Wed. Jul 24th, 2024

12 Current And Former Underrated Male Idols Who Released Solo Music In 2021’s First Quarter

2021 is in full swing and has already been a massive year for K-pop with a whirlwind of debuts, disbandments, huge comebacks, and unexpected success stories!

It’s also been an eventful year for solo releases, from big name acts and lesser known idols in particular, taking new strides in their careers through solo debuts and comebacks to add to their expanding individual discographies.

Let’s take a look at some of the underrated boy group members, both former and current, active and inactive, who have released solo music in the first three months of 2021!

Kim Jeong_uk (ex-24K)

Following a steady stream of releases throughout 2020, 24K-member-turned-independent-artist Kim Jeong_uk kicked off the new year with “Write A Letter” on January 14th KST. The rapper and singer didn’t stop there, announcing his 2nd EP entitled l o v e shortly after.

Released on March 15th KST, the 5-track EP contains 4 new songs in addition to “Write A Letter.” It includes title track “Away From Home” and presents a variety of different emotions and concepts, showcasing Jeong_uk’s diverse skills in melodic vocals, rhythmic raps, and creative production skills.

Jeong_uk serves as the executive producer of the record and wrote the lyrics for each song. Meanwhile, he shares their composition and arrangement credits with artists and producers midsummer, Taha, Underwood, and Eric Godlow.

Løgin (ex-Seven O’Clock, formerly Vaan, Model Mob)

On January 21st KST, the rapper formerly known as Vaan came to reintroduce himself as Løgin with a pre-debut single, “SANTAFE.”

The former Seven O’Clock member revealed his new beginning via Instagram saying that, “After 4 years of performing as ‘Vaan,’ I’ve decided to start anew as ‘Løgin’ – hope y’all are ready for my new music.” “SANTAFE” was written and executively produced by Løgin and shows off his hard-hitting rap flow and eccentric personality. 

Løgin was a member of Seven O’Clock for a year and a half, staying with them from debut until 2018. He and the group remained friends and are often seen interacting on Instagram to the delight of fans. 2020 saw Løgin (as Vaan) debut as one-half of hip-hop duo Model Mob alongside rapper Tagger in the futuristic EDM/hip-hop mashup, “Running From Network.”

SPAX (ex-BLANC7)

After spending most of his 2020 in Brazil (being being unable to leave due to COVID-19 travel restrictions while on tour), b-boy and vocalist SPAX utilized his time as any artist would — by working on more music.

The former member of idol boy group BLANC7 kicked off 2021 by releasing two songs during the first quarter of the year and more set to drop along the way! 

“With U” is a romantic song released on January 27th KST. It was produced by LAEN who has previously worked with SPAX on his first solo release, “Fresh Air,” and its follow-up, “Beautiful.” Meanwhile, March 12th KST saw a remake of “3am,6am” which was originally SHATEAU’s 2020 track.

The duo had collaborated frequently since their time in Brazil, with SPAX featuring on a number of tracks by the prominent Korean DJ and producer.

Donghyeon (LU4US, formerly LU:KUS, L.A.U)

Donghyeon from boy group LU4US is perhaps one of the most underrated power vocalists in K-pop. Debuted in 2011 as a member of disbanded group X-5 (alongside former LU4US members Haewon and Jinhwan), he is one of the most senior idol on this list!

He made his solo debut in 2020 with the release of “If I Could Meet You Again” and a follow-up track called “Moody Night.” The LU4US leader continued to add to his solo discography in the first quarter of 2021 with the release of two more singles. 

The heart-wrenching ballad “Breaking Up” was released on February 5th KST, marking his first solo song to be accompanied by a music video. It was thanks to this that the singer was able to show off his acting abilities through a dramatic and emotional performance.  

Donghyeon’s fourth single “Windy Day” is his first solo track that is not released independently and saw the musician joining forces with label Localhigh Records for its March 20th KST release. Both songs were written by Donghyeon who composed and produced the tracks with fellow LU4US member, frequent collaborator, and prominent solo artist, Choi

Jeongmin (ex-BOYFRIEND)

In 2020, former idol-group-member-turned-singer-songwriter Jeongmin ended his contract with Araline, the company he launched with Sweetune co-founder Han Jaeho. Now under Cross Phase Ent. with producer 9F as CEO, Jeongmin hit the ground running this year with ambitious releases to mark the next chapter in his solo career. 

On February 17th KST, he released “#YOUNG” which features a sweet melodic tune matched with a surprising trap-style beat and fierce rap from hip-hop artist Rockett. The song was written and composed by the former BOYFRIEND member and 9F who also produced the record. The latter has recently been working on music for Starship Entertainment groups, Monsta X and Cravity. Its music video was filmed in Jeju Island and sees Jeongmin showing off his acting skills amongst the beautiful scenery.

His latest single “Bandi” dropped on March 27th KST and is once again a creative collaboration by Jeongmin and 9F. The sound of a harmonic piano and an acoustic guitar combined with a stratospheric electric guitar takes this illuminating song to power-ballad status!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plFpUdvI-BI

Narachan, Roda (M.O.N.T)

2020 was a big year for FM Entertainment trio M.O.N.T with the release of the group’s 3rd mini-album Listen Up! and member Bitsaeon’s enlistment. The two remaining members, Narachan and Roda, have been busy so far in 2021 working hard on solo music! 

“Beautiful Sunday” is the second solo song by Narachan (following last year’s “September Hills“) and was released on February 19th KST. It is about feeling happy for no reason and was written by Narachan who then co-composed it with Roda.

March 26th KST saw Roda sharing his second solo track (after Listen Up!‘s “Lethargy“) entitled “Anxious” which he wrote, composed, and arranged all by himself. The song’s music video features artwork personally painted by the rapper which represents various aspects of anxiety.

The youngest member of the team also opened up an online gallery titled “Gallery De Roda” where he displays eight pieces of art complete with detailed descriptions of his creative process (written in both English and Korean). Click here to visit the online gallery!

WOOSOO (ex-MASC, E7)

Former MASC leader (and ex-member of E7) Woosoo dropped “Because Of You” on March 5th KST, marking the first time that he made a solo release since the group’s disbandment back in late 2020. It shows a sentimental side of the vocalist who co-wrote the lyrics. Composer Hong Seungmin and lyricist Kim Heejung (who had worked together on ex-RAINZ member Seongri’s “If It Wasn’t You”) also participated on the track. 

Yonghyeon (TST, formerly known as TopSecret)

Kwon Yonghyeon, member of boy group TST, participated in a project single with hip-hop R&B artist Woonie last March 16th KST.

“Want” is an ambitious track merging alternative rock with pop and hip-hop elements that captivates the listener right from the first notes. It was written by Woonie who also composed the track with producer, Los Park. Many fans anticipated Yonghyeon’s first official song as a soloist and he was able to showcase a vastly different charm from his usual character as TST’s youngest member. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UfP1k4MW_yg

JVDE MILEZ (ex-BIGSTAR, formerly Jude)

Teaming up with close friend Kyle Lo (who is a K-hip-hop/R&B artist and producer), former BIGSTAR member Jvde Milez released Should I get back on it? on March 18th KST.

The single contains two addictive tracks that highlights both artists’ unique musical sensibilities and chemistry. The heavy trap beats combined with chill melodic synths and the luscious vocals gives each song a flawless transition between R&B to hip-hop. Each track was written and composed by Kyle Lo and Jvde Milez while additional composition and arrangements were made by producers August 42 and Jabel (on “WHY NOW?”) and Cog (on “F.O.L (FRIENDS OR LOVERS)”)

Earth Kim (ex-HIGH4, formerly Kim Sunggu)

The distinct raspy vocals of Kim Sunggu was a beloved staple to HIGH4’s unique sound, lending a charming boost whenever the group’s classic collaboration with IU, “Not Spring, Love, Or Cherry Blossoms” starts playing.

The former HIGH4 leader has now returned as soloist Earth Kim (김지구, pronounced: Kim Jigu) with “Say What You Want” on March 23rd KST. The title track off LTM (Listen To Me) is the singer’s first single in four years after the release of his pre-enlistment debut with “My Song” which was under the stage name Reno (a production created with long-time close friend and former MBLAQ member, Thunder).

“Say What You Want” marks Earth Kim’s debut with new agency HH MUSIC and is a pop-style R&B song. It was written and composed internationally-renowned production companies, The HUB and makeumine works. The music video showcases impressive cinematography and visuals as well as stunning choreography performed by contemporary dancer Lee Suntae from survival program, “Dancing9.” 

from20 (ex-BIGSTAR, formerly Raehwan)

After officially leaving former agency Brave Entertainment and helping establish The Faker Club (a company with Na Ungjae of IMFACT), former BIGSTAR member Raehwan has made a brand new start as soloist, from20. He made his debut on March 28th KST with the first single 20; Still Greedy For Juicy, I’m Kissing This 20. It contains two tracks which were fully written, composed, arranged, and executively produced by from20.

“Cigarettes & You” is a dreamy electronic R&B track layered with emotional harmonies and a sincere vocal performance by from20. The song feels like a breath of fresh air, not simply in it’s sound but in the feeling of freedom the singer-songwriter puts forth creatively. The music video shows from20’s skills in expressing dramatic and heartfelt acting that perfectly embodies the song’s concept and vibe.

“from20” is a completely different track, going instead for a band-oriented, feel-good pop-rock sound with its lyrics sung entirely in English. The authenticity of the vocal performance and instrumentation feels just as powerful and elevating as his first track. Through his music, from20 acknowledges hard times while still being optimistic about life, it’s a refreshingly candid message many can surely relate to.

Let us know your thoughts by tweeting to us @whatthekpop1 or leaving us a comment on Facebook and Instagram!

Justin is a K-pop fan from Australia who is passionate about shining a light on underrated and lesser known groups and artists. A lover of all types of music, devoted television drama and soap opera fan, and occasional video game nerd. 

Featured Image: HH MUSIC, Cross Phase Ent., NeWave MVMT

MEDIA: As Credited

ByJustin