Kim Jong-hoon, also known as Yesung, is a popular South Korean actor and singer, known mainly as a member of the famed music group Super Junior. As a part of the group, Yesung has released eight albums in Korean until now. The popularity his group enjoys in Japan has also led them to record an album in the Japanese language. One of the most successful music groups in South Korea, it rose to prominence with third album ‘Sorry, Sorry’, which became an international rage. Apart from the group activities, Yesung also works as a solo musician and has composed the soundtracks of many films and TV series, and has also starred in quite a few of them. Yesung made his acting debut with the film ‘Attack on the Pin-up Boys’ and although he stays away from acting most of the times, he is regularly offered meaty parts in films and TV dramas. As a musician, Yesung has been included in the BGM Cyworld Hall of Fame in 2010 and has been a nominee for the Golden Disk Award. For his song ‘It has to be you’, Yesung has been awarded with the Best OST Award at the Cyworld Digital Music Awards in 2010.
Childhood & Early Life
Yesung was born on 24th August 1984 in Seoul, South Korea to an affluent family as the oldest of their children. He grew up among his two younger brothers and the family moved to Cheonan while Yesung was 10 years of age. It was there he started gaining an apparent interest in singing and participated in a few competitions in his elementary school.
Another battle won for him was the support he received from his parents and they left no stone unturned in making sure that their son was practicing enough. As a result of this, Yesung became a pretty good singer during his early teen years.
By the time he was 15 years old, he was already participating in singing competitions across the country and won his first gold medal at Cheonan Singing Competition, a local competition for aspiring singers. His voice was deemed ‘very artistic and magical’, by the judges, and this further infused in Yesung, a confidence which resulted in him trying further hard to make sure of a successful career in music.
SM Entertainment opened its doors in 2001 for auditioning and Yesung’s mother wasted no time in enrolling her son for the competition. Yesung successfully won hearts of the judges and got signed as a trainee with the record label. This further honed his skills as a singer and he also got to know the different ways he could find success with his musical talent.
There, Yesung met some other music enthusiasts and a group came into formation by the name Super Junior, which consisted of twelve members in the beginning. The group made its debut in the show ‘Popular Songs’, SBS Network’s music programme in 2005 and through that, the group officially came into the limelight.
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In December 2005, Yesung and his group released their first album titled ‘Twins’ to a moderate overall success. While their success at the music programme ‘Popular Songs’ helped the group in making quite a lot of sales, the album remained pretty much an average affair.
In late 2006, Yesung did a brief stint as a radio host for the show ‘M.I.R.A.C.L.E for You’, where he indulged in talks with his guests from the show business. A few members of Super Junior also made their appearances on the show from time to time. Just before his first anniversary with the radio job, Yesung decided to leave it to concentrate on Super Junior’s second album.
The second album, titled ‘Don’t Don’ came in 2007 and became a massive hit. It eventually topped many music charts and came ahead as second best selling South Korean album that year.
2007 turned out to be quite a happening year for Yesung as he also made his acting debut in the same year with the film ‘Attack on the Pin-up Boys’. The comedy film revolved around a bunch of high school kids as a mysterious force enters to mess with the calm and fun in their lives.
After getting inactive for quite some time due to a leg injury, Yesung appeared in a musical in 2010 titled ‘Hong Gil Dong’, which played at the Olympic Park for quite some time, where it was unanimously appreciated. In March 2010, Yesung was hired to record the soundtrack of the series ‘Cinderella’s Sister’.
The song titled ‘It has to be you’ was a slow romantic number and ended up winning several awards for Yesung. At the Cyworld Digital Music Awards, Yesung won the Song of the Year Award along with the award for the Best OST. He was also entered into the BGM Cyworld’s Hall of Fame for the same song.
Later that year, he did another lead role in the musical ‘Spamalot’ and ended a successful year with recording the soundtrack for the series ‘President’.
With the release of a few more singles and albums, Super Junior was gaining a tremendous popularity in Japan and in late 2012’s, the group embarked on a Japanese tour, which was a success. Later that year, Yesung came with another successful soundtrack he recorded for one other series ‘That Winter, the Wind Blows’, titled ‘Gray Paper’.
Yesung soon announced that he would soon leave to perform his mandatory military service in 2013 and left for it in May 2013 and served as a public service officer.
During his service, Yesung became a temporary part of the group SM the Ballad. For the group’s second album, he recorded a solo song titled ‘Blind’ and sung the Korean and Japanese versions of the song. Although the song was widely appreciated, Yesung did not become a part of the promotional activities for the same and concentrated on the Japan tour he was to go for once his military service was over.
In mid 2015, once Yesung was back from the Japan tour, the group announced their highly awaited Asia Tour at the Olympic Hall in Seoul. In order to celebrate the group’s tenth anniversary, it was announced that the entire group will come together to work on a special album titled ‘Devil’, which was released in July 2015.
Later that year, Yesung was seen playing a small role in the drama ‘Awl’ and released his song from the series ‘Splendid Politics’, named ‘Dreaming’.
In April 2016, Yesung released a solo EP titled ‘Here I Am’, which consisted of seven tracks and embarked on a solo concert titled ‘Sweet Coffee’.
Yesung then became a part of the crime drama series titled ‘Voice’, which ran into a controversy due to its excessive violence. But upon getting released, the series got favourable reviews, especially for the performances and the story.
Yesung hasn’t been open about his private life but says that he has been cheated quite a lot of times and hence, isn’t particularly interested in dating anybody.
Yesung has openly expressed his desire to visit Canada someday as it his favourite holiday destination.
Once he retires from music, Yesung has plans to start his own business. Presently he runs a cafe called ‘Mouse Rabbit Coffee’, which he has opened in partnership with his brother.