Ailee signed with an US agency Muzo Entertainment at the beginning of her career. Under this label, she worked with many artists like Johnnyphlo and rapper Decipher.
In 2010, she moved to South Korea and participated in an audition for YMC Entertainment. She was recruited immediately as a trainee. As a trainee, she sang in Decipher and Jay Park's song ‘Catch Me If You Can’, and also in labelmate Wheesung's song ‘They Are Coming’.
She was lucky to perform with Johnnyphlo, Decipher, Jay Park, and Clara C, at ‘projectKorea III’ in 2011. In September, she participated in MBC's Chuseok episode of ‘Singer and Trainee,’ where she sang ‘Halo’ by Beyoncé. The audience and judges were impressed with her performance, and she won the competition.
In February 2012, her debut song ‘Heaven’ along with the music video was released. On February 9, 2012, she gave her first stage performance of ‘Heaven’ on M.net's M! Countdown and later performed on SBS's Inkigayo.
In March 2012, she appeared on KBS's ‘Immortal Songs 2,’ and performed Patti Kim's song ‘Light and Shadow’. Patti Kim praised her singing abilities, and said that she will be "the next great singer".
In May 2012, at J.Y. Park special, she sang Park's song ‘Don't Leave Me’, and won the competition. In June, she appeared on ‘Immortal Songs 2,’ and performed ‘Fate’, and won with 402 votes.
Ailee released her debut mini-album, ‘Invitation’, on October 16, 2012. It consisted of the title song, ‘I'll Show You’, and five other tracks. On October 18, she performed ‘I'll Show You’ on M! Countdown, and acquired her first trophy. She was also invited to perform at the pre-Grammy party for the 55th Grammy Awards.
On July 12, 2013, she released her second mini-album ‘A's Doll House’, and within four hours of the release, the single ‘U&I’ topped the music charts. Ailee earned her first ‘All-Kill’ status. The album made a bumper sale in Korea on the very first day.
In October 2013, she made her Japanese debut with ‘Heaven’ under Warner Music Japan. She released the single in November, along with the song ‘Starlight’.
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Due to a scandal over her “nude pictures”, she had to go a six-month long hiatus, and made a comeback in January 2014 with a music video teaser ahead of the release of the full music video and digital song on January 6, 2014.
The full video of ‘Don't Touch Me’ was released through YMC Entertainment's Twitter on September 25, 2014. She also won the first trophy for ‘Don't Touch Me’ on SBS Inkigayo. She held her first solo concert ‘Fatal Attraction’ on July 4, 2015 in Seoul. It broke the record for the fastest-selling tickets on the site.
Her first full-length album, ‘VIVID’, was released on September 30, 2015. In August 2016, her music video ‘If You’ was released. Her next EP ‘A New Empire’ was released in October 2016, along with the music video for the leading track ‘Home’.
Through WestSide Entertainment she made her US debut under the new stage name A. Leean. Her first American debut single ‘Fall Back,’ was released through a website.
On January 7, 2017, she released the single ‘I Will Go to You Like the First Snow’ for a South Korean cable television series. She achieved a Perfect All-Kill, and the single hit Number 1 on all South Korean music sites, including the Gaon Chart. The single achieved a ‘Triple Crown’ as well.
She started the Welcome Home Tour in Daegu on April 1, 2017. In June 2017, she held her first solo concert in Taiwan titled ‘Ailee: Hello Taipei 2017.’ The concert was completely sold out by the end of the first day of ticket release.
Ailee’s second mini-album ‘A's Doll House’ became a hit within a few hours of its release. The single ‘U&I’ topped many music charts. In 2014, the single ‘Singing Got Better’ reached number 1 on Korea's major charts.
In April 2014, she made an appearance on an episode of ‘Immortal Songs,’ and performed Whitney Houston's ‘I Will Always Love You’. Her performance became one of the most watched ‘Immortal Songs’ performances on YouTube.
In 2016, her single ‘If You’ hit number 1 on several charts within a day of its release, and topped the charts. The album ‘A New Empire’ peaked at number 10 on the Gaon Chart, and number 9 on the US Billboard Chart.
Her album ‘Magazine’ peaked at number 2 on the Gaon Chart. Her single ‘I Will Go To You Like the First Snow’ surpassed 100 million streams and 15 million downloads in May 2017. It also broke the record for most streamed song per year on Gaon since 2010, with 111,770,770 streams.
Awards & Achievements
Within one month of the release of her debut album, Ailee won two awards at the Cyworld Music Awards for ‘Song of the Month’ and ‘Rookie of the Month’. She also won the Best New Artist Award at the Asia Song Festival.
She won the Best New Artist Award at the MelOn Music Awards, Golden Disk Awards, Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards and the Seoul Music Awards for her work in music in 2012.
She received the Best New Female Artist (2012) and four Best Vocal Performance - Female awards at the Mnet Asian Music Awards for ‘U&I’, ‘If You’, ‘Mind Your Own Business’ and ‘Singing Got Better’ in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 respectively.
She won Best Original Soundtrack award at the 7th Korea Drama Awards for ‘Goodbye My Love’. She received the Mnet Pre-Grammy Award for Rising Star and the Best New Artist award at the 22nd Seoul Music Awards.