pioneer of the genderless performance trend amongst male K-pop idols.[85]

I wanted to go beyond what K-pop typically is perceived as, and through "Move" I was able to show a concept that’s more edgy, more powerful. Not only that, but regardless of the gender, I believe that all of the audience will be able to enjoy and listen to this as something different from most of what’s coming out in K-pop. (...) My aim was to find a middle ground, mixing both masculine and feminine movements into the choreography together.[86] — Lee on "Move"

The choreography to "Move", created by Japanese choreographer and frequent collaborator Koharu Sugawara, went viral in South Korea following the single's release, spurring many dance covers by fans and celebrities in a trend dubbed "Move Disease".[87][88]

Lee's discography is predominantly pop and R&B and occasionally influenced by rock, hip-hop, trap and electro, darker in theme than his work with Shinee, and sensual in character. Lyrically, Lee's songs cover concepts ranging from love and lust to self-discovery, philosophy and faith. His music videos are often choreography-focused and contain biblical references, particularly "Want".[89]

Philanthropy[edit]

In 2016, Taemin along with bandmate Key and other artists from SM Entertainment, participated in the "Make a Promise" campaign by UNICEF and Louis Vuitton, whereby 40% of the proceeds were donated through UNICEF to children in need.[90]

Personal life[edit]

In March 2011, Lee transferred from Chungdam High School to Hanlim Multi Art School to accommodate his busy schedule during Shinee's Japanese promotions.[91] He graduated in February 2012, but was unable to attend the ceremony due to the band's activities.[92] Lee has attended Myongji University since 2013, majoring in Film and Musicals.[93] He identifies as Catholic.[94]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums

Songwriting Credits[edit]

All songwriting credits are adapted from the Korean Music Copyright Association.[95]

List of Songs Credited as Lyricist
Song Year Artist Album Co-written with
"Press Your Number" 2016 Taemin Press It Tenzo & Tasco
"Soldier" N/A
"Day and Night (낮과 밤)*" 2017 Move-ing N/A
"Pinocchio" 2018 Taemin, BewhY The Call Project No. 4 JQ, Kim Jin, Mola, BewhY
"(네가 남겨둔 말) Our Page" SHINee The Story of Light Ep 3 SHINee, KENZIE
"2 KIDS" 2020 Taemin Never Gonna Dance Again: Act 1 Jo Yoon-kyung
"Heaven" Never Gonna Dance Again: Act 2 Yoo Young-jin
"Think of You (안아줄래)" N/A
"Pansy" Jung Young-ah

*also credited as composer

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2012 Koala Kid Johnny Voice role; Korean version [6]
I Am Himself SM Town documentary [96]
2015 SM Town the Stage Himself SM Town concert film [97]

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2009 Tae Hee, Hye Kyo, Ji Hyun Jun-su [5]
2011 Athena: Goddess of War Himself Cameo [98]
2011 Moon Night '90 Kim Sung-jae Deux episode [99]
High Kick! 3 Himself [100]
2012 Salamander Guru and The Shadows Master of Disguise [101]
2013 Dating Agency: Cyrano Yang Ho-yeol/Ray [11]
The Miracle Kim Tan The Heirs parody [102]
2017 Final Life: Even If You Disappear Tomorrow Song Sion [40]

Variety shows[edit]

Year Title Notes Ref.
2012 Immortal Songs 2 Contestant [7]
2013–2014 We Got Married with Son Naeun [10]
2015 Match Made in Heaven Returns Cast member [19]
Off to School [20]
2016 Hit the Stage Contestant [28]
2017 The Unit Mentor [43]
2018 Why Not? The Dancer Cast member [52]
The Call [53]

Web[edit]

Year Title Ref.
2017 The Taemin: Xtra Cam [42]
2020–2021 Taem-log 6v6 [103]
2020 Rare-Taem [71]

Musical theatre[edit]

Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2014 Goong Prince Lee Shin Main role [14]

Concerts and tours[edit]

Headlining[edit]

Concert participation[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]