Kim Tae-yeon

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"Tae-yeon" redirects here. For the given name, see Tae-yeon (name). For other people with the same full name, see Kim Tae-yeon (disambiguation).
This is a Korean name; the family name is Kim.
Kim Tae-yeon
Taeyeon at fansigning in November 2016 01.jpg
Taeyeon in November 2016
Born Kim Tae-yeon
(1989-03-09) March 9, 1989 (age 27)
Jeonju, North Jeolla, South Korea
Residence Seoul, South Korea
Occupation Singer
Musical career
Instruments Vocals
Years active 2007–present
Labels S.M. Entertainment
Associated acts
Korean name
Revised Romanization Gim Tae-yeon
McCune–Reischauer Kim T'ae-yŏn

Kim Tae-yeon (born March 9, 1989), more often credited only as Taeyeon, is a South Korean singer. Born in Jeonju, North Jeolla, Taeyeon was a trainee at S.M. Entertainment's Starlight Academy during middle school and debuted as a member of S.M. Entertainment's girl group Girls' Generation in 2007. Since then, she has risen to prominence thanks to the group's success on the Asian music scene and further participated in S.M. Entertainment's projects Girls' Generation-TTS and SM the Ballad. Aside from group activities, she has also recorded tracks for various television dramas and movies.

In October 2015, Taeyeon debuted as a solo artist with her first extended play, I. It peaked at number two on South Korea's Gaon Album Chart and spawned the single with the same name, which peaked atop the Gaon Digital Chart and has sold over one million digital copies. Her second extended play, Why (2016), debuted at number one on the Gaon Album Chart and yielded two South Korean top-ten singles "Starlight" and "Why".

Following her debut, she was awarded Best Female Artist at the Mnet Asian Music Awards. In 2016, Gallup Korea ranked her as the most popular idol of 2016; the year before she was ranked third.[1] Also in 2016, Forbes Korea listed her among their Top 40 Power Celebrities of the year. Taeyeon is renowned for her vocal abilities: she was voted in a survey by 40 music industry officials as the best K-pop vocalist in October 2015, and as the best female vocalist by twenty music companies in April 2016.

Early life[edit]

Taeyeon was born on March 9, 1989 in Jeonju, South Korea. Her family consists of her parents, an older brother and a younger sister.[2][3][4] At the age of 13, Taeyeon came to the conclusion she was "only talented at singing".[5] During middle school, she was accepted as a trainee at Starlight Academy (later renamed SM Academy) and commuted from Jeonju to Seoul every Sunday to receive vocal training for the duration of a year.[6][7] In 2004, her former vocal instructor Jung Sun-won, also known as The One, "wanted to acknowledge Taeyeon's potential" and gave her a chance to be in his song "You Bring Me Joy".[8][9][10] In the same year, at age 15, she won first place vocalist at S.M. Entertainment's Best Youth Competition and officially received a contract from S.M. Entertainment.[7][11] Taeyeon continued her training under S.M. Entertainment and debuted as a part of Girls' Generation in 2007.[7][12][13]

However, the road to her debut was tumultuous; on Star Golden Bell it was revealed that she secretly ran away due to harsh training and practices. Fellow Girls Generation member Tiffany commented, "I was roommates with Taeyeon and I was surprised when I came into the room and saw that all of Taeyeon’s belongings were cleaned out.”[14] In 2008, Taeyeon graduated from Jeonju Arts High School and was awarded with the school's Lifetime Achievement Award.[15] As a teenager, Taeyeon was inspired to become an entertainer by BoA. She "wanted to be like her and have activities in Japan and around the world", which later came true when Girls' Generation debuted in Japan in 2010.[16][17]


2007–11: Career beginnings[edit]

Apart from Girls' Generation's activities, Taeyeon has appeared in several solo appearances. She first contributed her vocal to “7989” (featuring Kangta), a track taken from both Girls' Generation's eponymous debut album (2007) and Kangta's fourth studio album, Eternity (2008).[18] Taeyeon started gaining popularity thereafter through her various works of television soundtracks, having recorded "If" for the KBS2's drama Hong Gil Dong (2008) and "Can You Hear Me" for MBC's drama Beethoven Virus (2009).[19] The former song was viewed to have become more popular than its respective drama.[20] The latter won Popularity Award at the 2008 Golden Disk Award and was described by Taeyeon as her most difficult song to sing, with its introduction had to be delivered as if someone is talking, rather than singing.[21][22] Both tracks remain as some of Taeyeon’s most well-known hits to-date.[19] During this period, she also recorded "It's Love", a duet with Girls' Generation member Sunny, for the MBC's drama Heading to the Ground (2009).[23]

Taeyeon performing at Nongshim Love Sharing Concert in November 2011

Following a radio hosting job in 2009–10,[24] Taeyeon briefly dabbled with an acting career by making a theatrical debut. She was cast in a lead role in the musical Midnight Sun (2010), an adaptation of the Japanese novel of the same name (2006) written by Aya Denkawa. Having learned to play guitar for her character portrayal, she acted Kaoru Amane, a teenager who suffers from xeroderma pigmentosum. With the sold-out shows, her performance received good press despite the musical's critical reviews.[25][13] Jang Gyeong-jin of 10Asia praised Taeyeon's "distinct vocals" and commented her acting stood out among idol stars who have ventured into musical fields.[26] Kim Ji-yeong from The Dong-a Ilbo felt "Taeyeon’s optimistic and charming personality made her the perfect match" for her role though showed concerns that "her strong vocals made the musical seem somewhat [more] like her individual concert."[27] Despite the favorable response, Taeyeon later described musicals to be difficult, citing that her weak concentration made it hard to act and sing at the same time.[28]

During 2010, Taeyeon released a duet song, "Like A Star", with her mentor The One, as well as a solo song, "I Love You", for the SBS drama Athena: Goddess of War.[29][30] The former song reached number one on the Gaon Digital Chart and the latter peaked at number two.[31][32]

In 2011, Taeyeon had a duet, "Different", with Kim Bum-soo; the song reached number two on Gaon as well.[33][34] The two met again at Kim Bum-soo's concert "For rest Camp" in 2013 for a live collaboration of "Man and Woman".[35] This inspired Taeyeon to later comment on her Instagram about her wish to have a similar concert in a similarly small theater, and state in CeCi's December 2013 issue, "I want to sing while seeing fans up close".[36]

2012–14: TTS's debut and SM The Ballad[edit]

Taeyeon at the Expo Yeosu in July 2012

Taeyeon and her band mate Seohyun were cast as voice actors for the Korean-dubbed versions of the computer-animated films Despicable Me (2010) and its sequel Despicable Me 2 (2013). They dubbed the voices for the characters Margo and her younger sister, Edith, respectively.[37][38] On March 28, 2012, after releasing the single "Missing You Like Crazy" for MBC's melodrama The King 2 Hearts, the song ranked two on both the Gaon Digital Chart and the Billboard K-Pop Hot 100.[39][40] The producer of the song, Park Hae-woon, said "Taeyeon is an amazing singer. 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."[41][42] The singer had previously declined the offer for the song due to her busy schedules with Girls' Generation. However, she made a promise to musical director Lee Pil-ho that they would collaborate again after working with him on the Beethoven Virus OST. He stated that he had not considered anyone else to sing this song.[43][44] It was eventually picked as the most popular soundtrack of the year at the 2012 Seoul Drama Awards.[45] The same year, another song, "Closer", from the SBS drama To the Beautiful You ranked seven on both charts.[46][47][48]

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 the 8th highest selling album of the year in South Korea.[49][50][51] The subgroup went on to release two more EPs: Holler (2014) and Dear Santa (2015).[52][53]

In January 2013, Taeyeon returned to MBC Radio as a one-day guest DJ for Shindong's program, Shimshimtapa, alongside Tiffany.[54] The two also had the duet "Lost in Love", which was featured on Girls' Generation's fourth Korean album, I Got a Boy. On March 13, 2013, Taeyeon released the song "And One" for the SBS drama That Winter, the Wind Blows.[55] It debuted at the top of the K-Pop Hot 100[56] and reached number two on the Gaon Digital Chart.[57] The song was written and composed by Kangta, expressing the emotions abounding star-crossed love.[58] On July 9, 2013, Taeyeon lent her voice in the song "Bye" for the movie Mr. Go.[59] [60][61]

In February 2014, Taeyeon joined the ballad group SM the Ballad, initially formed by S.M. Entertainment in 2010.[62] On the group's second album, she had a duet with Jonghyun for the title track "Breath"[63] as well as a solo song, "Set Me Free".[62] "Breath" was also the theme song of Mnet's mini-drama Mimi. The song debuted within top 10 of the Gaon Digital Chart and K-Pop Hot 100.[64][65] In March 2014, Taeyeon recorded the song "Colorful" for JTBC's campaign "The World Is More Beautiful Because We're Different".[66][67]

On May 30, 2014, she released "Love, That One Word" for the SBS drama You're All Surrounded; the song managed to rank number eight on the Gaon Digital Chart and number 6 on the K-Pop Hot 100.[68][69]

2015–16: Solo debut with I and Why[edit]

In February 2015, Taeyeon featured in Amber's debut solo single "Shake That Brass".[70] In September 2015, she released a remake of the song "Scars Deeper Than Love", a duet with Yim Jae-beom, as part of the singer's tenth anniversary special album.[71] At the end of 2014–beginning of 2015, Taeyeon began work on a solo record, believing her "right tim[ing]" had come. She previously was afraid of not being ready for a solo debut, but her eight-year career proved to help her gain the experience to be "well-prepared".[72][73] The album, titled I, was released in October 2015, making Taeyeon the first Girls' Generation member to have a solo debut. Her album met with generally favorable reviews. Chester Chin from The Star was enthusiastic about Taeyeon's "individuality", commenting on her "collection of dynamic K-pop confections" which set the album apart from signature Girls' Generation's bubblegum pop and electronic sound.[74][75] The album peaked at number one on both Billboard's US World Album and South Korea’s Gaon Album Chart.[76][77] It became the sixteenth best-selling album of 2015 in South Korea, with sales figures standing at 119,576.[78] The commercial success of I, according to Yonhap News Agency, was named the main contributor of her record label’s leading music sales during the fourth quarter of 2015.[79] The titular title track, featuring rapper Verbal Jint, peaked at number one on Gaon Digital Chart, having sold 1.048 million digital sales.[80][81] To accompany her solo release, she held a series of small concerts titled Taeyeon's Very Special Day.[82] Her concurrent reality show, OnStyle's Daily Taeng9Cam, ranked the third most popular idol program of 2015 in South Korea.[83] Taeyeon was named Best Female Artist at the 2015 Mnet Asian Music Awards,[84] and the 2016 Golden Disk Awards.[85]

Taeyeon at Style Icon Asia in March 2016

Taeyeon next contributed her vocals to Verbal Jint's "If The World Was a Perfect Place" (2015) and Crush's "Don’t Forget" (2016).[86][87] In February 2016, S.M Entertainment launched a digital music platform called SM Station, having Taeyeon's single "Rain" being its first release.[88] The song peaked at number one on Gaon Digital Chart and sold more than 1 million digital copies. It remained to be the most commercially successful song of SM Station to-date.[89][citation needed] A few months later, Taeyeon and Super Junior's Kyuhyun was featured in a commercial for the bottled water brand Jeju Samdasoo, for which she recorded a song "The Blue Night of Jeju Island".[90] 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".[91] Her celebrity endorsements witnessed an increase in sales figures for both brands.[92][93]

With her record label's musical direction steering towards EDM, her follow-up EP titled Why (2016) saw that incorporation into its track list. The album met with complimentary reviews, with Jeff Benjamin from Fuse praised Taeyeon's "powerful vocals" in it.[94][95] It debuted at number one and two on South Korea's Gaon Album Chart and Billboard's US World Album Chart, respectively.[96][97] The titular title track peaked at number seven while her other single "Starlight" (featuring Dean) was at number five on Gaon Digital Chart.[98] With her accompanying concert series, Butterfly Kiss, she became the first Korean female solo artist to hold a full-scale concert while still being an active girl group member. It was deemed by the media as a success, setting a precedent in a Korean market which mostly stigmatized that concerts held by a single girl group member would not be profitable.[99][100] The concert saw her performed a self-composed unreleased song, "Pray", for the first time.[101]

After having recorded "All With You" for SBS's television drama Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo,[102] her next single, "11:11", was released in November 2016. It peaked at number 2 on Gaon Digital Chart and was chosen by Billboard as the seventh best K-pop song of the year.[103][104] Self-described the track as an "easy-listening song [to] reminisce and remember the autumn", she later revealed an acoustic version of it on video-sharing website YouTube.[105][106] With her 2016 work, she was honored by The Dong-a Ilbo newspaper, who named her as "Voice of the Year", "Singer of the Year" and "Most Hardworking".[107]

2017–present: My Voice[edit]

On February 16, 2017, Taeyeon released her first music video teaser for "I Got Love", a pre-release track from her upcoming album.[108] The music video of the track was released on February 18, 2017.[109] On February 14, 2017, Taeyeon's agency S.M. Entertainment announced that her first full-length studio album would be released in the end of February.[110] On February 20, 2017, the album's title was revealed to be My Voice, with the title track being "Fine".[111]


Over the course of Taeyeon's career, she has been cited as the role model of many idol celebrities. Idol boy band BTS cited her as their inspiration for the name of their title track "Boy In Luv".[112][113] Other celebrities who named her as their role models are Lovelyz's Jiae,[114] Melody Day's Chahee,[115] Cosmic Girls' Luda,[116] CLC's Elkie,[117] Sonamoo's High.D.[118] and Baek A-yeon.[119] Furthermore, she was the only junior singer selected by Vibe's Yoon Min-soo to fit his purposed subgenre of Korean R&B "K-Soul" due to the reasoning, "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'."[120] Lee Solim, the president of Taeyeon's former school for aspiring entertainers, Starlight Academy, described her as her most memorable student during an interview in 2010.[6] Both her songs "If" and "Can You Hear Me?" have remained in MelOn's Top 100 OSTs since their releases in 2008.[121]

In October 2015, Taeyeon was selected as the number one K-pop vocalist by a survey completed by 40 anonymous music industry officials,[122][123] and in April 2016 was chosen as the best female vocalist in their twenties by music companies (S.M., YG, JYP, Starship, JellyFish, Loen, Antenna, RBW, Fantagio, CJS, Music K).[124][125] Additionally, Billboard named her as "the year's best solo debut" and her debut single "I" was ranked as the second best K-pop song of 2015,[126] Gallup Korea recorded her as the third most popular idol of 2015,[127] and Forbes Korea listed her as the 11th singer and 32nd celebrity on their Top 40 Power Celebrities of 2016.[128] She became the first Korean female celebrity to reach seven million followers on Instagram on June 9, 2016.[129]



Music videos[edit]

Year Title Other artist(s) Director Note
As lead artist
2015 "I" Verbal Jint First music video as a solo artist; lead single of first EP I
2016 "Rain" First single of SM Station
"Blue Night of Jeju Island" Promotional song for Samdasoo
"Atlantis Princess" Promotional song for Kakao's Sword and Magic
"Starlight" Dean First single of second EP Why
"Why" Title track of second EP Why
"Why (Dance Version)" Dance version of title track Why
2017 "I Got Love" First single of first studio album My Voice
2009 "SEOUL" Super Junior
2012 "Dear My Family" SM Town
2014 "Breath" Jonghyun
2015 "Shake That Brass" Amber
2015 "If The World Was a Better Place" Verbal Jint
2016 "Don't Forget" Crush
Guest appearances
2008 "Forever" Lee Byul


Year Title Role Notes Ref
2010 Despicable Me Margo Voice-over for the Korean-dubbed version [130]
2012 I AM. – SM Town Live World Tour in Madison Square Garden Herself Biographical film of SM Town [131]
2013 Despicable Me 2 Margo Voice-over for the Korean-dubbed version [132]
2014 My Brilliant Life Herself Cameo along with Tiffany and Seohyun [133]
2015 SMTown The Stage Herself Documentary film of SM Town [134]

Musical theatre[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2010 Midnight Sun Kaoru Female lead

Television shows[edit]

Year Title Network Role Notes Ref
2009 We Got Married MBC Regular Cast Taeyeon was paired with comedian Jung Hyung-don in a virtual marriage show [135]
2010 Win Win KBS Co-host with Wooyoung
2012–13 Show! Music Core MBC Co-host with Tiffany and Seohyun
2014 Hidden Singer JTBC Contestant Season 3; Episode 5 [136]
2015 Daily Taeng9cam OnStyle Herself A close-up reality program in conjunction with the release of EP I [137]

Radio shows[edit]

Year Title Network Role Notes
2008–09 Kangin and Taeyeon's Chin Chin Radio MBC Co-Host with Kangin
2009–10 Taeyeon's Chin Chin Radio MBC Host

Concerts and tours[edit]