Big Bang (빅뱅), also BigBang
August 19, 2006
About Big Bang
Referred to as the kings of K-pop, the South Korean boy group Big Bang has helped get K-pop on the international radar. The four-member group (only recently down from their original five-members) can easily be credited with having an enormous influence in the industry.
With a record number of number-one songs at 18 and over 150 million records sold, Big Band is one of the best-selling boy bands ever. Forbes Korea even ranked the group on their list of most powerful Korean celebrities for five years (2010, 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2016). They’ve been compared to American favorites like the Backstreet Boys and Jackson 5.
It’s not easy to nail down just one genre to describe Big Bang’s style. The group experiments with diverse sound and uses a mix of different genres like K-Pop, hip hop, R&B, dance and electronic. The group’s members are highly involved in the production of their own records and stage performances.
Although BIGBANG officially debuted in 2006, many of its members were already in the entertainment industry. The formation of the band was even documented as a TV show, helping to raise the popularity of the group before their debut performance at the Olympic Gymnastics Arena for the YG Family 10th Anniversary Concert in Seoul.
In their first year together they released three singles (BigBang, BigBang is V.I.P., and BigBang 03). In October they were named New Artist of the Month by the Cyworld Digital Music Awards and in December they staged their first concert, ‘The Real’. Despite all the attention, their debut album, BigBang Vol. 1 was met with only mild enthusiasm, debuting at number three.
Success was to follow, however. In early 2007, Big Band released their first live concert album, staged their Since 2007 tour and released their first extended play, Always. This marked a creative turning point for the group. While they had contributed lyrics before this EP, they began to make more stylist decisions in the musical sound. They embraced a more electronic sound, moving away from the hip hop feel of their first singles.
Their lead single, ‘Lies’, reached number one and was their first to be named Song of the Month by Cyworld for two months in a row. Their hard work was beginning to take its toll, in late 2007 several of the group’s members were hospitalized due to exhaustion, which slowed promotions for their second album.
When the group took a break in 2009, Big Bang’s individual members saw successful solo careers. When they came back together in 2011 for the Big Show Concert, pre-sales of the new album they previewed reached an all-time high, setting a record.
Big Bang began to make waves internationally, winning Best Worldwide Act at the 2011 MTV EMAs. They were the only K-pop band to chart on Fuse’s Best of 2012 and they started getting millions of views on YouTube. For the first time, they added stops in the United States, Hong Kong and Europe for their tours.
After another two-year hiatus, Big Bang released their album M.A.D.E. and embarked upon their second international tour in 2015 and celebrated their 10 year anniversary with yet another tour in 2017. The group starred in a YouTube Red reality program called Run, Big Bang, Scout! in 2017, then released a farewell song in 2018. Its members must complete South Korea’s mandatory service requirement.
Big Bang released eight studio albums. BigBang Vol. 1 (2006), Number 1 (2008), Remember (2008), Big Bang (2009), Big Bang 2 (2011), Alive (2012), Made Series (2016) and Made (2016). In addition they released 10 live albums between 2007 and 2017 and eight compilation albums from 2009-2015.
Kwon Ji Yong (권지용)
Leader, Main Rapper, Vocalist, Face of the Group
August 18, 1988
177 cm (5’10”)
58 kg (128 lbs)
Born in Seoul, South Korea, G-Dragon has been entertaining since he was only seven years old and was inspired by Wu-Tang Clan. At eight years old he signed with S.M. Entertainment where he trained for six years before joining Big Bang.
His first solo effort (Heartbreaker) became the best-selling Korean solo album at the time and his collaboration with band mate T.O.P. in 2009 (GD & TOP) was also critically acclaimed.
G-Dragon is an influencer of fashion and culture in Korea. In 2016 he was named by Forbes as one of the most influential people under 30 in Asia’s entertainment/sports. He is also a producer and has written or co-written on 23 number one songs.
G-Dragon is a fluent English speaker and while he is known for changing his hair color frequently, he is shy and modest.
Choi Seung-hyun (최승현)
Lead Rapper, Vocalist, Visual
November 4, 1987
181 cm (5’11”)
65 kg (143 lbs)
Also born in Seoul, South Korea, T.O.P. was neighbors with G-Dragon in their childhood. T.O.P. Although the two grew apart when T.O.P. moved away, it was G-Dragon who introduced him to YG Entertainment. Although the two recorded some demos together, T.O.P. was not initially as successful in his training as G-Dragon. The label wouldn’t sign him, saying he was too chubby to be in a boy band.
Showing his determination, T.O,P, lost 20 kg and returned to audition 6 months later, when he was signed.
Outside of Big Bang, T.O.P. released several rap singles and acted in several television shows before making his film debut in the movie 71: Into the Fire in 2010. His performance earned him the Best New Actor award at the Blue Dragon Film Awards. He went on to have roles in the movies Commitment (2013) and Tazza: The Hidden Card (2014).
In 2017 he had to leave Big Bang to complete his required military service. Unfortunately he met some controversy when he was discharged a year later due to marijuana use.
T.O.P. describes himself as stubborn. He likes the color pink, tuna sushi, reading and swimming.
Dong Yong Bae (동영배)
Main Vocalist, Main Dancer
May 18, 1988
174 cm (5’9″)
56 kg (123 lbs)
Taeyang, which means ‘sun’ in Korean, is also known as SOL in Japan. He was born in Ujeongbu, Gyeonggi-do, South Korea and he can speak three languages (Korean, Japanese and English). He began training with YG Entertainment at the age of 12 along with G-Dragon. The two had originally planned on breaking out as a hip hop duo (called GDYB) until they met with their future group mates.
During Big Bang’s first hiatus, Taeyang began his solo career, releasing the extended play Hot in 2008. He was awarded Best R&B and Soul Album at the Korean Music Awards and followed up with his first and second studio albums, Solar (2010) and Rise (2014). The latter earned him the title of highest ranking album by a Korean solo artist on the Billboard charts. He’s often admired as one of the best vocalists in South Korea.
Taeyang was in a long term relationship with the actress Min Hyo Rin, who he married in February 2018. After Big Bang’s last song was released, he began his mandatory military service which he is due to complete in December 2019.
Kang Daesung (강대성)
Lead Vocalist, Maknae
April 26, 1989
178 cm (5’10”)
63 kg (139 lbs)
Daesung was born in Incheon, South Korea and is also known as D-Lite. He was the third member of Big Bang and he actually dropped out of high school to be a part of the group (he did later pass the entrance exams and was admitted to the music department of Kyung Hee University).
In 2006 Daesung appeared in the reality series documenting the formation of Big Bang, despite his parents being avidly against his music career. Although Big Bang got off to a good start and was slated for a heavy work schedule, Daesung’s future was called into question when he was diagnosed with voice chord nodules shortly after the group’s debut. During his recovery he connected with singer Gummy who had also suffered the same diagnoses. Luckily, Daesung improved significantly before the release of Big Bang’s second album release.
In 2008, Daesung released his solo single, appeared in the Korean production of the musical Cats, hosted Show! Music Core(with fellow band mate Seungri) and joined the SBS show Family Outing. Sadly, one evening as he returned to Seoul after filming Family Outing, Daesung was injured in a car accident on a rainy night. He suffered a back injury and a broken nose. Thankfully, he fully recovered and rejoined the group in October 2009 on their Dream concert tour.
His solo career was also gathering speed. Daesung did multiple solo tours in Japan to great fanfare, becoming the first K-pop artist to bring in a concert crowd of over 100,000 for two consecutive years.
Daesung was in another car accident in 2011, but this time an investigation was opened because a motorcyclist was killed in the crash. Daesung took a break from Big Bang during that time.
After Big Bang released their farewell song, Daesung enlisted for his mandatory service. He’s expected to be discharged in November 2019.
Daesung is also a drummer, he loves sushi and he once sold rubber molds of his nose so that people could make rice and jelly balls in the shape of his nose.
Seungri (former member)
Lee Seung Hyun (이승현)
Lead Dancer, Vocalist, Maknae
December 12, 1990
177 cm (5’10”)
60 kg (132 lbs)
Seungri was born in Gwangju, South Korea and he has one younger sister, Hanna. He loved to dance and was part of a dance group, Il Hwa. He always knew he wanted to be in the entertainment industry, so he joined the survival show Let’s Coke Play! Battle Shinhwa where he competed to be the sixth member of group Shinhwa.
Soon after he was voted off in the ninth episode, he signed with YG Entertainment and trained with Big Bang. Seungri almost lost the chance at a second group when he was threatened to be dropped due to lack of stage presence. Thankfully, he impressed YG Entertainment’s founder and made the cut (instead, Hyung-seung was eliminated).
In 2008, when most the other group mates were experimenting with solo careers, Seungri acted in the musical Sonagi, hosted Show! Music Core with Daesung and then released the solo song ‘Strong Baby’ which won the Triple Crown on Inkigayo.
Seungri starred in several movies, a musical and an extended play during Big Bang’s second hiatus. Then, in 2012, he was asked to MC and interview celebrities on Sakigake! Ongaku Banzuke Eight. Later that year, a scandal with a Japanese woman caused him to take a step back from the limelight.
In more recent years, Seungri has focused on his acting career, starring in a number of shows and movies. He also embarked upon his first solo tour. Unfortunately, he’s also been embroiled in a scandal involving a night club he owns, Burning Sun, which is still under investigation.
Seungri’s nickname is Panda because of his dark eye circles and he owns his own Ramen store