Born Kim Hyo-jung on December 11, 1990 and most popularly known by her stage name, Hyolyn, is a singer and now founder of her production company, Bridʒ. She started her career in the music industry as the leader of now-defunct girl group Sistar and its sub-unit Sistar19.
Early life and career beginnings
Hyolyn was born in Incheon, South Korea. Her father is a retired Marine Corps officer and she has one younger sister, Kim Hye-jung. She was born prematurely and had a complicated infancy due to biliary atresia, which led to several surgeries, intussuseption, and the removal of her gallbladder. Hyolyn previously shared on a TV program that she grew up very sickly but has since regained most of her health.
Hyolyn said she loved singing and dancing since she was young but she had no one to help her so she started going to auditions on her own. First among the companies was JYP Entertainment where she auditioned twice and got accepted after placing first in the audition.
She trained as the member of a project group composed of other trainees who have since debuted in other groups – Secret’s Jieun, EXID’s Hani, and Bestie’s Uji. When plans for their debut were cancelled, Hyolyn left JYP Entertainment and signed with Starship Entertainment after auditioning with a cover of Christina Aguilera’s “Hurt”.
In 2010, Starship began to form a new girl group with Hyolyn as the leader.
2010 to 2011: Debut with Sistar
Hyolyn made her debut as a member of Sistar on June 3, 2010 with a performance of their debut single, “Push Push,” on KBS’ Music Bank.
In early 2011, Hyolyn and her Sistar groupmate, Bora, formed the sub-unit Sistar19. They released the very successful single, “Ma Boy,” which was followed by Hyolyn’s single “Ma Boy 2” featuring Electroboyz later in the year.
Sistar19’s debut extended play (EP), Gone Not Around Any Longer, was released on January 2013. It features the title track of the same name and was met with success on local music charts.
2012 to 2014: Acting career and solo debut
In 2012, Hyolyn ventured into acting and starred in the KBS drama Dream High 2. She played the role of Nana, a famous idol from the fictional group Hershe. Hyolyn, alongside Ailee and T-ara’s Jiyeon, worked on the song “Superstar,” which was released as part of the drama’s original soundtrack.
In August 2013, she recorded another OST, this time for the SBS drama Master’s Sun, titled “You Make Me Go Crazy”.
On November 22, she performed with legendary musician Stevie Wonder for a special stage of “I Just Call to Say I Love You” at the 2013 Mnet Asian Music Awards.
Shortly after, Hyolyn made her solo debut with the release of the album Love & Hate. The album had double title tracks, “Lonely” and “One Way Love,” featuring Korean rappers Mad Clown, Block B’s Zico, Dok2, and Geeks’ Lil Boi. Brave Brothers and Kim Do-hoon were also credited for some tracks in the album.
“One Way Love” won first place on several music shows and took the number one spot on Gaon’s Weekly Digital Chart and Billboard’s K-Pop Hot 100, while “Lonely” placed fourth and third on the charts, respectively.
On December 31, the Korean version of “Let It Go” sung by Hyolyn for the hit Disney animated film Frozen was released.
In January 2014, Hyolyn took part in the OST for the drama My Love from the Star, titled “Goodbye”.
On March 28 of the same year, Starship Entertainment announced that Hyolyn will feature in Mad Clown’s comeback track, “Without You,” which was release on April 3.
In September, Hyolyn became the first idol group singer to participate in the Chuseok special of the music variety show, I Am a Singer, where she finished second.
She also took part MC Mong’s comeback to the Korean scene after five years through the album Miss Me or Diss Me, released on November 3.
On November 20, she collaborated with singer-songwriter and labelmate Jooyoung on the track “Erase” featuring Iron. The song peaked at number 9 on the Gaon Weekly chart.
2015 to 2016: Rising popularity, first solo EP
It was revealed on January 13, 2015 that Hyolyn will be joining as the first idol singer to feature on the third season of MBC’s I Am a Singer. Despite being the first contestant to be eliminated from the show, she impressed viewers with her song choices, especially her cover of the classic ballad “Fate” by Lee Sun-hee.
On April 2, she teamed up her Sistar groupmate, Soyou, for a cover of K.Will’s “Growing” as part of Starship Entertainment’s cover project.
On August 17, she participated in the second season of Unpretty Rapstar. She finished the show third place and released her semi-finals track, “My Love,” featuring Basick on November 6, 2015.
Hyolyn, together with Jooyoung and Bumkey, collaborated with producing team Da Internz on the song “Love Line,” which was released on December 14. Shortly after on December 16, she released an OST for the movie The Little Prince, titled “Turnaround”.
On March 6, 2016, Hyolyn appeared on the variety singing competition, King of Mask Singer, where she placed second.
On June 17 of the same year, she participated on Duet Song Festival where she again placed second with her partner Lee Na-hyun. They performed the song “Sofa” by R&B singer Crush.
Hyolyn took part in another OST, this time for KBS2’s Uncontrollably Fond, with “I Miss You”.
On October 21, she featured in a song with American group Far East Movement and Gill Chang, called “Umbrella”.
On November 8, it was confirmed that Hyolyn will be releasing her first extended play (EP) featuring artists Dok2 and Jay Park for the tracks “Love Like This” and “One Step,” respectively. Her EP, It’s Me, was released with the title track “Paradise”.
2017 to present: Sistar’s disbandment, solo promotions
Hyolyn recorded the song “Our Tears” as part of the OST for KBS2’s Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth, which was released on January 9, 2017.
On April 14, she collaborated with rapper Changmo on the song “Blue Moon,” which was produced by Groovy Room. The track had an unprecedented number of digital downloads and was a certified success on streaming sites, hitting the upper ranks of real-time charts Bugs, Genie, and Soribada upon release. The song ranked number three on the Gaon Weekly Digital Chart and received nominations for “Best Collaboration” at the 2017 Mnet Asian Music Awards and “Digital Music” category at the 32nd Annual Golden Disk Awards.
On May 23, 2017, it was announced that Sistar will be disbanding after seven years, and that they will be releasing their farewell track, “Lonely,” on May 31. The song rose to the top of the charts and was nominated for “Best R&B/Soul Song” at the 2017 Melon Music Awards.
On June 29, she featured in another song produced by Groovy Room, “Fruity”. On August 25, she released an OST for tvN’s Live Up To Your Name, titled “Always”.
On September 9, Hyolyn posted a handwritten letter through her personal Instagram account, announcing that she had decided to leave her home agency, Starship Entertainment, and that she will be promoting as an independent artist for the time being.
In the latter part of the year, she featured in two episodes of the music program Fantastic Duo 2, where she went up against JInusean and collaborated with GOT7 on a rendition of her hit track, “Blue Moon”.
On November 13, 2017, Hyolyn announced through an official statement that she founded her own music label, Bridʒ (pronounced “Bridge”). She said that the company was named as such to signify the bridge that she hopes to build between the public and all forms of music production.
Hyolyn worked on two more OST tracks – “태업 시계 (Wind up Watch)” for the drama Black Knight: The Man Who Guards Me, and 스쳐간 꿈처럼 (Dreamy Love) for the drama Money Flower.
Around the time she was working on the OSTs, Hyolyn also started preparing for her return to the music industry as a solo artist. Toward the end of January 2018, she announced a three-part release consisting of three singles. First on the list was “내일할래 (To Do List),” which was released on February 6, 2018.
On February 28, Hyolyn featured on GOT7’s pre-release track, “One and Only You,” for their upcoming studio album, Eyes On You.
“Dally,” which was the second single from Hyolyn’s three-part project, was released on April 23, 2018. She worked on the song with rapper Gray who also produced the song and co-wrote the lyrics with her. For the song’s music video, Hyolyn worked with American choreographer Aliya Janell along with four other dancers. The music video garnered over one million views in less than 24 hours of release.
The last track for Hyolyn’s three-part project, “See Sea,” was released on July 19, 2018. It was immediately followed by her single “BAE” on August 13, 2018.
On May 22, 2019, she collaborated with Melanie Fontana for the single “youknowbetter”.
In early 2019, it was announced that Hyolyn will be embarking on her first solo world tour, titled “2019 HYOLYN 1st World [TRUE].” The tour will run in Europe, beginning with a show in Berlin, followed by stops in the Middle East, and concluding in Asia with a show in Tokyo on June 30.