Dong Young-bae, popularly known as Taeyang in the music industry, is an award-winning South Korean singer and songwriter. The young singer joined the South Korean boy band ‘Big Bang’ in 2006. The band eventually became one of the best-selling boy bands in Asia as well as in the world. After earning his initial success with ‘Big Bang’, Taeyang rose to prominence rapidly and earned many accolades as a solo singer as well. His solo extended plays have won several awards in South Korea and have trended in South Korean music charts for a long time. After kickstarting his solo career with his extended plays, Taeyang launched his studio albums and broke into the US Billboard 200 list. He made the top spot on the Billboard K-pop Hot 100 list with his single ‘Eyes, Nose, Lips’. Taeyang has now established himself as one of the hottest R&B prospects in the South Asian music industry and has represented South Korea in global platforms. He was made the honorary ambassador for the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea. He has been on two world tours since the release of his second studio album ‘RISE’ and has performed outside Asia multiple times.
Childhood & Early Life
Taeyang was born as Dong Young-bae on May 18, 1988, in Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi-do. He comes from a middle-class family and experienced financial problems while growing up. At a very young age, Taeyang had to start working to support his family.
He started listening to classical music by artistes like Franz Peter Schubert and Ludwig van Beethoven. He also learned to play the piano after listening to Beethoven.
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As a young boy, Taeyang auditioned for Jinusean's music video ‘A-yo’ and played a small part. He looked for more such opportunities in his teens and requested YG Entertainment’s CEO Yang Hyun-suk multiple times to give him a chance. He was so desperate to get a break that he even went to his office to meet him personally!
His efforts paid off eventually and he was offered the role of a trainee by the company. However, Taeyang was just providing drinks to the senior artists and dance groups as a trainee and cleaning the studio. He later admitted to being treated badly by the senior artists during that time and not getting any help from them.
The company decided to pair Taeyang with Kwon Ji-Yong (popularly known by his stage name of G-Dragon) as a hip-hop duo. However, they later decided to add four more members and make a group called ‘Big Bang’. The other four members were Daesung, Seungri, TOP, and Hyun-Seung.
The six members of Big Bang were shown in a television documentary before their official debut. However, the band eventually was launched without Hyun-Seung, who was dropped by the company.
Taeyang decided to focus on singing and was the main reason behind the moderate success of the band’s first studio album ‘Big Bang Vol. 1 – Since 2007’ in 2006.
Taeyang decided to follow a solo career as well in 2008. He released his first extended play, ‘Hot’, in May 2008. It peaked at the Gaon Music Chart and witnessed a sale of 58 thousand copies in Korea. His preferred genre of music shifted from hip hop to R&B with this EP. The singles ‘Only Look at Me’ and ‘Prayer’ from this EP earned him awards at the 7th Korean Music Awards.
In 2010, Taeyang released his first full-length solo album titled ‘Solar’ which had eleven tracks in the standard edition and thirteen in the deluxe edition. The album had singles like ‘I Need a Girl’, ‘Wedding Dress’, and ‘I'll Be There’ which were very popular among the fans. The album earned several accolades for Taeyang, including the Best Male Artist award at the 2010 Mnet Asian Music Awards.
After releasing two live albums in 2011, Taeyang released his second studio album ‘Rise’. The album sold over 64 thousand copies in South Korea and over 67 thousand copies in Japan. It featured several popular singles like ‘Eyes, Nose, Lips’, ‘Stay with Me’, ‘1AM’, and ‘Ringa Linga’. The album won the Best Album award at the 2014 MBN Awards.
Taeyang’s third studio album ‘White Night’ was released on August 16, 2017, followed by his second world tour. The album contained eight tracks and peaked at the US Heatseekers Albums (Billboard) and US World Albums (Billboard). It witnessed sales of 180 thousand copies in China and over 57 thousand copies in South Korea. It featured popular songs like ‘Wake Me Up’ and ‘Darling’.
Big Bang’s studio album ‘Rise’ is one of Taeyang’s career highlights to date. The album’s single ‘Eyes, Nose, Lips’ won a Golden Disc Award in 2015, and the album was rated by Billboard as the sixth best K-Pop album of 2014. The album peaked at the US World Albums (Billboard), US Heatseekers Albums (Billboard), and Gaon Album charts.
Taeyang’s album ‘White Night’ was another massive success. It peaked at the US Heatseekers Albums (Billboard) chart and featured the singles ‘Ride,’ ‘White Night,’ and ‘Darling.’
Family & Personal Life
Taeyang was in a long-term relationship with South Korean actress Min Hyo-rin and the couple got married in February 2018. A month later, Taeyang started his 21-month-long mandatory military service at the Cheorwon boot camp in Gangwon Province. He was posted with the 6th Infantry Division and is due to be released in December 2019.