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180629 SHINee 스타필드 고양 팬싸인회 2.jpg
Onew at a Shinee fansign event in Goyang, June 2018
Native name 온유
Born Lee Jin-ki
(1989-12-14) December 14, 1989 (age 28)
Gwangmyeong, Gyeonggi Province, South Korea
  • Singer
  • actor
  • songwriter
  • MC
Musical career
  • Vocals
Years active 2008–present
Labels SM Entertainment
Associated acts
Korean name
Revised Romanization I Jin-gi
McCune–Reischauer Yi Chinki
Stage name
Revised Romanization On-yu
McCune–Reischauer Onyu
Onew (Lee Jinki)'s Signature.png

Lee Jin-ki (born (1989-12-14)December 14, 1989),[1] better known by his stage name Onew,[2] is a South Korean singer and actor. Born in Gwangmyeong, Gyeonggi-do, Onew was discovered at the 2006 SM Academy Casting and signed the contract with SM Entertainment the day after his audition. He debuted as one of the lead vocalists of boy group Shinee in May 2008,[3] who went on to become one of the best-selling artists in South Korea. Aside from group activities, Onew has participated in various television dramas, mostly known for his role of Baek Su in JTBCs sitcom Welcome to Royal Villa (2013)[4] and the cardiothoracic resident Lee Chi-hoon in the popular KBS2 drama Descendants of the Sun (2016).[5]


2008–10: Career beginnings[edit]

Onew was discovered at the 2006 SM Academy Casting. He received great appreciation from Lee Soo-man, SM Entertainment's founder, at Girls' Generation's debut showcase. Lee Soo-man noticed him and wanted to hear him sing during a one time on the spot audition. He signed the contract with the company the day after he auditioned.[6][7] In 2008, he was chosen as the leader of the group Shinee, and the five member boy group debuted on May 25, 2008 on SBS's Inkigayo.[3]

Shortly after debut, Onew contributed to singles for Lee Hyun-ji in 2008, for Vanilla LOVE and Vanilla Love Part 2.[8] In 2009, he was featured with Girls' Generation member Jessica for the song One Year Later in the Tell Me Your Wish mini-album.[9] The same year, he also sang a duet with Kim Yeon-woo for the song, The Name I Loved from the third mini album by Shinee, 2009, Year Of Us.[10]

2011–present: Musical acting, acting debut and solo activities[edit]

In 2010, Onew tried his hands at songwriting and together with his bandmate Minho, wrote the lyrics for the song, "Your Name" from Shinee's second studio album Lucifer.[11] In addition to music, Onew became an MC of two programs – KBS2's Night Star,[12] which he co-hosted alongside Shin Dong-yup, Yoon Jong-shin, movie director Jang Hang Joon, and Leessang's Gil[13] and MBC's Show! Music Core.[14] Since his first job as an MC, Onew has gained experience through the years and was active as a presenter for different television networks and events like Dream Concert, SBS's Incheon K-Pop Concert and also Mnet's special event in Taiwan called Nihao Taiwan.[15][16][17][18][19][20]

Onew starred in various musicals starting from 2010, debuting in the musical Brothers were Brave alongside singer Lee Ji-hoon.[21] He then starred in the Korean production of Rock of Ages playing the lead role, Drew.[22] Onew has also showcased his acting skills via television like having a cameo role as a clumsy doctor in the drama Dr. Champ. He appeared in the drama's final episode.[23] He also had cameo roles in the dramas Athena: Goddess of War, Oh My God x2,[24] Pure Love and for sitcom Royal Villa.[25] Also, Onew recorded a song titled In Your Eyes for the drama series To the Beautiful You. The song was released in the album To The Beautiful You OST Part 2 on August 22, 2012.[26] Onew also sang the soundtrack Moonlight for drama Miss Korea. The song was released on January 3, 2014.[27]

In January 14, 2014, his participation in the Borneo edition of the reality show Laws of the Jungle was confirmed.[28] He was also in the cast for the Brazil edition, but had to leave and be substituted because of schedule conflicts.[29] Additionally to his group activities and his job as a MC, Onew gained experience in radio hosting and took over shows like Kiss the Radio, a popular radio program aired on KBS Cool FM which is hosted by his labelmates Super Junior.[30][31] In 2015, Onew was chosen out of more than 2,000 people as the main lead of a new web drama, Dating was the Easiest.[32] The drama is adapted from a popular webtoon of the same title which revolves around the pure yet boisterous romance between a tiger spirit of the mountains and a high school girl. Onew was cast because of his unique analysis of the character and his determination whilst preparing for the auditions.[33]

Onew at MBC Gayo Daejejeon in December 2016

In 2016, Onew was cast in the drama, Descendants of the Sun, which starred Song Hye-kyo and Song Joong-ki. He portrayed first-year resident Dr. Lee Chi-hoon, a junior of Song Hye-kyo's character.[34][35] The drama became a huge success especially in China where the series reached more than 2 billion views on the Chinese streaming site iQiyi. In Korea, the drama became a massive hit as well, surpassing more than 30 percent viewership ratings nationwide.[36] Onew was awarded the "Newcomer Scene Stealer Award" at the 2016 Scene Stealer Festival for his role in Descendants of the Sun.[37] Onew was also confirmed for a new tvN program Eat, Sleep, Eat which serves local recipes through Southeast Asia.[38] On August 12, Onew and Lee Jin-ah released a duet, "Starry Night" as part of SM Station, a digital music project by SM Entertainment. It's a pop jazz song which is the work of numerous artists including Andreas Oberg, a Swedish guitarist and songwriter, and singer-composer Yoo Hee-yeol.[39] In October 2016, Onew wrote the song "So Amazing" for his groups fifth Korean studio album 1 of 1[40] and another song, "Beautiful Life" for its repackaged album, 1 and 1.[41]

In May 2017 Onew and indie-duo Rocoberry released a song, "Lullaby" as part of SM Station.[42]

In June, Onew was confirmed to join the cast of JTBC's Age of Youth 2.[43] In the same month, Onew was featured in Heize's music video for the song "I Don't Know You".[44] In August, 2017 shortly before the release of Age of Youth 2, Onew was accused of sexual harassment and decided to leave the project after discussions with the production staff of the show.[45][46] Moreover, due to his controversy, Let's Eat Dinner Together's production team decided to postpone the episode Onew appeared on,[47] and SM Entertainment announced that Onew will not participate in Shinee’s scheduled concerts in Japan.[48] On April 6, 2018, after 8 long months, Onew was acquitted of all the charges against him by the prosecutors.[49]


Onew is one of the main vocalists of Shinee and is known for his distinctively unique vocal color and for his calm and understated voice, providing the strong vocal foundation of the group with fellow members Taemin and Jonghyun.[50] In June 2014, Onew underwent a vocal cord polyp removal and vocal fold mucosa reconstruction operation, which made him unable to sing for a few months.[51] In December, 2014, Kim Yeon-woo, Onew's vocal coach revealed during a radio broadcast that Onew's condition had improved after the surgery. He also confirmed that Onew's vocal range "improved and he can make sounds comfortably too".[52]


In order to support Onew in the musical Rock of Ages, in 2010, his fans had donated 1.44 tons of rice, a common practice for fans in South Korea, with the expectation that the idol will then donate to a charity of their choice — Onew donated it to help feed North Korean children, which was prepared by the Child Development Program.[53] Onew also donated 770 kg of rice to children in need in South Korea in May 2010.[53] In 2016, Onew donated roughly 1.2 million won to the Korean Heart Association.[54]


In August of 2017, Onew was accused of sexual harassment. The victim stated that on August 12, in a night club in Gangnam, Onew, who was intoxicated, touched her leg two or three times as he tried to stand up, over the course of two hours while she was dancing on one of the club's multiple dancing platforms that was adjacent to where Onew was seated.[55][56] However, she acknowledged that such incidents could happen under the influence of alcohol and withdrew the charge.[57] Nevertheless, the case was forwarded to the prosecution as a recommendation for indictment without detention.[58][59] After a four-month hiatus, Onew posted a letter of apology,[60] which was accepted widely among his fans, but others called for him to step down from Shinee.[61] On April 5, 2018, SM Entertainment announced that the charges against him had been dismissed by the prosecutors.[62][63]



Title Year Peak chart positions Sales Album
"One Year Later" (with Jessica) 2009 N/A Tell Me Your Wish (Genie)
"Starry Night" (with Lee Jin-ah) 2016 47 SM Station Season 1
"Lullaby (수면제)" (with Roco of Rocoberry) 2017 60 Non-album single
As featured artist
"Vanilla Love" (Lee Hyun-ji feat. Onew) 2008 N/A Kiss Me
"Vanilla Love Part 2" (Lee Hyun-ji feat. Onew) 2009 Non-album single
"Play The Field (어장관리)" (Kim Yeon-woo feat. Onew, Yoo In-na) 2018 N/A Forever Yours
Soundtrack appearances
"In Your Eyes" 2012 60 To the Beautiful You OST
"Moonlight" 2014 54 Miss Korea OST
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.
Note: The Gaon Music Chart was launched in 2010.



Year Title Role Notes
2012 I AM. Himself Biographical film of SM Town[69]
2015 SMTOWN The Stage Documentary of SM Town[70]

Television dramas[edit]

Year Title Role Network Ref
2010 Dr. Champ Park Ki-young (cameo) SBS [23]
Athena: Goddess of War Himself (cameo) [71]
2012 Oh My God x2 [24]
2013 Pure Love Choi Joon-young's cousin (cameo) KBS2 [72]
Welcome to Royal Villa Baek-soo JTBC [4]
2016 Descendants of the Sun Lee Chi-hoon KBS2 [35]

Variety show[edit]

Year Title Network Role
2010 Night Star KBS2 Host
2010-2011 Show! Music Core MBC
2014 Law of the Jungle SBS Main Cast (Borneo edition)
2016 Eat, Sleep, Eat tvN Host

Musical theatre[edit]

Year Title Role Other Notes
2010 Brothers Were Brave Joo-bong Lead role
Rock of Ages Drew


Year Ceremony Award Nominated Work Result Ref
2015 2015 SBS Gayo Daejeon Best Leader 2015 Shinee Won [73]
2016 2016 Scene Stealer Festival Newcomer Scene Stealer Award (Male) Descendants of the Sun Won [37]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Mark Russell (29 April 2014). K-Pop Now!: The Korean Music Revolution. Tuttle Publishing. p. 67. ISBN 978-1-4629-1411-1.
  2. ^ "샤이니(SHINee)의 무한도전, 과연 어디까지?" [(Shinee), Infinite challenge, what really happened?]. The Star (Chosun). July 27, 2009. Archived from the original on October 27, 2016. Retrieved October 27, 2016.
  3. ^ a b "SM, 10대 밴드 '샤이니' 공개" [SM to debut a new boy group]. Hankyung via Seoul Yonhap News. May 19, 2008. Archived from the original on July 4, 2015. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
  4. ^ a b (in Korean) [단독] 온유, JTBC 새 시트콤 '웰컴투 노얄빌라' 출연 확정 (Onew is confirmed to join JTBC's new sitcom "Welcome to Noyal Villa"). MyDaily. 29 May 2013. Retrieved Mai 29, 2013.
  5. ^ "'태후' 온유, 종영소감 "선배들, 감독님 덕분에 무사히 마무리"". Donga News (in Korean). Retrieved June 10, 2016.
  6. ^ "'라디오스타', 이모팬 대리만족 방송" ['Radio Star', Aunt Fan surrogate broadcasting] (in Korean). Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  7. ^ "SHINee's Onew reveals how he was cast into SM Entertainment by Lee Soo Man" (in Korean). Retrieved September 26, 2012.
  8. ^ "이현지 첫 미니앨범 샤이니 온유 피처링 지원사격" [Lee Hyun-ji first mini album features SHINee's Onew]. Newsen (in Korean). October 29, 2008. Retrieved December 12, 2009.
  9. ^ "소녀시대, 새 앨범 25일 발매 '온유-제시카 듀엣곡 수록'" [SNSD's new album to be released, featuring Jessica's duet with new]. Osen (in Korean). June 22, 2009. Retrieved July 20, 2009.
  10. ^ "샤이니 온유 데뷔 첫 솔로곡 공개..김연우 피처링 어떤 느낌?" [SHINee Onew released his first solo featuring Kim Yeon Woo]. Newsen (in Korean). October 11, 2009. Retrieved October 20, 2009.
  11. ^ Kim, Myeongsin (2010-07-19). 샤이니, 정규 2집 '루시퍼' 컴백…온유-종현 작사곡 '유어네임'-'욕' 화제 [SHINee, second full album 'Lucifer' – Jonghyun, Onew, Minho involved in lyrics writing]. Korea Economy. Retrieved 27 May 2013.
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External links[edit]