Last year, SM Entertainment announced that they would release lots of solos of their artists this year. And with only a month into 2015, Jonghyun already debuted and Amber and Taeyeon are getting ready for theirs. But SM is not the only label following the soloist trend. Teen Top’s Neil is also getting ready for his project. And while we all can’t wait for all these debuts, there are some artists we would rather be seeing on stage by themselves. That’s why we came up with this list of popular K-Pop artists we want to see go solo soon.
1. 2NE1’s Minzy
It seems that everyone in 2NE1 has had the spotlight on them, some more than the others, at least once –except for Minzy. Sure, the maknae gets to shake it on her dance solos during their group concerts, but everyone seems to be fixated on Bom’s vocals, Dara’s beauty and quirky self, and CL’s, well, CL-ness. But Minzy has been riding in the backseat to her unnies’ fame for too long.
Even though the rest of the 2NE1 members are already at veteran idol age, Minzy is in the prime of her youth at 21-years-old. She’s sunbae to most groups, but is the same age as Girl’s Day Hyeri, EXO-K’s Kai, and BTS’ Rap Monster, to name a few. She has more experience than anyone in the ‘94 line, along with talent. Hell, she’s even the best well-rounded artist within 2NE1. Not only is Minzy the dance machine, but she regularly sings the same parts as Bom and rap CL’s counterpart verses. Since she’s still young and growing into her looks, she’s turning out into a hot woman but still has her maknae cute charms.
If you follow Minzy on SNS, you would have noticed she’s been in Los Angeles for quite some time now, hanging out with producers and attending dance classes. Is she gearing for an upcoming solo? We sure hope so! Truth is Minzy has the moves and the vocals to deliver fast paced tracks and even soulful ballads and kill it with the choreography, reminiscent of American star Ciara.
2. U-KISS’ Kevin
Main vocalists of groups given solos is a very typical practice in K-pop. But given that Kevin’s vocals are very different to Soohyun’s, it’s difficult to pick who is U-KISS’ better singer. However, given Kevin’s flower boy image, soft vocals, and popularity with overseas fans, he might deliver a more interesting solo venture.
During his MC stint on After School Club, he’s proven that he’s not only soft voiced, but soft-hearted and loved all over the world. His command of the English language is also a plus for him, given that he delivers great covers of Western artists’ songs –better than some of the best K-pop vocalists. Moreover, as seen during U-KISS performances, he’s an above average dancer.
Kevin’s cute, flower boy-next-door image would work well for a K-pop audience. Add an awesome upbeat ballad song that doesn’t focus too much on the choreography, and we could have a winner. All in all, Kevin’s approachability is key.
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3. KARA’s Hara
When gay celebrity Hong Seok Cheon visited the Roommate house, he was challenged to dance Mamamia with KARA’s newest member Youngji. As he accepted, he declared he wanted Hara’s parts and proceeded to slay the mini performance. If this whole stint is indicative of anything it is that just like you have your Western female artist gay icons like Lady Gaga or Beyonce, there are some K-pop ones too, and Hara is one of them.
Comparing Hara with Beyonce may be very far-fetched, but something that she shares with western divas is that she’s perceived as fierce. She might not be the most talented singer, but just as Britney Spears who made a career out of slaying performances and being hot, Hara has the potential to be an icon once she releases a solo.
Hara is hot and cute. The girl can dance and looks absolutely flawless on stage. A solo project would cement her as a superstar performer. And at 24-years-old, the idol can take a few more liberties, i.e., a sexier stage in the likes of her former group mate Nicole.
4. VIXX’s Ken
In VIXX, Leo is the superstar vocalist. However, anyone even fairly acquainted with the group knows that he can be… distant… and awkward… So also being a main vocalist in the group, Ken comes out as the better candidate for a solo because he’s more charismatic on stage and on t.v. appearances. Leo generally uses the other members as buffers, but Ken holds his own.
And, as a matter of fact, Ken has already been recognized for his individual talents. He’s not only an actor, but is slowly racking up the OST contributions, such as The Heirs’s In The Name of Love and Fated to Love You’s My Girl. With these gems on his resume, a solo project might not be so surprising.
5. Girls’ Generation’s Sunny
Girls’ Generation is a big group of women, with some being more talented than others in different fields. For example, the group’s main vocalists were given their very own sub unit, TaeTiSeo, so they could flaunt their talents without having to share the parts in the songs. After Taeyeon, Tiffany, and Seohyun, the next token vocalist was Jessica, but with her out of the picture, the runner up for fourth best vocalist is Sunny.
Girls’ Generation and even TaeTiSeo have a feminine princess image, and Sunny, of course, follows suit. However, in her individual appearances, Sunny always had the aegyo image that served her right with her cute looks and small size. Fast forward a few years, Sunny is now a be woman and is the curviest SNSD member. For a solo debut, it would serve Sunny right to go the sultry route rather than the glamorous diva like TaeTiSeo. Sure, she still has her aegyo, but it has a touch of sexiness.
Sunny has the body and moves to kill a body roll-filed choreography and has already demonstrated that she can take on Jessica’s parts and even deliver them better. Even if she acts like a total derp in variety shows, we all know she has a vixen alter ego waiting to be let out.
6. BTS’ Jungkook
BTS’ rapid shot to stardom was largely due to the combination of all the members’ talents. Rap Monster has a spit-fire flow, Suga’s songwriting is great, V’s vocals are flawless, Jimin’s abs are awesome, etc. Every member has their role in the group defined clearly and they deliver the heck out of them. However, it’s the maknae who, kind of like Minzy, displays the best well-rounded artist qualities.
Every other BTS song opens up with a rap verse by Jungkook and later followed by a melody part in the hook or chorus. He also kills the choreography, second to only J-Hope and giving Jimin a run for his money. He might not be as good as a vocalist as V or can write his own spit like Rap Monster and Suga, but he’s getting there. He might only be 17-years-old, but this boy is merely a diamond in the rough. Like a fine wine, Jungkook will only get better with age. So a solo project further down the line is inevitable for him.
7. f(x)’s Krystal
Amber might have beaten her members to the punch with the solo debut, but just like SHINee, she can’t be the only one in f(x) to go on this venture. Sure, Luna has the pipes and the sweetheart personality, but Krystal’s popularity definitely triumphs over talent. While Luna has been busy with musicals, Krystal has been under the spotlight with her CFs, dramas, and even her participation in the most recent S.M. the Ballad comeback.
Among the f(x) members, Krystal is one of the fan favorites. She’s also beautiful and has a killer body. And it’s because of that tall and slender frame that designer clothes look great on her and why she’s so coveted for magazine editorials. And while SM Entertainment loves to make Krystal sing ballads (S.M. the Ballad and her My Lovable Girl OST), her small, high-pitched voice seems to be better suited for upbeat songs, as seen with f(x).
All of these factors make the perfect case for a Krystal solo. The maknae can hold a tune, dances flawlessly, and already has the established fandom to support her. It’s impossible for SM not to know and consider all this already. That’s why it’s safe to assume she’ll be the next f(x) member to have a solo.
8. B1A4’s Baro
With more and more K-pop boy groups debuting, it’s hard to stand out from the rest. However, B1A4 came into the seen pushing their quirky boys next door brand and proved to be very successful. Not to mention that their members were crazy talented, starting with Sandeul’s vocals and Jinyoung’s songwriting skills. Their popularity also rose because, as seen on their several web shows, they’re just a bunch of adorable dorks.
And even though the older hyungs give off a manlier image than the maknaes, it’s Baro who has the husky voice to back it up. The group’s rapper might be young and slim, but he has a certain genuine swag that’s rare among idol rappers. On stage, he’s very active and fun, which make him a great entertainer. Plus, the group as a whole has a reputation for outstanding fan service, so you know Baro’s a certified crowd pleaser.
These factors make the case for a Baro solo. His rapping is better than his singing and dancing, but no matter what he does on stage, you can be sure it’ll be fun and entertaining.
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9. EXID’s LE
Until recently, EXID was one of the most underrated K-pop girl groups. It took a video of their performance for Up & Down to go viral before they went onto win music shows and appear on t.v. programs. However, their talent has been there for years, especially rapper LE’s who’s still a very underrated artist.
Even if the audience hasn’t fully recognized LE’s talent, other artists in the mainstream have. She has an innate talent for rapping, and even went onto release a 19+ song with BEAST’s Junhyung and BIG STAR’s Feeldog, You Got Some Nerve, where she excelled and proved she can hold her own with other talented idol rappers. Moreover, she’s also a lyricist, writing songs for EXID and even her friend Hyuna.
LE is a boss and can quickly pick up where CL left off if her American career takes off. She has a nasal tone unique to her. Moreover, her artist authenticity puts her light years in front of other female idol rappers whose role is just for show. LE is the real deal, and as Korean hip hop is getting more and more popular, she can truly rise to the top with a solo.
10. GOT7’s Youngjae
GOT7 debuted only last year, so a solo project for any of the members is unthinkable. But let’s entertain the thought for just a little bit. Jr. and JB already went down that road prior to the group’s debut with JJ Project, but sadly that wasn’t successful. The foreign members, Jackson, Mark, and BamBam, are crazy popular, but are still young and haven’t mastered Korean. That leaves the door open for future solo projects for pretty much any member. However, even if GOT7 is full of talented and charismatic guys, its Youngjae who shows great promise.
He might not have gotten a proper part in their debut song Girls, Girls, Girls, but with the A comeback, Youngjae got a stellar part in the chorus and finally got to promote his talent. He might be young, but the kid has pipes, and being under JYP, you know he’s on the way to craft that voice soulfully. His voice has already been recognized in the industry, he got to sing a cover of TVXQ’s Mirotic with B.A.P’s Daehyun, BTOB’s Eunkwang, and VIXX’s Leo, all talented vocalists. Before we know it, he’ll start busting out the OSTs, because he’s that good, it’s inevitable!