Childhood & Early Life
Baek Ji-young was born in Seoul, South Korea, on March 25, 1974. She grew up in a household where music was an integral part of their daily culture. Overtime, she became so influenced with it that she decided to become a musician.
Her varied music taste allowed her to listen to different music genres, and she was influenced by the Latin dance music.
When she was in high school, she got involved in the trot music scene for a short while. At that time, it was more popular than any other music form among the Korean youth. And when the time came to embark on a career in music, she decided to experiment with a crazy mix of music, which was unheard by her target listeners’ base.
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She arrived on the Korean music scene with her debut single ‘Choice’ in 1999, which was a peppy dance number. The song featured Latin beats and the music critics praised her for taking such a risk with her debut album.
Her music album ‘Sorrow’ was subsequently released in 1999 and became popular, eventually topping many music charts.
All this success was overwhelming for Baek and she didn’t waste any time in recording and releasing her second album ‘Rogue’, which came out in April 2000 and outgrew the first album in terms of overall success. Selling 3,60,000 copies during the first few months, the album cemented Baek’s place as one of the most talented and popular young musicians in South Korea at that time.
After an average third album, she released her fourth album in 2003, titled ‘Smile’. This was her first album after the career threatening sex tape controversy. It was assumed that her career was over for good and the sales of her album reflected the fact. The overall total sales of her fourth album couldn’t reach a satisfactory number and the critics weren’t particularly pleased either.
For the next three years, Baek reflected on her mistakes and realised that she might not get many chances to redeem her failing career. In 2006, she released her fifth studio album titled ‘Smile again’. A result of three years worth of hard work, the album became a massive success. What further contributed to the success of the album was her daring decision of including a soft ballad in a supposedly dance album.
The soft romantic single titled ‘I Wont Love’ topped many charts. Rest of the songs from the album saw Baek going back to her routes with dance numbers influenced by Latin tunes. She toured around the country for promotion and halted the promotional activities towards the end of the year, in order to focus on her next one. She won the MKMF Best Solo Female Singer award for the album.
In 2007, she released her next album titled ‘The Sixth Miracle’, which once again proved to be a roaring success, leading her to an award win at the Seoul Music Awards.
In early 2008, she faced a cyst issue with her throat, which threatened to deepen her voice. She got it removed and took a break from singing for a few months so as to allow her throat to recover.
Her single ‘Like being hit by a Bullet’ from her next album ‘Sensitivity’ became a chart topping success. The song was a slight deviation from her usual music taste and was a mid-tempo song. The song remained on the top spot on many different South Korean music sites and the album went on to become a success.
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She took break for a couple of years after that and in the meantime, she collaborated with fellow singer Mighty Mouth, and came out with some critically appreciated numbers. She also announced her next musical venture in 2011.
Her eighth studio album ‘Pitta’ was released in 2011 and it became an instant success. It was surprising for many industry critics as she was one of the very few female musicians whose popularity refused to die down after so many ups and downs. The album was a slight change from her usual music preference and yet, it resonated with her fans quite the same way.
She made a comeback to her routes, with the dancing numbers filled album ‘Good Boy’ in 2012. She had released a dance number after three years and despite the success of the overall album, the soft ballad from the album titled ‘Voice’ was the one that took the cake to become the most popular single from the album.
In 2012, she appeared as a judge and mentor for the singing reality show ‘The Voice of Korea’.
In early 2013, she embarked on tour of South Korea. It was immediately followed by a world tour, with Japan being one of the main venues for the same.
Baek has also composed soundtracks for many TV series’ and won awards for many of them. Some of her most popular soundtracks for the TV dramas are ‘Don’t Forget’ for IRIS, ‘Love is not a Crime’ for ‘Ja Myung Go’ and ‘Spring Rain’ for ‘Gu Family Book’. For the series ‘Secret Garden’, she composed the song ‘That Woman’, which got her an Outstanding Korean Drama OST Award at the Seoul Music Awards 2011.
Baek Ji-young went through a traumatic phase back in 2000, when her sex video with her then manager Kim Shi-won was leaked on the internet. She filed a complaint accusing her ex manager of blackmailing her after she fired him from the job. The manager then fled to the USA, where he was caught and jailed on the charges of having sex with a minor and videotaping it.
She started dating actor Jung Suk-won in 2011 and after dating for two years, the couple got married in 2013. Shortly after her marriage, she faced a terrible miscarriage and it was later revealed that Baek was four months pregnant at the time.
In May 2017, Baek gave birth to a healthy daughter.
Baek sued a local plastic surgery clinic for using her face for advertisement without her permission. She won the case against the clinic and was paid 5 Million won for the lawsuit.