Dong Young-bae (Hangul: 동영배; born 18 May 1988), better known by his stage name Taeyang (meaning sun in Korean) and Sol (when performing in Japan), is a South Korean singer-songwriter. After appearing in Jinusean's music video "A-yo," Taeyang began training under YG Entertainment at the age of 12. After six years of training, he made his debut in 2006 as a member of the South Korean boy band Big Bang.
In 2008, Taeyang began pursuing a solo career, releasing his first extended play Hot in 2008 followed by his first full length studio album Solar in 2010. His second studio album Rise (2014) peaked at number 112 on the US Billboard 200 Chart, becoming the highest ranking album by a Korean soloist to enter the chart while its single "Eyes, Nose, Lips" peaked at number one on Billboard K-pop Hot 100 Chart, giving him his first solo number one single on that chart.
2006–08: Early beginnings and debut with Big Bang
Taeyang was first recruited to play the part of mini Sean with Maddie in JinuSean's music video "A-yo". The collaboration eventually led him to successfully auditioning into the group's record label YG Entertainment, where he met fellow trainee G-Dragon and former trainee Jun. K. G-dragon and he were later coined as GDYB. In 2003, Taeyang provided the rap verse in singer Wheesung's single "Player" on the latter's second album.
Although Taeyang was scheduled to debut alongside G-Dragon as the duo GDYB, the plan was scrapped by their record label. Instead, they were joined by four other trainees (T.O.P, Daesung, Seungri, and Hyun-Seung) to form the group Big Bang. The group's formation was documented on television. Before their official debut, however, Hyun-Seung was dropped and their final lineup consisted of five members. Choosing the stage-name Taeyang (meaning sun) because "the sun is the brightest star from the incalculable stars in the universe," Taeyang abandoned the idea of rapping to focus on singing. Their first album, Since 2007, was a fair success, and included Taeyang's first solo song "Ma Girl." The group achieved mainstream success with the release of the song "Lies" (Korean: 거짓말; Revised Romanization:Geojitmal) from their first extended play Always (2007). This was followed by "Last Farewell" (Korean: 마지막 인사; Revised Romanization: Majimak Insa) from Hot Issue (2007) and "Day By Day" (Korean:하루하루; Revised Romanization: Haru Haru) from Stand Up (2008); both were also chart-toppers.
2008—2012: Solo career development and Solar
After contributing to singer Lexy's album, Taeyang was scheduled to release a solo album. Initially scheduled for a September release, the project was pushed back due to conflicting schedules with his group. Instead, Taeyang released the EP Hot in May 2008, backed by a production team that included 1TYM's Teddy Park, Yang Hyun Suk, Kush, and his fellow member G-Dragon. Moving beyond the hip-hop genre of Big Bang, Taeyang incorporated mainly R&B songs into his album, stating that it was his "main focus". He expressed disappointment with the album, however, admitting that he did not write any of the songs. He later stated that he would do so in the future to fully express and incorporate his thoughts and ideas into his music. The EP produced two singles: "Only Look at Me" (Korean: 나만 바라봐, Revised Romanization: Naman Barabwa), an R&B song written by Teddy and Kush, and "Prayer (Korean: 기도; Revised Romanization: Gido)" which featured Teddy of 1TYM. Promotional videos were shot for both. In support of his album, he also staged his first solo concert, Hot. Taeyang later received two awards from the 7th Korean Music Awards: Best R&B/Soul Song for "Only Look At Me" and Best R&B/Soul Album.
Throughout the majority of 2009, Taeyang contributed to his group's activities, recording the song "Lollipop" with his group and labelmate 2NE1. He later flew to Japan to promote the group's Japanese albums. After Big Bang's activities ended, he went back to the studio to prepare to record new materials. Two digital singles were released: "Where U At" and "Wedding Dress." Promotional videos were filmed for both. The latter single was voted number three on an online poll for a Dutch radio station.
Taeyang's first full-length album Solar was released in July 2010 in two versions: a "Regular Edition" and a "Deluxe Edition." The regular edition contained eleven songs, while the deluxe edition, limited to only 30,000 copies, had 13 songs, including "Only Look at Me" and "Prayer" from Hot. The "Deluxe Edition" sold out on the first day. Two singles were released for promotions: "I Need A Girl" and "I'll Be There." Taeyang won the "Best Male Artist" award at the 2010 Mnet Asian Music Awards at the end of the year.
2013—present: Rise and first world tour
Taeyang took two years to record new materials and participate in promotional activities with Big Bang for their Korean EPs Tonight (2011) and Alive (2012) as well as the Japanese studio album Alive (2012). When activities wrapped up, he turned his focus back to preparing for his second studio album. The single "Ringa Linga" was released in November 2013, preceding his second album Rise (June 2014). While he utilized the help of Teddy Park, G-Dragon, and Choice37, Taeyang also involved himself heavily with the production of the album, producing six tracks. Rise became the third highest charting K-pop album, and also the highest charting K-pop album by a solo artist on the Billboard charts, reaching 112 on the Billboard Hot 200 while topping the Billboard World Albums Chart and Heatseekers Albums Chart, selling 3,000 copies. In Japan, the album ranked at number two, with 48,000 units sold. Taeyang promoted the album with three singles: "Ringa Linga," "Eyes, Nose, Lips," and "1AM." The first two singles became chart toppers on the Gaon chart while the latter peaked at number seven. The choreography for "Ringa Linga" also spawned numerous covers on the video-sharing website YouTube. He also embarked on the Rise World Tour, visiting 9 countries and 16 cities. At the 2014 Mnet Asian Music Awards, Taeyang won the Best Male Artist, with his song "Eyes, Nose, Lip" winning Song of the Year and Best Vocal Performance - Male.
Taeyang later collaborated with G-Dragon to release the song "Good Boy" for YG Entertainment's new hip hop projects. Photo and video teasers were later released. The song received positive reviews, reaching the number one position on Billboard's World Digital Songs chart. The music video on YouTube currently boasts over 100 million views.
In 2015, Taeyang participated in the Infinite Challenge music contest, also with G-Dragon. The duet teamed up with ZE:A's Hwang Kwanghee. He also appeared in the reality series contest Show Me The Money as a feature in Winner's Song Minho's song "Fear," composed by Zico during the semi final round.
Taeyang is a devoted Christian with multiple faith-inspired tattoos on his back and ribs of a Christian Cross. In June 2015, it was announced that Taeyang had been dating actress Min Hyo-rin since 2013.
Solo Concert Tours
- "HOT Concert Series" (2008)
- "Solar Concert Series" (2010)
- "Fan Meeting Tour" (2013) (With G-Dragon and Seungri)
- "Rise World Tour" (2015)