The Ultimate Guide to YG Entertainment’s New Boy Group WINNER

ABOVE: Seunghoon, Taehyun, Jinwoo, Seungyoon, Mino – WINNER.

Brace yourselves KPOP fans, a new generation of boy groups is finally arriving. It has been eight long years since YG Entertainment debuted Big Bang, and six years since JYP Entertainment debuted 2PM. Although S.M. Entertainment is in the lead right now with EXO’s Growl and the release of their winter special album ‘Miracles in December,’ there is no doubt that WINNER is becoming popular quite quickly.

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The group was first introduced late August in the reality survival program Who Is Next: WIN, which featured the YG trainees (Team A and Team B) who competed against each other in order to debut as WINNER. All trainees endured sweat, pain, tears, and practiced until the sun rose, but only one team could win. During the season finale Team A came out victorious, winning all three rounds of public voting. The program consisted of only ten episodes, but that was enough to captivate viewers worldwide. Each trainee stole the hearts of many. Since the end of the program, WINNER has been the opening act for Big Bang’s six dome Japanese tour, has been preparing for their official debut, and they have their own reality show WINNER TV.

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So let us get to know these five handsome men a little bit more because you definitely will be seeing and hearing more about them in the future.

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1) S E U N G Y O O N
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NAME: Kang Seung Yoon
BIRTHDATE: January 21, 1994
HOMETOWN: Busan, South Korea
POSITION: Vocal/Leader
FUN FACTS: He was a participant in Superstar K2 finishing in fourth place and in 2011, he was signed on to YG Entertainment as a solo artist.

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2) T A E H Y U N
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NAME:  Nam Tae Hyun
BIRTHDATE: May 10, 1994
POSITION: Vocal/Maknae (Youngest)
FUN FACTS: When he first signed on to YG, his style of singing was very different and he had to train hard in order to change it.
DISTINGUISHABLE TRAIT: His Slanted Eyebrows and 5:5 hairstyle

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3) J I N W O O
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NAME: Kim Jin Woo
BIRTHDATE: September 26, 1991
HOMETOWN: Imja Island, South Korea
POSITION: Vocal
FUN FACTS: He was YG’s eldest trainee and has trained for three years. He often stays up at night to practice and is thought of as the diligent one by his members.
DISTINGUISHABLE TRAIT: His deer like eyes

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4) S E U N G H O O N
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NAME: Lee Seung Hoon
BIRTHDATE: January 11, 1992
HOMETOWN: Busan, South Korea
POSITION: Rapper, Choreographer
FUN FACTS: Since high school, he has always wanted to join YG. Every night, he would stare at the YG building from his rooftop room thinking to himself that one day, he would make it there (which he did!). Later on, he was a contestant on the show K-Pop Star and finished in fourth place.
NICKNAME: Hip hop baby lion

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5) M I N O
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NAME: Song Min Ho
BIRTHDATE: March 30, 1993
POSITION: Rapper
FUN FACTS: He is an ex-member of the group Block B, was a member of Y2Y Contents BoM before they disbanded in March 2013, and acted in the drama ‘K-POP – The Ultimate Audition.’
DISTINGUISHABLE TRAIT: He is said to look like a mix of YG Seniors G-Dragon and Taeyang.

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(Source: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 )

G-Dragon Stages a “Coup D’Etat” With Lydia Paek, Sky Ferreira and Other Major Music Stars

Just days after his show-stopping, electrifying performance with Missy Elliott in Los Angeles, K-Pop heavyweight G-Dragon released five out of 14 slated tracks from his upcoming album, “COUP D’ETAT,” scheduled for full digital release on September 5th.  Besides Missy, “COUP D’ETAT PT. 1″ showcases a star-studded list of musical collaborations, including “Black” featuring indie sweetheart Sky Ferreira, “R.O.D.” with YG producer and former Quest Crew member Lydia Paek, and “Coup D’Etat,” the album’s first single, with producers Diplo and Baauer.   With this star-studded list of impressive team-ups and creative, diverse productions, GD is establishing himself as an international music force, and we can’t help but smile at this singer-songwriter-producer-rapper’s cross-continental success.

Immediately upon release, GD found himself in an interesting musical competition on the charts; two of his title tracks, the old-school “Who You?” (admittedly, one of my favorites) and the cool slow jam “Black” competed for the top spot on the Melon charts.  In addition, all of the released songs took up the first five spots on both the Mnet and Naver charts, a true display off the star’s immense popularity.

This little taste of GD’s new music has undoubtedly piqued our interest that much more in the hallyu megastar.  His releases, including 2009′s Heartbreaker and last year’s One of a Kind, are always an auditory adventure, definitely straying away from the majority of songs on both the K-Pop and American Top 40 scenes.  To say that we’re wanting more is definitely an understatement.

KCON 2013 | G-Dragon & EXO Exclusive Fanmeet Photos!

One of the highlights of this year’s KCON for many attendees were the artist engagement sessions held throughout the convention.  During these brief meetings, a select group of fans was able to see their favorite idols in the flesh, with the stars only standing only a few feet away from them.  For many, such an opportunity and experience was very surreal; their favorite stars were right in front of them, in the flesh and not just appearing through a glowing screen.

Audrey was fortunate enough to get into two of the most in-demand artist engagement sessions, Bigbang’s G-Dragon and EXO, and we have some exclusive photos just for you!

G-DRAGON
Though he was flying solo, it was no question that G-Dragon was an artist that most KCON fans were excited to see.  Once he got on stage, the crowd electrified with numerous screams of joy and countless professions of love.  That energy remained throughout his Q&A session, especially when he expressed his anticipation and admiration for EXO and his cravings for the California culinary staple, In-N-Out.  Dressed in a simple tank, sunglasses and beanie, he was the charismatic, cool guy that fans have come to know and adore.

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EXO
With an innumerable amount of t-shirts with the group member’s names strewn on the front, “Wolf”-inspired outfits and impromptu dance covers of “Growl” being seen all around the convention, it became quickly clear that the guys of EXO were clearly a fan favorite.  Dressed in uniforms, the boys proved their prowess in pleasing fans, having impromptu performances and answering questions in the most adorable way possible (for instance, D.O.’s profession of his love for steak).

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With such a jam-packed, exciting weekend, what was your favorite part of this year’s KCON?

Countdown to KCON 2013 | Adorable Baby K-Pop Idols

Before they were the famous and beloved idols they are today, some of our favorite KCON 2013 attendees were once wee, adorable children.  Our favorite idols (and some very clever, stealthy netizens) have revealed their über-precious, squeal-worthy photos online.  Take a peek below!

G-Dragon (Big Bang)
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Changmin (2AM)
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Jinwoon (2AM)
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Jo Kwon (2AM)
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Tao (EXO)
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D.O. (EXO)
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Kris (EXO)
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Krystal (f(x))
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Luna (f(x))
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Sulli ((f(x))
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Victoria (f(x))
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Amber (f(x))
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L. Joe (Teen Top)
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Niel (Teen Top)
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Ricky (Teen Top)
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SO CUTE, RIGHT?  Who do you think has the most precious photo?

Countdown to KCON 2013 | Music Post: Your Crash Course of this Year’s Acts!

In just a matter of days, KCON makes its way back the City of Angels to celebrate all things hallyu.  This year’s two-day convention will be filled with workshops and panels and culminate in a star-studded concert and filming of the popular Korean music show, M Countdown.

Excited yet?  We know we are!

But just in case you aren’t yet, us here at Audrey wanted to give you taste of what to expect for this year’s show through our musical go-to guide of some of this year’s featured artists!

 

EXO
The newest boy group to come out of mega-label SM Entertainment (and an Audrey favorite!), EXO is a 12-member Korean-Chinese band made up of two subgroups, EXO-K and EXO-M, who promote in both Korea and China. Though they just debuted last year, they have made a name for themselves in the K-Pop industry, already winning an Mnet Asian Music Award (MAMA) for “Best New Asian Act.”

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For their latest comeback, the two sub-groups have reunited and have gained notice with their cool, R&B-inspired single “Growl.”

“MAMA”

Other notables: “XOXO (Korean Ver.),” “Don’t Go

 

G-DRAGON
Starting his training at YG Entertainment at the tender age of 13, G-Dragon is known as a K-Pop multi-hyphenate as the leader, a rapper and producer of mega-popular boy group Big Bang.  Alongside projects with Big Bang as well as a duo project with fellow Big Bang rapper T.O.P., GD launched his solo career in 2009 with the release of his first album.  After his hugely successful “One of a Kind” world tour this past year, he has recently announced the release of his third solo record, “Coup D’Etat,” which will have a feature from hip-hop heavyweight, Missy Elliott.

“Heartbreaker”

Other notables: “Missing You (ft. Kim Yuna of Jaurim),” “Light It Up (ft. Tablo & Dok2)

 

TEEN TOP
Debuting in 2010 with TOP Media (the media company founded by Andy of K-Pop legends, Shinhwa), Teen Top broke onto the scene with their first single, “Clap.”  With a string of hits under their belt, including “Supa Love” and “Crazy,” the young teen idols will be releasing their new album, “Class,” in the coming weeks.

“Supa Luv”

Other notables: “Clap,” “Be Ma Girl

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F(X)
With a distinct electronic pop sound, f(x) has become known as one of the hottest girl groups in K-Pop today. With songs like “NU ABO,” “Hot Summer,” and “Electric Shock,” the girls are nothing short of a K-Pop powerhouse. Composed of members Luna, Krystal, Amber, Sulli, and Victoria, this SM Entertainment quintet has continued to surprise and delight fans with their unique style.

“Electric Shock”

Other notables: “Nu ABO,” “Hot Summer

 

HENRY
Henry Lau, known just as Henry, is multi-talented member of Super Junior’s Chinese sub-group, Super Junior-M. Knowing a wide range of languages, including English, Korean, Mandarin, Cantonese and French, this 23-year old has a penchant for music. He is able to play both the violin and piano and has composed songs. Earlier this year, he released his first solo mini-album, “Trap” and has just released the song “1-4-3” featuring fellow SM Town family member, Amber of f(x).

“Trap”

Other notables: “1-4-3 (Acoustic ft. Chanyeol of EXO),Henry Playing Trap & Chopin on Piano

 

2AM
From JYP/Big Hit Entertainment comes 2AM, a popular ballad group made up of members Seulong, Changmin, Jo Kwon and Jinwoon. Winning their first Mutizen award in 2010 for “Can’t Let You Go Even If I Die,” they have melted hearts with their sweet harmonies and outstanding voices. Earlier this year, they made their Korean comeback with the release of their second full-length album “One Spring Day.

“Can’t Let You Go Even If I Die”

Other notables: “I Was Wrong,” “You Wouldn’t Answer My Call

 

YU SEUNG WOO
At just 16 years old, Yu Seung Woo first began to catch people’s attention when he appeared on Mnet’s popular singing audition program, Superstar K4. His soothing guitar playing and gentle voice have made many a fan, especially on tracks like “You and I” and “Hello,” off of his recently released album, “First Outing.”

“You and I”

Other notables: “TroubleMaker (Cover, starts at 1:02),” “Gangnam Style (PSY Cover, Superstar K4),” “I Love You (2NE1 Cover, ft. Kim Jung Hwan)

 

DYNAMIC DUO
This team, made up of long-time friends Choiza and Gaeko, have become one of the most respected acts in South Korea’s hip-hop scene. Active since 2003, they have released a number of hit albums, including “Taxi Driver” and “Enlightened.”

“Hot Wings (ft. Hyorin of Sistar)”

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Other notables: “Without You,” “Trust Me (ft. Supreme Team)

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MISSY ELLIOTT
As the only female rapper to have six platinum albums, to say that Missy Elliott is a major player in the hip-hop scene is an understatement. A five-time Grammy Award-winner, the rapper-producer-singer-songwriter has sold over 30 million records worldwide. With a discography that boasts six albums and 70 singles (including 43 features), including hits like “Work It,” “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly),” and “One Minute Man.”  Her connection to the K-Pop scene? She’s recently collaborated on G-Dragon’s latest album, to be released at the end of this month.

“Work It”

Other notables: “Lose Control,” “Get Your Freak On

 

DJ KOO
A former member of ‘90s dance duo Clon, DJ Koo is a popular electro-house DJ who made his debut in 2003. Playing festivals like Miami’s Ultra Music Festival, DJ Koo has demonstrated his immense skill and creativity in arranging, mixing and producing electronic dance hits, even mixing for some of K-Pop’s biggest names including f(x) and SHINee. In 2013, he released his latest single, “BOB BOB DEE LALA.”

Other notables: “K-Pop Shuffle Remix,” “Electric Shock (Intro Remix ft. DJ Koo)

 

HEEJUN HAN
As a finalist on the 11th season of American Idol, Heejun Han caught America’s attention with his soulful voice and funny antics.  Recently singing with Polaris Entertainment in Korea, he will soon be releasing a single in the US entitled “Bring the Love Back” with Pusha T.

Other notables: “How Deep Is Your Love,” “Treasure

 

Who are you most excited to see this year?  Let us know in the comments below!

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This Is Adorable: Seungri Spazzing Over His Chart Rankings

Seungri’s second mini album Lets Talk About Love is now available on iTunes and it has already made quite a splash. The album, which was timed perfect with Big Bang’s seventh anniversary, has a lot to live up to. Seungri’s first mini-album, VVIP, which was released back in 2011, sold over 40,000 copies.

But from the looks of things, Seungri may already be on track to beating that number. The album has been taking over iTunes charts worldwide. As steamy as these new songs may be, we couldn’t help but release a communal “awww” at Seungri’s excitement over his ratings.

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Check out why this album’s so popular below:

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Countdown to KCON 2013 | Fashion Post: What to wear for the big weekend!

KCON 2013 is just around the corner, and the question that has risen for most (if not all) attendees is this: “WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR?!”  With thousands of fellow hallyu fans and not to mention a notable handful of idols in attendance this year, the pressure is on to find that perfect outfit.  Stuck on what to wear this year?  No fear!  We’ve broken down KPOP fan fashion into three rough categories, based on what we’ve observed (and worn) from our own time in the hallyu scene.  Take a look at what may suit you!

 

The Style Mavens

Admittedly, you’re a K-Pop fan.  You have your favorite artists, biases/ideal types and OTPs (one true pair for those who may not be familiar), but the visual cues of your fandom memberships are subtle.  You choose to set off your fashion-forward outfits with K-Pop accessories, ranging from phone cases to rings to necklaces, phone cases or even those cute socks with your favorite idol’s face on them (hidden by your sneakers, of course).  Though you love your idols just as much as the next person, you’re fine with showing your love through small displays.

So something like this…

Worn with something like this…

(From L to R: G-Dragon “One of a Kind” necklace, EXO ring, Teen Top rings)

Shameless Stans

You’re equally as devoted to making a fashion statement as you are about showing off your KPOP loyalties.  Whether a shirt emblazoned with Dynamic Duo’s faces, a GD snapback a la “Bad Boy,” or a pair of Teen Top socks (with appropriate shoes), you’re not afraid to show others where your loyalties lie.  And as popular fashion-blogger Tricia Gosingtian shows, the “fangirl/fanboy” look can be much more than just wearing a t-shirt and jeans — but regardless of sartorial tendencies, you’re a clear KPOP fan.

Tricia’s take on KPOP fan fashion:

(Clearly, Trica’s a GD/Big Bang stan.)

Besides Tricia’s GD-inspired tops (which we’re absolutely in love with), here’s some other things that you can pick up for your outfit, picked especially for KCON:

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You’re a fan who is wholly committed to the cause…of KPOP.  You’ve done your extensive research and everything from your hair, makeup and clothes is a carbon copy of your favorite idol.  Whether it’s donning the same Joyrich/Chrome Hearts/Stussy/HBA/(insert cool streetwear brand here) T-Shirts and jerseys, colorful clothes, or homemade costume ala your favorite music video, you are a perfect double take for your favorite oppa, unnie or dongsaeng.  With a deluge of KPOP online shops making it ridiculously easy to know what clothes your favorite idols are wearing, it’s easier than ever to become an idol, or at least, look like one.

Some great (k)osplays from online:

But hands down, one of our personal favorites — little Big Bang!

So now that you’ve seen the different styles, what will you be wearing at KCON this year?

Asians in Fashion | G-Dragon for Vogue Korea

To celebrate their 17th anniversary, Vogue Korea is releasing three versions of their latest issue, which will be available this August. On the cover is none other than Big Bang’s leader, the ever-stylish G-Dragon. The “One of a Kind” singer-rapper-songwriter shows off three very different sides of himself in each cover, appearing alongside top Korean models Soo Joo, Sunghee Kim and Jihye Park.

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The Daily SHAG | Happy Birthday Daesung of BigBang! (Yes, this is a megapost.)

Happy Birthday to the adorable Daesung of Big Bang (he’s 24!) Check out our megapost featuring some of our favorite Daesung moments in music and television!

Daesung is a pretty awesome performer.

His voice is so awesome that even his fellow BB members try to imitate him.

He also sings pretty sweet ballads in Japanese too.

Oh hey, shirtless Daesung at a BigBang concert. Howyoudoin’?!

He’s also pretty funny on variety television. Here’s a clip of him on “Family Outing” with BigBang fellow member T.O.P.:

Or this classic scene where Daesung plays an overbearing Korean mother in BigBang’s Secret Garden parody (which by the way, you should watch in full if you haven’t seen it yet):

He also does great imitations of Kpop girl group dances (including Kara, 2NE1, and Afterschool)

He once got rejected by a girl named Gwisoon on “Idol World” – and came out with a trot single as result:

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