Hwiyoung is a South Korean singer, dancer, and rapper, who became known for being a member of the K-Pop boy band SF9 under the management of FNC Entertainment.

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Early life and family

Hwiyoung was born Kim Youngkun on 11 May 1999, in Jecheon-si, Chungcheongbuk-do, South Korea.

Education background

He went to the local elementary and middle schools in Jecheon. Later on, he graduated from Hanlim Arts School in Seoul.


First Steps – Training, Survival Series and Debut

During his training days in 2015, Hwiyoung belonged to an 11-member group, NEOZ Dance.  To determine who would get to debut first on their roster of talents, his agency FNC Entertainment produced a reality TV survival series entitled “D.O.B,” which stands for Dance or Band, aired on the Mnet Cable Channel.

His dance group competed with another group of trainees called NEOZ Band, and during the survival series, two members of his group were eliminated before the final round, as they all performed every week to stay on top.

Eventually his group won the competition, and they formed a nine-member group called SF9, which is short for Sentimental Feelings 9. Hwiyoung along with Youngbin (leader), Inseong, Dawoon Jaeyoon, Rowoon, Taeyang, Chanhee, and Zuho made their debut performance on 5 October 2016, on Mnet’s “M Countdown” to coincide with the release of their debut single album entitled “Feeling Sensation”, with the lead track “Fanfare.” It peaked at No.6 on the South Korean Gaon Album Chart, and its official music video has over a million views. The group’s debut performance video has a total of 1.2 million views.

The second single entitled “K.O.” was promoted a month later, but unfortunately, their debut was considerably weaker, and the single album ended up in the 78th position on the year-end list of the Gaon Album Chart.

Triple EP Releases for Sophomore Year and Japan Debut

Due to the lackluster debut year of SF9, FNC Entertainment changed their strategy and released three extended plays in 2017 – Hwiyoung and the other boys worked hard to improve their sales and brand.

Their first extended play (EP) was released on 6 February 2017, entitled “Burning Sensation” with six tracks including “Still My Lady,” “Shut Up N’ Lemme Go,” and the lead track, “Roar.” It charted locally and internationally, peaking at No.3 on the Gaon Album Chart and 6th on Billboard’s World Album Chart. Its music video has amassed four million views, which is quite higher than their previous releases.

Encouraged by the positive sales result of the first EP, they immediately released a second one entitled “Breaking Sensation” on 8 April 2017; iIt also has six tracks including “Watch Out,” “Hide and Seek,” and the lead track, “Easy Love.” While it peaked at the No.5 position on both Gaon Album and Billboard World Album Charts, the total number of units sold was less than that of the first EP. However, the international interest for the group kept on rising, as the music video has a total number of nine million views.

FNC Entertainment dialed back on their South Korean releases, and the boys focused on penetrating the Japanese market. They tested the waters by holding a live showcase prior to the group’s debut in Japan, which turned out to be a sold-out event. In June of 2017, instead of recording a new song, Hwiyoung and his group just released the Japanese version of their debut single, “Fanfare.” It topped the Japanese Tower Records Chart, and peaked at No.4 on Japan’s Oricon Album Chart.

Later they released a full-length Japanese album, “Sensational Feeling Nine,” which has the Japanese versions of their 10 songs, and peaked at No.7 on the Oricon Album Chart.

Their third EP, “Knights of the Sun,” was released in October, with six tracks including “Let’s Hang Out,” “Blank,” and the lead track, “O Sole Mio.” The EP peaked at No.4 on the Gaon Album Chart, and No.7 on Billboard’s World Album Chart.

2017 KCON and U.S. Concert Tour

Hwiyoung and the boys had a busy year with live showcases not only in South Korea but also in the US. They were tapped to perform with other established K-Pop artists in the annual Korean Wave Convention in New York in June, and Los Angeles in August, dubbed as KCON NY and KCON LA respectively. Hwiyoung said in one interview that the experience was both exciting and overwhelming, as they performed in front of thousands of people in large venues such as Staples Centre and Prudential Centre.


In November, they went back to the US to perform in a series of concerts in Boston, Seattle and Dallas entitled “2017 SF9 Be My Fantasy in the USA.”

2018 – First Concert in South Korea and Global Meet and Greet

It took SF9 around two years to hold its first concert in South Korea, on 27 October 2018 at Yes24 Live Hall, dubbed “2018 SF9 Live Fantasy #1 (Dreamer).” Although they have performed in many places, it was a dream come true for Hwiyoung to perform in front of a home crowd.

The interest in the group kept on growing, and they conducted a global fan meeting tour. The meet‑and‑greet event took them to several cities in South America, including Sao Paolo in Brazil, Santiago in Chile, and Mexico City. They also made stops in Manila, Philippines, and Taipei, Taiwan.

The SFP boys did all these live events after wrapping up their promotional activities for the two EPs they released in the early part of 2018.

“Mamma Mia” with six tracks including “Be My Baby,”  “Never Say Goodbye,” and the title track with the same name was released in February, and which peaked at No.3 on the Gaon Album Chart; they also released a Japanese version of the title track. The fifth EP, “Sensuous,” was released a few months later, and it also charted at No.3 on the Gaon Album Chart. Both EPs did well, not only on charts but also with their sales record.

Further Success – Japanese, European, and US Tour 2019

The global explosion of K-Pop due to Blackpink and BTS’ success benefitted a lot of other K-Pop groups, and the demand for SF9 live performances increased in 2019.  In April and May they performed in several cities around the world, that kicked off with a Japanese Tour dubbed as “SF9 2019 ZEPP TOUR- ILLUMINATE,” performing in sold-out concerts in Nagoya, Namba and Tokyo.

Next was their US Tour, “2019 SF9 USA Live Tour – UNLIMITED.” The boys went back to perform in the same cities for a second time, and included other cities such as Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles and New York. In the following month, they flew to the other side of the world for their “2019 SF9 European Live Tour – UNLIMITED,” performing sold-out concerts in key European cities including Warsaw, Paris, London and Moscow.

KCON Japan and KCON NY 2019

For the second time, Hwiyoung and his group were included in the list of performers for KCON Japan and KCON NY. They were no longer overwhelmed by the experience and just enjoyed the live performances.

Two Successful EPs Released in 2019 and a Commercial Endorsement

Success continued coming their way, and FNC Entertainment let the boys release two more EPs in 2019. “Narcissus” was released in the early part of the year, with six tracks including the lead track “Enough,” along with “Heartbeat” and “Life is So Beautiful.”

It peaked at No.4 on the Gaon Album Charts and No.11 on Billboard’s World Album Chart.  The second EP, “RPM,” peaked at No.5 – both EPs sold over 100,000 units. They also released a Japanese studio album entitled “Illuminate” under Warner Music Japan, and it peaked at No.3 on the Oricon Album Chart with over 26,000 units sold.

The year ended with a commercial endorsement for popular South Korean Chicken fast food, with popular actress Shin Ye-eun.

2020 Activities – First Music Win and First Studio Album

Before the Covid19 global restrictions were put in place in 2020, Hwiyoung and the boys had a great start. They released their first studio album entitled “First Collection” on 7 January, and even had a short live showcase for their loyal fans at Seoul’s Blue Square IMarket Hall, as well as live-streaming it for overseas fans. They were anxious about the first studio album, feeling that it was some sort of a new beginning or rebirth for them.

It has 10 tracks including “Am I The Only One,” “Shh,” “Lullu Lalla,” and the title track, “Good Guy;” he said before the performance that the lead track refers to someone you can’t forget, ‘If you don’t like the person, you want to forget about them, but if you like them and they’re good in your perception, they’re memorable.’ Hwiyoung was suffering from a cold on that day, but was still able to perform well.

They may have waited for three long years for the album, but it was worth it as it sold more than 110,000 units and they won two trophies for the song “Good Guy” from popular music shows, namely Mnet’s “M Countdown” and KBS’ “Music Bank” for the Top Song of the week.


In South Korea, a music show win is highly regarded, and considered a milestone for K-Pop artists.

In July, they dropped their eighth EP entitled “9loryUS”, with six tracks including “Into the Night,” “OK Sign,” and the lead track “Summer Breeze.” However, due to the Covid19 virus restrictions, they were only able to promote it in some music shows but with no live audience. The MV of the lead track has more than 43 million views, making it their most-watched video.

Web Drama Series

Hwiyoung and another SF9 member Inseong, were included in the main cast of the web drama series “Dok Go Bin Is Updating”, along with Kim Nu Ri, which started airing on 25 August 2020. Both SF9 members sang the official soundtrack of the series entitled “Love Graduation”, which was released on 4 September 2020.

Personal Life

As with other K-Pop artists, Hwiyoung is forbidden to date for the first three to five years after his debut, as stated in their management contracts. This is to ensure that the artists would focus on their work. However, even after the dating policy no longer applies to them, most of them would choose not to reveal any personal relationships. This is to appease the K-Pop fans who are known to be quite possessive of their idols, so don’t expect to find any news about him seeing anyone, as it is still said to be in his best interest to just date privately. When asked about his ideal girl, he said he’s physically attracted to women with long legs.

He currently shares a room with Dawoon in an apartment provided by his talent agency, which they also share with Zuho, Youngbin, and Jaeyoon.

Hobbies, favorite things, and interesting facts

  • To maintain his lean fit body, he would exercise every day.
  • Among the members of his group, he has always been considered a happy virus with his bright and energetic personality.
  • His favorites: Drawing and watching movies (hobbies), Kick-boxing (exercise), Blue (color), Rap/Hip-hop (Music).
  • While he projects a jolly personality, he is known to be emotionally sensitive, in the sense that he cried while watching the horror film, “Train to Busan.”
  • Hwiyoung can eat almost anything except seafood.
  • He can mimic the sound of dolphins, as he has a high pitched voice.


He is 5ft 10.5ins (1.79m) tall, weighs 135lbs (61kgs), and has a lean build with broad shoulders. His shoe size is 10 inches (260mm). His natural hair color is black, but he could often be seen sporting a different hair color during promotional activities, including blonde, gray, brown, and auburn. His natural eye color is black, but he would use colored contact lenses to match the concept his group chose for MV filming and live performances.

Net worth

According to sources, Hwiyoung has an estimated net worth of close to $100,000 as of September 2020.

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