Kim Ryeo-wook (born 21 June 1987), better known by the mononym Ryeowook, is a South Korean singer and musical actor. He is a member of the South Korean boy band Super Junior and its subgroups, Super Junior-K.R.Y. and Super Junior-M. Along with four other Super Junior members, he is one of the first Korean artists to appear on Chinese postage stamps. He debuted as a solo artist with his first solo EP The Little Prince in January 2016, making him the second Super Junior member to debut as a solo artist.
Ryeowook was discovered through the CMB Youth ChinChin Festival in 2004 and signed a contract with SM Entertainment soon afterwards impressing the judges with his singing talent. Trained in areas of singing, dancing, and acting, Ryeowook placed particular efforts into his vocal training and music composition. He plays the piano adeptly and he plays accompaniment for fellow members during their solo stages at their concerts.
Before Kyuhyun was added in 2006, Ryeowook was the last to join Super Junior several weeks before their debut in 2005. Having undergone only two months of training, Ryeowook’s late addition was rumored to be a replacement of a previous SM trainee that was supposed to debut as a member of Super Junior 05 as the first generation of Super Junior.
Ryeowook made his debut as part of the 12-member project group Super Junior 05 on 6 November 2005 on SBS’ music programme Popular Songs, performing their first single, “Twins (Knock Out)”. Their debut album SuperJunior05 (Twins) was released a month later on 5 December 2005 and debuted at number three on the monthly MIAK K-pop album charts.
In March 2006, SM Entertainment began to recruit new members for the next Super Junior generation. However, plans changed and the company declared a halt in forming future Super Junior generations. Following the addition of thirteenth member Kyuhyun, the group dropped the suffix “05” and became officially credited as Super Junior. The re-polished group’s first CD single “U” was released on 7 June 2006, which was their most successful single until the release of “Sorry, Sorry” in March 2009. In the fall of 2007, the group released their second album, Don’t Don, which became Super Junior’s best-selling album and Korea’s second best-selling album of the year.
In late 2006, Ryeowook, along with fellow Super Junior members Kyuhyun and Yesung, formed a subgroup named Super Junior K.R.Y., a group specializing in R&B ballads. The trio debuted on 5 November 2006 on KBS’ Music Bank with performing Hyena soundtrack called “The One I Love”. Ryeowook made his acting debut in 2007, in the film, Attack on the Pin-Up Boys, a high-school comedy/mystery film, in which he plays the eccentric vice president of the student council. He was nominated for Best Supporting Actor and Best Comedic Performance at the Korean Movie Awards.
In April 2008, he was put into seven-member sub-group Super Junior-M, a Mandopop subgroup of Super Junior for the Chinese music industry. They debuted in China at the 8th Annual Music Chart Awards, simultaneously with the release of their first music video, “U” on 8 April 2008. This was followed by the release of the debut Chinese-language studio album, Me in selected provinces in China on 23 April and 2 May in Taiwan.
In November 2012, Super Junior K.R.Y. held a concert tour in Japan, Super Junior K.R.Y. Special Winter Concert. They announced that they would be releasing their first single six years after debut. The teaser for Promise You was released on 21 November 2012, followed by the single on 23 January 2013. It debuted at number two on the Oricon’s daily singles chart.
Ryeowook’s first composition to be officially released was “Love U More”, in the repackaged Sorry, Sorry Version C. He co-wrote the lyrics with fellow Super Junior] member Sungmin. Ryeowook is also credited for musical arrangement in the liner notes of the album.
Ryeowook featured in K.Will’s 2009 song “Dropping the Tears”. He is also the first member of Super Junior to sing a solo track included in their album, “One Fine Spring Day” was released in Bonamana.
Ryeowook made his musical theatre debut in Temptation of Wolves alongside Park Hyung-sik of ZE:A and Lim Jeong-hee. It ran from 14 July to 30 October 2011 at the COEX Artium.
On 16 and 23 June, following the footsteps of bandmates Yesung and Kyuhyun, Ryeowook joined KBS’ Immortal Songs 2 with Sunggyu of Infinite, where singers render their own versions of songs from music legends and winners are selected by voting. He took first place in the 11 August episode where singers Lee Sang-woo and Lee Sang-eun were guests. He recorded his last episode on 16 August, which was broadcast on 25 August.
On 28 September 2014, Ryeowook left for Japan to perform in “The Goddess is Watching (여신님보고계셔)” in Setagaya Public Theatre in Tokyo. He performed from 30 September to 7 October with a total of five performances. He acted as Ryu Sun-ho, a teenage North Korean soldier which suffered from PTSD and was abandoned in an uninhabited island after an unexpected storm with three other North Korean soldiers and two South Korean soldiers. His role as Ryu won him critical acclaim.
On 8 January 2015, it was revealed that Ryeowook had been cast in the musical Agatha in the lead role of Raymond because of his petite frame. In 2015-2016 Ryeowook starred in the theatrical play “The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night Time” playing the lead role of autistic Christopher, his most challenging role to date.
On 9 September 2018, Ryeowook was selected to guest at world renowned soprano, Jo Sumi’s concert. Again proving he is one of k-pop’s most skilled main vocalists, Jo Sumi cited Ryeowook’s outstanding vocal skills and professionalism as the main reasons for her selection.
Ryeowook’s career went beyond singing and acting into hosting as he garnered praises for his MC position on Super Idol Chart Show. Shortly after, he undertook yet another variety show hosting gig on Enter K. In 2018, after his army discharge, he was slated to host KBS’s “A Song For You”.
Ryeowook made his solo debut in 2016.
Ryeowook debut solo album’s title is The Little Prince. The release of The Little Prince was not only anticipated as Ryeowook’s first official solo album since his debut 11 years ago but it is also because it is the first release under Super Junior’s own label, Label SJ, established by SM Entertainment in 2015 during the group’s 10th anniversary. The title track bearing the same name as the album is a ballad inspired by French author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s novel The Little Prince. The title track “The Little Prince” is a ballad song and a conversation between a man in pain from love and The Little Prince.
In addition to Ryeowook’s solo promotions and album release, he held his first solo concert through SMTOWN’s The Agit series called “Ever Lasting Star – RyeoWook” from 19 February until 21 February at the SMTOWN’s Coex Artium in Samseong-dong, Seoul.
On 24 February 2012, Ryeowook graduated from Inha University with a major in theater and film studies.
Ryeowook enlisted for his military service on 11 October 2016, and was discharged on July 10, 2018.
On 10 December 2018 after Ryeowook returned from Bangkok Thailand after performing at Super Show 7, Ryeowook went to the hospital after having a high fever and was diagnosed with a contagious type A Influenza. The doctor giving him the diagnosis advised him to make sure he’d get plently of rest. Near the end of December 2018, he started to regain his strength and was able to release his second solo mini album “Drunk On Love” in the following month on 2 January 2019.