Turbo (South Korean band)

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Turbo
20160730-P1000511 (28591531050).jpg
From left: Kim Jung-nam, Kim Jong-kook, Mikey, KCON LA 2016.
Background information
Origin Seoul, South Korea
Genres
Years active 1995–2000
2015–present
Labels GM Agency (1995–2000)
The Turbo Co. (2015–present)
Members Kim Jung-nam
Kim Jong-kook
Mikey

Turbo (Korean: 터보) is a popular South Korean duo in the mid to late 1990s. The duo originally consisted of Kim Jong-kook and Kim Jung-nam. In early 1997, Kim Jung-nam left from the group and Kim Jong-kook later continued promotion with new member Mikey. They became one of the biggest stars in the Korean entertainment industry during their active time from 1995 to 2000 and sold millions of albums and records in Asia as a whole. In 2015, they made a comeback as a trio after 15 years with "Again".

Career[edit]

Early years[edit]

Turbo was formed in October 1994 to compete against the then popular dance group, Deux. Leader and former DJ Kim Jung Nam was responsible for the rap and choreography while Kim Jong-kook, former vocalist for a high school band, took care of the vocals. This combo proved to be well matched, as Turbo's name soon became synonymous with dance music.

They launched their first album in August 1995, titled "280 km/h speed". Living up to their group name and album title, Turbo took the dance world by storm debuting with the song "나 어릴적 꿈"(My Childhood Dream). The untimely death of Deux member Kim Sung Jae just one month after Turbo's debut, made Turbo the heir apparent to become the kings of the Korean dance scene. Following up with songs "검은 고양이" (Black Cat) and "선택" (Decision), Turbo was labeled as "dance music's scary kids" for rising in popularity so fast.

Just a year after their debut, Turbo returned with their second album, "New Sensation". Reaffirming their popularity, the album sold 800,000 copies within the first two months. After "Twist King" Turbo performed "Love Is...(3+3=0)" and "어느 재즈 바... (At the Jazz Bar...)". By the end of their second album promotion, Turbo was firmly entrenched as a premier dance group.

This status was short lived however, as Turbo broke up just months later. Citing problems with their management, Turbo went into seclusion. Their hiding was so effective that police were brought in to investigate their whereabouts. Eventually, due to public demand for Turbo's return, half of Turbo returned. Kim Jung Nam, unable to reconcile his differences with the management, left the group. He later joined the 5 member group SNAP in 1999. This left Kim Jong Kook looking for a new partner.

1997-2000[edit]

That partner was found in California resident Mikey. Immigrating to America at the age of 6, he had his dreams set on becoming a singer ever since watching videos of the popular group Seo Taiji and Boys. In May 1997, with the goal of becoming a singer, Mikey returned to South Korea alone. Just two months later he auditioned for Turbo among 3500 other hopefuls. Mikey shined both in his rapping skills and also his ability to speak English, gaining him the spot.

Resurrected with the addition of Mikey, Turbo returned to the gayo world October 1997 with their aptly titled 3rd album "Born Again...". Performing "회상" (Reminiscence/December), "금지된 장난 (Forbidden Games)" and "Goodbye Yesterday", they took back the dance music title. "Reminiscence" was composed by Yoon Il-sang and sold 1,200,000 copies.[1] During this time, Turbo was offered to sing a duet with American singer and movie star Will Smith. Smith, who had just launched his fourth single "Just the Two of Us" (Bill Withers song) said he wanted to make an Asian version of the song. After reviewing singers from Asia he picked Turbo for their music abilities and unique style. Also of interest, singer Choi Chang Min served as a back dancer for Turbo from 97-98 before launching his own solo career.

While preparing for their 4th album Kim Jong Kook injured his hip, hampering their album release. Eventually released October 1998, entitled "Perfect Love" Turbo ventured into different types of music, including Latin, Techno, R&B, Hip Hop and Ballad. Turbo's title track "애인이 생겼어요" (I Got a Girlfriend) was described as a fresh and comical change for Turbo. Following up with a more traditional Turbo style song "X: The Greatest Love", Turbo showed they were still going strong, getting voted as one of the best artists of 98.

But once again Turbo faced breakup. Turbo was invited to participate in the Asia Superconcert on the 30th of December 1998 to represent South Korea with names like H.O.T., S.E.S., Fin.K.L, Clon and Sechs Kies. This concert featured singers from all over Asia including Japan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Taiwan and was broadcast live to South Korea, China and Japan. Due to arguments with management before the concert, Kim Jong Kook protested his role in the concert by not performing his section of the concert and leaving without bowing. This rude behavior was heavily criticized by many who watched the live KBS 1TV broadcast, including top politicians. Due to this incident Kim Jong Kook and Turbo were banned from appearing on TV.

With the ban reluctantly lifted October 1999, Turbo returned in full force just 4 months later with their 5th album "Email my heart". Wanting to raise their level of music, Turbo requested the help of Korea's top musicians and composers including Yoon Il Sang, Yoo Jung Yun, Joo Young Hoon, and Ahn Jung Hoon. Labeled "Cyber Lover", Turbo's title track was not only an exciting song but provided an entertaining look at today’s Internet based society. Also to celebrate the millennium Turbo included a special ticket in 2000 of their albums, with the winners guaranteed a copy of Turbo's new albums henceforth.

Not only was their 5th album a success, the music video for their follow up song "Tonight" garnered much popularity and was regarded as one of the years best music videos. Starring talent Kim Min and Turbo's own Kim Jong Kook, the video was directed by Kim Sae Hoon who also did the videos "To Heaven" Jo Sung Mo and "Youngone" [sky]. Set in South Los Angeles, "Tonight" dramatizes gang violence in typical Korean style. But this dramatization was deemed too violent for TV and Turbo was forced to take it off the air. Having their video banned was nothing new, since their title video, "Cyber Lover" was also banned for inappropriate chat dialog within the video.

Disbandment[edit]

After releasing the 5th album, Kim Jong Kook left the management due to contract expiration. Kim Jong Kook later pursued his solo career. Mikey, with his visa expiring, also took leave to New York City to study music under Paul Bay. To end their long career, Turbo released one last album titled "History" revisiting all their hit songs from previous albums and including 3 new songs. A music video for "History" was also released, featuring for the first time transsexual model and singer Harisu.

Amid all the ups and downs Turbo faced in their career and their premature breakup, they have always remained hugely popular. Attributing to this popularity is the fact that every Turbo album has been a million seller. Kim Jong Kook also has a major solo success, releasing 7 albums and winning many accolades, including all 3 of the best artist awards in 2005, a feat which hasn't been matched since Cho Yong Pil did it in the 1980s. Mikey was a part of the K-pop group M3.

On stage KCON LA 2016, July 30.

Return[edit]

In celebration of the group's 20th year anniversary, all 3 previous members have reunited for the first time in nearly 15 years. The group will be returning to the music scene with a comeback album on December 21, 2015. Unlike the group's previous albums, all three members will be featured in the 6th album.

Members[edit]

  • Kim Jung-nam (김정남) - 1995-1997, 2015–present
  • Kim Jong-kook (김종국) - 1995-2000, 2015–present
  • Mikey (Jo Myung-ik) (마이키 (조명익)) - 1997-2000, 2015–present

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Group Albums (Turbo)[edit]

Year Album Information Track listing
1995 280 km/h Speed
  • Released: September 6, 1995
  • Label:
  • Language: Korean
1996 New Sensation
  • Released: August 14, 1996
  • Label:
  • Language: Korean
  • Sales: 800,000+
X-Mas Dance Party Mix with Turbo
  • Released: November 29, 1996
  • Label:
  • Language: Korean
1997 Turbo Summer Remix
  • Released: June 24, 1997
  • Label:
  • Language: Korean
Born Again
  • Released: October 22, 1997
  • Label:
  • Language: Korean
1998 Perfect Love
  • Released: October 17, 1998
  • Label:
  • Language: Korean
1999 Millennium Turbo Dance Megamix
  • Released: July 15, 1999
  • Label:
  • Language: Korean
2000 E-Mail My Heart
  • Released: January 27, 2000
  • Label:
  • Language: Korean
2001 History
  • Released: June 19, 2001
  • Label:
  • Language: Korean
2015 Again
  • Released: 21 December 2015
  • Label:
  • Language: Korean


Title Album details Peak chart
positions
Sales
KOR
[2]
280 km/h Speed
  • Released: September 6, 1995
  • Label: [[CJ E&M Music

Performance Division|GM Agency]], Doremi Media

New Sensation
  • Released: August 14, 1996
  • Label: GM Agency, Doremi Media
  • Format: CD, cassette, digital download
Born Again
  • Released: October 22, 1997
  • Label: GM Agency, Doremi Media
  • Format: CD, cassette, digital download
  • KOR: 800,000[3]
Perfect Love
  • Released: October 17, 1998
  • Label: GM Agency, Doremi Media
  • Format: CD, cassette, digital download
  • KOR: 562,478[4]
E-Mail My Heart
  • Released: January 26, 2000
  • Label: GM Agency, Doremi Media
  • Format: CD, cassette, digital download
  • KOR: 595,401[5]
Again 3
  • KOR: 12,543+[6]

Compilation albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart
positions
KOR
[2]
History
  • Released: June 19, 2000
  • Label: GM Agency, Doremi Media
  • Format: CD, cassette, digital download

Remix albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart
positions
KOR
[2]
X-Mas Dance Party Mix with Turbo
  • Released: November 29, 1996
  • Label: GM Agency, Doremi Media
  • Format: CD, cassette, digital download
Turbo Summer Remix
  • Released: June 24, 1997
  • Label: GM Agency, Doremi Media
  • Format: CD, cassette, digital download
Millennium Turbo Dance Megamix
  • Released: July 15, 1998
  • Label: GM Agency, Doremi Media
  • Format: CD, cassette, digital download

Singles[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Sales Album
KOR
[7]
Korean
"Again (Feat. Yoo Jae-suk)" 2015 1
  • KOR: 454,398+
AGAIN

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result
1996
Sports Seoul Music Award
BonSang Award (Main Prize) Turbo 2nd Album Won
SBS Music Award
BonSang Award (Main Prize) N/A Won
KBS Music Award
BonSang Award (Main Prize) N/A Won
MBC Music Award
BonSang Award (Main Prize) N/A Won
Golden Disk Awards
BonSang Award (Main Prize) Turbo 2nd Album: Twist King Won
1997
Golden Disk Awards
BonSang Award (Main Prize) Turbo 3rd Album: Goodbye Yesterday Won
SBS Music Award
BonSang Award (Main Prize) N/A Won
KBS Music Award
BonSang Award (Main Prize) Turbo 3rd Album: Born Again Won
MBC Music Award
BonSang Award (Main Prize) N/A Won
1998
SBS Music Award
BonSang Award (Main Prize) Turbo 4th Album: Perfect Love Won
KBS Music Award
BonSang Award (Main Prize) N/A Won
MBC Music Award
BonSang Award (Main Prize) N/A Won
2000
Golden Disk Awards
BonSang Award (Main Prize) Turbo 5th Album: E-mail My Heart Won
SBS Music Award
BonSang Award (Main Prize) Turbo 5th Album: E-mail My Heart Won
KBS Music Award
BonSang Award (Main Prize) N/A Won
MBC Music Award
BonSang Award (Main Prize) N/A Won
Year Award
1995–2000
  • 1996 Sports Seoul Music Award - Bon Sang (2nd Album)
  • 1996 《SBS Music Award》- Bon Sang
  • 1996 《KBS Music Award》- Bon Sang
  • 1996 《MBC Music Award》- Bon Sang
  • 1996 Golden Disk Awards - Bon Sang (2nd Album:Twist King)
  • 1997 Golden Disk Awards - Bon Sang (3rd Album Goodbye Yesterday)
  • 1997 《SBS Music Award》- Bon Sang
  • 1997 《KBS Music Award》- Bon Sang (3rd Album: Born Again)
  • 1997 《MBC Music Award》- Bon Sang
  • 1998 Golden Disk Awards - Bon Sang (4th Album: Perfect Love)
  • 1998 《KBS Music Award》- Bon Sang
  • 1998 《MBC Music Award》- Bon Sang
  • 2000 Golden Disk Awards - Bon Sang (5th Album: E-Mail My Heart)
  • 2000 《SBS Music Award》 - Bon Sang (5th Album: E-Mail My Heart)
  • 2000 《KBS Music Award》 - Bon Sang
  • 2000 《MBC Music Award》 - Bon Sang
  • KBS 가요대상 (KBS Music Awards) 대상 (Best Artist)
  • SBS 가요대전 (SBS Music Awards) 대상 (Best Artist)
  • MBC 가요대전 (MBC Music Awards) 대상 (Best Artist)
  • Seoul Music Awards

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Yoon Il-sang launches digital singles". Joongang Daily. 18 January 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012. 
  2. ^ a b c "Gaon Album Chart". Gaon Chart (in Korean). Korea Music Content Industry Association. Retrieved February 5, 2015. 
  3. ^ 98년 국내 음반시장 결산 [1999 Domestic Music Market Roundup]. Imaeil. December 14, 1998. Archived from the original on February 6, 2015. Retrieved February 5, 2015. 
  4. ^ 1999.01월 - 가요 음반 판매량 [January 1999 Album Sales]. Music Industry Association of Korea. Archived from the original on July 18, 2007. Retrieved February 5, 2015. 
  5. ^ 2000년 가요 판매량 순위집계. Music Industry Association of Korea. Archived from the original on June 5, 2008. Retrieved February 5, 2015. 
  6. ^ Again total album sales:
  7. ^ (Korean) Gaon Digital Singles Chart & Gaon Album Chart. Gaon Music Chart.

External links[edit]