Dong Young-bae (born May 18, 1988), better known by his stage name Taeyang (Hangul: 태양, meaning Solar), is a South Korean recording artist and entertainer. Taeyang began training under YG Entertainment at the age of 12 alongside fellow member and leader G-Dragon. After six years of vocal and dance training he made his debut in 2006 as a member of BIGBANG. In 2008, Taeyang released his debut mini-album "Hot". On July 1, 2010, he released his first full-length album titled "Solar".
Taeyang's first appearance in the entertainment industry was in the hip-hop group Jinusean's music video "A-yo". the collaboration eventually lead him to successfully auditioning into the group's record label YG Entertainment, where he became one of the rappers alongside fellow trainee G-Dragon. The two were later coined as GDYB. In 2003, Dong provided the rap verse in singer Wheesung’s single "Player" on the latter's second album.
Although Taeyang was scheduled to debut alongside G-Dragon as the duo GDYB, the plan was scrapped by their record label. Instead, they were joined by four other trainees (T.O.P, Daesung, Seungri, and So-1) to form the group Big Bang. Before their official debut, however, Sol-1 was dropped and their final lineup consisted of five members. Choosing the stage-name Taeyang (Korean: 태양, meaning sun), Dong abandoned the idea of rapping to focus on singing. The group's formation was documented on television. Although their debut was fairly successful, the group reached mainstream success with the release of their mini-album Always, which yielded the number-one song "Lies" followed by "Last Farewell" from the mini-album Hot Issue and "Day by Day" from Stand Up, both chart-toppers.
After contributions to singer Lexy's album, Taeyang was scheduled to release a solo album. Initially scheduled for a September release, the project was pushed back due to conflicting schedules with his group. Taeyang released his debut mini-album Hot on May 22, 2008, backed by a production team that included Teddy, Yang Hyun Suk, Kush, and his fellow member G-Dragon. Moving beyond the hip-hop genre of Big Bang, Taeyang incorporated mainly R&B songs into his album, stating that it was his "main focus". He expressed disappointment with the album, however, admitting that he did not write any of the songs; he later stated that he would do so in the future to express his "thoughts and ideas."
Taeyang's first mini-album Hot was well received by fans and critics alike, winning two trophies from The 7th Korean Music Awards for the 2008 Best R&B/Soul Song (나만 바라봐, "Only Look At Me") and the 2008 Best R&B/Soul Album (Hot).(Korean) He is the first "Idol group" or boyband member to receive such awards. The first single released was "Only Look At Me" (Korean: 나만 바라봐), an R&B song written by Teddy and Kush. Taeyang stated that the lyrics come from the perspective of a man who is "selfish" for wanting his girlfriend to be with him only, regardless of how he treats her. G-Dragon later recorded a "Part Two" version to the song. The second single was "Prayer (Korean: 기도)" which featured Teddy of 1TYM. Promotional videos were shot for both. In support of his album, he also staged his first solo concert, Hot.
Throughout the majority of 2009, Taeyang contributed to his group's activities, recording the song "Lollipop" with his group and labelmate 2NE1. He later flew to Japan to promote the group's Japanese albums. After activities ended, he went back to the studio to record and release his first digital single "Where U At", followed by another digital single, "Wedding Dress". Taeyang took his first attempt at composing by co-writing both songs with Teddy. Promotional videos were filmed for both "Where U At" and "Wedding Dress." "Wedding Dress" was voted #3 on an online poll for a Dutch radio station.
Taeyang's first full-length album Solar was released on July 1, 2010. Two versions of this album - the “Regular Edition” and the “Deluxe Edition” - was released. The regular edition contained 11 songs, while the deluxe edition, limited to 30,000 copies worldwide, had 13 songs, including “Only Look At Me” and “Prayer" from the previous album Hot. On the first day of sales for the limited Deluxe Edition of Solar, the 30,000 copies released by YG entertainment were sold out in online and offline stores.
On July 7, 2010, Taeyang released his solo album Solar on the iTunes for the first time in his music career. On July 9, 2010, Solar hit second place on iTunes' Top R&B-Soul albums chart in the United States and first place in Canada, making him the first Asian musician in history to attain such an achievement. The lead-single was "I Need A Girl" featuring his bandmate G-Dragon. His labelmate Sandara Park of 2NE1 starred in the music video for "I Need A Girl." The second single, "I'll Be There" and its music video were premiered on August 19, 2010 through Taeyang's official Youtube channel.
Taeyang's first international album, Solar International, breaks new ground as it will be the first ever K-Pop music release to be sold worldwide on iTunes as both an audio and video album. The audio version (complete with a digital booklet) hit iTunes stores on August 25, 2010 while the video version (bundled with bonus, behind the scenes documentaries) will arrive by September 10, 2010. The audio album combines both English and Korean hits from his past and present albums including "I'll Be There", "Connection (feat. BIG TONE), "Wedding Dress" and "I Need A Girl (feat. G-Dragon)." On August 26, 2010, Solar's International album made it to fifth place on iTunes' Top R&B-Soul albums chart in the United States, China and Japan, and third place in Canada.
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