Lee Ha-yi (born September 23, 1996), better known by her stage name Lee Hi, is a South Korean singer and songwriter. She is known as the runner-up of SBS’ K-pop Star Season 1.
Her debut single “1, 2, 3, 4”, was released on October 28, 2012 and reached number one with first week sales of 667,549 downloads. On November 30, 2012, Lee Hi also had her first performance at the Mnet Asian Music Awards with fellow labelmate Epik High for the song “It’s Cold” from the 99 album.
Her first full-length album First Love was released in two parts. Part 1 was released on March 7, 2013 and part 2 was released on March 28, 2013.
In 2012, Lee Hi finished as the runner-up of K-pop Star Season 1, against Park Ji-min and was eventually signed by YG Entertainment CEO, Yang Hyun-suk.
On May 12, 2012, it was announced that she would be debuting with a girl group called SuPearls (which originally consisted of Michelle Lee, Park Ji-min, Lee Seung-joo and Lee Jung-mi) which was originally formed during K-pop Star Season 1 and signed to YG. She was set to replace Ji-min who decided to sign with JYP Entertainment after winning. Following Lee’s successful debut as a solo artist, her company announced on February 13, 2013, that plans for her anticipated girl-group had been cancelled and that the other members have left the agency. She will instead focus on her solo career.
Before her debut, Lee released her first song under YG Entertainment on which she collaborated with Epik High; it was entitled “It’s Cold” and was released on October 8, 2012.
On October 24, 2012, it was announced that Lee would be debuting as a solo artist under the stage name, “Lee Hi”, with the single “1, 2, 3, 4”. The single was released on October 28. The song was written by Masta Wu and produced by Choice37 and Lydia Paek. The music video was directed by director Han Sa-min, who also did 2NE1’s “Lonely” and Big Bang’s “Blue” and “Monster”. The song was number one on the monthly Gaon Digital Chart for November. She performed “1, 2, 3, 4” on SBS’ Inkigayo on November 4.
Her second single, “Scarecrow” (a song written by JYP and initially recorded, though unreleased, by Park Bom before becoming part of 2NE1), was released on November 22, 2012.
On March 2, YG Entertainment revealed that Lee Hi’s debut album, titled “First Love” would be released as a digital-only mini album on March 7 featuring five songs, with the full album release on March 28 featuring 10 songs. The title tracks, “It’s Over” and “Rose” were released on these dates respectively.
Lee Hi’s full album First Love debuted on March 28, 2013. “Rose” is the first song released by Lee Hi to feature her not just singing, but rapping as well.
It was revealed in December 2013 that Lee Hi would debut under a new sub-unit with Park Bom entitled “B&H”, which is also an acronym for BOM&HI. The unit released the single “All I Want For Christmas Is You”, a cover of Mariah Carey’s song, on December 20.
It was revealed in November 2014 that Lee Hi would be a member of another upcoming sub-unit with Akdong Musician’s Lee Su-hyun entitled Hi Suhyun. Their first single, “I’m Different”, featured iKON’s Bobby.
In August 2015, it was confirmed that Lee Hi would be releasing a new album through Tablo’s label HIGHGRND. The singer is still under YG Entertainment; HIGHGRND will be only in charge of the overall production of her new album. On March 9, 2016, Lee Hi released a half album titled Seoulite. Two music videos were released for “Breathe” and “Hold My Hand”. “Breathe” was written by Shinee’s Kim Jong-hyun. Lee Hi began promotions for both “Breathe” and “Hold My Hand” on Mnet’s M! Countdown on March 10. On April 6, 2016, YG Entertainment revealed the full album track list for Lee Hi’s album Seoulite. The album was released on April 20, 2016 with “My Star” as the title track. Lee Hi participated in writing and producing the song “Passing By”. In September 2016, Lee Hi, partnering with Epik High, also contributed an OST “Can You Hear My Heart” for highly anticipated drama Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo and “My Love” from the same.
On March 21, 2018, Lee Hi’s Japanese debut album was released.