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Kpop Star Jonghyun: Career, Death & The Legacy Left Behind

'Jonghyun' the star we lost: His career and other details.

The K-pop industry lost one of its precious ‘gem’ on the eve of 18th December 2017.  Three years to his passing ‘Jonghyun’ is still remembered by his fans globally, his fellow bandmates, and still regarded as one of the greatest vocalists in the K-pop industry. Kim Jong-hyun, also known by his stage Jonghyun, was a South Korean singer-songwriter, record producer, radio host, and author who was signed to the SM Entertainment label. For nine years, he was the lead vocalist of the South Korean boy band Shinee, with whom he released twelve albums in both Korean and Japanese. Jonghyun debuted as a solo artist in January 2015, with the release of Base, his first EP album.

When he was in 1oth grade Jonghyun dropped out of high school to pursue a music career, then went on to Chungwoon University before moving to Myongji University to earn a master’s degree in film and musical studies. In South Korea, he was considered one of the greatest vocalists. He was also praised for his creative control and participation in the making of his songs, which is uncommon in K-pop.

'Jonghyun' the star we lost: His career and other details.


Jonghyun continued to perform as a solo artist and as the lead vocalist of Shinee until his death on December 18, 2017, when he died of carbon monoxide poisoning. On January 23, 2018, his final album, Poet | Artist, was released posthumously. Prior to the album’s release, it was revealed that all proceeds would be donated to Jonghyun’s mother and used to establish a charitable fund. Jonghyun’s family founded the Shiny Foundation to assist aspiring young artists in September 2018.

Jonghyun: Career Timeline.

'Jonghyun' the star we lost: His career and other details.


Kim Jong Hyun or simply known as Jonghyun rose to fame as the lead vocalist of SHINee, a five-piece act that still exists today with members Lee “Onew” Jin-ki, Kim “Key” Ki-bum, Choi “Minho,” and Lee “Taemin.” Despite the fact that Kim’s career was cut short in less than a decade, his influence on many domains will be remembered. Jonghyun creativity spread to other mediums, including the book Skeleton Flower: Things That Have Been Released and Set Free, published in 2015, which outlined the stories behind the songs he wrote for SHINee and solo works. Let us have closer look at his career path.

Beginning of his career 2005-2014.

Jonghyun was discovered by SM Entertainment when he was 15 years old, after performing with his school band at a music festival in 2005. Jonghyun made his television debut on SBS’ Inkigayo on May 25, 2008, as part of the five-member boy group Shinee. Jonghyun joined the group as a songwriter in 2009, penning the lyrics for their fourth Korean hit, “Juliette,” which was released on their second EP, Romeo.

You can watch the music video down below:

Jonghyun was one of twenty South Korean idols who released the song “Let’s Go” in October 2010 to support the 2010 G-20 Seoul summit. With Super Junior’s Sungmin, Girls’ Generation’s Seohyun, and Lina from f(x) he provided vocals.SM the Ballad, a project group founded by SM Entertainment with an emphasis on ballads and R&B, featured Jonghyun, TRAX’s Jay, Super Junior’s Kyuhyun, and Jino (now a member of Pentagon and goes by the name Jinho) in November 2010. On November 29, 2010, the band released their debut EP, Miss You.

Watch the video of ‘miss you’ down below:

Jonghyun made his debut as a composer in October 2013 with the track “A Gloomy Clock,” which was included on IU’s third Korean album, Modern Times. Jonghyun co-wrote the album, which he gave to IU as a gift, and it was dubbed a duet by Jonghyun. Son Dam-bi launched the single “Red Candle” two months later in December, which was also composed and written by Jonghyun.SM the Ballad resurfaced on February 4, 2014, with a new lineup and their second EP album Breath, after a four-year hiatus. Jonghyun and Taeyeon of Girls’ Generation collaborated on the title track “Breath.” Jonghyun made his radio debut in July 2014 on the MBC radio programme “MBC Blue Night.”Jonghyun was chosen to host by MBC because of his commitment to music-related events and love for music.

You can watch the music video down below:

Jonghyun Solo Debut and Concert From 2015-2016.

Jonghyun released his first EP, Base, on January 12, 2015, marking his solo debut. Jonghyun’s debut album received positive reviews, and he gained notoriety for his involvement in the album’s production process as well as numerous collaborations with musicians outside of SM Entertainment, such as Younha, Wheesung, and Zion.T. Both the Billboard World Music Chart and the Gaon Chart ranked the album number one.

Mnet announced on January 10 that Jonghyun would star in the first episode of the second season of the entertainment programme 4 Things Show. During the episode, Taemin, Davichi’s Minkyung, and Zion.T played Jonghyun’s friends. In October of that year, Jonghyun debuted on Mnet’s “Monthly Live Connection,” a show that brought together two artists with diverse musical backgrounds to perform on a single album. On October 14th, as part of the TV show, Jonghyun released the single “Elevator.” Following that, he worked on the single “I Guess Now It’s The Fall”, which is also known as “It must be Autumn ” with Soran’s Go Young-bae and the single “Aewol” with singer-songwriter Jung Joon-young.

You can watch the live music video of ‘Elevator’  down below:

You can watch the live music video of “I Guess Now It’s The Fall” down below:

Jonghyun’s first solo concert, The Story by Jonghyun, was held in August 2015 as part of SM Entertainment’s concert series The Agit. Jonghyun performed songs from his debut EP and also launched a new compilation album of songs from his MBC Blue Night radio programme. On September 17, 2015, Story Op.1 was released as a compilation album. Jonghyun played a total of 12 sold-out shows in October following the release of the album, dubbed “The Story by Jonghyun.” Shinee’s Onew and Taemin, IU, Zion.T, Jung-in, Lim Kim, Oksang Dalbit, Coffee Boy, Nine, Lee Ji-hyoung, Soran, and poet Ha Sang-wook were among the celebrities who appeared at each concert.

In September, Jonghyun released Skeleton Flower: Things That Have Been Released and Set Free, a book about his songwriting experiences and influences. That same month, Jonghyun debuted nine songs on his radio programme, all of which were either entirely written and composed by Jonghyun or were written by Jonghyun with the assistance of his composition group. Jonghyun was named one of the top five K-pop idol vocalists in a survey conducted by 40 unidentified music industry officials in October 2015.

Jonghyun’s first studio album, She Is, was released on May 24, 2016, and it contains nine songs, the majority of which were written and composed by Jonghyun. Electro-punk, EDM, and R&B are among the genres represented on the record. On She Is, Jonghyun said, “one can sense his love as a singer-songwriter the most.”

Watch the music video of ‘She is’ down below.

Second Compilation Album, Second Solo Concert and  Posthumously release of his album from 2017-2018.

'Jonghyun' the star we lost: His career and other details.


On April 24, 2017, Jonghyun published Story Op.2, his second compilation album. Between May and July 2017, Jonghyun performed 20 concerts at SMTOWN Coex Artium in Seoul under the title The Agit (The Letter). After fans wanted further shows, Jonghyun agreed to host eight additional concerts.

Jonghyun performed at the South Korea Olympic Handball Gymnasium on December 9–10, 2017, in a concert titled Inspired. Jonghyun was already working on his next record, which was due to be released in January 2018, and had completed recording the music video for the lead track at the same time. After Jonghyun death on December 18, 2017, due to carbon monoxide poisoning. On January 23, 2018, his final album, Poet | Artist, was released posthumously. Prior to the album’s release, it was revealed that all proceeds would be donated to Jonghyun’s mother and used to establish a charitable fund. Jonghyun’s family founded the Shiny Foundation to assist aspiring young artists in September 2018. After BoA, G-Dragon, and Taeyang, Jonghyun’s album Poet | Artist debuted at number 177 on the Billboard 200 with 5,000 equivalent album units, making him the fourth Korean soloist to chart.

Jonghyun Personal life: Death and Struggle with Depression.

'Jonghyun' the star we lost: His career and other details.

Jonghyun Portrait at his funeral.

Jonghyun rented an apartment in Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam District, southeastern Seoul, for two days in December 2017. On December 18, 2017, he signed in at 12:00 p.m. KST. Later that day, at 4:42 p.m., Jonghyun’s older sister called the authorities to complain that she thought he was about to commit suicide because he had sent her a series of texts with phrases like “last goodbye” and “say I did well.”

At about 6:10 p.m., Jonghyun was discovered unconscious in his rented apartment by police and emergency staff. In a state of cardiac arrest, he was sent to Konkuk University Hospital. CPR was administered in an emergency. He did not recover consciousness, and at the age of 27, he was pronounced dead at the hospital around 6:32 p.m. As investigators arrived at the flat, they found coal briquettes burned on a frying pan, and they ruled his death a suspected suicide.

'Jonghyun' the star we lost: His career and other details.

Jonghyun coffin being carried to laid to rest by his sister and group members.

Jonghyun’s funeral began on the afternoon of December 19 at Asan Medical Center’s funeral hall in Pungnam-dong, Seoul. The three-day public funeral was attended by celebrities and fans including BTS, IU, BoA, Girls’ Generation, and Exo. Furthermore, fans from all over the world paid tribute to the artist. Following the public funeral on December 21, Jonghyun was transferred from the hospital to a private funeral attended only by his relatives and close friends, and he was laid to rest in an undisclosed spot.

'Jonghyun' the star we lost: His career and other details.

Jonghyun and Nine9.

In an alleged suicide note left by Jonghyun, his struggles with depression came to the light. One of Jonghyun’s close mates, Jang Hee Yeon of the South Korean group Dear Cloud, who goes by the stage name Nine9, shared the lengthy, pain-filled message on Instagram. The note read, “I’m broken from the inside.” “The depression that had been slowly eating away at me had suddenly gotten the best of me, and I couldn’t fight it.” Jonghyun wrote in his note that he wanted to get away from his suffering and that being in the spotlight for nearly a decade had placed him under a lot of scrutinies.“I wasn’t cut out for the spotlight. He wrote, “They claim it’s difficult to run into the world and become popular.” “How did I end up here? It’s a hilarious situation. It’s a wonder I’m still alive.”

“What more is there to say?” Jonghyun said at the end of his letter, pleading for people not to blame him. Just tell me I did well. Tell me that this is enough,” he wrote. “Tell me I worked hard. Even if you can’t smile, please don’t blame me as you send me off. Well done. You’ve really worked hard. Goodbye.”

Jonghyun was open about his struggle with mental health over the years. Jeff Benjamin, who is a Kpop columnist at Billboard, claimed that Jonghyun was very aware of his and his group members’ emotional as well as mental needs. Jonghyun had also opened up to Esquire Korea in May of 2017, that he had always shown a lot of  ‘depressive feelings’ since he was young. He had also added in the interview that his feelings of depression and inferiority had always been the ones that had ruled over him. His single “Lonely” shows the struggle the singer was going through, which was released in early 2017.

You  can watch the music video down below:

Jonghyun’s death sparked debate about the harsh and competitive aspects of South Korean entertainment, as well as mental health.

Jonghyun’s death was mourned by many artists and business experts around the world. At their concerts, labelmates Exo, Girls’ Generation member Taeyeon, and TVXQ paid tribute to him. Exo, Red Velvet, Super Junior, NCT 127, and JYP Entertainment’s Got7 were among the SM Entertainment stars who wore black ribbons with aquamarine-coloured “R.I.P. JH” embroidery to the year-end music shows.

Legacy left behind by ‘Jonghyun’.

'Jonghyun' the star we lost: His career and other details.


Jonghyun was the first artist at SM Entertainment to have a major role in publishing, arranging, and composing a song, despite the company’s reputation in the K-pop industry for restricting its artists’ influence over album production. Jonghyun’s musical style was praised for being distinctive, and he was credited with writing and composing the majority of his solo tracks. He was named by Insight Korea as one of seven idol group members who appeared to be “born to make music. “The Korea Times’ Kim Da-hee named Jonghyun as one of four K-pop musicians who have differentiated themselves from the idol industry’s mass-produced artists, alongside G-Dragon, Zico, and B1A4’s Jinyoung, for their “exceptional skill in songwriting, composing, and performing, plus other abilities that make them good musicians.”

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