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Kim Tae-yeon at Incheon Airport on August 29, 2019.png
Taeyeon in August 2019
Kim Tae-yeon

(1989-03-09) March 9, 1989 (age 31)
Jeonju, North Jeolla, South Korea
Musical career
Years active2007–present
Associated acts
Korean name
Revised RomanizationGim Taeyeon
McCune–ReischauerKim T'aeyŏn

Kim Tae-yeon (born March 9, 1989), known mononymously as Taeyeon, is a South Korean singer. She has been a member of SM Entertainment's girl group Girls' Generation since 2007, along with other SM projects including Girls' Generation-TTS, SM the Ballad, and Girls' Generation-Oh!GG.

Before officially debuting as a solo singer, Taeyeon had recorded soundtracks for television dramas that proved successful on South Korean music charts, notably "If" and "Can You Hear Me" (2008).[1] She released her debut extended play I in 2015, which includes the Gaon Digital Chart number-one titular single. Her second extended play Why (2016) peaked atop the Gaon Album Chart and spawned two Gaon Digital Chart top-ten singles, "Starlight" and "Why". Her debut studio album, My Voice (2017), yielded the top-five singles "11:11", "Fine" and "Make Me Love You".

Taeyeon has further released two Korean EPs, This Christmas: Winter Is Coming (2017) and Something New (2018), and a Japanese EP, Voice (2019). She was a main cast on the JTBC reality show Begin Again (2019). Her second studio album, Purpose, was released in October 2019 and featured the top-two singles "Four Seasons" and "Spark". As of February 2020, Taeyeon has received various awards and nominations including six Golden Disc Awards, five Seoul Music Awards, three Gaon Chart Music Awards, three Melon Music Awards, and three Mnet Asian Music Awards.

Life and career[edit]

1989–2008: Early life and career beginnings[edit]

Taeyeon was born on March 9, 1989, in Jeonju, South Korea.[2][3] Her family consists of her parents, an older brother, and a younger sister Kim Hayeon, who made her solo debut in 2020.[4][5][6] Having believed that she was "only talented" at singing, Taeyeon harbored the dream of becoming a singer at a young age.[7] During her second year in middle school, Taeyeon accompanied her father to SM Academy (a former music institution and auxiliary affiliation of SM Entertainment), to pursue vocal lessons. Although at the time her father did not encourage Taeyeon to become an entertainer, he was persuaded by the school's principal to give his daughter a chance after she recognized Taeyeon's "clean" voice. During the next year, Taeyeon accompanied her father from their hometown to Seoul on every Sunday to receive her vocal lessons from The One.[8] She named BoA, Whitney Houston and Utada Hikaru as her pre-debut inspirations.[9][10]

Taeyeon was trained by her former vocal instructor, known professionally as The One, for three years. In a 2011 interview, he described Taeyeon as a "smart" student, someone "unlike others who came to him with dreams of becoming a celebrity... [she] wanted to be a singer and reach the top with her own talents." In 2004, he "wanted to acknowledge Taeyeon's potential" by giving her the chance to be in his song "You Bring Me Joy".[11][12] That same year, she won first place at the SM Youth Best Competition and signed a contract with SM Entertainment. The training process was so tough that it nearly made her quit at one point; she continued, however, and debuted as a member of girl group Girls' Generation in August 2007.[13][14][15] The group gained significant popularity after the release of their hit single "Gee" in 2009.[16] Taeyeon graduated from Jeonju Art High School and was awarded the school's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.[17]

2008–2015: Original soundtracks, TTS and SM The Ballad[edit]

Taeyeon sang "7989" (featuring Kangta), a track taken from both Girls' Generation's eponymous debut album (2007) and Kangta's fourth studio album, Eternity (2008).[18] After that, Taeyeon gained popularity through her various television soundtracks, recording "If" for the KBS2 drama Hong Gil Dong (2008) and "Can You Hear Me" for MBC's drama Beethoven Virus (2009).[19] "If" was seen as more popular than its respective drama,[20] and "Can You Hear Me" won a Popularity Award at the 2008 Golden Disk Awards.[21] Both tracks remain among Taeyeon's most well-known hits.[19] During this period, she also recorded "It's Love", a duet with Girls' Generation member Sunny, for the MBC drama Heading to the Ground (2009).[22]

Following a radio hosting job in 2009–10,[23] Taeyeon tried out acting, making her theatrical debut in a lead role in the 2010 musical A Song to the Sun. She played the part of Kaoru Amane, a teenager who suffered from xeroderma pigmentosum, and learned to play a guitar for the role. Her performance in the sold-out shows received good press despite the musical's critical reviews.[24][25] Jang Gyeong-jin of 10Asia praised Taeyeon's "distinct vocals" and commented that her acting stood out among idol stars who had ventured into musical theatre,[26] while Kim Ji-yeong from The Dong-a Ilbo felt "Taeyeon's optimistic and charming personality made her the perfect match" for the role.[27] Despite the favorable response, Taeyeon later described musicals as difficult, citing that her weak concentration made it hard for her to act and sing at the same time.[28]

Kim Tae-yeon is performing onstage with a mic in her left hand
Taeyeon performing at the Expo Yeosu in July 2012

The same year, Taeyeon worked with Korean songwriter-composer Ahn Young-min on her musical projects. She recorded "Like A Star" (featuring The One), and the song reached number one on the Gaon Digital Chart.[29][30] Her next single, "I Love You", for the SBS drama Athena: Goddess of War soundtrack, reached number two on the same chart.[31] Ahn recalled his impression of the latter song: "I was surprised at how well Taeyeon could sing. This is a rather mature song, so I would be lying if I said I didn't have my doubts, but she blew me away. I was moved to tears listening to her singing."[32] In 2011, Taeyeon lent her voice to Kim Bum-soo's "Different", a single featured on his seventh album Solista: Part 2.[33] The song debuted at number two on the Gaon Digital Chart.[34] Taeyeon and Kim Bum-soo met again at his concert two years later for a live cover version of the latter's 2008 song "Man and Woman".[35]

Following Taeyeon's working relationship with him from the drama Beethoven Virus (2008), musical director Lee Pil-ho was determined to collaborate with her again on the soundtrack for MBC's melodrama The King 2 Hearts (2012) soundtrack, having her record the main theme song "Missing You Like Crazy".[36] It was released in March 2012 and debuted at number two on both the Gaon Digital Chart and K-pop Hot 100.[37][38] Taeyeon's vocal received positive feedback from the song's composer Park Hae-woon: "She fully understood the song in its entirety and expressed each detail very precisely...even though this song requires the lowest note that a female singer can produce, Taeyeon executed them perfectly."[39] The song was named the most popular soundtrack at 2012 Seoul Drama Awards.[40] Later in the year, she contributed her vocals to the song "Closer", for the SBS drama To the Beautiful You, which was number seven on both the Gaon Digital Chart and K-pop Hot 100.[41][42]

In April 2012, a Girls' Generation subgroup named TTS was formed with Taeyeon and fellow members Tiffany and Seohyun. Their debut EP, Twinkle, met with much success and became South Korea's eighth- highest selling album of the year.[43][44][45] The subgroup went on to release two more EPs: Holler (2014) and Dear Santa (2015).[46][47] In January 2013, Taeyeon and Tiffany sang a duet, "Lost in Love", which was featured on Girls' Generation's fourth Korean album, I Got a Boy.[48] Two months later, she recorded "And One", written and composed by Kangta, for the SBS drama That Winter, The Wind Blows.[49] It debuted at the top of Billboard's K-pop Hot 100[50] and reached number two on the Gaon Digital Chart.[51] In July 2013, Taeyeon was invited to record the theme song "Bye" for the movie Mr. Go soundtrack, after its musical director was left with a "deep impression" having heard her cover version of a song during a radio appearance.[52][53]

In February 2014, Taeyeon joined the roster of SM the Ballad, a ballad group initially formed by SM Entertainment in 2010, contributing her vocals to their second album Breath.[54] Her lead single of the same name (a duet with Shinee's Jonghyun) peaked at number three and six on South Korea's Gaon Digital Chart and K-pop Hot 100 Chart, respectively.[55][56] She also recorded a solo song, "Set Me Free", for the album.[54] Her other 2014 releases included "Colorful" for JTBC's campaign "The World Is More Beautiful Because We're Different" and "Love, That One Word" for the SBS's drama You're All Surrounded; the latter entered Top 10 on both Gaon Digital Chart and K-Pop Hot 100.[57][58][59] In February 2015, Taeyeon accepted a personal request from f(x)'s Amber to feature in "Shake that Brass", the lead single taken from her debut album, Beautiful.[60]

2015–2016: Solo debut with I and Why[edit]

Taeyeon began working on her solo projects in late 2014, believing her "right time" had come after eight years' experience with Girls' Generation.[61][62] She released her debut extended play (EP), I, in October 2015.[63] The EP peaked at number two on South Korea's Gaon Album Chart,[64] and charted atop the US Billboard World Albums.[63] As of 2019, it has sold 160,000 copies in South Korea.[65] The commercial success of I, according to Yonhap News Agency, was the main contributor to SM Entertainment's leading music sales in the fourth quarter of 2015.[66] The title track, which features rapper Verbal Jint, incorporates elements of pop rock that departs from the ballad sound she had been known for.[63] The song peaked at number one in South Korea,[67] where it has sold over 2.5 million digital units.[68] To accompany her solo release, she held a series of small concerts titled Taeyeon's Very Special Day,[69] and a reality show, OnStyle's Daily Taeng9Cam.[70] She was awarded Best Female Artist at the 2015 Mnet Asian Music Awards,[71] and at the 2016 Golden Disk Awards.[72]

Kim Tae-yeon with blonde bob hair looking back
Taeyeon performing at the 2016 Style Icon Asia

Taeyeon was featured artist on Yim Jae-beom's "Scars Deeper than Love" (2015),[73] Verbal Jint's "If The World Was a Perfect Place" (2015),[74] and Crush's "Don't Forget" (2016).[75] "Don't Forget" has sold over 2.5 million copies in South Korea.[76] In February 2016, she recorded "Rain" for SM Entertainment's digital music platform SM Station, of which the song was the inaugural release.[77] "Rain" peaked at number one in South Korea,[78] where it has sold over 2.5 million digital copies.[79] Taeyeon and Super Junior's Kyuhyun were featured in a commercial for bottled water brand Jeju Samdasoo, for which she recorded a cover of "The Blue Night of Jeju Island".[80] She also became a spokesperson for Sword and Magic, a game developed by the company Longtu Korea, for which she recorded a rendition of BoA's 2003 song "Atlantis Princess".[81]

Taeyeon's second EP, Why (2016), incorporates elements of more upbeat genres such as EDM and tropical house.[82][83] It peaked atop the Gaon Album Chart,[84] and charted at number two on the US Billboard World Albums.[85] The EP has sold 120,000 copies as of 2019.[65] It spawned two singles: "Starlight" featuring Dean and the title track, which peaked at numbers five and seven, respectively, in South Korea.[86] The EP's associated concert, Butterfly Kiss, made Taeyeon the first Korean female artist to embark on a full-scale concert while still being a member of an active girl group.[87] In September 2016, Taeyeon recorded "All With You" for SBS's television drama Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo.[88] Her next single, "11:11", was released in November 2016. It peaked at number two on the Gaon Digital Chart[89] and had sold 1.4 million copies by 2017.[90] Billboard ranked it the seventh best K-pop song of 2016.[91] The Dong-a Ilbo in December 2016 named Taeyeon as "Voice of the Year", "Singer of the Year", and "Most Hardworking".[92] At the 2016 Mnet Asian Music Awards, Taeyeon was awarded Best Female Artist.[93]

2017–2018: My Voice and rise as a solo artist[edit]

Taeyeon dressed in a white blouse and black bottoms performing
Taeyeon at the 2017 Asia Song Festival

Taeyeon's first studio album, My Voice, having been in the production process for over a year, was released in February 2017 and included the single "Fine".[94][95] Both the album and the song were well-received, topping both the Gaon Album Chart and Gaon Digital Chart, respectively.[96][97] On April 5, 2017, a deluxe edition of the album was released, accompanied by the single "Make Me Love You".[98] The song reached number four on the Gaon Digital Chart.[99] In May 2017, Taeyeon embarked on her first Asia tour, Persona.[100][101]

In December 2017, Taeyeon released her third EP This Christmas: Winter Is Coming.[102] The album debuted at number two on the Gaon Album Chart, and at number six on the Billboard World Albums Chart.[103][104] Hong Dam-young from The Korea Herald highlighted Taeyeon's "calm and undeniable vocal prowess" in the album while praising the songs as "the most sophisticated Christmas tunes" of the year.[105] Its single, "This Christmas," debuted at number two on the Gaon Digital Chart.[106] To promote the album, Taeyeon held a two-day Christmas concert titled "The Magic of Christmas Time".[107]

In June 2018, Taeyeon released her fourth EP, Something New.[108] The EP peaked at number three on the Gaon Album Chart,[109] and at number four on the Billboard World Albums Chart.[110] That same month Taeyeon embarked on a Japan Showcase Tour, exclusively available to members of SM Entertainment's official Japanese fan club.[111] The tour visited Fukuoka, Nagoya, Tokyo and Osaka. Following the success of her sold-out showcase tour, Taeyeon released her debut Japanese single, "Stay", on June 30, 2018. The single is accompanied by a B-side titled "I'm The Greatest". In August 2018, Girls' Generation's second sub-group, Oh!GG, was announced, consisting of Taeyeon and four other members who remained signed under SM Entertainment; the group released their first single, "Lil' Touch" in September.[112] Taeyeon embarked on her second Asia tour from October 2018 to January 2019.[113] On October 12, it was announced that the tour would go to Hong Kong's AsiaWorld Expo Arena, making her the first South Korean female solo artist to hold a solo concert at the venue.[114] Encore concerts of her tour were announced in early 2019, and took place at Seoul's Jamsil Arena on March 23 and 24.[115]

2019–present: Japanese debut, Purpose, and "Happy"[edit]

Taeyeon released the digital single "Four Seasons" and its B-side "Blue" in March 2019.[116] "Four Seasons" charted at number six on the Billboard World Digital Songs[117] and topped South Korea's Gaon Digital Chart for two consecutive weeks.[118] The song was certified platinum by the Korean Music Content Association for exceeding 100 million streams.[119] In April 2019, Taeyeon embarked on her first concert tour in Japan, ~Signal~, which started on April 13 in Fukuoka.[120] She subsequently released her first Japanese-language EP, Voice, on May 13.[121] In 2019, Taeyeon appeared as a main cast on the JTBC reality show Begin Again and performed busking in Berlin and Amsterdam, which aired in July 2019.[122][123] She also recorded "All About You" for the TVN television drama Hotel Del Luna; the song topped the Gaon Digital Chart for two consecutive weeks.[124] Taeyeon released her second studio album, Purpose, on October 28, 2019.[125] The album peaked at number two in South Korea[126] and spawned the single "Spark", which reached number two on the Gaon Digital Chart.[127] The album was reissued on January 15, 2020, featuring three bonus tracks including the single "Dear Me".[128] Taeyeon embarked on The Unseen Concert in January 2020,[129] and will hold the Japan Tour 2020, visiting eight cities.[130]

On March 9, 2020, Taeyeon was set to release the digital single "Happy" in celebration of her birthday. The release, however, was postponed due to her father's death the same day and her grandmother's death more than a month later.[131][132][133] It was released on May 4, 2020.[134]


In the early years, Taeyeon's music was predominantly ballads recorded for television soundtracks.[101] With the popularity of songs including "If" (2008) and "Can You Hear Me" (2009), she was referred to as the "representative singer of popular OSTs".[19] Since debuting as a solo artist, Taeyeon's musical styles have varied. Her 2015 debut single "I" departs for a pop rock sound.[63] In 2016, the single "Rain" incorporates elements of jazz and R&B,[77] while "Why" utilizes various elements including EDM, R&B and tropical house beats.[135][136]

Public image and impact[edit]

Taeyeon performing at the SMWeek concert in December 2013

Taeyeon has been widely regarded as a "talented vocalist" for her soulful vocals.[19][137] Her singing abilities have been subject to attention from several major South Korean producers; in 2009 on MBC's Yoo Jae-suk & Kim Won-hee's Come to Play Park Jin-young of JYP Entertainment expressed his wish to work with Taeyeon because of her "ability to tell a story through singing."[138] Korean composer Yoo Young-seok compared Taeyeon's singing to "a woman who has been divorced seven times."[139] Taeyeon was selected as the best K-pop vocalist by 40 anonymous music industry officials in October 2015,[140] and was named the best female vocalist in their twenties by twelve Korean music companies in April 2016.[141]

As the leader of popular K-pop girl group Girls' Generation and a successful solo artist,[142][143] Taeyeon has been recognized as a prominent South Korean figure. Janelle Okwodu from Vogue described Taeyeon as "the Beyoncé of [Girls' Generation]" whose fashion styles are "constantly on the go."[144] Taeyeon topped Gallup Korea's listing of the most popular K-pop idols of 2016, based on public polls and opinions.[145] She also appeared on the rankings in 2015 (#3), 2017 (#9), and 2019 (#7).[146] She also appeared multiple times on Forbes Korea Power Celebrity, making the list in 2016 (#32),[147] 2018 (#16),[148] and 2019 (#23).[149] She became the first K-pop female celebrity to reach seven million followers on Instagram in June 2016.[150] As of March 2020, Taeyeon has 14.3 million followers on the platform.[151]

Taeyeon has been cited as an inspiration for numerous K-pop artists. Boy band BTS deemed her as the inspiration for their single "Boy In Luv" (2014).[152] She has also been named as an influence by Lovelyz's Jiae,[153] Melody Day's Chahee,[154] Cosmic Girls' Luda,[155] CLC's Elkie,[156] Sonamoo's High.D.[157] and Baek A-yeon.[158] Vibe's Yoon Min-soo described Taeyeon's musical styles as an example of Korean R&B "K-Soul": "I can feel that sort of emotions from the ballads Taeyeon sings. If you can feel a deep soul from a singer, that's 'K-Soul'."[159]

In January 2020, Taeyeon won the OST Award, Bonsang, and the Daesang Award (main Award) from 29th Seoul Music Awards.[160]

Other ventures[edit]


Taeyeon has been known as a 'completed piece' that fits diverse roles such as artist, beauty icon, and fashion-trend leader, especially in Asia.[161] Apart from her role as an artist, she was the first Korean female influencer whose Instagram has reached more than 7 million followers and over 15 million in 2020.[150][162] Given her popularity as a beauty icon, she has endorsed various Korean beauty brands since 2008. Besides her appearances in commercials and advertisements with Girls' Generation and Girls' Generation-TTS members, she began her solo brand advertising career with A-Solution, a brand of acne cosmetics, in 2008.[163] Two years later, she became the first female Asia brand ambassador of Korean skincare brand, Nature Republic, along with boy group EXO from the same company SM Entertainment, for three consecutive years.[164] In 2016, when Taeyeon's contract with Nature Republic ended, the cosmetic brand Banila Co. selected her to be its new spokesmodel for a variety of products because of her popularity not only domestically in South Korea but also across the entire world.[165] In May 2020, Taeyeon has become a muse of A'pieu, well-known Korean beauty subsidiary brand of Missha, of which its official brand representative claimed that "Taeyeon's pure atmosphere matches well to A'pieu's cosmetics."[166]

Aside from her activities in the beauty industry, other endorsements included the bottled mineral water brand Jeju Samdasoo in 2016, Sword and Magic game of Kaokao Games in 2016, bakery café franchise brand Paris Baguette in 2017, nail-art product brand Gelato Factory in 2018 and 2019, Déesse Color Contact Lenses in 2018, and Hyundai's Haesang Direct Car Insurance in 2019.[81][167][168][169] From 2013 to 2014, she was also the first and only foreign spokesperson of B-ing Collagen Drink by Singha, a large Thai beverage corporation. She featured in the B-ing's commercial films, broadcasting in various mass media channels including most Thai local television and many radio stations. She also appeared in B-ing Taeyeon's FinMeeting in Bangkok, a fan meeting sponsored by Singha.[170]




Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2010 Despicable Me Margo Korean version [171]
2012 I Am Herself Biographical film of SM Town [172]
2013 Despicable Me 2 Margo Korean version [173]
2014 My Brilliant Life Herself Cameo (with Tiffany and Seohyun) [174]
2015 SMTown The Stage Documentary film of SM Town [175]

Television drama[edit]

Year Title Network Role Notes
2007 Unstoppable Marriage KBS Bulgwang-dong's Seven Princesses Gang Cameo (Ep.64)
2012 Salamander Guru and The Shadows SBS Herself Cameo (Ep.3)
2015 The Producers KBS2 Herself Cameo (Ep.1)

Television shows[edit]

Year Title Network Role Notes Ref.
2009 We Got Married: Season 1 MBC Cast (with Jung Hyung-don) Ep. 42–54
2010 Win Win KBS Co-host (with. Wooyoung)
2012–13 Show! Music Core MBC Cast (with. Tiffany and Seohyun)
2015 Daily Taengoo Cam OnStyle Cast Her first reality show
2019 Begin Again: Season 3 JTBC Second Team Member Ep. 7–12
Fashionista Taengoo V Live Cast
Taeyeon Beauty Log Mnet Cast
DoReMi Market tvN Cast Ep. 135–present [176]

Radio Show[edit]

Year Title Network Role Notes Ref.
2008 Kangin and Taeyeon's Chin Chin Radio MBC Co-host with Kangin
Taeyeon's Chin Chin Radio MBC Host


Year Title Role Notes Ref.
2010 Midnight Sun Kaoru Female lead [24]

Concerts and tours[edit]

  • Butterfly Kiss (2016)
  • Persona (2017)
  • 's... Taeyeon Concert (2018–2019)
  • Japan Tour 2019 ~Signal~ (2019)
  • The Unseen (2020)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Since debuting as a member of Girls' Generation, Taeyeon has received numerous nominations and awards for her solo activities in original soundtracks, radio show hosting and musical theatre dating back to 2008. She has won two Best Female Artist at the Mnet Asian Music Awards, as well as Bonsang awards at the 25th Seoul Music Awards and the 30th Golden Disc Awards.[177][178][179][180] In January 2020, Taeyeon won the OST Award, the Bonsang Award, and the Daesang Award (grand prize) at the 29th Seoul Music Awards.[160]


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