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Since K-drama and K-pop started taking over the world in the 2000s, more attention has been drawn to the two Korean industries, especially K-pop. However, whenever the music genre comes to mind, what is likely to follow are the thoughts of an idol boy or girl band. Solo K-pop acts do not seem to be getting enough attention except for the ones that have already garnered some level of popularity, like Ailee.
The Denver, Colorado-born South Korean Beyoncé as her fans like to call her, lived most of her life in New Jersey, USA, and started her music career there under New York and New Jersey-based Muzo Entertainment where she had the opportunity to collaborate with a number of artists including Philly-based rapper, Decipher and Korean-American rapper, Johnny Jung known on stage as Johnnyphlo.
In 2010, she made a big move from the United States to South Korea and that may well be the best decision of her career, or maybe not. Read on to find out five interesting things to know about the Korean-American Singer, Ailee.
5 Interesting Things to Know About Ailee (the Korean-American Singer)
1. She Dropped Out of School
Details of her earlier life before seventh grade are scarce but we know she attended Palisades Park High School, Bergen County, New Jersey before transferring to another school within the state, Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School, Union County where she graduated from. She then proceeded to Pace University, New York where she majored in Communications before she had to drop out and pursue her music career.
2. Ailee’s Korean Journey was Boosted By Connection
Everyone who knows Ailee knows about her vocal prowess, a strong suit she used to her advantage at the Singer and Trainee on MBC’s Chuseok in 2011, where she blew everyone’s mind away (including the judges) with her performance of ’s Halo. She not only won the competition but she launched her K-pop career the following year with her debut song, Heaven.
However, she did not just decide to leave America in 2010 out of the blue, she left because her uncle had secured an audition for her with the record label, YMC Entertainment, where she was immediately recruited as a trainee after singing Big Mama’s Resignation.
3. She Began Her Career Since She was 7
Some sources revealed that Ailee has been acting since she was seven years old, although her breakthrough in acting did not come until she appeared in the second season of the KBS series, Dream High, in 2012 after she was already made popular by her presentation on Singer and Trainee the previous year.
Going by the records, she must have had her child acting years while she was still in the United States and her roles are probably not known because they were either minor or uncredited.
4. Ailee’s Nudes Were Once Public
Ailee’s career really got off to a good start with her not only receiving several different awards in 2012, including Mnet Asian Music, MelOn Music, Golden Disk, and Seoul Music Awards for Best New Artist as well as a Gaon Chart Music Award for New Female Solo Artist, but she also received a VIP invite to perform at the 55th Grammy Awards’ pre-Grammy party.
Needless to say, 2012 was a great year for the singer and she continued enlarging her coast in 2013 by signing with Warner Music Japan under which she released her Japanese debut, Heaven. Sadly her streak was brought to a halt by Allkpop when they published nude pictures the artist took before K-pop.
Contrary to YMC’s statement that the pictures were for a Lingerie modeling company, it was later revealed that Ailee had sent the pictures to a friend on Facebook and they were released because the friend’s account was hacked. She had to step away from the spotlight for six months because of this scandal and she had to step down from some advertising campaigns including the one she had with Kyochon, a South Korean fried chicken company.
5. Her Korean Name is Lee Ye Jin
Although she is more popularly known by her stage name, Ailee which was coined from her English name, Amy Lee, she also has a Korean name which is Lee Ye-Jin (written in Hangul as 이예진). Over the years, she has picked up the nickname “Korean Beyoncé” and debuted as A.Leean in the United States in 2017. She probably chose the latter name to honor her dedicated fans who go by the name Aleeans.