Lee Gi-kwang is a South Korean professional singer-songwriter and actor. He is also professionally known as Gikwang or Kikwang. He made his stage debut as a solo singer with the stage name of ‘AJ’ which stands for ‘Ace Junior’. On April 4, 2009, Lee released his very first mini album ‘First Episode: A New Hero’ which became an instant hit and helped him become familiar to the pop music lovers. Lee achieved further fame singing for the boy group band ‘BEAST’. He joined the band in 2009 as a lead vocalist and the main dancer; the group later renamed itself to ‘Highlight’ in 2017. He ventured into an acting career as well once he became a familiar face after joining ‘BEAST.’ In 2009, he kick-started his career as an actor with a supporting role in the popular television sitcom ‘High Kick Through the Roof’.
Lee Gi-kwang started his journey in the music industry as a solo singer and adopted the stage name ‘AJ’. He released ‘First Episode: A New Hero’, a mini-album, in April 2009. Immediately he achieved popularity among the pop lovers and was praised by the South Korean media as the next ‘Rain’. But his stage name ‘AJ’ created some confusion and became controversial as it sounded similar to Paran’s AJ who is an ex-member of the boy band ‘U-KISS’. To avoid controversy and confusion, Lee reverted to his actual name and became more popular as Gikwang or Kikwang.
He joined the boy band ‘BEAST’ in less than six months after he started as a solo singer. He debuted as the lead vocalist of the band in addition to being the main dancer. Lee appeared in many popular music videos of famous singers including K.Will’s music video for the song ‘Present’ and Sunny Hill's music video for the song ‘Midnight Circus,’ and also opened for Lady Gaga's Korean showcase. Lee later appeared as the featured rapper for Ahn Jinkyung in the song ‘Love is Pathetic’, a part of the mini-album ‘Be the Voice’.
Lee has worked on some of the most popular albums of the Asian pop-music industry. His notable works include songwriting for and singing in ‘Beast is the B2ST’ in 2009, ‘My Story’ in 2010, ‘Good Luck’ in 2014, ‘Time’ IN 2014, ‘Ordinary’ in 2015, ‘Highlight’ in 2016, ‘Can You Feel It?’ in 2017 and ‘ONE’ in 2017.
Lee has also appeared in some television shows, debuting in 2009 as a supporting actor on MBC's ‘High Kick Through the Roof’. Later he appeared in TV dramas like ‘My Princess’, ‘Me Too, Flower!’, ‘Mrs. Cop’, ‘Monster’ and ‘Circle’. He has also appeared in two films, namely ‘Sammy Adventures 2’ in 2012 and ‘My Friend Is Still Alive’ in 2013 which was a drama special.
Apart from hosting his own reality show ‘Diary of AJ’, Lee has hosted several other shows including ‘Inkigayo’, ‘MelOn Music Awards,’ ‘Style log’ and ‘Show! Music Core.’ In 2010, Lee won the ‘Popularity Award’ at the ‘MBC Entertainment Awards’ for his work in ‘Hot Brothers’ and in 2011, he won the ‘Best New Actor’ at the ‘MBC Drama Awards’ for his work in ‘My Princess’.
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Lee Gi-kwang was born in Naju, South Korea on March 30, 1990, in a supportive family. On recognizing his passion for singing, his parents encouraged him to pursue a career in music. He was always interested in the hip-hop and pop culture. Eventually he passed an audition to become a trainee under a prestigious agency. After training for four years under ‘JYP Entertainment’, he was eliminated and later was approached by the president of ‘Cube Entertainment’ to become their first ever trainee. He accepted the offer and didn’t even have to appear for an audition. That marked the beginning of his illustrious music career.