K-pop, Mandopop and other Asian pop

K-pop star D.O. from EXO shows why he’s more than just a singer in one of South Korea’s most popular boy bands

Before EXO’s music explodes in popularity in the US, get to know one of the group’s most beloved members, the softly spoken D.O., who’s known for his soulful ballads and acting skills

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 28 April, 2018, 8:33pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 28 April, 2018, 8:33pm

With the rapid global rise of K-pop bands such as BTS over the past year, fans have been left wondering who will be the next big thing to come out of South Korea.

Many observers have put their money on popular boy band EXO to be the next K-pop act to break through internationally – and with the outfit boasting more than 100,000 followers on their US Twitter fan account, they could be right. 

Since their debut in 2012, the Chinese-Korean boy bandhas been one of the most influential South Korean acts in Asia, with hugely popular members such as D.O. and Baekhyun. Their debut album, “Xoxo”, was named album of the year at the 2013 Mnet Asian Music Awards and has reportedly sold over one million copies, entering the list of the bestselling album in Korea.

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Since the departure of three of the group’s Chinese members – Kris Wu, Lu Han and Tao, who have all gone on to forge successful solo careers in China – the remaining nine members have continued to achieve success as a group.

Their latest album, “The War”, debuted at No. 87 on the US Billboard 200 albums chart last year, and has reportedly sold more than 1.6 million copies in South Korea. 

Let’s take a closer look at the life of D.O. and his timein the superstar K-pop group. 

Early life

Born Do Kyung-soo in Goyang, a satellite city of Seoul, 25-year-old D.O. has always been passionate about singing. He began training as a vocalist when he was in junior school and showcased his abilities at local talent shows and competitions. 

While in high school, D.O. was recruited by South Korean K-pop company S.M Entertainment, where he trained for two years before officially joining EXO in 2012.

“I was a quiet student in school. I didn’t want people to know that I was training at S.M, so I didn’t tell anybody. I just spent my high school years [working] quietly and then I graduated,” he said in a Korean-language interview with 10 Asia. 

His role in EXO

The eighth member to join EXO, D.O. is one of the group’s main singers. He’s best-known for his vocal talents and for singing soulful ballads. He is one of the quieter members of the group, although he has a fun, quirky side that comes out when he performs at concerts and on variety shows like Running Man


His solo work

Not only is he a talented singer, but D.O. has also done a lot of acting work since his debut. In 2014, he played the son of a woman who works at a supermarket in the social commentary film Cart. In 2015, D.O. switched gears, showing his versatility as an actor when he played the role of a sociopath in the mystery K-drama Hello Monster

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By 2016, D.O. had become a leading romantic man, playing alongside Kim So-hyun in the film Pure Love. He also won an award at the Blue Dragon Film Awards for his role in My Annoying Brother, in 2017. More recently, he played a North Korean soldier in Swing Kids, an upcoming film set in a concentration camp that’s set for release later this year. Outside of music, D.O’s future in film and TV looks bright. 

His image

Compared with his more rambunctious bandmates, D.O. is known for holding his tongue and being a man of few words. He’s known for taking his musical performances very seriously, channelling his emotions through his expressive eyes.

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“I have a happy personality and I like to chat with people,” he said in a 2016 interview with ViVi magazine. “I like the times when I can talk and chat about various kinds of things with the band members or our manager. But I'm not the type of person who can make a witty remark and [perk] up the atmosphere.”  

In his words

D.O. is known for his emotionally deep sayings, including: “Forget all your regrets – just move on and be fearless” and, “We can’t help but to be human and get hurt.” 

D.O. has also talked about his love of cooking. “I feel happy when someone that I like says my food tastes good,” he told ViVi magazine. “I don’t just like cooking but I like eating as well. I’m good at choosing a good place to eat. That’s why I’m always the [band member] who chooses the restaurant when we eat out.”