Turbo (South Korean band)

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Turbo
Turbo (South Korean band) members.jpg
From left: Kim Jung-nam, Kim Jong-kook, Mikey, KCON LA 2016.
Background information
OriginSeoul, South Korea
Genres
Years active1995–2001
2015–present
LabelsGM Agency (1995–2001)
The Turbo Co. (2015–present)
MembersKim Jung-nam
Kim Jong-kook
Mikey

Turbo (Korean: 터보) is a 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 2001 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". Title song `again´ led on top of the music charts.

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" (Choices), 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.

1997-2001[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 transgender 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 had a comeback album on December 21, 2015, featuring all three members. On July 25, 2017 they released their first mini-album "Turbo Splash" with "Hot Sugar" serving as the album's title track.

Members[edit]

  • Kim Jung-nam (김정남) - 1995-1997, 2015–present
  • Kim Jong-kook (김종국) - 1995-2001, 2015–present
  • Mikey (Jo Myung-ik) (마이키 (조명익)) - 1997-2001, 2015–present

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales
KOR
[2][3]
280 km/h Speed N/A*
New Sensation
  • Released: August 14, 1996
  • Label: GM Agency, Doremi Media
  • Format: CD, cassette
Born Again
  • Released: October 22, 1997
  • Label: GM Agency, Doremi Media
  • Format: CD, cassette
  • KOR: 800,000+[4]
Perfect Love
  • Released: October 17, 1998
  • Label: GM Agency, Doremi Media
  • Format: CD, cassette
23*
  • KOR: 562,478+[5]
E-Mail My Heart
  • Released: January 26, 2000
  • Label: GM Agency, Doremi Media
  • Format: CD, cassette
3
  • KOR: 595,401+[6]
Again
  • Released: December 21, 2015
  • Label: The Turbo Company
  • Format: CD, digital download
3
  • KOR: 12,543+[7]
* The Recording Industry Association of Korea album chart was launched in January 1999.

Compilation albums[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales
KOR
[2][3]
History
  • Released: June 19, 2001
  • Label: GM Agency, Doremi Media
  • Format: CD, cassette
7
  • KOR: 101,869+[8]
Reboot: The Best
  • Released: November 24, 2015
  • Label: Ogan Entertainment
  • Format: CD, digital download
11

EP[edit]

Title Album details Peak chart positions Sales
Turbo Splash
  • Released:July 25,2017
  • Label:The turbo company
  • Format:CD, digital download

Remix albums[edit]

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

Singles[edit]

Title Year Peak chart positions Sales Album
KOR
[10]
"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
N/A Won
KBS Music Award
N/A Won
MBC Music Award
N/A Won
Golden Disk Awards
Turbo 2nd Album: Twist King
Won
1997
Turbo 3rd Album: Goodbye Yesterday
Won
SBS Music Award
N/A Won
KBS Music Award
Turbo 3rd Album: Born Again
Won
MBC Music Award
N/A Won
1998
SBS Music Award
Turbo 4th Album: Perfect Love
Won
KBS Music Award
N/A Won
MBC Music Award
N/A Won
2000
Golden Disk Awards
Turbo 5th Album: E-mail My Heart
Won
SBS Music Award
Won
KBS Music Award
N/A Won
MBC Music Award
N/A Won

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Yoon Il-sang launches digital singles". Joongang Daily. 18 January 2012. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  2. ^ a b "K-Pop Album Sales Volume" (in Korean). Recording Industry Association of Korea. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Gaon Album Chart". Gaon Chart (in Korean). Korea Music Content Industry Association. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  4. ^ "98년 국내 음반시장 결산" [1999 Domestic Music Market Roundup]. Imaeil. 1998-12-14. Archived from the original on February 6, 2015. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  5. ^ "January 1999 K-pop Album Sales Volume". Recording Industry Association of Korea. Archived from the original on July 18, 2007. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  6. ^ "2000 K-pop Album Sales Volume". Recording Industry Association of Korea. Archived from the original on June 5, 2008. Retrieved February 5, 2015.
  7. ^ Again total album sales:
  8. ^ "June 2001 K-Pop Album Sales Volume" (in Korean). Recording Industry Association of Korea. Archived from the original on 2016-10-21. Retrieved June 19, 2018. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)
  9. ^ "January 2016 Album Chart". Gaon Chart (in Korean). Korea Music Content Industry Association. Retrieved June 19, 2018.
  10. ^ "Gaon Digital Chart" (in Korean). Gaon Music Chart. Retrieved June 19, 2018.