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Behind the iconic singer: Hyuna's impressive career!

by Helen Bosch
K-Pop Star Hyuna 'Nabillera' Album Image Teaser
K-Pop Star Hyuna 'Nabillera' Album Image Teaser

K-Pop Blog > Artists > Hyuna

Hyuna is an absolute superstar, known for her daring concepts and confident image. The Korean singer can not only sing and rap, but also models and writes most of her songs herself. Hits such as "Bubble Pop!", "Red" and "Ice Cream" have repeatedly shaken up the K-pop scene and made Hyuna a true icon.

But what really sets her apart is her willingness to take risks and stay true to herself. Hyuna goes her own way and shows that you don't have to bend to be successful!

You can find a few of Hyuna's albums in our store.

If you'd like to learn more about Hyuna's remarkable career, here's a rundown of the major stages of her journey. From her beginnings in Wonder Girls, to her time in 4Minute, to her successful solo career:

  • Wonder Girls (2006 - 2007)
  • 4Minute (2009 - 2010)
  • Solo debut in January 2010!
  • Trouble Maker (Duo) (2011 - 2013)
  • 4Minute (2012 - 2016)
  • 4Minute goes separate ways
  • Hyuna Solo (2012 - 2018)
  • Hyuna & E'Dawn (2018)
  • Today
Hyuna 'I'm Not Cool' Album Image Teaser

Wonder Girls

In 2006, JYP Entertainment announced the name of their very first girl group: Wonder Girls. Today, JYP is one of the biggest K-pop labels around, known for continuously producing hits. In 2006, the label was just nine years old and was best known for its solo singer Rain, who debuted in 2000 and went on to become one of the biggest stars in all of Asia within the next few years. Undoubtedly, many K-Pop fans were eager to see if JYP's latest project would turn out to be as successful.

From December 2006 to February 2007, a reality show called "MTV Wonder Girls" ran, featuring the members: Viewers also got glimpses of the training and production of the debut album.

What was particularly exciting was that when the show began, only four members were confirmed: Sunye, Sunmi, Sohee and Hyuna. However, the group was to consist of five members. JYP held an open audition for the final spot in Wonder Girls. Within 10 days, 1,600 young talents applied. The top four participated in the final audition, which aired in the middle of the MTV Wonder Girls show. Right after the audition, Park Yeeun was announced as the winner. Just a few days after the audition, the Wonder Girls held their first showcase, where they performed several covers as well as original songs such as their debut single "Irony".

On February 13, 2007, the Wonder Girls debuted with the single album "The Wonder Begins".

Wonder Girls 'The Wonder Begins' Album Image Teaser

The title track "Irony" is still one of the most famous songs of the girl group! In addition, the album contains two more tracks: "Bad Boy", "It's Not Love" and a remix of Irony.

At the time of their debut, Hyuna, Sohee and Sunmi were just 14 years old! Yeeun and Sunye were 17.

Shortly after the release of the first album, the group formed their official fan club called "Wonderfuls". In April, another season of MTV Wonder Girls was released. There were four seasons in total, the last one aired in 2010. Hyuna hosted the music show "Show! Music Core" from May to June. together with her bandmate Sohee and Brian Joo from the duo Fly to the Sky. In mid-2007, Sohee injured herself while filming a movie, so the remaining four performed without her.

In July 2007, Hyuna left the Wonder Girls.

Hyuna during her time in Wonder Girls

Her parents were worried about Hyuna, who was struggling with health problems. These included fainting spells and chronic gastroenteritis. The latter is a common condition that causes diarrhea and vomiting.

So Hyuna was only active as a member of the girl group for about 5 months.

But her voice was still heard in all the songs from the first studio album "The Wonder Years", which was released on September 13. A few days before the release, the Wonder Girls got a new member named Yubin. However, because Yubin was added on such short notice, she is only featured in the song "Wishing in a Star". The album contains 13 tracks, including the single "Tell Me", which topped several Korean charts!

In the following years, the Wonder Girls conquered the charts again with more hits like "So Hot" (2008) and "Nobody" (2009), establishing themselves as one of the most successful K-pop groups of the time. In 2017, the iconic girl group officially disbanded.

Of course, Hyuna's idol career was far from over! In 2008, she signed a contract with Cube Entertainment and in 2009, she debuted in a new girl group:


The girl group had five members: Nam Jihyun, Heo Gayoon, Jeon Jiyoon, Kwon Soohyun and Kim Hyuna. Hyuna was the first member to be officially announced. By now she was 17 years old. She was among the younger members, as Jihyun and Gayoon were 19 and Jiyoon was 18 when they debuted. Sohyun was the maknae of the group with her 14 years.

The five debuted on June 15, 2009, a few days after Hyuna's 17th birthday, with the digital single "Hot Issue." It is also included on the first mini album "For Muzik," which the girl group released on August 28. The title track of the album is called "Muzik". It reached No. 2 on the Gaon Album Charts and both Muzik and Hot Issue were downloaded millions of times!

4Minute ended the year with the release of the Christmas single "Jingle Jingle." For their efforts, the girl group was rewarded with four Newcomer Awards in 2009. These included "Rookie of the Year" (Golden Disc Awards) and "Best New Artist Award" (Korean Entertainment Arts Award).

2010 was an exciting year for Hyuna in more ways than one. Not only did she release two successful albums with 4Minute, but she also launched her solo career!

Hyuna made her solo debut on January 4, 2010!

Previously, the singer has participated in songs by various other artists such as Lee Gikwang (BEAST / Highlight) or the Brave Brothers. Her first solo single "Change" feat Junghyung (BEAST) was a success as it reached several high chart positions; including #2 on the Gaon Digital Chart. With the song, Hyuna not only showed her potential as a solo artist from the beginning, but also directly established her now iconic bold concepts.

The Korean Ministry of Equality and Family classified the music video as 19+. Major Korean television network SBS declared it 15+.

Then on May 19, 2010, 4Minute returned with their second mini album "Hit Your Heart".

Earlier in the year, the group had held concerts in several Asian countries and released a Japanese version of "Muzik".

"Hit Your Heart" made it to the Top 3 of the Gaon Album Chart, and the title song "HuH" stayed at No. 2 on the singles chart for two weeks. About two months later, a music video for another song from the album, "I My Me Mine," was released. 4Minute again appeared in music shows with the song. In addition, in the same month, 4Minute presented a brand new single called "Superstar" for the Korean casting show "Superstar K2." And even before July ended, the girl group released a Japanese version of "I My Me Mine"!

Having already released two Japanese versions of Korean songs in 2010, the first original Japanese single "First/ Dreams Come True" followed on October 12. The official Japan debut took place on December 15, as the Japanese studio album "Diamond" was released on that day!

This year, 4Minute were again presented with four awards in four different award shows.

The year 2011 had a lot to offer again: new music from 4Minute as well as from Hyuna Solo!

4 Minute Group Image

In just one month, fans were treated to 4Minute's fourth Japanese single "Why" (March 9), digital mini-album "Heart to Heart" (March 29) and studio album "4Minutes Left" (April 5).

4Minutes Left includes songs from Diamond and Heart to Heart and brand new tracks like the title track "Mirror Mirror". The choreography to the song had to be changed for performances in music shows because a few of the moves were too provocative in their opinion. 4Minutes changed the dance moves in question and rose to #2 on the Gaon charts with the album!

Later in the year, on September 7, the group also released a Japanese version of "Heart to Heart" as their fifth Japanese single, and followed that up with a sixth Japanese single called "Ready Go" on December 6.

Bubble Pop!

Hyuna already made her solo debut in 2010 with the single "Change", but most people will probably think of the first mini album "Bubble Pop!" and the single of the same name when they think of the start of her career. On June 30, 2011, Hyuna released the pre-release single "A Bitter Day" and on July 5, 2011, the album and a music video for "Bubble Pop!" were released, which quickly turned out to be a viral hit. Within a month, the music video had been viewed over 10 million times!

With the release, Hyuna lived up to her reputation, as the Korean Media Regulatory Commission classified her video as too suggestive. As a result, promotions for Bubble Pop! were halted prematurely. But that probably didn't bother Hyuna much, because her fans clearly love her just the way she is! Moreover, she then performed "Just Follow" instead, another song from the album.

Trouble Maker (2011 - 2013)

At the end of 2011, Hyuna became part of another project. Together with Hyunseung from the boy group BEAST, she formed the duo "Trouble Maker." The two were agency colleagues because BEAST, like 4Minute, belonged to Cube Entertainment.

On December 1, 2011, the duo released their first mini album "Trouble Maker" with the title song of the same name.

A few days earlier, the pair caused a stir when they debuted their song at the 2011 Mnet Asian Music Awards. Namely, the choreography includes many provocative dance moves and a kiss on the cheek that many viewers did in fact first believe was a real kiss on the lips! It wasn't long before the choreography had to be changed because it was too sexy.

The song proved to be a big hit from the beginning, winning five trophies in music shows, three of them at M Countdown! In addition, the iconic choreography was covered in many series, shows and award ceremonies. Even today, it is still performed. For example, actor Lee Yi Kyung and singer Lee Mijoo danced to the song at the 2022 MBC Entertainment Awards!

The duo's second and currently latest album is called "Chemistry" and was released on October 28, 2013.

The music video for the title track "Now" was rated 19+. "Now" is the first and one of only five songs to reach the maximum score of 11,000 in the history of Music Show Inkigayo. The other four songs are "Good Luck" (BEAST), "Let's Not Fall in Love" (Big Bang), "Monster" (EXO) and "Boy with Luv" (BTS).

Hyuna and Hyunseung have since both left Cube Entertainment and have not released an album together since 2013. Despite this, the duo has never officially disbanded.

4Minute (2012 - 2016)

In the first two and a half years of their career, the charismatic girl group has already released a number of hits and continued their winning streak in the following years!

In 2012, the group topped the Gaon album charts with their third mini album "Volume Up" (April 9) and released their seventh Japanese single "Love Tension" in August.

Only a month later, a highlight for all Japanese fans was released: the compilation album "Best of 4Minute"!

4Minute 'Best of Minute' Compilation Album Cover

It contains all Japanese singles 4Minute released since their debut, plus some B-sides. Unfortunately, it was also the last Japanese release. In September 2013, 4Minute ended their contract with Universal Music Japan. This label was responsible for the group's activities in Japan. It also closed 4Minute's official Japanese website and Japanese fan club.

In 2013, a Korean album - the fourth mini album "Name is 4Minute" - and the summer single "Is It Poppin'?" were released.

"What's Your Name", the title track of "Name is 4Minute," topped both the Gaon Singles Chart and the Billboard Kpop Hot 100! With "Is It Poppin'?", the girl group caused discussion as Korean TV station KBS announced that it was not suitable for broadcast because it contained the word "ass".

On March 17, 2014, the fifth mini album including the single "Wait A Minute" was released. With this, 4Minute faced off against 2NE1 and Girls' Generation on the music show Inkigayo, a couple of the most popular girl groups of the second K-pop generation!

October was unfortunately the scene of a major tragedy that is still considered one of the worst accidents in K-Pop. Trigger warning: the following section deals with fatal accidents.

  • Skip

On October 17, 4Minute and some other artists were performing at an open air festival in southern Seoul. In order to see better, up to 30 spectators stood on a ventilation grate, which gave way under the load during 4Minute's performance. The spectators fell about 20 meters into an underground parking garage below. A total of 16 people died.

This again led to a debate about safety standards in South Korea. Lack of safety measures had already been an issue since the Sewol Ferry sank in April 2014. The Sewol Ferry was a ship with 476 passengers on board, of whom only 172 survived. Among the dead were mainly 250 students who were on a school trip.

Cube Entertainment released a statement about the accident the same day:
"We cannot express how much we regret what happened. [...] During their performance, neither the members nor the staff were aware of the accident and finished their entire set. It was only when they arrived back in Seoul that they learned of the news of the accident."

As in previous years, only one new album was released in both 2015 and 2016. But both were a big success: The sixth mini album "Crazy" (February 9, 2015) topped Billboard's World Albums Chart!

And the music video for "Hate", the title track from the seventh mini album "Act. 7" has already been viewed one million times in less than 24 hours! Act. 7 was unfortunately the last album of 4 Minute.

4Minute goes separate ways

On June 13, Cube Entertainment announced that 4Minute would officially disband as their contracts had expired. The label and the members could not agree on contract renewal.

4Minute Group Photo

This news was a big shock to fans, as 4Minute was at the height of their popularity. 4Minute, like Hyuna itself, was known for bold concepts as well as their hip-hop style and cool image. Especially at a time when cute and feminine concepts were still the norm for girl groups.

In the same year, other very popular second generation girl groups like 2NE1 and Kara disbanded. A golden era came to an end that fans remember fondly.

This also marked the end of an important phase in Hyuna's career. Since she was only in Wonder Girls for such a short time, many fans got to know her as a member of 4Minute. After 4Minute disbanded, Hyuna continued her solo career.

Hyuna Solo (2012 - 2018)

As mentioned above, Hyuna had already made her solo debut in 2010 and also had a very successful first album with Bubble Pop! But in 2012, her fame increased immensely and put Hyuna in the international spotlight as well. Namely, she was featured in the Psy's music video for "Gangnam Style," which was released on July 15. Not only did it become the most watched K-pop video, but it also defended its title as the most watched YouTube video ever for five years!

In August 2012, Psy released a new variant of the video titled "Oppa is Just My Style" in which Hyuna even had her own vocal parts.

The two collaborated again as Psy made a guest appearance in Hyuna's music video "Ice Cream". "Ice Cream" is the title track from their second mini album "Melting" (Oct. 22, 2012). It was the tenth Korean music video in Youtube history to be viewed 20 million times!

While still in 4Minute, Hyuna presented two more mini albums, "A Talk" including the title track "Red" in July 2014 and "A+" in August 2015. Among other things, she also got her own reality show - Hyuna's Free Month (2014) - and recorded a skit with American singer Rita Ora.

So by the time 4Minute disbanded in mid-2016, Hyuna had already long established herself as a solo artist and had proven several times that she could conquer the stage on her own! By the way, she was the only member of the girl group who stayed with Cube Entertainment. But she stayed there only for about two years.

Hyuna LIP & HIP Image Teaser

In those two years, she released two more mini albums and a single album, which again earned her high chart positions and music show trophies: 5th mini album "A'wesome" (August 2016), 6th mini album "Following" (August 2017) & the single album "Lip & Hip" (December 2017).

In between, Hyuna also debuted in a new trio called "Triple H" with Hui and E'Dawn from Cube Entertainment's boy group Pentagon. On May 1, 2017, the first mini album 199X was released. As is often the case, the music video was heavily discussed because it included controversial topics such as sex and criminality. This was followed by a reality show called "Triple H Fun Agency" and a comeback with a second mini album called "Retro Futurism" on July 18, 2018.

Two months later, Hyuna and E'Dawn were kicked out by Cube Entertainment.

Hyuna & E’Dawn

The reason was the dating rumors that broke out on August 2. Cube Entertainment denied the rumors, but Hyuna and E'Dawn confirmed in an interview on the same day that they have been dating since 2016. On September 13, Cube shocked with the news that the label was terminating the contracts with the two artists because they could no longer maintain trust. But in the weeks that followed, there was still back and forth discussion.

It was only in October that Hyuna and Cube confirmed that the singer had left the entertainment, followed by E'Dawn in November. It also meant that E'Dawn left his group Pentagon.

Both signed a contract at the end of January with the label P Nation, which the singer Psy founded in 2018.

Hyuna & E'Dawn 1+1=1 Image Teaser

After years of being busy with several projects at the same time, Hyuna took a well-deserved break.

It wasn't until November 5, 2019 that she returned with a new single called "Flower Shower". The song is also included in Hyuna's seventh mini album "I'm Not Cool." This was released on January 28, 2021, over a year after Flower Shower and over three years after the last solo album "Lip & Hip." Subsequently, fans didn't have to wait that long for something new from the singer, because in September 2021 they released the mini album "1+1=1" together with E'Dawn. It contains four tracks including the title track "Ping Pong".

Hyuna & E'Dawn 1+1=1 Image Teaser

The album was a great gift for fans of the two, who have been considered an absolute dream team for quite some time. Indeed, they were not afraid to show their love and stuck together since the beginning of their relationship. On February 3, 2022, they announced their engagement and thus happiness was perfect!

On July 20, 2022 Hyuna presented her eighth and so far last mini album "Nabillera" and the title song of the same name. As always, she had written most of her songs herself this time. Dawn also appears in the credits, having collaborated on two songs, including the title track. In fact, he was also involved in the seventh mini album "I'm Not Cool". And Psy has also contributed to the lyrics of their last two albums.

But just a month later, Hyuna announced that she was leaving Psy's label P Nation because she decided against renewing the contract. That's why she also canceled her performances with Nabillera in Music shows after just a week.

And that was not the only big change for the singer in 2022, because in November she shocked her fans with a serious Instagram post. In it, Hyuna explained that she and E'Dawn had broken up after more than six years in a relationship.


Two years ago, Hyuna spoke openly about suffering from panic disorder, depression and a disease called "vasovagal syncope". The disease causes sudden malaise and often even brief unconsciousness. We respect the singer for openly sharing her problems and always inspiring us with upbeat songs despite the difficulties.

We are excited to see what Hyuna's future will look like and we hope that she will come back with new music soon. After all these years of wowing us with her unique style and big hits, we can't imagine the K-pop scene without her!

Sources: Generasia, 4Minute Discography, Billboard, Hyuna Instagram

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