This is SHINee! Onew, Jonghyun, Minho, Key and Taemin!

by Helen Bosch
shinee group photo, replay
shinee group photo, replay

K-Pop Blog > Artists > SHINee

SHINee has been active in the entertainment industry for almost 14 years and has always remained relevant. The boy group is known for their strong voices, complex choreography and unique musical style that sets them apart from other K-Pop groups!

You can find some of SHINee's albums in our store!

SHINee has been referred to as the "Princes of K-Pop" since the very beginning of their career and have always set trends in music, dance and fashion! We'll give you a little insight into their impressive career so you can join in the conversation!

SHINee will always be five.

The name "SHINee" is composed of the English word "shine" and the suffix "ee". This is supposed to mean that SHINee receives light from their fans.

shinee album: the story of light ep.1 cover image

Even those who don't know the group well have probably heard that Kim Jonghyun took his own life on December 18, 2017. The news shocked not only Shawol's, as SHINee's fans are called, but generally K-pop fans worldwide. Of course his band members were especially affected. The four of them always make it clear that SHINee will always be five now and in the future. In mid-2018, for example they dedicated the song "Our Page" to Jonghyun. In the music video five microphone stands can be seen at the end, one of which is empty. In addition SHINee often leaves Jonghyun's position empty in their old choreos instead of changing the performance and most importantly, they still talk about "five" members today. Onew, Key, Taemin and Minho asked us not to forget Jonghyun and we won't.

How it all began:

On May 25, 2008, Onew, Key, Minho and Taemin and Jonghyun officially debuted with a performance to their title track "Replay." The album of the same name with four more songs was released three days before. You can even watch this first performance on Youtube!

The youngest Taemin was just 14 years old at the time! The others were 16 to 18. The album reached #8 in the Korean music charts and SHINee already won Newcomer Awards in June and August. In August the group also already released their second album "The SHINee World", which reached #3 in the charts. The title song "Love Like Oxygen" also already brought them their first win in a music show!

At least since then, the members also have their iconic nicknames, with which they introduced themselves for years. "Bling Bling Jonghyun," "Maknae Taemin," "Dubu Leader Onew," "Almighty Key," and "Flaming Charisma Minho." These nicknames can also be heard in Minho's rap in the song "The SHINee World (doo.bop)".

shinee album: amigo cover image

Two months later a repackage album titled "Amigo" was released and by the end of the year, SHINee won two more Rookie Awards and an award for Best Newcomer Album! In the next two years many more awards were added and SHINee released hit songs like "Ring Ding Dong" and "Lucifer".

Then in June 2011, the boy group debuted in Japan with a Japanese version of "Replay." It sold more than 91,000 copies in its first week and was subsequently awarded gold by the Japan Music Industry Association for selling more than 100,000 copies. As a result SHINee held the record for the best-selling Korean debut album on the Japanese Oricon charts at the time! To this day, SHINee is one of the most popular K-pop bands in Japan!

That same year, in November 2011, SHINee became the first Korean artist ever to hold an independent concert in London. The tickets were sold out in a matter of minutes! As you can imagine, things continued to be just as successful in the months and years that followed!

shinee lightstick product image

SHINee continued to build their career in Japan and can now look back on 21 Japanese albums, some of which are singles, and 17 Korean albums. In addition there are a number of soundtracks and of course solo albums.

The boy group is known for its experimental sound and its ability to serve a wide variety of genres. Accordingly SHINee's discography is very colorful. Their main genre is contemporary R&B, but already in the third album there are influences of funk rock, electronic music and rock. Deep house and techno have also found their way into the group's songs.

The latest album with Jonghyun was released on February 22, 2017.

It is called "Five" and is a Japanese album. The title couldn't be more fitting.

However, Jonghyun can actually be heard on three more albums that were released after 2017. One day after the tragic events SM Entertainment announced that the singer has already fully recorded his new solo album and has even filmed the music video for the title track "Shinin". "Poet/ Artist" was released both digitally and physically at the end of January 2018. Proceeds went to Jonghyun's mother, who has established a foundation called "Shiny Foundation" in his name to support young artists with difficulties.

On March 26, SHINee released the Japanese best of album "SHINee The Best From Now On," which includes Japanese versions of SHINee's hit songs as well as the new single "From Now On." The band performed the single back in February during their "SHINee World The Best 2018 Tour" in Japan. The song was recorded back in 2017, which is why all five members can be heard in it.

Next, the first part of the three-part "The Story Of Light" album series was released in May. The third and final part, which the band released on June 25 includes the title track "Our Page," which as mentioned in the beginning is dedicated to Jonghyun, as well as a final song by the five. "Lock You Down" had also been recorded back in 2017 and had finally found its way onto an album.

Military service

In December 2018, Onew started his mandatory military service; Key and Minho followed his example in the first half of 2019. Taemin was performing solo during that time, waiting for his group to return. Onew was discharged in July 2020 and the other two returned in September and November. Then, to the delight of fans SM Entertainment announced a new album on January 6, 2021; the first in two and a half years! "Don't Call Me" was released in late February, followed by the repackage album "Atlantis" in April. Then, on May 23, SHINee presented the Japanese single "Superstar." It was more or less a farewell gift, because six days later Taemin started his military service.

So fans will have to wait until SHINee is complete again. Taemin is expected to return in November. Since last May, Key has released a new album, Onew has starred in a musical and Minho has presented his first official solo single "Heartbreak," among others. Most recently the three, like all other SM Entertainment artists, also took part in the agency's new winter album "2021 Winter SMTOWN: SMCU Express." We are looking forward to a new year with the band and hopefully one or two more solo albums until Taemin comes back! In fact, there's something in particular that fans have been eagerly awaiting since last year: leader Onew's second solo album! In April SHINee presented a schedule for 2021. According to it, Onew should have made a comeback in November but that failed to happen. However, Key's solo album also came out later than originally planned, so we guess it's just a matter of time. We can't wait for it!


SHINee not only regularly tops the charts with their music but has also set fashion trends time and again. For example, after the release of the album "Romeo" in May 2009, the "SHINee trend" spread on the streets. People started wearing colorful skinny jeans and high top shoes like the guys in their music video for the title song Juliette. At the Style Icon Awards, SHINee was even awarded the title of "Best Style Icon."

SHINee experimented with their fashion as much as their music over the years. Key in particular has a keen interest in fashion and got the chance to work on the band's stage outfits after asking for a chance to do so. Later SHINee also wore Key's designs at concerts. The white suits he created with military-style embellishments, which he and the other members wore at a concert in 2015, are likely the most legendary. Because of the success of Key's work, he was even named a fashion director under SHINee's agency SM Entertainment!

Since we're on a bit of a roll anyway, we'll now introduce you to each of the members and their solo activities:


shinee onew image teaser: 1 and 1

Onew is the leader of SHINee, partly because he is the oldest. Two years after his debut Onew appeared in a musical for the first time. (Brothers were Brave) Also in 2010, he appeared on the theater stage for a second time for "Rock of Ages", this time playing the lead role! After that however, musical fans had to wait a long time for his return. It wasn't until 2019 that he accepted roles in the two military dramas "Shinheung Militäry Acadyemy" (lead role) and "Return: The Promise of the Day" as part of his military service. In the latter he co-starred with EXO's Xiumin and D.O! Most recently Onew was seen in 2021 as the male lead in "Midnight Sun".

Of course the talented singer is not only active in musicals! He's been hosting music and radio shows since 2010 and over the years he's also sung a few soundtracks. Among them "In Your Eyes" for "To the Beautiful You" starring SHINee's Minho! In 2016 Onew also starred in a K-drama himself. The title "Descendants of the Sun" will probably say something even to those who watch few dramas because the series was a massive success! Onew received the "Newcomer Scene Stealer" award for his role as a young doctor. It was his first and so far only role. We can only hope that he will be seen in another drama in the future!

On December 5, 2018, Onew, who is known for his unusual and beautiful voice, finally released his first solo album "Voice"! A few days later, he began his military service. Since his return in mid-2020, he has appeared in a musical and two Variety shows. One of them was the show "Sea of Hope" where he and other stars sing and cook for guests.

Next up is hopefully his second solo album!


shinee key image teaser: 1 and 1

As mentioned before Key has a great interest in fashion. He is known for being well dressed; but although he follows the trends he usually turns them into something of his own. Unusual outfits are by far not all the all-rounder has to offer! In addition his fans know him as very open and cheeky; he always has a good answer ready and often lovingly rants about his bandmates.

Key made his musical debut in 2012 in "Catch Me If You Can." He also appeared on the theater stage several times after that, most recently in "Save the Green Planet!" in 2016.

In the same year his first K-drama "Drinking Solo" was aired, having previously only made guest appearances in television series. Already in 2017 he starred again in a drama. For his role as a hacker in "The Guardians" Key even received the "Best New Actor" Award!

But this is his last series role so far, because in 2018 he decided to focus on his solo debut with his first album "Face" in November. The singer wrote four of the 10 songs himself. Only a month later, his first Japanese album "Hologram" was released and on March 4, 2019. Key then released "I Wanna Be", a repackage of "Face". On the same day he began his military service as a member of the military band, which ended a year and a half later, on September 24, 2020.

Since November, Key has also returned as a cast member in the variety show "Amazing Saturday", just like before the military, because he is also entertaining and funny! In September 2021 he released his third Korean solo album "Bad Love." The title song of the same name earned him his first win as a solo artist in a music show.

As you can see, he is always looking for new challenges and masters them. He is a real all-rounder and we are sure that in the future we will see him again in a series and maybe on the theater stage!


shinee minho image teaser: atlantis

Minho is a talented rapper who has been writing almost all of his own raps since SHINee's debut. He also enjoys playing sports and is known for being very ambitious. He puts his all into even the smallest games because he's determined to win, whether there's a prize or not! In 2019 he became a regular cast member of the variety show "Let's Go! Dream Team" where he showed off his athletic skills in countless games. Since September 2021, Minho even has his own radio show titled "Best Choice" in which he mainly covers sports news.

He also did not do things halfway during his military service in 2019/2020. He applied for the Marine Corps, one of the tougher divisions in the military, and was later recognized as an "exemplary Marine" among other things. In part because he refused to be discharged early. Indeed, because of Corona, he could have left 20 days early, which many others understandably did.

Aside from that, he has been mostly active as an actor and has played more roles in K-dramas than the other members of SHINee. Minho made his acting debut in 2010 in the movie "Pianist". Two years later he played a genius hacker, the lead role in the series "Salamander Guru and The Shadows." Until 2019 Minho starred in four more films and five series. Among them he embodied a high jumper (The lead role) in "To the Beautiful You" and a temperamental fighter in the historical series "Hwarang: The Poet Warrior Youth".

Minho has hardly released any music of his own. In 2019, his single "I'm Home" was released as part of SM Station, a digital project of SM Entertainment. However, Minho did not make his official solo debut until Dec. 21, 2021 with the single "Heartbreak." Hopefully this is a sign that we will get to hear a solo album from him soon. He is the only one from SHINee who hasn't released one yet.

Did you know that in 2017 Minho was the only K-pop star to be included in Vogue's list of "Sexiest Man Alive"?


shinee taemin image teaser: 1 and 1

Taemin is the Maknae, the youngest of SHINee who debuted at the age of 14! He is also called "Evil Maknae" because he is not sweet and innocent, but rather bold and quick-witted. The term was not coined by him, but is always used by fans for maknae's who, like him, tend to be the brash ones of the band.

In SHINee, Taemin now has the biggest solo musical career. He was also the first of the group to debut solo in 2014 with his first album "ACE". In February 2016 the second solo album "Press It" was released before the singer made his Japanese solo debut with the album "Sayonara Hitori" in June 2016.

Meanwhile, Taemin can look back on 9 Korean albums and 4 Japanese albums. He released five of his albums in just the nearly 2 years (2019/20) that his bandmates were in the military. His song "Move" from the album of the same name released in 2017 is probably most famous. The song went viral because of its distinctive choreography, which Taemin helped develop. Fans and stars imitated the moves. The trend was even dubbed "Move Disease." For the performance, Taemin received the award for Best Solo Dance Performance at the Mnet Asian Music Awards. Over all, Taemin is known as one of the best dancers in K-Pop, who also breaks gender stereotypes with his choreos.

In August 2019, SHINee's Maknae debuted for a third time! He is a member of the project group SuperM, which also includes EXO's Kai & Baekhyun, NCT 127's Mark & Taeyeong, and WayV's Lucas and Ten. The group has released two albums and several singles to date.

In April 2021, Taemin began his military service, which will end in November this year.


shinee jonghyun image teaser: 1 and 1

Jonghyun was and still is an incredibly talented singer and songwriter who has completely devoted himself to music. He made his solo debut as the second member of SHINee, after Taemin, in 2015 with the album "Base" that topped the Billboard charts and the Gaon album charts! That same year, he released "The Story Op.1," a collection of songs recorded during his radio show "MBC Blue Night". Jonghyun wrote songs for the show about the stories his listeners sent him. In May 2016, the singer presented his third album "She Is" and almost a year later, April 2017, his second compilation album "The Story Op.2."

Jonghyun wrote and composed all the songs from all his albums himself, or at least was involved in them. He has received much praise and recognition for his talent. In fact, Jonghyun has repeatedly written lyrics for songs by SHINee since 2009 and later for other artists. For example, he has written and composed "Playboy" by EXO, "No More" by Lim Kim, "Gloomy Clock" by IU, "Breathe" by Lee Hi, and "Already" by his bandmate Taemin.

In 2015, Jonghyun even published a book - Skeleton Flower: Things That Have Been Released and Set Free - in which he is talking about songwriting and his inspiration.

As previously mentioned, his fifth and final album "Poet/ Artist," which he completed before his passing in December 2017, was released in late January 2018.


The tracks of the first solo album by each SHINee member are coordinated. The fun began when Jonghyun admitted to having based the logo and title of his debut album "Base" on Taemin's "Ace". Taemin had jokingly accused him of copying him. Jonghyun wanted to express that SHINee belongs together, even if the members are on their own. Even though he himself didn't live to see it, the others continued the "plagiarism," as SHINee fans would laughingly say. Key called his first album "Face" and Onew called his "Voice".

Not only do the titles of the albums sound similar; the physical editions also have the same format and design. Anyone who didn't know better would probably assume they're all by the same artist. And that's exactly how it should be.

All that's missing now is a solo album from Minho, which will surely join this series. How about "Choice"?

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