Idol group members that waited a decade to go solo

Better late than never, right?

Idol group members that waited a decade to go solo
Idol group members that waited a decade to go solo
30 Nov 2018

Idol group members that waited a decade to go solo

There is power in numbers, but K-pop group members make no secret of their desire to eventually go solo one day. After all, being a one-man or one-woman show offers the chance of more freedom, exposure and prestige, not to mention not having to share the spotlight - and, let’s be real here, split profits - with a whole bunch of other folks.

While some artistes have been fortunate enough to land solo gigs just several years after debuting with their group (a recent example is Jennie, whose solo debut came just a little over two years after she hit the scene with BLACKPINK), others put out albums or singles of their own only when they’d already been in showbiz for a decade.

But hey, you know what they say: better late than never, and some things just take a little more time and are ultimately worth the wait. Ahead, we round up several idols that waited at least 10 years to make their debut again - this time, as solo singers.

SHINee’s Key
SHINee’s Key
30 Nov 2018

SHINee’s Key

Debuted with group in: 2008
Made solo debut in: 2018 (10 years)

Being tied up with a myriad of other projects certainly did not stop Key from working on his debut solo album Face, which was released on November 26. In fact, he shared at a showcase that he wanted to prove that it was possible for him to juggle so many things at once - which he pulled off with aplomb (making us look back with shame at all the times we used being too busy as an excuse to get some things done).

Versatility is the name of Key’s game, not just in genre and style, but also in talent: while he is considered one of his group’s rappers, his singing chops are highlighted 100 percent throughout the album, and he also shows off some pretty sweet moves in the music video for ‘One of Those Nights’.

Photos: Facebook/SHINee

SHINee’s Onew
SHINee’s Onew
30 Nov 2018

SHINee’s Onew

Debuted with group in: 2008
Set to make solo debut in: 2018 (10 years)

Set to soon follow in Key’s footsteps is SHINee leader Onew, whose first mini album VOICE comes out this Wednesday (Dec 5) - just days before he enlists for his mandatory military service on December 10 (sobs).

The record is touted as a “present of gratitude towards his fans” and will reportedly contain seven songs. The title track ‘Blue’ is said to be an R&B number that takes inspiration from good ol’ fashioned jazz, which sounds like the perfect fit for Onew’s warm tone. We can’t wait to hear – and groove along to – it already.

Photos: Facebook/SHINee

2PM’s Nichkhun
2PM’s Nichkhun
30 Nov 2018

2PM’s Nichkhun

Debuted with group in: 2008
Made solo debut in: 2018 (10 years)

In an interview with the Thai-American hunk during his last visit to Singapore, he shared the reason for naming his upcoming Japanese solo mini-album ME (out December 19, by the way), saying, “I want [fans] to know that this is me, this is music that I like.” Naturally, Nichkhun had a hand in making all eight tracks in the EP.

While ME is a Japanese release, the first single ‘Lucky Charm’, which dropped earlier last month, is sung entirely in English. The sweet acoustic tune is a refreshing departure from the “beastly” concepts the group has become known for, although in the music video, Nichkhun does leave his robe slightly unfastened, casually baring his chiselled chest (because why not)?

Photos: Facebook/2PM

Girls’ Generation’s Seohyun
Girls’ Generation’s Seohyun
30 Nov 2018

Girls’ Generation’s Seohyun

Debuted with group in: 2007
Made solo debut in: 2017 (10 years)

The baby of the group became the fifth member to go solo (after Taeyeon, Tiffany, Yoona and Hyoyeon) when she released EP Don’t Say No in January last year, and she showed that her innocent ingénue image is as dead as the poor guy in the coffin at the end of the title track’s music video.

While some may not have anticipated her drastic transition into darker, more mature territory, Seohyun has revealed that what we see and hear in the new album is “100 percent” of herself, explaining that in the past, she had to adhere to a certain concept in Girls’ Generation. In fact, her company initially wanted her to keep up with the sweet young thing façade, but she stood her ground (and we’re glad no one said no to her).

Photos: Facebook/Girls’ Generation

Girls’ Generation’s Yuri
Girls’ Generation’s Yuri
30 Nov 2018

Girls’ Generation’s Yuri

Debuted with group in: 2007
Made solo debut in: 2018 (11 years)

Yuri finally got her turn to release her own material almost two years after Seohyun’s solo debut, but instead of presenting a different side like what her bandmate did, she purposely chose to stick to and flesh out her well-known sexy image (if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it right?). Her sensual vibe gets to take centre stage in EP The First Scene, particularly with lead single ‘Into You’ (which sounds perfect for some hot-and-heavy dancefloor action) and the bass-heavy, uber-sexy ‘Illusion’. Ooh la la.

During a showcase to promote her EP, Yuri said that debuting as a solo artiste was something she had thought about ever since her trainee days, and that despite waiting for over a decade for her dream to come true, the timing was finally right as she had previously been caught up with other showbiz endeavours.

Photos: Facebook/Girls’ Generation

Super Junior’s Ryeowook
Super Junior’s Ryeowook
30 Nov 2018

Super Junior’s Ryeowook

Debuted with group in: 2005
Made solo debut in: 2016 (11 years)

Vocal subunit Super Junior K.R.Y. (consisting of Kyuhyun, Ryeowook and Yesung) was introduced just a year after the main group burst onto the scene with the fiery ‘Twins (Knock Out)’ (remember all their spiky, fluffy hairstyles?), but it wasn’t until 2014 when Kyuhyun became the first member to debut as a solo artiste.

Two years later in January, Ryeowook finally dropped his own solo album The Little Prince. As most of you can probably guess, the title track and its accompanying music video are inspired by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s novel of the same name, hence the dreamy and fairy tale-like quality.

The rest of the six-track EP also generally follows along the same vein, while also achieving the same goal: flaunting Ryeowook’s powerful yet delicate voice from start to finish.

Photos: SMTOWN

Super Junior’s Yesung
Super Junior’s Yesung
30 Nov 2018

Super Junior’s Yesung

Debuted with group in: 2005
Made solo debut in: 2016 (11 years)

Another Super Junior vocalist who released his own solo material the same year as Ryeowook, albeit three months later in April, was his husky-toned band mate Yesung.

His EP, titled Here I Am, is a collection of mostly R&B ballads - all the more ideal for showcasing his instantly recognisable “art-like voice”, the phrase from which his stage name is derived. Yesung also got the chance to demonstrate his capabilities in song-writing, having penned the lyrics and/or composed the music for several of the tracks on the record.

Self-written or not, with a voice like that, he can sing anything he wants to us. Just saying.

Photos: SMTOWN

Yubin (formerly of Wonder Girls)
Yubin (formerly of Wonder Girls)
30 Nov 2018

Yubin (formerly of Wonder Girls)

Debuted with group in: 2007
Made solo debut in: 2018 (11 years)

Fans were heartbroken when the Wonder Girls officially disbanded in January 2017, but it also marked the start of a new beginning for Yubin, who was one of two members (the other being Hyerim) who renewed their contracts with JYP Entertainment as solo artists.

In June 2018, Yubin dropped the music video for her debut solo single ‘Lady’, a groovy and delightfully 80s disco-esque track that continues in the vein of the Wonder Girls’ signature retro concept. While she officially held the position of rapper in the Wonder Girls (and slayed on the second season of Unpretty Rapstar), Yubin proved that she’s got it in the singing department as well - with plenty of style and stage presence to boot.

Photos: Facebook/Yubin

FTISLAND’s Minhwan
FTISLAND’s Minhwan
30 Nov 2018

FTISLAND’s Minhwan

Debuted with group in: 2007
Made solo debut in: 2018 (11 years)

Lead vocalist Lee Hong Gi ain’t the only FTISLAND member who’s capable of holding his own as a soloist. After over a decade of being in the background at the drum set, Minhwan finally got to enjoy his own time in the spotlight as a singer-songwriter with the release of his first solo single album First Story, which consists of two self-produced and self-composed tracks.

Both songs, ‘Tomorrow Will Come’ and ‘You On That Day’, are soothing ballads that showcase his tender vocals and talent, which most people, sadly, might not have been aware of if not for this one-man endeavour.

Photos: Instagram/Minhwan

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