Continuing a series looking at K-Pop idols from different countries, such as Taiwan and Thailand, listed below are 8 popular K-Pop idols that came to Korea from Canada! It was undoubtedly a huge adjustment for all of them to get used to the cultural and language differences, but they risked a lot to ultimately succeed as idols. Here are 9 idols that you may or may not have known came from this western country!
1. Henry Lau (former Super Junior-M)
Henry Lau was born on October 11, 1989, in Toronto, Ontario, and has one brother and one sister. He began getting into music at an early age, starting with playing the piano at 5 and the violin at 6. In 2006, he was chosen among 3,000 contestants at SM Entertainment‘s Global Audition held in Toronto to join the company, and in 2007 joined the Super Junior Chinese sub-unit, Super Junior-M, as a violinist and dancer in their music video for “Don’t Don”.
He didn’t officially debut with the group as a singer until 2008, however. In 2013 he made his debut as a solo artist with the song “Trap”, and has also written and helped to produce other songs for different artists in SM Entertainment. Within the company, he was known to be close to Amber (f(x)), Sunny (Girls’ Generation), and Ryeowook, another Super Junior member. In 2018, he decided to leave SM Entertainment once his contract was up, and now works as a soloist under his own label, Henry’s Workshop.
Somi was born on March 9, 2001 in Canada, and has one younger sister. Her mother is Korean and her father is Dutch-Canadian, and when she was only a year old, the family moved to Korea. So even though she’s lived most of her life in Korea, she did originally come from Canada! She had an extensive career in the K-Pop industry before she even debuted, making appearances in GOT7, UP10TION, and 2PM music videos in the past, due to her being a JYP Entertainment trainee. She placed 1st on the competition show Produce 101, making her the center of I.O.I. Once the group disbanded, however, she left JYP Entertainment in 2018. She was originally supposed to debut with ITZY, but Yuna took her place once she left the company! Later that year was when she signed a contract with The Black Label under YG Entertainment, where she’s now promoting as a solo artist.
3. Jacob (The Boyz)
Jacob was born in Toronto on May 30, 1997, and has one older brother. He was very sporty when he was younger, and played basketball and volleyball for years; he even won an award as MVP in volleyball when he was younger! He has also played the guitar since a young age, and also learned how to play piano and drums. In The Boyz, his position is as one of the vocalists, and he’s also known as the “mother” of the group. He’s also skilled in beatboxing!
4. Kevin (The Boyz)
Kevin was born on February 23, 1998, in Vancouver, Canada, and has one older sister. He went to the same elementary school as Michael Bublé once did, and he won the Bublé Prize in Grade 7 due to his musical abilities. He actually left college after attending it for only 4 days in order to join The Boyz, and now acts as the main vocalist of the group. His hobbies include playing the piano and guitar, drawing, and singing, and he also knows how to tap dance and play the saxophone!
5. Tablo (Epik High)
Tablo was born on July 22, 1980 in Seoul, though his family, including an older brother and sister, moved to Jakarta, Indonesia for 3 years when he was a baby. He moved around a lot when he was younger due to his father’s job, briefly living in Hong Kong and Switzerland as well, but he spent most of his time between the age of 8 and high school age in Canada. He then attended Stanford University for his college education. Due to his tumultuous childhood from moving so much, Tablo struggled with depression, and turned to music in order to express himself. In 2003, he and the other future members of Epik High came out with their debut album, The Map of the Human Soul, but unfortunately it didn’t do well in Korea, which crushed him, but fortunately they persevered and by the time they came out with their third album, Swan Songs, they were met with success.
He debuted as a solo artist in 2011 with YG Entertainment, and also did well with that endeavor. He and Epik High have done really well for themselves despite his difficult background, which is inspiring! He also married his long-time girlfriend in 2009, and had their daughter, Haru, a year later.
6. Mark (NCT, SuperM)
Mark was born August 2, 1999 in Toronto, Canada, though his family, including an older brother, moved to Vancouver, Canada when he was young. His brother was the one that encouraged him to pursue a musical career, though he was also inspired by Michael Jackson, and he joined SM Entertainment after their Global Audition in Vancouver, where he was a trainee for 4 years. He first debuted with NCT Dream on August 24, 2016, where he was the main rapper, main dancer, sub-vocalist, and face of the group. While he graduated from NCT Dream in December of 2018, he’s still an active member of NCT 127, NCT U, and SuperM.
7. Young K (DAY6)
Young K was born on December 19, 1993 as an only child in Ilsan, South Korea, where he was raised, but he ended up moving to Canada and living in Toronto for 4 years during his high school age. It was in Canada where he started his musical career, where he was part of a musical trio under the name Brian Kang in Toronto. He was scouted by JYP Entertainment along with one of his bandmates, and was originally part of the group 5LIVE under the company which was the original formation of DAY6. In DAY6, he’s the main rapper, main vocalist, and bassist. Despite being in a band style of K-Pop group, he’s actually a great dancer, and almost debuted in a dance group along with fellow DAY6 member Wonpil.
8. Wendy (Red Velvet)
Wendy was born on February 21, 1994 in Seoul, South Korea, and has one older sister. She lived in Korea until she was 12, when she and her sister moved to America, and then to Canada, to go to school. She wanted to be a singer from a young age, and trained as a vocalist as well as with various musical instruments since she was 6 to pursue this dream. In 2012, after she graduated from high school, she auditioned for SM Entertainment’s Global Audition in Canada and was chosen for her skills. She trained for about 2 years before debuting with Red Velvet in August of 2014, where she’s the main vocalist of the group. She’s long been praised for her incredible vocal skills, and has done well with the group, though her tragic and horrible fall at the 2019 SBS Gayo Daejeon rehearsal has left her on a very long hiatus, hopefully which will be over soon once she fully recovers!