Childhood & Early Life
She was born Kang Ji-hyun on February 12, 1992, in Jeju Island, South Korea. There is not much information available on early life, family background and education of this popular singer excepting that she has an elder brother and a sister.
Before getting an opportunity to launch her musical career, Soyou, a licensed hairdresser, earned her living working in a hair salon.
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Her early interest in music led her to become a trainee of the South Korean record label ‘Cube Entertainment’. Initially she was supposed to make her debut in music as a member of the South Korean girl group ‘4Minute’ formed by the label ‘Cube Entertainment’. However things did not materialise.
Soyou, who should have been in Sohyun's place originally in ‘4Minute’, said that finally she couldn’t be a part of the group as she was inexact in many ways.
She then went on to audition for ‘Starship Entertainment’ and sang a cover of the song ‘On The Road’, originally sang by Korean Pop singer Navi. She was selected as a member of the ‘Starship Entertainment’ formed South Korean girl group ‘Sistar’ that was created in 2010. The other members of the group included Hyolyn, Dasom and Bora.
Activities of ‘Sistar’ as a group started in early 2010 with its members featuring in magazine photo shoots and advertisements. Their official debut happened on June 3, of that year with the single ‘Push Push’. The group made their debut performance with the song on the next day on South Korean television music program ‘Music Bank’.
‘Push Push’ became part of the debut studio album of ‘Sistar’ titled ‘So Cool’ that was later released by ‘Starship Entertainment’ on August 9, 2011 and went on to become a commercial success. The title track of the album bearing same name ‘So Cool’ debuted atop the Billboard Korea K-Pop Hot 100 singles chart and is counted among the group’s biggest hits.
Discography of ‘Sistar’ includes two studio albums, seventeen singles, six EPs and a soundtrack contribution. This popular group that earned several awards including the ones from ‘Golden Disc Awards’, ‘Seoul Music Awards’, ‘Cyworld Digital Music Awards’, ‘Melon Music Awards’, ‘MBC Entertainment Awards’ and ‘Style Icon Awards’ among others disbanded officially in 2017.
While launching and continuing her musical career with ‘Sistar’, Soyou also endeavoured in commencing a solo career. She sang the duet ‘It's Okay’ with Woo of J2 in August 2010. The song was included as the soundtrack for the drama ‘Gloria’. She also sang the song ‘Should I Confess’, a soundtrack for the MBC aired South Korean romantic-comedy television series ‘Playful Kiss’ in September of that year.
Her next collaboration was with hip-hop duo ‘Geeks’ in November 2012 that saw her singing the duet ‘Officially Missing You, Too’ with them. The song that became part of the project album titled ‘Re;Code Episode 1’ by the duo was a remake of the song ‘Officially Missing You’ by Canadian R&B recording artist Tamia.
The ensuing years saw her collaborating with different other artists in singing duet songs. These included songs like ‘White Love’ with K.Will & Jeongmin in 2012; ‘Goodbye’ with Hong Dae Kwang in 2013; and ‘Rain’ with Baekhyun in 2017 among others.
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Her duet song ‘Stupid in Love’ with rapper Mad Clown that released on September 10, 2013, under ‘Starship Entertainment’ debuted atop Gaon Singles Chart for two weeks as also on Korea K-Pop Hot 100. It fetched her Artist of the Year – September award at the 3rd Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards in 2013.
Her first television variety show appearance happened in 2013 as a contestant in second episode of the MBC aired reality show ‘Star Diving Show Splash’.
One of her most notable duets is the February 7, 2014, released song ‘Some’, that she sang with South Korean singer Junggigo. The song remained atop the Gaon Digital Chart for two weeks. It also remained numero uno on the Billboard Korea K-Pop Hot 100 for six weeks thus emerging as the longest running chart topper of that year.
‘Some’ not only bolstered her career as a singer but also earned her accolades and several awards including the Long-Run Song of the Year award at the 4th Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards in 2014; and the Song of the Year award at the 6th MelOn Music Awards in 2014 and at the 12th Korean Music Awards in 2015.
Apart from her musical pursuits, Soyou also co-hosted the MBC Every1 aired show ‘Wishing Star’ and remained one of the contestants of the JTBC aired singing competition ‘100 People, 100 Songs’ in 2014.
Over the years she has also contributed to songs of several South Korean TV series as a solo artist. Some of the notable ones include ‘Once More’ for ‘Empress Ki’ in 2014, ‘Tell Me’ for ‘Lucky Romance’ in 2016 and ‘I Miss You’ for ‘Guardian: The Lonely and Great God’ in 2016.
In 2015, she became one of the three new MCs of the beauty tip show ‘Get It Beauty’ along with Kim Jungmin and Lee Honey. The first episode of the OnStyle aired show that featured the trio as hosts was broadcast on February 4 of that year. She also appeared as contestant in the SBS aired show ‘18 Seconds’ and the KBS2 aired show’ Chuseok Special Idol Singing Contest’ that year.
She became a regular member of the SBS aired South Korean cooking-variety program ‘The Nations' Big Three’ in 2016 and featured in it from episode 52 to 61. That year she also remained contestant of KBS2 aired show ‘1 vs. 100’ and of the MBC aired singing competition program ‘King of Mask Singer’.
In 2017, she took part in the SBS aired South Korean reality-documentary show ‘Law of the Jungle in New Zealand’ featuring in episodes 270 to 273.