Korean pop artist Taeyeon may not be a household name in United States yet, but that stands to change soon, as the K-pop artist is topping music charts around the world with her newest album, Purpose, which hit the No. 2 spot on the U.S. iTunes chart just one day after its release.
The lead vocalist of K-pop group Girls’ Generation dropped her second solo album Monday. It has since soared the to the top of the iTunes charts in 21 countries—including Brazil, Mexico, Singapore, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Vietnam—K-pop news site Soompi reported. In the United States, Purpose debuted in the second slot on the chart, behind the heavily anticipated Kanye West album, Jesus Is King.
“The title ‘Purpose’ means it will carry Taeyeon’s goals as both a person and singer and show how music has become the greatest purpose and direction in Taeyeon’s life,” a spokesperson for her label, SM Entertainment, told E! News wrote earlier this month.
Purpose is Taeyeon’s first solo full length album since she released My Voice in 2017. It features 10 tracks, including “Spark,” which appears to be a crowd favorite in the singer’s home country. The music video for the song earned more than 1.5 million views less than 15 hours after going live on YouTube, according to Aju Business Daily.
Read on for more info about one of K-pop’s biggest stars.
She is a member of the “1989 Club.”
Like fellow pop artists Taylor Swift and Bebe Rexha, Taeyeon was born in 1989. Born Kim Taeyeon on March 5 in Jeonju, South Korea, the K-pop artist is a Pisces who, as a child, preferred to play with “robots and cars” over dolls. Her immediate family includes her parents (both musicians), an older brother and a younger sister.
In middle school Taeyeon began taking vocal lessons, a decision she credits to fellow K-pop singer BoA, whom Taeyeon cites as one of her inspirations.
She’s been in the business for over a decade.
In 2004, at age 15, Taeyeon was selected the “Dance Queen” and winner of the “8th SM Teen Best Contest,” according to K-pop news site Koreaboo. It was then that she was offered a contract with her current label, SM Entertainment. From there, she went on to join one of its flagship acts, the eight-person ensemble Girls’ Generation.
She was the first member to go solo.
In 2015, Taeyeon became the first member of Girls’ Generation to strike out on her own (while remaining a part of the group). According to Billboard, her debut EP, I, sold 2,000 copies in its first tracking week and was the highest-charting K-pop album on Heatseekers that year.
She once stepped down as the leader of Girls’ Generation.
At one point, Taeyeon took a break from her role as leader of Girls’ Generation, though she has since reclaimed the position. The outlet cited emotional stress as a reason for her temporary withdrawal, noting that the singer was reported exhibiting “scary” patterns of behavior such as sleepwalking.
“When Taeyeon sleeps, she solves math problems. Even though she’s alone she greets someone,” fellow Girls Generation member Sooyoung told an interviewer, according to Koreaboo. “In the middle of the night, she would also start using her phone. It was scary.”
She struggles with depression.
Earlier this year, entertainment site Asia One reported that the Girls’ Generation leader opened up about her struggles with depression in a “rare Q&A session” on Instagram.
“Many fans had noticed the 30-year-old singer’s recent shift in mood as she suddenly stopped uploading vlogs to Youtube and even changed her Instagram profile picture to a black photo,” the outlet wrote back in June. During the Instagram Q&A, Taeyeon reportedly tackled messages from fans such as “Now that you’re 30, please grow up,” and “Is this bipolar disorder? Tsk tsk.”
In the end, she responded:
“I decided to talk to you today because I needed to pep myself up. I feel like I’m being nourished by all of you. I’m going to be okay. I’m sorry for making you worry, but I think that this is another way for us to get to know each other better. I will take better care of myself. For the fans who deserve all the good things in the world.”