Happy Lee Hyori Day: Looking back at the thriving career of the 1st Generation K-Pop singer & ‘Nation’s Fairy’

Let’s take a look at the successful career of the strong and gorgeous K-Pop artist, Lee Hyori.

Published on May 10, 2022 05:47 PM IST  |  166.4K
Lee Hyori
Lee Hyori; Picture Courtesy: News1
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Lee Hyori is a South Korean singer, record producer, activist, actress and television presenter. Dubbed as the ‘Nation's Fairy’ during her ‘Family Outing’ days, she debuted as a member of the girl group Fin.K.L, but has since become a solo artist. She has had a vivacious career so let’s take a look at the tumultuous journey:- 

Lee Hyori was born on May 10, 1979 in Osong-ri, Cheongwon County, North Chungcheong Province, South Korea. She worked part-time at a restaurant and was scouted by an agency and cast by the manager of H.O.T.. She prepared for a girl group debut while living as a trainee of SM Entertainment before eventually debuting as the leader of Fin.K.L. Being the eldest of the group, she became the leader. 

The second release from their debut album, ‘To My Boyfriend’, became the first of their multiple number one hits. Fin.K.L became one of the most popular and successful South Korean pop groups of all-time, rivaling fellow popular girl group S.E.S. A year after Fin.K.L's fourth studio album ‘Forever’, her solo debut album was released in August 2003, entitled ‘Stylish’. The lead single ‘10 Minutes’ became one of her signature hits and the singer nearly swept the Daesangs, the most prestigious South Korean music award, winning more than seven of them, including three of the four most prestigious Daesangs. 

2003 was the mark of her increasing popularity as she appeared in various variety shows and other activities, which earned the name ‘Hyori Syndrome’ and various Korean media outlets dubbed the year as ‘The Year of Lee Hyori’. Her chocolate skin-tone, amazing dancing as well as vocal skills made her an instant fan favorite. 

From 2006 to 2015, Lee Hyori went through various scandals from plagiarism to backlash during her short-lived acting career but she soared through with her music with albums such as ‘Dark Angel’, ‘H-Logic’ and ‘Monochrome’. She began stepping away from the sensual singer image and went for a more soft sound with ballads. Her albums featured many popular artists like Daesung from BIGBANG, Bekah from After School, Jeon Ji Yoon from 4Minute and more. 

During this time, she also built a rapport with the beloved variety show personality, Yoo Jae Suk by hosting various shows like ‘Happy Together’ with him. During this time, she also became known for her ‘no holds barred’ type personality and people loved her blunt but hilarious quips. 

While on hiatus, Lee Hyori began to grow as a cultural influence. She wrote online columns for vernacular newspapers such as The Hankyoreh that mixed her thoughts on life and career with social commentary, and was well reviewed for her simple prose, humor and intelligence. She also became an increasing presence in the civic community, emerging as one of the country's most high-profile animal rights activists. 

Fast forward to 2017, Lee Hyori, along with her husband Lee Sang Soon, turned their vacation house in Jeju to a homestay for the variety show ‘Hyori’s Homestay’. Popular personalities like IU, Park Bo Gum and Girls’ Generation’s YoonA starred in the show. 

Through MBC's ‘Hangout with Yoo’, she, under the stage name Linda G, founded the summer project co-ed trio named SSAK3 with Rain and Yoo Jae Suk. They released a debut single ‘Beach Again’ on July 18, 2020 and officially debuted on July 25 with a debut stage on Music Core. SSAK3 is a special summer project, and they announced that all proceeds from their songs and promotions will be donated to communities in need. 

They were a complete riot as a trio as they knew each other for years together and the process of them becoming a group is a definite watch. After SSAK3 project, ‘Hangout with Yoo’ programme had a spin-off from Lee Hyori naming Uhm Jung Hwa, Jessi and Hwasa as the members she wanted in her dream girl group during the SSAK3 segment. The four women formed another girl group named Refund Sisters with Yoo Jae Suk as a producer. They released a debut single ‘Don't Touch Me’ on October 10, 2020. 

With such an amazing career, Lee Hyori has become one of the most known personalities in the industry for her caring self as well as strong on-stage presence. Artists like Jeon Somi, Chungha, KARA and more draw inspiration from her and we hope to see her display her strong skills for a long time! 

ALSO READ: OH MY GIRL’s Jiho announces departure from group; WM Entertainment confirms contract expiration 

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Do you follow Lee Hyori? Let us know in the comments. 

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