Here are 5 K-Pop idols who originally debuted as solo artists before they joined their respective groups. Most of these artists are famous for being a part of their current group, so their solo debuts might not be as well known.
1. Gikwang (Highlight)
Gikwang originally debuted as a solo artist in 2009, where he went by the name of AJ. Gikwang impressed people with his great dancing skills and was even dubbed as the next Rain.
After around 6 months of being a solo artist, he changed his stage name to Gikwang and began his activities as a member of BEAST. BEAST eventually changed their name to Highlight once they left Cube Entertainment.
2. Seungyoon (WINNER)
Seungyoon originally debuted as a solo artist in 2013 and was heavily praised for his singing, as well as his guitar playing skills.
It shocked a lot of netizens once it was announced that Seungyoon would be participating in Who Is Next: WIN, where Seungyoon would be competing to become an idol. Seungyoon’s team won the show, and he became the leader of WINNER.
3. Dara (2NE1)
Dara might be known for her days as a 2NE1 member, but she had quite a career before this. Dara was active in acting and music while she was living in the Philippines. She debuted as a solo artist in 2004 and had relatively great success in the Philippines.
Dara eventually left the Philippines and went back to South Korea with her family. She signed as a YG Entertainment trainee and eventually debuted as a member of 2NE1.
4. Soyeon ((G)I-DLE)
Soyeon originally was shown to the public through her participation in Produce 101.
Soyeon didn’t make the top 11 for the show, so she didn’t get to debut as a member of I.O.I. Soyeon still gained many fans from her appearance on the show, as well as from displaying her great rapping skills on Unpretty Rapstar. She made her solo debut in 2017, which was almost 2 years after her appearance on Produce 101.
Soyeon re-debuted as the leader of (G)I-DLE in 2018, where she has helped lead the group to great success.
5. Baby Soul (Lovelyz)
Baby Soul originally debuted in 2011 as a solo artist, where she was praised for her great vocal skills. She also got collaborate with many artists, such as INFINITE H.
She eventually re-debuted as the leader of Lovelyz and is displaying her great vocal skills.