The future of music

25 Best Korean Singers of All Time (Most Famous)

December 27, 2023
korean singers

I’ve curated a list of the best Korean singers of all time, featuring the most famous voices that have shaped the vibrant world of K-pop and beyond.

This collection celebrates the immense talent and global influence of these iconic artists.

Top Korean singers of all time

  • IU
  • PSY
  • BoA
  • HyunA
  • Jungkook
  • Ailee
  • V
  • Jennie
  • Rosé
  • RM

1. IU

Lee Ji-eun, better known by her stage name IU, is a famous Korean singer who shot to stardom upon the release of her debut studio album Growing Up, which reached number six on the Circle Album chart in Korea.

With 130 total award wins and 314 nominations, IU has certainly made her mark in the K-pop world.

Her awards include Best Female Artist in 2021, Album of the Year for Lilac in 2021, and Best Rock Song for “Eight” with Suga in 2020.

2. PSY

Park Jae-sang, who goes by the stage name PSY, went viral in 2012 with his hit “Gangnam Style”.

The single won twelve awards and topped the charts in a whopping thirty-nine different countries!

Some of PSY’s other number-one hits include “That That” featuring Suga, “I Luv It”, and “Daddy” featuring CL.

His debut studio album Psy from the Psycho World! proved popular, selling over one hundred thousand copies in Korea.

3. BoA

Kwon Bo-ah, best known by her stage name BoA, is a Korean singer who rose to fame after the release of her debut studio album ID; Peace B, which sold over two hundred thousand copies and charted at number sixteen in Korea and number thirty in Japan.

BoA has won sixty-two awards and received seventy-eight nominations for her outstanding achievements in music and television.

Her awards include Rock & Pop Album of the Year for Listen To My Heart, Love & Honesty, and Best of Soul.

4. HyunA

Kim Hyun-ah, who is better known by her stage name HyunA, began her career as a member of the pop-group Wonder Girls.

She broke into the scene as a solo artist with her debut studio album Lip & Hip, which debuted at number fourteen in Korea.

HyunA has won twenty-six awards with seventy-one other nominations, including Outstanding Singer of the Year, Best Dance Performance for “Trouble Maker” with Hyunseung, and Best Korean Female Artist.

5. Jungkook

Jeon Jung-kook, otherwise known as Jungkook, is a singer from the K-pop boy group BTS who has also made an impressive solo career.

His debut single “Begin” charted at number twenty-seven in Korea and sold nearly one hundred thousand copies.

Jungkook has won three awards separate from BTS: Song of the Year and The Collaboration Song of 2022 for “Left and Right” with Charlie Puth, and MTV Millenial’s Global Instagrammer Award.

6. Ailee

Amy Lee, also known by her stage name Ailee, is a Denver-born singer who soon made her success in South Korea.

She has released four studio albums, with her most popular being her debut Vivid. It charted at number seven in Korea and number six in the US.

Ailee has won thirty-nine awards over the course of her career and has also racked up seventy-five nominations.

This includes three wins at the Mnet Asian Music Awards, where she won Best New Female Artist, among others.

7. V

Kim Tae-hyung, who goes professionally by V, is a South Korean singer who first began his career as a member of the boyband BTS.

He has released five singles independently of the band, two of which reached number one in the US (“Stigma” and “Inner Child”).

V has also won four awards as a solo artist for both his music career and as an actor.

He won the Best Choreography award at the Soompi Awards for his single “Singularity”. The single was written by BTS but performed as a solo by V.

8. Jennie

Jennie Kim, who goes simply by her first name, is a Korean singer from Seoul who began her career as a member of the K-pop girl group Blackpink.

She made her solo debut with the album Solo, which sold nearly two hundred thousand copies in Korea.

“Solo”, the lead single from the album, won Song of the Year at the Gaon Chart Music Awards in 2019, as well as Best Digital Song at the Golden Disc Awards the same year.

Jennie also won Best Female Solo Artist at the Philippine K-pop Awards in 2018.

9. Rosé

Roseanne Park, who is better known by her stage name Rosé, is a South Korean singer who was born in New Zealand and raised in Australia.

In 2016 she joined Blackpink but later continued her solo career with her debut studio album R.

R was certified double platinum by the KMCA after selling over seven hundred and fifty thousand copies in Korea.

It debuted at number two and also charted in Croatia and Japan at number ten and number forty respectively.

10. RM

Kim Nam-Joon, who goes by the name RM (Rap Monster), is best known as the lead singer of BTS.

He has also made his mark as a solo artist, following the release of his self-titled debut mixtape which charted on the Billboard chart at number twelve.

His 2022 studio album Indigo topped the US Billboard chart and reached number two in Korea, as well as charting in seven other countries.

It subsequently got certified double platinum by the KMCA and sold over seven hundred and fifty thousand copies in Korea.

See also: Best Korean Rappers

11. Irene

Bae Joo-hyun, better known as Irene, first broke into the K-pop scene in the girl-group Red Velvet.

She is now well-known in South Korea as a television presenter and personality.

In 2020 she joined up with Seulgi, who is also a member of Red Velvet, to form a duo named Red Velvet – Irene & Seulgi. 

12. Taeyang

Dong Young-bae, otherwise known as Taeyang, is a South Korean singer who started his career as the lead vocalist of the boyband Big Bang.

His solo debut came in 2010 with the album Solar, which topped the Korean charts and sold over 100,000 copies.

Taeyang has also released a number of successful singles, with the most popular being “Eyes, Nose, Lips” from his studio album Rise.

It topped the charts and has since sold over two and a half million copies in Korea alone.

13. CL

Lee Chae-rin, i.e. CL, is a Seoul-born rapper who began her career in the girl group 2NE1.

Her solo breakthrough came in 2013 with her single “The Baddest Female”, which sold over five hundred thousand copies in Korea.

In 2014 CL won the Top Female Artist award at the V Chart Awards.

She has also won Record of the Year for “Lover Like Me” at the Asian Pop Music Awards, and Most Outstanding Song of the Year for “Hwa”.

14. Baekhyun

Byun Baek-Hyun, better known by his stage name Baekhyun, debuted as a member of the boy band Exo, alongside its sub-group Exo-K.

His debut EP City Lights was released in 2019 and topped the charts in Korea, being awarded double platinum certification.

Baekhyun has won a total of twenty-six awards and has also had eighty-three nominations.

His award wins include Most Popular Singer (South Korea) at the YinYueTai V-Chart Awards and Best Male Artist at the Mnet Asian Music Awards.

15. j-hope

Jung Ho-Seok, who goes by the stage name j-hope, is a Korean singer and member of BTS.

His debut mixtape Hope World allowed him to break into the scene as a solo artist, reaching number one in the US Billboard chart and charting in eight other countries.

He has won four awards independently of BTS, including R&B Track of the Year for “Rush Hour” with Crush at the Korean Hip-Hop Awards in 2023 and Most Popular Male Artist and Artist of the Year at the MAMA Awards in 2022. 

16. Siwon

Choi Si-won, who is better known as Siwon, debuted as a member of the boy band Super Junior.

He has released five singles as a solo artist: “Worthless”, “You’re the Only One”, “Nobody but You”, “My Old Bike (Riding)” featuring UV, and “I Want Love”.

The singles were each featured in various South Korean TV shows, in which Siwon acted. 

17. SUGA

Min Yoon-gi, better known by SUGA or Agust D, is a South Korean singer and rapper who began his career as a member of BTS.

He has also had an impressive solo career, with his 2020 mixtape D-2 proving very popular, charting in ten different countries worldwide.

He has received lots of awards during his career, including being nominated for a Grammy Award for Album of the Year, for his songwriting credits on Music of the Spheres.

Other awards include Best Collaboration for “Eight” with IU.

18. Lisa

Lalisa Manobal, who goes simply as Lisa, is a Thailand-born singer and rapper.

She debuted in South Korea as a member of Blackpink and soon released music as a solo artist with her debut studio album Lalisa. It has since been certified double Platinum.

Lisa has won several solo awards, including Popular Artist of the Year at the Weibo Starlight Awards, Best K-Pop for “Lalisa” at the MTV Music Video Awards, and Korean Song of the Year for “Money” at the Joox Thailand Music Awards.

19. Hwasa

Ahn Hye-jin, who goes by the stage name Hwasa, is a South Korean singer who began her career as a member of Mamamoo, a popular girl group.

Her solo breakthrough came upon the release of her 2019 single “Twit” from her only album Maria.

Maria sold over sixty-six thousand copies in Korea and charted at number five.

The lead single from the album, “María”, has been awarded platinum certification by the KMCA after charting in five different countries. 

20. Lim Young-woong

Lim Young-woong has become well known as a trot singer after winning the reality television show Mr. Trot.

He has since released one studio album, titled Im Hero, which topped the Korean chart and sold over one million copies!

He also has three number-one hit singles: “My Starry Love”, “Our Blues, Our Life”, and “If We Ever Meet Again”.

These have led him to win seventy-nine awards, including Artist of the Year and Best Male Artist at the MAMA Awards in 2022.

21. Bae Suzy

Bae Su-ji, who goes by the stage name Bae Suzy, is a South Korean singer who made her debut in the girl band Miss A.

She has released two solo Extended Plays, Yes? No? and Faces of Love, which each sold over ten thousand copies in Korea.

Bae Suzy’s debut single “Pretend” cemented her career as a solo artist after it reached the number two spot on the Korean Circle Chart and sold over seven hundred and sixty thousand copies in Korea alone.

22. Kim Hyun-Joong

Kim Hyun-Joong is a South Korean singer and actor, and a member of the boy group SS501.

He made his solo debut with the studio album Unlimited, which reached number three in Japan and sold over one hundred thousand copies before being certified Gold.

His 2011 extended play Break Down charted at number one on the Korea Circle charts and also sold over one hundred thousand copies, leading to his next hit EP, Lucky.

He has won multiple Best Artist awards, adding to his thirty-four other award wins.

23. Chanyeol

Park Chan-yeol, better known by the stage name Chanyeol, rose to fame as a member of Exo.

His most popular solo single is “Let Me Love You”, on which he collaborated with bandmate Junggigo. It sold over one hundred thousand copies in Korea.

“Stay With Me” is another of his successful singles, and is a collaboration with Punch.

The hit won two awards: Asia OST Popularity at the Asia Model Awards in 2017 and Best Korean Single of the Year at the KKBox Music Awards in 2018.

24. Lee Seung-gi

Lee Seung-gi is thought to be one of the highest-paid stars in South Korea and is well known for his singing and acting talents.

His debut studio album The Dream of a Moth sold over forty thousand copies in Korea and charted at number seven.

Lee Seung-gi has won an impressive seventy-two awards with ninety-four nominations.

This includes three Golden Disc awards for “Will You Marry Me” and “Love Taught Me To Drink”, as well as four Mnet Asian Music Awards for “White Lie” and “Return”.

25. Suho

Kim Jun-myeon, best known by the stage name Suho, is the lead singer of the South Korean group Exo.

His debut solo extended play Self-Portrait put him on the map, selling three hundred thousand copies and later being awarded Platinum certification.

Suho has won eight awards, including the K-Wave Popularity Award at the Seoul Music Awards and the Popular K-Pop Star Award at the Click! StarWars TheFactNews Year-End Awards.

Best Korean Singers of All Time – Final Thoughts

The Korean singers in this article are responsible for the recent rise of K-pop.

They are now some of the biggest stars in the world, so you should definitely check out some of their music!

We hoped you enjoyed reading this article about the 25 best Korean singers of all time.

You may also like: Best K-Pop Songs of All Time

Will Fenton

Will, the founder of MIDDER, is a multifaceted individual with a deep passion for music and personal finance. As a self-proclaimed music and personal finance geek, he has a keen eye for futuristic technologies, especially those that empower creators and the public.

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