Before Big Bang's major debuted, each member had his own degree of success and popularity in the entertainment industry. Leader G-Dragon and lead vocalist Tae Yang have already been with YG Entertainment since they were both twelve years old, both known as GDYB back then (Tae Yang's real name is Young Bae). Member T.O.P was well known as an underground hip-hop rapper while Seung-ri was first introduced to the entertainment industry through the show Let's Cokeplay Battle Shinhwa.
After the lineups for the group was finally made, the television network M-net released an eleven episode documentary that showed the members in training before their debut as an official group. The first six episodes detailed each individual member's background and motivation for becoming a singer. The documentary portrayed the arduous process of training by showing their dancing and singing practice sessions. Beyond being just a behind-the-scenes reality show, the series also eliminated various candidates unfit for Big Bang. Two members, SO-1 and Seungri (Lee SeungHyun) were considered for elimination, but they were given second chances to showcase their abilities in singing, dancing, and performing. However, this eventually resulted in Yang Hyun Suk (the CEO of YG Entertainment) dropping SO-1 because he lacked stage presence and was "too shy". On the other hand, Seungri was able to successfully impress Yang with his dancing and singing skills, thus making the group. This documentary made the group members even more known before their debut in the Korean entertainment industry as Big Bang.
Before deciding on an official name for the group, the members had suggested several names, such as "Apex", "Stump," and "Diamond" before deciding upon "Big Bang."To celebrate the end of the trials and the official lineups, producer and founder of YG Entertainment Yang Hyun Suk gave each the member a custom pendant. Big Bang made their official debut at the YG Family concert, held on August 19, 2006 at the Gymnastics Arena in Seoul Olympic Park.
2006: Debut and success
The original six members of Big Bang.
Prior to the release of their first album, the group had a unique release schedule, with three EPs released within a span of a few months. Big Bang released their first single, The First Single Album, on August 29, 2006, spawning the Top Ten-hit single "This Love", a remake of the American boy band Maroon 5's own single. The single debuted with 17,159 copies sold in the month of August and later went on to sell approximately 39,655 copies. Big Bang's second single Big Bang is V.I.P. was released a month later on September 28, 2006, selling 21,000 copies in that month. It finally netted sales of 32,503 copies. On November 22, 2006 they released their third single entitled B I G B A N G 0 3, following the success of their previous singles with the final sale of 29,138 copies.
Later in the year, Big Bang's own official fan club was created, calling themselves the "V.I.P." (in reflection of their second single "Big Bang is V.I.P."). Unlike other fan clubs, Big Bang's fans do not have a balloon color for showing support at concerts; instead, fans wave black and white BB (obviously standing for Big Bang) handkerchiefs/bandannas.
At the end of December 2006, Big Bang held their very first concert titled The Real. They also released a music video of their song "My Girl", which featured member Tae Yang as the soloist. The following month, their first debut album Since 2007, which was essentially a compilation of songs from their previous singles, was released; it sold 48,009 copies by the end of February 2007.
2007: "Lies" and breakthrough success
On February 8, 2007, Big Bang released their live concert album entitled 1st Concert Live Album - The Real, which sold 26,787 copies by the end of 2007. From May through to July 2007, the group also held their first national tour concert in Korea, with the headline Want You, touring a total of five cities: Incheon, Daegu, Changwon, Jeonju and Busan.
Despite being fairly new, the members dissolved into their own solo activities for 2007. Lead vocalist Tae Yang was expected to release a solo single in September 2007, which would have made him the first member to do so. According to representatives for YG’s Yang Hyun-suk, this solo endeavor came about as a result of Tae-yang’s recent performances as well as his vocal contributions to another artist under the same management Lexy’s album. Despite the rumours, it would be a year later that Tae Yang would release his solo album. Another member, T.O.P. (Tempo), was also cast into the drama I Am Sam and was also featured in Red Roc's music video for "Hello," where he shaved his hair. Other Big Bang members have featured in various songs, with Dae Sung in Nemo's digital single, "이제,우리.." ("Now, Us"), released on October 15, 2007. G-Dragon was featured in "So In Love Part 2" and Tae Yang in "조금만 사랑할걸" ("I Should've Loved You only a Little"), both songs from renowned Korean artist Kim Jo Han's album Soul Family with JOHAN, released on October 25, 2007.
After the solo activities, Big Bang rejoined together to released the first of their mini albums in August, entitled Always, with the group holding a Showcase/Fanmeeting for promotional activities. Taking control over their music, leader G-Dragon took charge on producing and writing some of the songs on the album. The mini-album was released to positive reviews from fans and critics alike, especially the song "거짓말," ("Lies") which group leader G-Dragon wrote and composed. The song became the group's first song to be a breakout hit, reaching number-one on SBS's Popular Songs show on September 9, 2007, their first to do so, follow by MBC's Music Core, KBS's Music Bank and Mnet's Countdown and numerous online and offline charts for many consecutive weeks. However, despite the success, G-Dragon was accused of copying a chord from FreeTempo's "Sky High" for "Lies". Avoiding the controversy, Big Bang then went on to release their the title track from Always as their second single, with the music video being filmed in Hawaii. The music video was released in November 2007.
The mini-album was successful enough for Big Bang to collect numerous awards by the end of 2007, including "Best Male Group" and "Song Of The Year" from the 2007 M.NET/KM Music Festival. Later in 2008, Big Bang also collected the prestigious "Daesang" from the 17th Seoul Music Awards.
To capitalize the success of their mini-album, Big Bang announced that they were going to release an official album in November; however, another mini album was released instead, entitled Hot Issue. The album yielded another strong single for the group, "Last Farewell," mirroring the success of "거짓말 (Lies)" and topping various music charts and winning "Song of the Month Digital Music Award" from Cyworld yet again, beating strong competitors such as Girls' Generation, Wonder Girls and F.T. Island. It also topped Juke-On's chart for eight consecutive weeks.
Big Bang held their second round of concerts on the 28th of December to the 30th, with the headline Big Bang Is Great, where tickets were reportedly sold out in 10 minutes. Despite this, various members were hospitalized due to sickness and injuries from over performing and exhaustion, thus halting and limiting their promotional activities for a while. A representative for YG Entertainment then addressed the issue by stating that though the group would perform at the MBC Music Festival on the 31st, they would cancel everything else on their schedule for the first week of next year. It was later reported in the year that Big Bang's albums and singles have been in high demand, causing the record company to reprint and repackage it for re-releases.
2008: Expanding overseas and solo activities
After the breakthrough success in South Korea, Big Bang ventured out overseas towards Japan. Kicking off 2008, their first Japanese album For the World was released, with previous singles appearing on the album, in addition to a Japan-only song, "How Gee" (a new remix version from "How Gee" by Black Machine). All their previous songs were also re-recorded in English. For The World debuted at #14 on the Oricon chart (the official music chart in Japan) and eventually crawled its way to #10, despite lack of promotions. On the 28th and 29th of March, Big Bang held their own concert in JCB hall in Tokyo Dome City. The group then proceeded to release a 4th mini-album in late May titled With U, with a corresponding single of the same name. Aside from the title single, the mini-album included many of their earlier hits, such as "Last Farewell" and "This Love", rerecorded in English. The solo song "My Girl", sung by Tae Yang, was also rerecorded into Japanese.
Upon returning to Korea soon after their Japanese activities, the members separated into their own individual solo activities. While the youngest member, Seungri, tried his luck in theatre by starring in musicals such as Sonagi (based on the popular, classic novel) earlier the year and is set to act in his first movie, "Why did you come home?" starring Kang Hae-Jung (which will release in theaters in November), member Tae Yang finally released his anticipated solo mini-album, Hot, which proved to be a success, topping online and public charts with its lead single, "Look At Me Only". The decidedly R&B album and its lead single was heavily choreographed with dance moves that were later parodied by many comedians. G-Dragon soon after released a digital remake version of the single entitled "Look Only at Me 2", which was not as heavily promoted. Instead, G-Dragon spent much of the first half of the year composing and producing songs for other artists, such as collaborating with pop-star Uhm Jung Hwa in her album, Disco. Dae-Sung also released a digital single — surprisingly, it was a trot number titled, "Gwisoon, Look at Me" (a composition-gift from G-Dragon) that was rather successful. While promoting the single, he spent time on variety programs, regularly appearing in SBS Yoo Jae-Suk's "Family Outing". T.O.P, on the other hand, collaborated with several artists, being featured in several popular singles such as Gummy's I'm Sorry and Uhm Jung Hwa's Disco.
On August 8, 2008, Big Bang reunited to release their 3rd mini-album, Stand Up — which featured collaborations with the group Daishi Dance, and Korean rock-band No-Brain in their latest punk rock single Oh My Friend — promoting it with the lead song, "Day After Day" (하루하루). Like previous albums, leader G-Dragon was heavily involved with the production of the album, having compose and written a majority of the songs with the exception of "A Good Man" - which was composed by fellow group member T.O.P. The mini-album had exceeded the 100,000 mark for sales, a breakthrough for the group.
Stand Up has so far yielded some of Big Bang's strongest singles, with the lead single "Day After Day" topping several online charts and staying at the number-one spot for 6 consecutive weeks. In addition, severals of their songs also made it to the Top 20 of the charts, with "Heaven" at the number two spot, "Oh My Friend" being ninth, "Nice Person" at twelfth and "Lady" being sixteenth - a total of five songs in the Top 20 for the group.
On the 6th of October 2008, Big Bang's title track "Number 1" from their album of the same name was leaked onto the internet. This is their 3rd Japanese album, and their first full one.
On the day of it's release on the 22nd of October 2008, Big Bang's "Number 1" reached 3rd on Japan's Oricon album chart. They were the only new act to be on the chart at the same time.
A few months after Stand Up, Big Bang was propelled to make another album. Now Big Bang has put out a album titled Remember which is a anticipated success. The album contains songs from their past album which have been remixed or modified. It also contains new songs such as Sunset Glow (붉은노을) which is a song that has been redone by many artists, but gives the song a whole new side. It also features a song called Strong Baby which is a solo by Seung-Ri. The song Sunset Glow has already reached number 1 in many charts and many of the album's songs are rising in rank. Lee Moon Sae (the singer of the original) has praised Big Bang on their rendition of Sunset Glow (붉은노을) stating that it was his favourite version of it so far.
Big Bang's music style can be classified for the most part as hip pop music (as seen with the songs "La, La, La" and "Good Bye Baby"), with a little vibe of R&B (as seen with the songs "We Belong Together" and "A Fool's Only Tear"), dance ("Shake It") and mainstream ("This Love") music. Finally, becoming the greatest hit songs of 2007, (as seen with the songs "Lies", "Last Farewell", "Day By Day") electronica is seemingly becoming the new music trend in Korea. However, the members have branched out into different genres in their solo work, including singing ballads and mainstream pop music. Big Bang even once mentioned in an interview that if they want to, they might do trot someday. Dae Sung's new digital single, Look at Me, GwiSun (날 봐, 귀순) consists of a trot song, which has been somewhat controversial considering Big Bang's primary focus on hip-hop.
Big Bang often contribute to writing lyrics for their own music as well as composing despite only debuting in 2006. The most notable from the group to compose and write is leader G-Dragon, as he has composed and written numerous songs for the group, including "Lies" and "Last Farewell", which would later become the group's gateway to stardom. Aside from G-Dragon, the others members have contributed to writing lyrics as well. On a whole, Big Bang has received praises from critics, fans, and other singers alike for contributions to their own materials.
Big Bang often rely on free style and street dancing (as evidenced in their music video for "Good Bye Baby"). They also do break dancing as well. Like the popular boy band Shinhwa, Big Bang's own unique style of dancing is credited to a member of theirs, Seung-ri. Seung-ri has choreographed some of Big Bang's moves (such as jump rope dance from Last Farewell) and has been noted for this.
Image and cultural impact
While most Korean boy bands at the time depended on the "cute" image concept to attract audience and fans, Big Bang instead adopted the "hip hop" image concept, with some of the members slanting their caps in many promotional photos and even having cornrows (most notably Tae Yang) during the early days of their career. The group continued this image concept for the rest of 2006 and into 2007 until the release of their mini-album Always, which showcased the group in a more preppy-ish punk style, sporting modern day fashion (such as the skinny jeans with the converse as seen within the music video of their song "Lie"). Moving further away from the "thug" look, Tae Yang also cut off his cornrows into a buzz cut. Additionally, Big Bang has been noted for being a fashionable group, inspiring teenagers with street-originated flamboyant style.
Big Bang's unique and urban hip-hop sense of style has quickly become popular in Korea as a result, known as the "Big Bang fashion." Usually, the group prefers brands such as Bape, 10 deep, Louis Vuitton, Vivienne Westwood, Phenomenon, and others and are often seen in customized printed hoodies. The group has been noted as well to have brought back the old school fashion, high-top shoes, such as the Nike and Reebok high-top shoes.
Leader G-Dragon is consider by many to be the most fashionable one of the group, where he tends to wear triangular scarves (shemagh) around his neck, known as "Big Bang scarves" or "Jung Ryu Won scarves", when the actress of the same name began to sport them as well. Additionally, member T.O.P. is also seen sporting sunglasses, especially those worn by American rapper Kanye West. Big Bang's fashion trend is well known throughout the internet fashion portals, thus making them one of the most sought after artists for endorsement products. The group's unique imagery and fashion has led them to release their own fragrance, entitled "BB Bud's My First Fragrance (나의 첫번째 향기)" in early 2007.
Kwon Ji Yong (often known as G-Dragon or GD (용/yong in Korean means Dragon), though he prefers to be called Kwon Leader) is the leader and a widely accepted singer-songwriter, winning 'Songwriter Award' in 2007 MKMF (Mnet Km Music Festival). His composing skill made Big Bang an only boy band which have producer as a member after Seo Taiji & Boys and Deux in South Korea. When Ji Yong was seven years old, he was chosen as one of the members in little Roora. G-dragon has been trained by the YG Family since he was 12 years old along with the fellow Big Bang member, Tae Yang. During their training, they were known as GDYB. The two have done collaborative work with the hip hop group Jinusean. The two have started out in music videos performing in small parts of the music videos.
Although the group in general is considered fashionable, G-Dragon especially is regarded as having a great sense of fashion. He even showed his interest to major in fashion.
G-Dragon has also released his debut digital single on June 30th.
Tae Yang (born Dong Young Bae) has been with G-D in YG Entertainment since he was 12. He started out as a rapper but is now the main vocalist of Big Bang. He was known for being scared of girls, and is still known as the shy, sweet, thoughtful and sensitive one in the group. Currently, Tae Yang is working on his first solo album. Tae Yang will be the first one to release the solo album from Big Bang.] He had been working on this album for a long time so Tae Yang himself has had big expectations for it.
The mini-album was released on May 22, 2008, entitled HOT. Consisting solely of hip-hop and R&B songs, the first single to be released was "나만 바라봐" ("Look Only at Me").
The "Big Brother" of the band is Choi Seung Hyun, also known as Tempo or T.O.P. YG staff members call him Keun Seung Hyun, meaning Big Seung Hyun, to distinguish between the fellow Big Bang member also named Seung Hyun. Before joining Big Bang, he was a star performer in underground hip-hop clubs and even won KBS Radio's "Rap Battle" in 2003. Tempo is one of the two rappers in the Big Bang and is also very talented in beat-boxing. Recently, TOP has successfully finished filming his role as the school's top fighter in a Korean drama called I Am Sam. His character's name in the drama was Chae Mu Shin(Musin) and his talent as an actor has impressed the fans and the viewers. At the end of 2007, Big Bang was invited to SBS music award festival and performed Hot Issue songs. T.O.P, however, could not come because he collapsed. In 2008, he will star in a new drama. He starred in Red Roc's music video for the song "Hello", in which he shaved his head. TOP is in Gummy's music video, "미안해요" (I'm Sorry) along with Sandara Park. It was announced that he would be starring in a drama with Lee Byung Hun in 2009. The drama would be called IRIS.
Kang Dae Sung is a vocalist in Big Bang. During the auditions, Dae Sung was called "Unpretty Boy" and "ugly", but later, the staff team confirmed that Daesung is actually the most popular member in Big Bang. Dae Sung has an obsession with "Doraemon", a Japanese animation. Dae Sung has been also been known as "Gag/Comedy Genius Dae Sung" (Gae Chun Dae Sung in Korean) with his great sense of humor and unique talent in imitating famous people and even animals. He is now also known as D-Lite. Dae Sung released a digital song, titled. "날 봐, 귀순" ("Look At Me, Gwi-soon") on June 16, 2008. The fact that it was a trot song did not sit well with some fans.
In the fall of 2008, Dae Sung became the second Big Bang member to star in a musical, playing the role of Tum Tum in the Korean production of Cats. Dae Sung has also become a permanent of the reality-variety show Family Outing on SBS, on which he revealed that his IQ was 110 points.
Lee Seung Hyun, or known as "Seung Ri", is the "Little Brother" of Big Bang. His name when Big Bang debuted, was "V" which is derived from Victory. YG's staff call him "Mak-nae", which means "the youngest or baby in a family". Before joining Big Bang, Seung Ri was on "Battle Shinhwa", a show that was searching for the second Shinhwa, which was one of the most successful Korean boy bands to date, next to H.O.T. However, he was rejected in the 13th episode because even though he was a great dancer, his vocals failed to impress. However, the manager of YG recognized his talent and invited him to practice with the YG Family. Before Big Bang, he was a member of Il Hwa, a Kwangjoo dance team. Seung Ri's greatest talents are dancing and choreographing dance routines.
While on hiatus from the group, Seung Ri debuted as a musical actor on Sonagi from April to May 2008. Seung Ri has been showing his interest in the musical and passed the audition held by Seoul musical team.
Seung Ri also filmed his first film role in June 2008. Titled 우리집에 왜 왔니 ("Why Did You Come to Our House?"), the film also stars Kang Hye Jung and featured Seung Ri as Kang's first love. The film is scheduled to be released at the end of 2008.
SO-1, commonly referred to as Jang Hyun Seung, was dropped from Big Bang in the ninth episode of their documentary, which was shown on GOM Television. He was considered to be a great singer and had a "pretty face". Unfortunately, he did not pass the audition to become a member in Big Bang due to his shyness on stage. He is no longer with YG family.
* Cyworld: Rookie of the Month
* Cyworld: Song of the Month: Lies (August)
* Cyworld: Song of the Month: Lies (September)
* 2007 M.NET/KM Music Festival: Song of the Year
* 2007 M.NET/KM Music Festival: Best Male Group
* 2007 M.NET/KM Music Festival: Music Arrangement
* 2007 22nd Annual Golden Disk Awards: Bonsang (Dirty Cash)
* SBS Inkigayo Awards: Gold Award
* Asian Music Extreme Awards: Best Asian Newcomer/Breakthrough for French People
* Asian Music Extreme Awards: Always - Best Asian Hip-Hop Album
* Cyworld: December Song of the Month (Last Farewell)
* 17th Seoul Music Awards: Digital Music Award
* 17th Seoul Music Awards: Top Artist Award
* 17th Seoul Music Awards: Artist Of The Year
* 5th Annual Korean People's Music Choice Award. Netizen Award : Dance & Electronic Section Prize
* 2008 Nick Korea Kids Choice Awards: Best Male Singer
* 2008 Mnet's 20 Choice Award: Hot Trend Musician
* SBS Inkigayo (August 24): Mutizen
* M!Countdown (August 28): Number 1 Song - Haru Haru
* M!Countdown (September 4): Number 1 Song - Haru Haru
* M!Countdown (September 25): Number 1 Song - Haru Haru
* Cyworld: Song of the Month: Haru Haru (September)
* Cyworld: Song of the Month: Haru Haru (October)
* Mnet KM Music Festival 2008(November 15): Best Male Group
* Mnet KM Music Festival 2008(November 15): Artist Of The Year
* Mnet KM Music Festival 2008(November 15): Best Music Digital
* Mnet KM Music Festival 2008(November 15): Mnet Music Portal
Further information: Big Bang discography
* Volume 1: Since 2007 (December 21, 2006)
* Volume 2: Remember (November 5, 2008)
* Volume 1: Number 1 (October 22, 2008)
* 1st: The First Single Album (August 28, 2006)
* 2nd: Big Bang is V.I.P. (September 28, 2006)
* 3rd: B I G B A N G 0 3 (November 21, 2006)
* 1st: Tae Yang - Hot (May 22, 2008) EP
* 2nd: Dae Sung - 날 봐 귀순 (June 19, 2008) Digital Single
* 3rd: G-Dragon - 나만 바라봐 Part 2 (June 30, 2008) Digital Single
* Volume 1: Always (August 16, 2007)
* Volume 2: Hot Issue (November 22, 2007)
* Volume 3: For The World (January 4, 2008)
* Volume 4: With U (May 28, 2008)
* Volume 5: Stand Up (August 8, 2008)
* The Real Concert December 2006
* Want You (Tour Concert) May 2007
* Big Bang is G.R.E.A.T December 2007
* Global Warning (Tour Concert) June 2008
* Stand Up (Tour Concert) November 2008
* Shine a Light Concert (more info will be added later)