Ellison Kyoung-jae Kim (born March 13, 1991), better known by his stage name Eli, is a Korean American singer, rapper and actor. He is a member of South Korean boy band U-KISS. He is a rapper in the group and is one of the English-speaking members of U-KISS alongside former member Kevin Woo.
Eli was born in Los Angeles, California to Korean parents. He spent most of his years in Fredericksburg, Virginia. He has a younger sister named Minah and an older sister named Hannah. He attended Ni River Middle School and Riverbend High School in Virginia. After dropping out of high school, he went alone to Beijing, China at the age of 15 to pursue his studies where he also learned Mandarin. He studied the techniques for Taekwondo and Kung Fu for 12 years, opening an opportunity for him to be cast as an extra in a Chinese movie. He is fluent in English, Korean, and Mandarin.
Eli is the fourth addition to the Korean boy band U-KISS, which was formed by NH Media Entertainment in 2008. They were launched in Power of Atamix in Japan alongside other Korean boy bands such as Paran. They also debuted in South Korea days later.
On April 27, 2011, Eli and Kevin went to Hong Kong for a special street date with their Hong Kong fans for their show Star Date with U-KISS in Hong Kong special. This was sponsored by Binggrae, which aims to connect the fans all over the world to Hallyu stars to encourage cultural exchanges. The special was aired through Arirang TV on May 3.
Eli was one of the hosts for the variety show Raising Idol along with U-KISS member Shin Dongho, MBLAQ’s Thunder and Shinee’s Key. He appeared on MBC’s We Are Dating on December 24, 2010 where he showed his Casanova type of being a man. He also hosted the segment “All About You” on Arirang TV’s Pops in Seoul, along with fellow U-KISS members, Alexander and Kevin. He also acts as an MC in the show Fusion with Park Myung-soo under MBC which premiered on April 1.
In November 2012, Eli along with NS Yoon-G were chosen to host a new weekly English show, K-pop Tasty Road on Olive TV (and on Mnet in the United States and various other countries). The show gives K-pop fans a sense of where Hallyu celebrities eat, play, work, and shop. The first episode was aired on November 10.
In January 2010, Eli and fellow member Kibum started their acting career in a Thai-Korean drama, Autumn Destiny, with Thai actor Mario Maurer. Eli and Kibum’s voices were dubbed since they could not speak Thai.
In 2011, Eli and fellow members Dongho and Kiseop were cast in an MBC sitcom titled Real School. The trio acted in a 40-episode series, transforming into high school students who reside at an “English Village” in an attempt to face and crack their fear of speaking English.
In October 2014, Eli was cast as the male lead in a Chinese adaptation of the Korean drama Full House.
On April 18, 2011, Eli was injured during a rehearsal. He fractured his right hand, and underwent surgery. The hospital stated that it wouldn’t be difficult for Eli to perform, and he managed to perform with a cast on his right arm.
On December 4, 2015, Eli announced via instagram that he had been married for over a year, since June 5, 2014, having dated his wife who is a model 11 years his senior, for 5 years. It was also announced that they were expecting a child. His fellow members Soohyun and Kevin took to Twitter to comfort the fans about Eli’s shocking marriage news. On December 6, 2015, U-KISS’ label NH Media released a statement to clear up some questions. His label said that Eli’s marriage won’t affect his promotions with U-KISS and he will continue filming his Chinese drama as well. And asked to refrain from leaving hate comments as he will be a father soon. On June 8, 2016, Eli’s son, Michael Min-soo Kim was born.
On August 30, 2016, Eli revealed his wife, Ji Yeon-soo to the public on MBC Every1’s Video Star. On January 4, 2017, Eli revealed his life as a husband and father by joining reality show, KBS’s Mr. House Husband with his wife, Ji Yeon-soo and their son, Michael Min-soo Kim.