Snatching singles chart sales from the likes of even Big Bang, IU is one female soloist that definitely shouldn’t be underestimated.

This pint-sized lass is gaining fans as an actress as well as a sweet singer-songwriter. Her latest release, Heart, was written especially for the drama she is currently starring in, called Producer. Producer is a KBS drama about what goes on behind the scenes at music variety shows, and IU plays a singer, in not too great a leap from reality.

IU’s real name is Lee Ji-eun, but she chose the stage nickname for the simple idea of ‘I and You’ – that music can bring people together. Her fanbase name is a little more complicated – Uaena, with U meaning ‘You’ in English, ae meaning ‘love’ in Korean, and ‘na’ meaning me in Korean.

IU debuted in September 2008, and has released three studio albums, Growing Up (2009), Last Fantasy (2011) and Modern Times (2013). She’s well known for her image as ‘Korea’s little sister,’ has recorded many successful OST tracks, and teamed up with many boy band singers like SHINee’s Key and Thunder from MBLAQ. Her acoustic covers of other people’s tunes have also won her a lot of fans; her live performances include Big Bang’s Lies and even Bruno Mars’ Marry You. In 2011 she toured with our own Corrine Bailey Rae, opening for her Korean concerts.

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IU is no stranger to London either- she did a fashion shoot in the city in 2011 for Sure magazine, and attended the 2012 Olympics as a guest of Samsung, cheering on the Korean team. Hopefully next time she visits the UK it’ll be to perform.

Recommended MVs

My Memory (Heart)

You and I – performance version

The Red Shoes

Good Day

Acoustic performances of Gee, Lies and Sorry, Sorry

Bonus: Ice Bucket Challenge!(She screams before she even gets drenched..!)

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British writer and editor living in Japan. Currently studying Japanese, Korean, K-pop dance, and the fine form of 이성종's legs.