K-pop, Mandopop and other Asian pop

Who is Solar from Mamamoo? Meet the K-pop girl band’s beautiful singer and group leader

Four-member girl band Mamamoo made their debut in 2014 and have been on the rise to stardom since, with their main vocalist Solar the quartet’s most influential and popular member

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 June, 2018, 8:33pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 January, 2019, 2:39pm

Since the era of large K-pop supergroups such as Super Junior and Girls’ Generation arrived, many popular South Korean acts have featured a mind-boggling number of members.

Reigning superstars BTS have seven members, while boy band Exo and popular girl group Twice both have nine. These outfits find their strength in numbers, marching onto the stage like perfectly made-up armies.

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But there’s also something to be said for smaller groups such as Big Bang, 2NE1 and Mamamoo, who have all focused on promoting their individual members as larger-than-life personalities.

The four-member Mamamoo made their debut in 2014 with a polished, jazzy R&B sound and a retro image. The video for their debut single, the funk-infused Mr. Ambiguous, featured plenty of celebrity cameos, including Lee Jong-hyun from CNBlue and singer Baek Ji-young.

As K-pop fever swept the globe in recent years, Mamamoo won over fans with their six EPs and one album released so far, and they even hit the top of the Billboard World Albums chart with their 2017 EP “Purple”.

One of Mamamoo’s most influential and popular members is main vocalist Solar – let’s take a look at her life so far.

Early life

Born Kim Yong-sun in the nation’s capital Seoul, Solar is 27 years old and grew up with one older sister. She originally hoped to become a flight attendant or tour guide in South Korea, but those plans changed when she was discovered by South Korean entertainment company RBW, and she attended Modern K Music Academy University.

Her role in Mamamoo

In addition to being the main vocalist, Solar is also the leader and face of the group. She has said she considers herself to be a “mother” to bandmates Moonbyul, Wheein and Hwasa, and used to be roommates with Hwasa.

Moonbyul, who is the second-eldest member of Mamamoo, said in an interview with South Korea’s Naver website: “Solar and I became close quite quickly because we’re close in age.”

Her image

Solar is known for her long, often blonde hair, and her bright and sunny personality – which means her stage name is quite appropriate.

“There are two meanings behind ‘Solar’,” she said in an interview with Arirang TV. “First, my name is Yeong-sun, so I wanted to make my name ‘Sunny’, but there’s already a Sunny in Girls’ Generation. And there was also someone with the name Taeyang [Korean for “sun”]. So I decided to use the stage name Solar instead.”

Before settling on Solar, she wanted to use “Do-Re-Mi” as her stage name, but her management convinced her otherwise.

Her solo work

In 2015, Solar made her acting debut in Imaginary Cat, a K-drama about a young man who adopts a stray cat named Bokgil. Solar plays his first love, who is a high-school-aged girl in the drama.

In 2016, Solar paired up with Korean-American pop singer Eric Nam to star in the celebrity TV series We Got Married. The couple were paired up for eight months on the show, where they lived together and acted like a married couple.

In her words

On her favourite Mamamoo song, she said in an interview with DC Inside: “I would say Mr. Ambiguous is the song I’m most attached to. This was the first song we received. Back then, our team wasn’t completely formed. There was no group name, the song had no title – we had nothing but a song. At the time, we were unable to think about making the song our own but the fact that it ended up being Mr. Ambiguous sung by Mamamoo holds a lot of meaning for us.”

On photoshoots, she said in an interview with Naver: “At first, when we were taking photos, we were so awkward and our expressions were stiff. It’s a little better now, but we still are reserved in front of new people.”

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On the group’s unusual name, she said in the interview with DC inside: “Mamamoo is like a sound a baby makes … We were named with the idea of the world approaching our music from an instinctive level.”