G-Dragon is a South Korean singer, songwriter, rapper, model and record producer. He worked as a trainee for 6 years for the South Korean record label company, YG Entertainment, where he used to clean the studio for the performing artists and fetch water bottles for them during the initial period. Later, Kwon (as G-Dragon) rose to fame as one of the artists of the Big Band group formed by the YG Entertainment in 2006 with other members like T.O.P, Taeyang, Daesung and Seungri. G-Dragon was involved with writing lyrics, composing music, album production and hence, he played the central part in the group. The group’s songs like ‘Last Farewell’, ‘Day by Day’ and ‘Haru Haru’ have topped the Korean charts while the song ‘Lies’ won the group the Song of the Year award at the 9thMnet Korean Music Festival. G-Dragon is a popular solo artist (his debut album ‘Heartbreaker’ became the most successful album of 2009) and also a fashion icon admired for his artistic ability and stylised persona.
Childhood & Early Life
Kwon Ji Yong was born on 18th August, 1988 in Seoul, South Korea. Thus, he was born in the Year of the Dragon as in Chinese calendar and his zodiac sign is Leo.
He is very close to his parents and his father Kwon Young Hwan states in interviews that he is very proud of his son. G-Dragon got a nickname ‘Mom’s Best Son’ from mothers who wanted to have a son like him.
Kwon has an elder sister named Kwon Dami who is now married and has a kid. His sister owns a fashion boutique Rare Market and he sometimes does modelling for her designs.
G-Dragon went to Seoul Korean Traditional Arts Middle and High school .He is major in Post Modern Music from Gyeong Hee University.
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Formative Years & Big Bang Group
At the age of 5 he started his career as a member of the group ‘Little Roo’Ra’ debuting as a dancer and released a Christmas album. However, the group got disbanded and he was disheartened.
He became a trainee under SM Entertainment for five years (8-13 years of age) and got specialized in dancing before quitting.Inspired by the music of the Wu-Tang Clan rap group, he enrolled for Under People’s Crew classes. He debuted as a child rap artist in 2001 featuring in the album ‘Daehanminguk Hip Hop Flex’.
G-Dragon was recommended by the CEOof YG Entertainment record label and became a trainee there for 6 years.He and Dong Young-bae (popular as Taeyang) thought of debuting as a duo rap group by the band name GDYB. The record label decided to launch a group band and started auditioning.
Thus, he was chosen as the prime member of the Korean Big Bang group where he performed as a rapper, song writer and composer. The group won Artist of the Year awards at Mnet Asian Music (2008, 2012 and 2015) and became the Best Worldwide Act winner at 2011 MTV Europe Music Awards. The group won the Artist of the Year Awards at Seoul Music (2008) and Melon Music.
G-Dragon and his band released EP’s and albums titled ‘Hot Issue’, ‘Stand Up’, ‘Remember’ and ‘Tonight & Alive’ are till date the most successful digital albums in the history of Korean music. Their singles ‘Loser’ won the 30th Golden Disc Award and ‘Bae Bae’ won the 13th Korean Music Award. The group were labelled as ‘Kings of K-pop’ and the ‘Nation’s Boy-Band’.
G-Dragon’s writing and composition skill earned him respect in the industry and the Korean Times appreciated his performance stating him ‘a genius singer- song writer’. They became the first Korean group to be featured on the Forbes Magazine Celebrity 100 lists.
G-Dragon released his debut solo album ‘Heartbreaker’ in August 2009 which became a massive hit with sales of over 275 thousand copies. This album won the Mnet Asian Music Awards, 2009 for the Album of the Year and the singles ‘Breathe’, ‘A Boy’ and ‘Hello’ and ‘She’s Gone’ were chart toppers globally.
In 2010, G-Dragon in collaboration with T.O.P released another album ‘GD & TOP’ which had chart topping singles ‘Oh Yeah’, ‘High High’ and ‘Knock Out’ that reached top three positions on the Gaon album chart. This album was commercially successful selling over 130 thousand copies.
G-Dragon released an EP ‘One of a Kind’in 2012 which secured first position on Billboard World Albums chart. The single by the album’s name won two ‘Best HipHop/ Rap Song of the Year’ awards from Korean Music and Rhythmer Awards. This EP included the chart topping single ‘That XX’ and the song ‘Crayon’ got the status of the best K-Pop single of the year by Spin Magazine.Moreover, the album sold over 200 thousand copies by the end of 2012.
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He was felicitated with ‘Best Male Solo Artist’ award inNovember 2012 at the 14th Mnet Asian Music Awards for his musical efforts and his ‘One of a Kind’ album received the ‘Record of the Year’ prize in January 2013 at the 22nd Seoul Music Awards.
Next, G-Dragon released ‘Coup D’etat’ albumon September 2013 and all the six tracks reached top 10 positions on the Gaon Digital Chart with the song ‘Who You?’ securing the first position. For this album G-Dragon won the ‘World’s Best Album’ award at the World Music Awards and the album sold over 226 thousand copies. It featured stars like Missy Elliott, Baauer, Sky Ferreira andDiplo.
G-Dragon’s album ‘+One of a Kind & Heartbreaker’ released on November 2013 received Gold certification from RIAJ and amassed more than 136 thousand sales.
His song ‘Good Boy’ in collaboration with Taeyang released in 2014 reached first position on Billboard’s ‘World Digital Songs’ charts and the single ‘Dirty Vibe’ of the album Recess working with Skrillex and Diplo featuring CL reached 19th position on the Billboard’s Hot Dance/Electronic Songs.
G-Dragon went on tours with his band during 2015 and 2016 and in 2015 he and Taeyang joined with Hwang Kwanghee to release a single ‘Mapsosa’ which got 2nd position on the Gaon Digital Chart.
In 2017, he released a solo EP titled ‘Kwon Ji Young’ on a USB flash drive and not on compact disc.The album topped the Billboard’s World Albums charts and Japan’s Oricon Digital charts, with more than 1.1 million sales. The single ‘Untitled, 2014’ reached number one position on major Korean music charts and the album topped iTunes album charts in 39 countries. It received Platinum certification from China (Ku Gou) music streaming and download service.
Style Icon & Entrepreneur
G-Dragon has endorsed merchandise for Shinsegae Department Store with 49 % of sales of the Store sales due to him He is the brand ambassador of Chanel in Korea and collaborated with 8 Seconds participating in design and production process of their line of clothing.
He won SIA’s Style Icon Top 10 and Style Icon of the Year Awards in 2013. He created in 2016 his signature style brand Peaceminusone selling his designed clothes and merchandise online.
Personal Life & Legacy
G-Dragon is currently dating South Korean singer and actress Sandara Park. Earlier, he was in relationship with Japanese actress Nana Komatsu