Lee Seung-hyun (born December 12, 1990), better known by his stage name Seungri (Hangul: 승리, Victory), is a South Korean singer-songwriter and actor. Seungri debuted as the youngest member in 2006 with the boy band Big Bang under YG Entertainment before embarking on a solo career, adopting the stage name of V.I when performing in Japan.
His first extended play, VVIP (2011), yielded two singles: "VVIP" and "What Can I Do." The latter peaked at number seven on the Gaon chart, and the album sold over 44,000 copies. His second Korean EP Let's Talk About Love (2013) fared better and was supported by "Gotta Talk to You" (Korean: 할말 있어요, Revised Romanization: Na Jigeum Halmal Isseoyo), which charted at number three on the Gaon chart. The EP was later re-released in Japan as his first full Japanese studio album, containing previous materials from the two EPs recorded in the country's native language.
Seungri also ventured into acting, first in the musical Sonagi (2008) before appearing in films such as Nineteen and Why Did You Come to Our Home? (both released in 2009). He branched into television drama with the Japanese Nihon TV special drama Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo (2013) and the South Korean television drama Angel Eyes (2014).
Early beginnings and debut with Big Bang
Born and raised in Gwangju, South Korea, Seungri was noted for his dancing skills growing up, with the singer participating in the dance group II Hwa. Hoping to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, Seungri appeared in survival program Let's Coke Play! Battle Shinhwa, a reality television series to find the next Shinhwa. He was eventually eliminated in the ninth episode. Following his appearance on the show, Seungri was scouted by YG Entertainment to audition for the new boy band, Big Bang, alongside five other members: T.O.P, Taeyang, G-Dragon, Daesung, and Hyun-seung. The formation of the group was documented on television. Despite the initial six members, Seungri and Hyun-seung risked elimination due to their stage presences and were given one final opportunity to impress Yang Hyun-suk, founder of YG Entertainment. While Seungri was picked to stay, Hyung-seung (who went on to debut with the boy band Beast) was dropped before the official debut. Seungri later admit that bandmate G-Dragon was initially cold towards T.O.P, Daesung, and himself because G-Dragon had trained for six years with Taeyang to become a hip hop duo and disliked being place in a band. Despite this, the two eventually bonded over watching the Korean drama Princess Hours.
Big Bang's debut was fairly successful, with their first single netting in sales of over 40,000 copies. It spawned several airplay titles, including "La La La", "We Belong Together" and "Forever with You" which featured label-mate Park Bom. Seungri also recorded his first solo song "The Next Day" (Korean: 다음날) for Big Bang's first album Since 2007. The group's breakthrough came with the release of their first extended play, Always (2007), which included the number one song "Lies" (Korean: 거짓말; Revised Romanization: Geojitmal). The song went on to top major Korean music charts for a record-breaking seven consecutive weeks, and won the group the Song of the Year award at the 9th Mnet Korean Music Festival. Their following EPs followed its predecessor's footsteps: Hot Issue yielded "Last Farewell" (Korean: 마지막 인사; Revised Romanization: Majimak Insa) while Stand Up spawned "Day by Day" (Korean: 하루하루; Revised Romanization: Haru Haru); both singles were chart-toppers. Seungri continued to hone his dancing skills by competing against bandmate Taeyang in several dance competitions, as well as against Super Junior's Eunhyuk, TVXQ's Yunho and Shinee's Taemin. He also choreographs a large portion of Big Bang's dances.
2008—2011: Solo career development, acting, and VVIP
In 2008, members of Big Bang began branching out to develop their solo careers. Seungri became the first member of Big Bang to act in a musical with Sonagi in 2008. He also ventured into hosting, becoming a host for MBC's music program Show! Music Core alongside Daesung. After filming wrapped up, Seungri went back into the studio with Big Bang to record for their second Korean studio album. Remember (2008) went on to yield two singles: the number one single, "Sunset Glow" (Korean: 붉은노을; Revised Romanization: Byulkeun Noeul) and "Strong Baby," which is performed solely by Seungri. In order to shed the "youngest member" look from Big Bang, he promoted the single with a more mature look complete with a stylized dance. He won his first triple crown for "Strong Baby" on Inkigayo. Buoyed by the two songs Remember went on to sell over 200,000 copies.
When promotional activities for Remember ended, Seungri returned to acting and starred in his first film, Why Did You Come to Our Home?, playing the love interest of Kang Hye-jung. His next musical, Shouting, was performed in 2009 alongside bandmate Daesung, who was unable to perform at the last minute due to a car accident.
Seungri's first extended play, VVIP, was released on January 20, 2011 and promoted with two singles: "VVIP" and "What Can I Do." To establish an identity away from Big Bang through his music, Seungri involved himself in the production of the album, composing and writing six out of the seven songs. "VVIP" and "What Can I Do" won a triple crown on M! Countdown. Seungri also won the SBS Inkigayo Mutizen Award in 2011. Promotional activities were cut short in order for Seungri to focus on Big Bang's comeback. In February 2011, Seungri participated in a special Lunar New Year's titled King of Idols, broadcast by SBS, where top idol stars came together to play various games and select the "King and Queen." Seungri and After School's U-ee were eventually crowned the King and Queen of the Idols.
2012—2014: Japanese promotions, scandal, and Let's Talk About Love
In 2012, Seungri started his first Japanese promotions by appearing on variety shows, such as Yomiuri TV's Yoshimoto Jounetsu Comedy and Run for Money. He was also chosen as the special MC on Fuji TV's Sakigake! Ongaku Banzuke Eight, interviewing celebrities such as Oguri Shun, Exile's Akira, Miori Takimoto, Takei Emi, Perfume, and even Korean singer Se7en and his own bandmates. Seungri had his first Japanese Show, Seungchan's Complete Victory Declaration on Space Show TV. The first episode was broadcast in August. That same month, he held his first solo fan meeting in Tokyo. Daesung showed his support to him by appearing on stage to sing "Fantastic Baby" with him. His next solo fanmeeting was on September 9, 2012 held in Osaka.
Seungri later appear in the Nihon TV special drama Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Japanese broadcasting company, NTV. Seungri worked along with, Hey! Say! JUMP's Ryosuke Yamada and Daiki Arioka, popular Taiwanese actress Vivian Hsu, Taiwanese idol group Fahrenheit's former member Wu Chun, and famous Hong Kong actor and MC Eric Tsang, Haruna Kawaguchi and Kiritani Kenta. The two-hour-long drama premiered in January 2013, winning the Best Drama SP (Excellence Awards) at the Tokyo Drama Awards. Seungri's career took a setback when he became embroiled in a sex scandal with a Japanese woman when bed photos were published by the Japanese tabloid magazine Friday, with the title of "Famous Hallyu Idol Group 'Big Bang's Seungri's Bed Photos Leaked." The woman claimed that Seungri had a one-night stand with her and had a habit of choking during sexual intercourse, causing the artist to step out of Big Bang's promotional activities for self-reflection. He would revisit the scandal one year later on SBS talk show Incarnation, discussing how it helped him grow up and how fans began to view him more as an adult.
Recording for Seungri's second Korean EP Let's Talk About Love took over two years, where the artist also involved himself with the production of the album. The EP was released on August 19, 2013, debuting at number one. Yielding the singles "Gotta Talk to You" (Korean: 할말 있어요, Revised Romanization: Na Jigeum Halmal Isseoyo) and the title track, Seungri promoted Let's Talk About Love in South Korea until the end of September. The album sold over 77,000 copies. He released his first Japanese album, also titled Let's Talk About Love, in October of the same year, selling over 14,000 copies in its first day and topping the charts in Japan. The Japanese album contained songs from the Korea EP Let's Talk About Love as well as from VVIP, all of which were recorded in Japanese. The album included the new song, "The Feelings Painted in the Sky" (Japanese: 空に描く思い), which was later used as the theme song for Seungri's first Japanese television drama Yubikoi ～Kimini Okuru Message～. In September, Seungri joined Popular Women 100 as a co-host alongside comedian Hiroshi Yamazaki, becoming the first international celebrity to clinch a hosting spot on a regular cable show in Japan.
Returning to acting, Seungri took a supporting role in his first television drama with the 2014 Angel Eyes alongside labelmate Ku Hye-sun, playing the role of Teddy who returns to Korea after living abroad with the dream of becoming an emergency rescue worker. The drama received medium ratings during its broadcast.
2015–present: FC Men
In May 2015, FC MEN announced through their instagram that Seungri would be joining their celebrity soccer club. He was given the forward position and the number 11. For most of 2015, Seungri toured extensively with his band for their MADE 2015 World Tour to promote their new materials. Kicking off with two shows in Seoul on April 25 and 26, the tour gathered 1.5 million fans around the world, making it the largest tour by any Korean act.
After passing his college entrance exams, Seungri was accepted by Chung-Ang University and began his college education in the spring of 2010, along with Yuri and Sooyoung of Girls' Generation. In 2012, he dropped out of Chung-Ang University after being placed on academic probation several times due to his demanding schedule with Big Bang. After dropping out of Chung-Ang University, he decided to continue his studies by enrolling at Gukje Digital University so he could take online classes and attend his schedules at the same time.
Seungri have also helped establish two branches of a music and dance academy called "Plug In Music Academy," also known as "Seungri Academy." The dance academy is located in Gwangju, Daejeon, Mokpo, and Seoul. Students of the academy learn how to sing, dance, and act. Some of the past students of the academy includes 2NE1's Minzy, Kara's Goo Hara, TVXQ's Yunho, B.A.P's Zelo, and Seungri himself.
In 2015, Seungri joined label-mate Sean for a briquette charity. He had previously promised fans to deliver and donate 30,000 briquettes but donated a total of 130,000. He brought along notable celebrities to the charity, including F.T. Island's Choi Jonghoon and Jung Jooyoung of JJY.
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions||Sales||Track listing|
|2013||Let's Talk About Love||1|
|Year||Album details||Peak chart positions||Sales||Track listing|
|2013||Let's Talk About Love||1||34||2|
As a lead artist
|Title||Year||Peak chart positions||Sales||Album|
|"What Can I Do?"||2011||7||—||V.V.I.P|
|"Gotta Talk To U" (할말 있어요)||2013||3||—||Let's Talk About Love"'|
|"Let's Talk About Love"|
(featuring G-Dragon & Taeyang)
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.|
Other charted songs
|"Open Window" (창문을 열어)|
|"GG Be" (지지베)||2013||18||Let's Talk About Love|
|"Come To My" (그딴 거 없어)||46|
|"Love Box" (하나부터 열까지)||48|
Music Video Appearances
|Year||Title||Official MV on YouTube|
|2008||Taeyang – "Only Look at Me"|
|2010||GD & TOP - High High|
|2008-2009||MBC||Show! Music Core||Co-Host||with Daesung|
|2009||SBS||Family Outing Season 1|
|2010||SBS||Haha Mong Show|
|2010||KBS||1 Night 2 Days||Guest||with BIGBANG|
|2010||MBC||Enjoy Today||Host||with Jung Joon-ho, Jung Hyung-don, Kim Hyun-chul, Shin Hyun-joon, Leeteuk, Gong Hyung-jin, Seo Ji-seok|
|2011||SBS||Night After Night||Guest||with Hwang Kwanghee, Lizzy, WooHyuk|
|2011||SBS||King of Idols|
(Korean the Lunar New Year Special)
|Guest||with Nichkhun-Chansung (2PM), Onew-Minho (SHINee), Donghae-Eunhyuk (Super Junior), Hara-Seunghyun (KARA), Uee-Lizzy (After School), Krystal-Victoria(f(x)), HyunA (4minute), 2AM, SISTAR, and Jungmin|
|2011||Mnet||Beatles Code||Guest||with Daesung|
|2012||SBS||Healing Camp, Aren't You Happy|
|2012-2013||Space Shower||Space Shower Area|
|Guest||with G-Dragon, Daesung|
|Guest||with Angel Eyes Cast|
|2015||KBS||Yu Huiyeol's Sketchbook|
|2016||China Dragon TV||"Girls Fighting"||Instructor||with Huang Xiaoming, Hu Hai Quan and Chen Yu Fan|
|2011||Lights and Shadows||Ahn Jae-su (cameo, ep 9-10)||MBC|
|2013||Kindaichi Shonen no Jikenbo (The Files of Young Kindaichi - Lost in Kowloon)||Kim Yong-Dong||NTV|
|2013-2014||Yubikoi ~Kimini Okuru Message~ - A Message Send To You||Korean student studying abroad in Japan|
|2014||Angel Eyes||Teddy Seo||SBS|
|2009||Why Did You Come to My House?||Park Ji-Min|
|2016||High & Low The Movie||Li|
Awards and nominations
|2013||Mnet Asian Music Awards||Best Dance Performance - Male Solo||"Gotta Talk To U"||Nominated|
Music Chart Wins
|2009||January 22||"Strong Baby"|
|February 6||"What Can I Do"|
Mnet's M! Countdown
|2009||January 22||"Strong Baby"|
|February 3||"What Can I Do"|