Detailed Pedia

Kai (entertainer, born 1994)

210205 카이.png
Kai in February 2021
Kim Jong-in

(1994-01-14) January 14, 1994 (age 27)
Suncheon, South Jeolla, South Korea
EducationSchool of Performing Arts Seoul
  • Singer
  • actor
  • dancer
  • model
Musical career
Years active2011–present
Associated acts
Korean name
Revised RomanizationGim Jong-in
McCune–ReischauerKim Chongin
Stage name
Revised RomanizationKai

Kim Jong-in (Korean김종인; born (1994-01-14)January 14, 1994), better known as Kai (Korean카이), is a South Korean singer, model, actor, and dancer. He is a member of the South Korean-Chinese boy group Exo, its sub unit Exo-K, and South Korean supergroup SuperM. He debuted as a soloist in November 2020 with the release of his extended-play, Kai (开). Apart from his musical career, Kai has also starred in various television dramas such as Choco Bank (2016), Andante (2017), and Spring Has Come (2018). Kai is widely considered to be one of the best dancers of South Korea and K-pop.[2]

Early life

Kai was born on January 14, 1994,[3] in Suncheon, South Jeolla Province, South Korea, as the youngest member of his family, with two older sisters.[4] He began to train in ballet while in third grade after he watched the The Nutcracker,[5] however started dancing when he was eight years old in the fourth grade of elementary school, and originally did jazz dance. He stated that his parents initially wanted him to learn Taekwondo and the piano.

Kai became the first public member of the EXO men's group launched by SM Entertainment on December 23, 2011. He made his official debut as a member of EXO group on April 8, 2012. In December 2019, he participated in Gucci's "The Performers" project, shooting a film about his growth story. The film mentioned that his deceased father was the most important benefactor of his encounter with dance, which was of great significance to his life. After participating in the SM Youth Best Contest with the encouragement of his father, he won and signed with the company in 2007 at thirteen years old. He began training in hip hop after joining SM Entertainment.[6]

Kai graduated from School of Performing Arts Seoul in 2012.[7]


2011–15: Debut and career beginnings

Kai at a fansigning event, August 2013

Kai was the first Exo member to be formally introduced to the public on December 23, 2011.[8] He made his first televised performance alongside fellow EXO members Luhan, Chen and Tao as well as other SM Entertainment artists at the year-end music program SBS Gayo Daejeon on December 29, 2011.[9] The group officially debuted in April 2012 and has since gained significant popularity and commercial success.

In October 2012, Kai participated in the promotional group Younique Unit alongside labelmates Eunhyuk, Henry, Hyoyeon, Taemin and Luhan. The group released a single titled "Maxstep" as part of the collaboration between SM Entertainment and Hyundai.[10] Later in December 2012, he joined the dance group SM The Performance, along with fellow member Lay, TVXQ's Yunho, Super Junior's Eunhyuk and Donghae, Shinee's Minho and Taemin.[11] The group first made its appearance at the event SBS Gayo Daejeon on December 29, and performed their single "Spectrum". The single was officially released the next day.[12] In August 2014, Kai was featured in the song "Pretty Boy" from Shinee member Taemin's debut album.[13]

2016–2019: Acting career and SuperM

Kai at the Lotte Family Concert in Seoul, June 2018

In January 2016, he made his official acting debut as the male lead in the web drama Choco Bank,[14][15] which achieved record-breaking viewership.[16] In December 2016, he starred in two episodes of the special web drama 7 First Kisses which was produced by Lotte Duty Free.[17]

In January 2017, Kai was announced to be starring as the male lead in the KBS teen drama Andante, playing a high school student.[18][19] In February 2017, he was cast in the Japanese drama Spring Has Come, based on the Japanese novel of the same name.[20] The drama marks the first time a non-Japanese actor taking a lead role on a drama produced by the broadcasting station Wowow.[21]

In December 2017, Kai was chosen as the cover model for December's issue of The Big Issue, a magazine known for helping the homeless. The magazine sold out 20,000 copies within the first two days, and until now, 80,000 copies have been sold, which records the highest number of copies sold since the magazine's start in July 2010.[22] In 2018, Kai was cast in KBS' melodrama The Miracle We Met.[23]

On August 7, 2019, Kai was confirmed to be a member of SuperM, a "K-pop supergroup" created by SM Entertainment in collaboration with Capitol Records. The group's promotions are scheduled to begin in October and are aimed at the American market.[24][25] Kai has been selected as the first Gucci Eyewear Men Global Ambassador in Korea.[26] SuperM debuted with the group's self-titled debut EP on October 4, 2019.[27]

2020–present: Solo debut

On July 3, 2020, SM Entertainment announced that Kai's first solo album was currently under production with the goal of being released in the second half of 2020.[28] On October 12, he was announced to have become the first ever male muse of the cosmetics brand Bobbi Brown.[29] On November 1, Kai appeared in the online showcase "TUCSON Beyond Drive", a collaboration between Hyundai Motors and SM Entertainment, where he presented a music performance titled "Follow Your Hidden Light" that combines K-pop and AR technology.[30]

On November 30, Kai released his debut extended play Kai (开) and its lead single "Mmmh", becoming the fifth Exo member to have debuted as a solo singer.[31]


Year Title Ref.
2020 Gucci Brand Ambassador [32]
Muse for Bobbi Brown Cosmetics [33]


Extended plays

List of extended plays, with selected chart positions and sales
Title Details Peak chart positions Sales Certifications


3 7 11


Title Year Peak charts

As lead artist
"Deep Breath" 2014 Exology Chapter 1: The Lost Planet
"I See You" 2019 N/A EXO PLANET #4 – The EℓyXiOn [dot]
"Mmmh" () 2020 26 15 Kai
(as part of Younique Unit)
2012 228 N/A PYL Younique Volume 1
As featured artist
"Pretty Boy"
(Taemin featuring Kai)
2014 33 15 Ace
"—" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.

Songwriting credits

All credits are adapted from the Korea Music Copyright Association, unless stated otherwise.[44]

Year Song Album Artist(s) Lyrics
Credited With
2019 "Confession" Non-album single Kai Yes Chanyeol and Danke



Year Title Role Network Notes
2012 To the Beautiful You Himself SBS Cameo; episode 2
2015 Exo Next Door Himself Naver TV Cast Recurring; Fictional version of himself
2016 Choco Bank Kim Eun-haeng Web drama; lead role
7 First Kisses Kai Main role; episodes 4-5
2017 Andante Lee Shi-kyung KBS1 Lead role
2018 Spring Has Come Lee Ji-won WOWOW Lead role; Japanese drama
The Miracle We Met Ato KBS2 Supporting role

Variety show

Year Network Program Role Ref.
2018 MBC Under Nineteen Special Director [45]
2019 KBS Sooro's Rovers Main Cast

Music videos

Title Year Ref.
"Maxstep" (as part of Younique Unit) 2012 [46]
"Mmmh" 2020 [47]
Guest appearances
"In Summer" (remake; Deux) 2014 [48]

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2018 StarHub Night of Stars Favourite Korean Drama Character Andante Won [49]
32nd KBS Drama Awards Best New Actor The Miracle We Met Nominated [50]
Best Couple Award with Ra Mi-ran Nominated
2020 Golden Disc Awards Disc Bonsang Kai (开) Nominated [51]


  1. ^ Herman, Tamar (Aug 8, 2019). "EXO, NCT 127, SHINee & WayV Members Unite for SuperM Supergroup Via Capitol Records & SM Entertainment". Billboard. Retrieved Oct 21, 2020.
  2. ^ Nemo Kim (September 1, 2018). "Kai from Exo: one of the best dancers in K-pop, and possibly its most voracious reader too". South China Morning Post. Retrieved November 4, 2020.
  3. ^ Hwang Hyo-jin (May 1, 2012). "EXO-K: My name is 카이, 세훈" [EXO-K: My name is Kai, Sehun]. TenAsia (in Korean).
  4. ^ "GET TO KNOW EXO'S KAI'S OLDER SISTERS AND KAMONG CAFE". Channel-K. July 18, 2019. Retrieved November 3, 2020.
  5. ^ "엑소 카이, 어릴적 꿈 이뤘다…'발레리노'로 로맨틱한 변신". Star Naver (in Korean). May 27, 2014.
  6. ^ "외계소년 EXO-K, 매력탐구대백과사전-수호, 카이, 디오편(인터뷰②)". Joy News24 (in Korean). June 5, 2012.
  7. ^ "[EatYouUp] 120209 EXO KAI Graduation Ceremony01". YouTube. EatYouUp19940114com. April 14, 2012. Retrieved November 3, 2020.
  8. ^ "SM 신인티저 공개 두팀 베일벗다, 신비로운 멤버 카이(KAI)만 공개" [SM unveils first member, Kai, of mysterious rookie group]. Newsen (in Korean). December 23, 2011.
  9. ^ "꽁꽁 감춰뒀던 SM 소속 신예그룹 EXO 'SBS 가요대전' 통해 공개" [S.M.'s rookie group EXO made debut in the SBS Gayo Daejun]. Newsen (in Korean). December 29, 2011.
  10. ^ "현대자동차-SM엔터테인먼트 'PYL 유니크' 앨범 발표". JoongAng Ilbo (in Korean). October 16, 2012.
  11. ^ "SM launches a subunit boy band". Korea JoongAng Daily. January 1, 2013.
  12. ^ "SM 최고 퍼포머 뭉쳤다, SM더퍼포먼스 '스펙트럼' 음원공개". Newsen (in Korean). December 30, 2012.
  13. ^ Grace Danbi Hong (August 14, 2014). "SHINee's Taemin Highlights First Solo Album 'ACE'". Mwave. Archived from the original on October 8, 2017. Retrieved October 7, 2017.
  14. ^ "Kai to star in Web drama". Kpop Herald. January 11, 2016.
  15. ^ "'Choco Bank' featuring EXO's Kai teaches viewers about finance". Kpop Herald. February 15, 2016.
  16. ^ "Web drama 'Choco Bank' tops weekly charts". Kpop Herald. February 24, 2016.
  17. ^ "Lotte Duty Free to release a web drama". Korea JoongAng Daily. November 23, 2016.
  18. ^ "EXO's Kai to star with Jeong Da-bin in 'Andante'". Kpop Herald. January 11, 2017.
  19. ^ "EXO's Kai gets rebellious in 'Killing School'". Kpop Herald. January 19, 2017.
  20. ^ "EXO's Kai to star in Japanese TV drama". Kpop Herald. March 1, 2017.
  21. ^ "엑소 카이, 일본드라마 '봄이 왔다'로 첫 주연…넓혀가는 연기돌 행보". Naver (in Korean). Xports News. March 1, 2017.
  22. ^ "[문화광장] '빅이슈', 엑소 카이 재능 기부에 최다 판매". Naver (in Korean). KBS. December 12, 2017.
  23. ^ "EXO's Kai to join new KBS drama". Kpop Herald. February 26, 2018.
  24. ^ Jeff Benjamin (7 August 2019). "Super M, 'The Avengers Of K-Pop,' Unveiled By SM Entertainment And Capitol Music Group". Forbes. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  25. ^ "SM Entertainment and Capitol Records Team Up to Launch Super M". Billboard. 8 August 2019. Retrieved 14 August 2019.
  26. ^ "EXO's Kai Chosen As 1st Korean Male Global Ambassador For Gucci Eyewear". Soompi. September 16, 2019. Retrieved 2019-10-26.
  27. ^ "'K-Pop Avengers' SuperM Arrive with Cinematic 'Jopping' Music Video: Watch". Billboard. Retrieved 2019-10-21.
  28. ^ "2020年大驚喜!EXO 舞王 KAI 出道八年首次 solo 發行專輯啦~". Korea Star Daily. July 3, 2020. Retrieved November 3, 2020.
  29. ^ "EXO's Kai: The Evolution Of 'GUCCI Boy' To The First Ever Male Muse Of Makeup Brand 'BOBBI BROWN'". Kpopmap. October 13, 2020. Retrieved November 3, 2020.
  30. ^ "The all-new TUCSON Beyond DRIVE _ Virtual Showcase | Full Live Performance". YouTube. HyundaiWorldwide. November 1, 2020. Retrieved November 3, 2020.
  31. ^ "엑소 카이, 솔로 데뷔…30일 'KAI' 발매 [공식]". (in Korean). Retrieved 2020-11-11.
  32. ^ "[★포토]엑소 카이, 멋짐 한도초과…구찌 아이웨어 캠페인 공개". March 4, 2020. Retrieved 2020-03-04.
  33. ^ "EXO's Kai becomes the first male muse for Bobbi Brown". October 12, 2020.
  34. ^ "Kai (2020)". December 5, 2020.
  35. ^ "Heatseekers Albums Chart: The week of December 12, 2020". Billboard. December 10, 2020.
  36. ^ "World Albums Chart: The week of December 12, 2020". Billboard. December 10, 2020.
  37. ^ "2020년 12월 Album Chart" [December 2020 Album Chart]. Gaon Music Chart (in Korean). Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  38. ^ "KAI – The 1st Mini Album". Retrieved 2021-01-09.
  39. ^ "Gaon Certification - Album". Gaon Chart. Retrieved February 10, 2021.
  40. ^ Peak positions on Gaon Digital Chart:
  41. ^ "World Digital Song Sales Chart". Billboard. Retrieved December 10, 2020.
  42. ^ 2015년 01주차 Download Chart [1st Week of 2015 Download Chart]. Gaon Music Chart. Archived from the original on February 5, 2015. Retrieved June 17, 2016.
  43. ^ 2014년 35주차 Download Chart. Gaon Music Chart (in Korean). Korea Music Content Industry Association.
  44. ^ "KOMCA - 10023754". KOMCA. Retrieved 2021-04-01.
  45. ^ "MBC 연예". Retrieved 2019-01-12.
  46. ^ SMTOWN (2012-10-30), YOUNIQUE UNIT 'MAXSTEP' MV, retrieved October 31, 2018
  47. ^ "KAI 카이 '음 (Mmmh)' MV". Retrieved 2020-12-01.
  48. ^ Mnet K-POP (2014-10-31), Mnet [EXO 902014] 엑소 카이가 재해석한 '듀스-여름안에서' 뮤비/EXO KAI's 'In Summer' M/V Remake, retrieved October 31, 2018
  49. ^ "StarHub Night of Stars Makes Its Mark in Singapore". Retrieved 2019-02-23.
  50. ^ "[2018 KBS 연기대상] 유동근 대상 "장미희 덕분인데 내가 왜..대하드라마 부활 기원"". 10Asia (in Korean). January 1, 2019.
  51. ^ "Golden Disc Awards Album Division Nominees". Retrieved 2020-12-11.

External links

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