Kang Daniel (Hangul: 강다니엘, born December 10, 1996) is a South Korean singer, best known for finishing first in Produce 101 (season 2). He is a former member of South Korean boy group Wanna One.
Kang Daniel was born as Kang Eui-geon (강의건) in Busan, South Korea as the only child of his family. He decided to legally change his name due to family and relatives having difficulty pronouncing his birth name. Later on, due to the suggestion from a teacher, Daniel began dancing. During a guest appearance at variety show Hello Counselor, he revealed that he was ostracized in elementary school because of his appearance and developed passion and built self-esteem through dancing. Prior to appearing on Produce 101 Season 2, Daniel had trained for two years and one month. He initially started as a trainee under B2M Entertainment until management separation, and then became a trainee under MMO Entertainment. One of the most notable moments during his time as trainee was his appearance on Her Secret Weapon, performing “Invitation” by Uhm Jung-hwa, where he served as a backup dancer to Fiestar’s Cao Lu and Spica’s Sihyun.
In 2017, Kang represented MMO Entertainment in the boy group reality survival show, Produce 101 Season 2. He is known for finishing first in the final episode and becoming the center of the project boy group Wanna One under YMC Entertainment.
Kang officially debuted with Wanna One during Wanna One Premier Show-Con on August 7, 2017, at the Gocheok Sky Dome with the debut mini-album 1×1=1 (To Be One). During the preparation for this debut, he was also confirmed to join the pilot season of MBC variety show, It’s Dangerous Beyond The Blankets which premiered on August 27, 2017. On the same month, he was featured on the cover of Weekly Chosun magazine, one of the major news and current events publication in South Korea, with an article focusing on his popularity among the general public. Following the conclusion of the mini-album promotion on August 30, 2017, he was chosen as the first male celebrity to appear on the cover of InStyle Korea fashion magazine in its 14 years history for its October 2017 issue. He was also signed as a cast member for SBS variety show Master Key, for which he was awarded the Rookie Award (Variety Category) at the 2017 SBS Entertainment Awards.
In 2018, he was involved in several prominent solo activities, most notably as the main model for Davichi’s “Days Without You” (너 없는 시간들) music video and as the main cast of the second season of It’s Dangerous Beyond the Blankets. He was later awarded the Rookie Award (Variety Category) at the 2018 MBC Entertainment Awards for his work at the respective show. He also continued to promote with Wanna One, including as a part of Wanna One’s unit “Triple Position” which won Best Unit Award at 2018 Mnet Asian Music Awards. He concludes his contract with Wanna One on December 31, 2018, although he would still appear with the group until its official farewell concerts on January 24–27, 2019.
In February 2019, Kang joined LM Entertainment in pursuit of a solo career.
He was recognized for his brand recognition and marketing power, having topped both ‘Male Model Brand Power Ranking’ and ‘Individual Boy Group Members Brand Power Ranking’, published by the Korean Corporate Reputation Research Institute. By the end of 2017, he ranked second in Most Favorite Idols survey conducted annually by Gallup Korea which involves 1,500 Korean men and women aged 13 to 29 as respondents. In January 2018, his name was included in Forbes Korea Power Leaders 2030 annual list, under “Entertainment” field category. The list, consisting 30 individuals within the age range of 20 to 39 considered as rising stars in their respective fields, was selected by six panels of industry experts alongside Forbes journalists. On January 3, 2019, his name was included in Guinness World Record for “Fastest time to gain one million followers on Instagram” category with a new record of 11 hours and 36 minutes after registering his account and uploading his first post on the respective social media platform the day before.