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IU (아이유) is a South Korean singer-songwriter and actress currently under EDAM Entertainment. She debuted on September 18, 2008 with a stage on M Countdown for the song "Lost Child".

Her stage name is derived from the phrase "I and You", symbolizing that people can become one through music.

Early life[]

IU decided to become a singer when she was 14 after singing at her school's sports competition, as she felt happy receiving the audiences' applause.[2] She started to attend auditions, but failed all 20, and she was also scammed by fake entertainment companies.[2] When IU was in her seventh grade, her family started to have financial problems due to the failure of her father's project.[2] IU had to live apart from her parents in a studio room with her grandmother, younger brother and cousin for a year and a half, in conditions of great poverty.[2]


2008: Debut[]

IU debuted on Mnet M! Countdown on September 18, 2008 with her debut single "Lost Child".[3] It was later released as the title track for her debut mini album Lost and Found on September 24, 2008. However, she did not gain mainstream popularity until her follow-up and debut studio album Growing Up.

2009: First studio album, mainstream success, and other activities[]

On April 16, 2009, IU launched her first full album, titled Growing Up, with the lead promotional number "Boo".[4] Within three weeks, "Boo" went up to the No.1 contenders for SBS Inkigayo, and her name also went up twice on Take 7 together with other notable artists like SG Wannabe and Younha. The song also did well on KBS Music Bank K-Chart, on Mnet M! Countdown chart, and on various online music charts.

In 2009, IU sang the ending title song, "Araro", as well as the song "Wind flower" for the acclaimed MBC drama Queen Seon Duk.[5] IU was recommended by the director, Sam Kim, citing her "clear tone and her lyrical sensibility". IU was also featured in Mighty Mouth's album Love Class in the song "희망사항".[6] In late 2009, IU recorded MC Mong's song "Love Letter to You" featuring SHINee's Key as the rapper.[7]

2010: Nagging for We Got Married and third mini album[]

IU recorded the song "Nagging" with 2AM's Seulong for the TV show We Got Married.[8] On June 27, 2010, IU won her first award since her debut on SBS Inkigayo for "Nagging".[9] On July 2, 2010, she won another award for the song on KBS Music Bank K-Chart. Soon after, IU was chosen to sing the main OST song for the MBC drama Road No. 1 titled "여자라서" (Because I'm A Woman). IU's other collaborations include duets with Yoo Seung Ho ("사랑을 믿어요" (Believe in Love)), Sung Si Kyung ("그대네요" (It's You)), and BIGBANG's Seungri ("I Know").

IU worked with some of South Korea's most famous musicians and producers for her third mini-album, Real, released in December 2010. Lee Min Soo and Kim Eana, the creators of IU's previous hit "Nagging", helped produce her award-winning song "Good Day". IU received three SBS Inkigayo Mutizen Song awards for her performances of the song (on December 18 and December 26, 2010, and January 2, 2011), three awards from KBS Music Bank K-Chart (on December 24 and December 31, 2010, and January 7, 2011), and one award from Mnet M! Countdown on December 23, 2010.[10][11]

2011: Rising popularity, Dream High, Real+ and Last Fantasy[]

IU often covers other pop artists' songs with her guitar and features her friend Thunder from MBLAQ, most notably renditions of SHINee's "Julie"Lies", SUPER JUNIOR's "Sorry, Sorry" and Girls' Generation's "Gee".[12]

IU starred in KBS2's drama, Dream High as Kim Pil-sook from January 3 to 28 February, with a special episode on March1.[13]

IU and Suzy in Dream High

Pil-Sook (IU) and Hye-Mi (Suzy from Miss A) having lunch

In January 2011, IU's song "Someday" from KBS's drama Dream High was released. Netizens immediately noticed a similarity to "To My Man", sung by Ash, and accused songwriter Park Jin-young of plagiarism.[14] Songwriter Kim Sin-il filed a lawsuit against Park for plagiarizing "To My Man", in which he eventually won.[15]

Soribada, an online music service provider, combined the music downloads and streams from January 1 to March 30, 2011, to name IU's song, "Good Day" as the number one song of the first quarter. "Someday" and the ballad "Only I Didn't Know", from her Real+ mini-album, placed 4th and 7th place, respectively – showing that IU took 3 of the top 10 digital spots for the first quarter.[16] Her first original composition, "Dreaming" was used in the drama Dream High, but it was not released officially.

On June 18, 2011, IU held her first official fan meeting and mini-concert at AX-Korea. It also marked the 1004th day since she debuted.[17]

IU also sang a self-composed OST called "Hold my Hand" for drama series The Greatest Love.[18]

On November 29, 2011, IU's second full-length album Last Fantasy was released and achieved an ‘all-kill’ as all 13 songs immediately swept most of Korea's charts.[19] The track list for the album was previously revealed on November 22, 2011.[20]

2012: Japanese debut and Spring of a Twenty Year Old[]

On January 24, 2012, IU held a live showcase at Tokyo's Bunkamura Orchard Hall. At the time of the showcase, it was noted that she was the youngest Korean singer ever to perform at the Hall.[21] On March 1, she released a promotional video for the Japanese version of "Good Day", the title track of her Japanese single album. The album, which includes DVD footage from the showcase, was later released on March 21, 2012.[22]

In early April, it was announced that IU will be holding her first solo tour, "Real Fantasy", starting in June.[23] The tour features performances in six different cities across South Korea, including Seoul and Busan.[24]

On May 11, IU released a single album, "Spring of a Twenty Year Old". The album contains three songs, one of which was self-composed by IU.[25] The song, entitled "Peach", was digitally released before the album, on May 4.[26] A 26-minute-long documentary-style music video film was released alongside the album, featuring the album track, "Every End of the Day", and several interviews with IU that showcased her personal thoughts and experiences. This film contained footage of IU's vist to Venice, Italy.[27] Due to her commitments towards preparing for her first solo tour, she was unable to make broadcast promotions for the single. Additionally, while touring, she had to leave her hosting job at SBS' Inkigayo, though she returned upon the tour's completion.

You & I, IU's second Japanese single, was released on July 18.[28] In December, IU's entertainment company, LOEN Entertainment, announced that IU will be having a comeback in 2013. The album, which is expected to have a mature theme in opposition to the "Nation's Little Sister" image that IU has presented on her previous work.

On December 29, IU hosted the 2012 SBS Gayo Daejeon, an annual music program, alongside Miss A's Suzy and actor Jung Gyu-woon. She was selected for her "stable emceeing skills as she had served as the MC for Inkigayo".[29]

2013: You're the Best, Lee Soon-shin, Modern Times and Pretty Man[]

IU starred in the weekend drama You're the Best, Lee Soon-shin from March 9 to August 25 on KBS2 Network, portraying a seemingly unlucky girl who remains courageous and bright.[30]

On April 1, EMI Music Japan was completely merged into Universal Music Japan as a sublabel by the name EMI Records Japan as a result of Universal Music's purchase of EMI in September 2012. All the artists from EMI Music Japan will continue releasing material at Universal Music Japan while still maintaining the catalogue code (TOCT).[31]

It was announced that IU will be performing in Singapore for the first time in her career for the 2013 MBC Korean Music Wave concert in Singapore which also comprises of artists SHINee, EXO, 2PM, 2AM, F.T. Island, B1A4, TeenTop, B.A.P, Kara, Sistar, Miss A and 4Minute, with "mystery superstars" set to be emcees for the night. However, the event was cancelled 10 days before it was due to be held.[32]

On September 16, LOEN Entertainment revealed two teaser images for her upcoming 3rd full album, Modern Times.[33] The album included tracks of various genres ranging from jazz, Bossa Nova, to swing and Latin pop. The full album was released on October 7 and quickly topped several Korean music charts as well as Korea's major music programs.

On October 21, IU was confirmed as a part of the cast of Pretty Man, IU would be taking on the role of Kim Bo Tong. The Wednesday-Thursday Drama aired from November 20, 2013 to January 9, 2014, on KBS2 Network.[34]

A repackaged version of Modern Times, with two additional tracks ("Friday", and "Crayon"), was released on December 20.[35] Her self-composed title track, "Friday" achieved a perfect all-kill on the South Korean music charts.[36] This was IU's second perfect all-kill of the year, following her success with 'The Red Shoes' in October. Also, "Friday" reached number one on all three of Korea's major music programs without any live performance.[37]

2014: Hong Kong showcase, A Flower Bookmark, collaborations[]

Following her first appearance in Hong Kong on 23 June 2012 at Music Bank in Hong Kong with other K-pop idols, IU brought her Modern Times Showcase to Hong Kong on March 23, 2014. She also collaborated with the new boy group HIGH4 for their debut song, "Not Spring, Love, or Cherry Blossoms", which was released on April 8.[38] Having reached No. 1 on May 10, 2014 in Billboard's K-pop chart with this song, IU became Billboard's official K-pop all time chart leader with 5 No. 1s since K-pop Hot 100 was introduced in September 2011. IU is also the holder for most weeks at No.1 (14) in the chart.[39]

On May 16, she released A Flower Bookmark, a remake album of seven old Korean songs, IU held a small concert, titled "Just One Step... That Much More", at Sogang University Mary Hall from May 22 to June 1, in which all the seven new songs were included in the live presentation. At the concert, Akdong Musician and Jonghyun had made guest appearances.[40][41] The track, "My Old Story", reached the perfect all-kill status 3 days after the album's release.[42]

On July 1, the digital single "Summer Love", sung by Ulala Session and IU, was released.[43] Its release was postponed until now as the leader of Ulala Session died after the song was recorded in 2012.[44] IU was then featured in the song "Sing For Me" (translated) in the G.O.D.'s 8th album released on July 8, 2014.

On August 9, IU performed for the first time in the U.S. at the KCON 2014 event held in Los Angeles, U.S.A. Excerpts of the concerts in the event, which included 9 other K-pop artists/groups, was later broadcast in Korea on August 14, 2014 by Mnet as a special program named "M! Countdown 2 Nights in L.A.".[45] She was also interviewed by Billboard.[46]

On October 2, IU released her version of the song "Sogyeokdong", part of a collaboration project with Seo Taiji.[47]

On October 31, IU's collaboration with labelmate Yoon Hyun Sang for his debut song and music video, "When Would It Be", was released.[48]

2015: The Producers[]

On March 9, it was confirmed that IU will be one of the leading female cast of KBS2's The Producers, where she will play a diva-like singer.[49]

On May 17, IU released her self composed song "Heart" as a gift to her fans, which achieved an all-kill the next day.[50] The song was first revealed in the drama The Producers, however it wasn't included in the OST album. This song was included in the special edition of the album as a special track.

2020: Change of agencies[]

On January 6, she and her entire team of staff members moved from Kakao M to EDAM Entertainment, a subsidiary of Kakao M, which was established by her manager of 12 years.[51]

Personal life[]


On October 8, 2015, local news source Dispatch reported that she and Jang Ki Ha (Jang Ki Ha and the Faces) were dating and it was confirmed by IU’s management agency, Loen Entertainment.[52]

On January 23, 2017, it was confirmed that the couple had broken up.[53]

On December 31, 2022, Dispatch reported that IU and Lee Jong Suk were in a relationship and have been for about four months. Later that day, both EDAM Entertainment and HighZium Studio confirmed the reports.[54]



Studio albums[]

Mini albums[]


Remake albums[]


Digital singles[]


Participation releases[]




Mini albums[]


Digital singles[]


Best albums[]


World tours[]

Japan concerts[]

  • IU Japan Premium "Special Live" (2012)
  • IU Friendship Special Concert ~Autumn 2012~ (2012)


  • IU Friendship Showcase ~Spring 2012~ (2012)

Solo concerts[]


  • IU Real Fantasy 2012 (2012)
  • 2014 IU Tour Concert 'Modern Times' (2013)
  • 2015 IU Tour Concert 'Chat-shire' (2015)
  • 24 Steps: One, Two, Three, Four (2016)
  • IU Good Day in China (2016)
  • 2017 IU Tour Concert 'Palette' (2017)
  • IU 10th Anniversary Tour Concert 'Dlwlrma' (2018–19)
  • 2019 IU Tour Concert 'Love Poem' (2019)



  • Sammy's Adventures 2 (2012) - voice
  • Real (2017) - cameo
  • Persona (2019)
  • Shades of the Heart (2019)
  • Dream (2020)
  • Broker (2022)
  • Dream (2023)


  • Dream High (KBS2, 2011)
  • Dream High 2 (KBS2, 2012) - cameo
  • Salamander Guru and the Shadows (SBS, 2012) - cameo
  • Lee Soon Shin is the Best (KBS2, 2013)
  • Beautiful Man (KBS2, 2013)
  • The Producers (KBS2, 2015)
  • Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo (SBS, 2016)
  • My Mister (tvN, 2018)
  • Hotel del Luna (tvN, 2019)
  • When Life Gives You Tangerines (Netflix, TBA)

Music video appearances[]


On June 8, 2023, Domino's Pizza announced that they have signed an exclusive model contract with IU.[57]

  • My Chew (2010)
  • Shu Uemura (2010)
  • Mayijju (2010)
  • SK Telecom (2010)
  • Unionbay (2011–2015)
  • 4G LTE (2011)
  • Samsung Galaxy S (2011)
  • T-Store (2011)
  • Mexicana Chicken (2011-2014)
  • Home Plus (2011)
  • S-Oil (2011)
  • Samsung Galaxy S2 (2011)
  • SKT 4G LTE HD (2011)
  • Bulgaris (2011)
  • Le Coq Sportif Summer Collection (2011)
  • G by GUESS (2012)
  • The Saem Cosmetic (2012)
  • Nongshim's Hooroorook Noodles! (2012)
  • Lemona (2012-2013)
  • SK Telecom 11st (2013)
  • Suddent Attack (2013)
  • Nexon Dungeon & Fighter Knight (2014)
  • QDSUH (2014)
  • Sony MDR (2014)
  • SBENU (2014–2015)
  • Chamisul (2014–2018; 2020–present)[58]
  • ISOI (2015)
  • Hyundai HCN (2016)
  • Dewdrops (2016)
  • Cable TV (2017)
  • My Home (Kakao Game) (2017)
  • Kyung Dong Pharmaceutical (2017)
  • Gnal-N (2017)
  • Exorcist (Kakao Game) (2017)
  • Sony Korea (2017)
  • Maxim Coffee (2017)
  • Nature Collection (2018)
  • CNP Cosmetics (2018)
  • New Balance (2018)
  • Lotte Mongshell (2018)
  • Samsung Card (2018)
  • Ghana Chocolate (2018)
  • Jeju Samdasoo (2020–present)
  • New Balance (2021)
  • Gucci (2022)[59]
  • Domino's Pizza (2023)

Awards and nominations[]

Main article: List of awards and nominations received by IU


  • Her MBTI personality type is INFP.[60][61]
  • She was nominated for "The 100 Most Beautiful Faces of 2020".[62]
  • She has covered Through The Night In Cantonese Version.[63]
  • She has recorded backing vocals for her cover of Wedding Card Street by Kay Tse.[64]
    • The street was a of Lee Tung Street in Wanchai, Hong Kong Island, Hong Kong, known for making Wedding Invitation cards and couplets.[65]
  • She loves mint chocolate.
  • She is an iPhone loyalist.
  • She is a huge fan of SEVENTEEN.[66]


Main article: IU/Gallery


  1. (8K) 230430 아이유 영화 '드림' 개봉주 일요일 무대인사 (CGV 영등포 5관 16:50 상영 전) 직캠 | BOX
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Somag News: The inspiring story of IU, the princess of K-pop
  3. (KR) Naver: [사진]아이유,'아름다운 데뷔무대를 가지며'
  4. Allkpop: IU Back with Cutesy Image
  5. Soompi: IU’s 2009 OST Track for "Queen Seon Duk" Draws Belated Attention
  6. Allkpop: IU joins Mighty Mouth for Love Class
  7. Allkpop: IU and Key have a "Love Letter for You"
  8. Soompi: IU & 2AM’s Seulong – Nagging MV
  9. Allkpop: IU expresses her feelings for receiving her first ever Mutizen for 'Good Day'
  10. Allkpop: IU expresses her feelings for receiving her first ever Mutizen for 'Good Day'
  11. [ Koreaboo: IU Becomes The Korean Soloist With The Most Music Show Wins In History]
  12. Allkpop: IU covers Gee, Lies and Sorry Sorry
  13. Soompi: Photos Released for Upcoming Drama "Dream High"
  14. Soompi: JYP to Take "Someday" Plagiarism Accusation to Court
  15. Soompi: Verdict on JYP’s Plagiarism Case
  16. Allkpop: IU's strong showing on Soribada's 2011 first quarter music charts
  17. Allkpop: IU to release new album in September + holds first fan meeting!
  18. Allkpop: "Hold My Hand," the first song IU wrote and composed, is suddenly climbing up the music charts ten years after its release
  19. Soompi: All Tracks from IU’s New "Last Fantasy" Album Claim Top Ranks for an All-Kill
  20. Soompi: IU’s Second Teaser Image for "Last Fantasy" Unveiled
  21. Allkpop: IU becomes the youngest Korean singer to perform at Japan's Bunkamura Orchard Hall
  22. Soompi: IU’s Music Video for "Good Day" Japanese Version is Revealed
  23. Soompi: IU Reveals Poster and Details to Her First Solo Concert
  24. Soompi: IU’s First Concert “Real Fantasy 2012 Special DVD” Will be Available for Purchase
  25. Soompi: IU Gives More Details on Her Upcoming Album
  26. Soompi: IU’s New Single "Peach" Achieves All-Kill Status
  27. Soompi: IU Releases Music Video for "Every End of the Day"
  28. Soompi: IU Reveals Japanese Short Ver. MV For “You & I”
  29. Soompi: 2012 SBS Gayo Daejun Performances
  30. Soompi: Introducing the Actress Aspect of All-Around Entertainer IU
  31. Universal Music (JP): Press Release - 役員人事のお知らせ
  32. Her World: 2013 MBC Korean Music Wave Concert Cancelled
  33. Soompi: IU Sets Comeback Date and Releases Teaser Images for Third Album “Modern Times”
  34. Soompi: IU Will Star in “Beautiful Man” with Jang Geun Suk
  35. Soompi: IU To Release “Modern Times: Epilogue” Repackaged Album
  36. Allkpop: IU scores a perfect all-kill with 'Friday'
  37. Soompi: IU wins on Music Bank with “Friday”
  38. Soompi: HIGH4 Debuts with “Not Spring, Love, or Cherry Blossoms” Single and MV Featuring IU
  39. Billboard: IU Earns Fifth K-Pop Hot 100 No. 1, Becomes All-Time Chart Leader
  40. Soompi: Akdong Musician Will Make a Guest Appearance at IU’s Concert
  41. Soompi: SHINee’s Jonghyun Makes a Surprise Appearance at IU’s Concert!
  42. Allkpop: IU achieves an all-kill with 'My Old Story'
  43. Soompi: Ulala Session and IU Have An “Anxious Heart” in New Track
  44. The Korea Herald: Ulala Session song featuring late Lim, IU out next week
  45. Billboard: KCON 2014: CNBLUE, Girls' Generation, BTS Announced for K-Pop Festival
  46. Billboard: IU Talks First US Performance, New Album & 'Modern Family' at KCON 2014: Video Interview
  47. Billboard: K-Pop Legend Seo Taiji Enlists IU for Synth Spectacular 'Sogyeokdong'
  48. Soompi: IU and Yoon Hyun Sang Wonder “When Would It Be” in New Music Video
  49. Koreaboo: IU and Gong Hyo Jin confirmed for upcoming KBS drama “Producer”
  50. Soompi: IU Bares Her “Heart” in Beautiful OST for “Producer”
  51. Soompi: IU Signs With New Agency Established By Long-Time Manager
  52. IU and Jang Ki Ha Are Dating
  53. IU And Jang Ki Ha Revealed To Have Broken Up
  54. Soompi: Breaking: IU And Lee Jong Suk Confirmed To Be Dating
  55. Soompi: IU Announces Dates And Cities For 2024 World Tour "H.E.R."
  56. IU on Twitter (August 22, 2023)
  57. (KR) Naver: 아이유, 도미노피자 모델 발탁
  58. (KR) Sports Kyunghyang: 아이유, 참이슬과 계약 연장…주류업계 ‘최장수 모델’
  59. Soompi: IU Named As Gucci’s Newest Global Brand Ambassador
  60. Soompi: Korean Celebrities Who Revealed Their MBTI
  61. Personality Database: IU is INFP
  62. @tccandler on Instagram (May 6, 2020)
  63. YouTube: IU (아이유) - 長夜 Through The Night (夜信) 廣東話版 中文字幕 [官方]
  64. YouTube: 151021 IU(아이유) - 囍帖街@ I&U in Hong Kong
  65. YouTube: Kay Tse, 謝安琪 - 《囍帖街》MV
  66. Koreaboo: IU Proves She’s A Total SEVENTEEN Fan

Official links[]