At the age of just 27, IU is already one of the biggest soloists to every grace the Korean music industry. Of course, getting there took a long journey that started when she was just a little child. Take a look at IU’s evolution from baby to 27 years old and try not to feel soft for her.
IU as a baby
IU was born Lee Jieun in Seoul, South Korea on May 16, 1993.
And she was the cutest little baby you’ve ever seen!
(Even with tears in her eyes)
IU as a toddler
IU has been rocking the angelic white gowns since she was just a little toddler.
She was already gearing up to become the nation’s princess.
Her tiny mind just didn’t know it yet.
IU as a child
IU developed an interest in performing at a very young age.
She signed up for acting classes when she was just a child.
However, when she was in elementary school, IU and her family began suffering financial problems. Her dream was put aside when she had to move to a studio room apartment with her grandparents and cousins.
IU as a tween
But that didn’t deter her. During middle school, IU began auditioning for various companies.
Believe it or not, this star singer was turned down 20 times, even by companies like JYP Entertainment. But she never gave up, and at the age of 14, she signed with LOEN Entertainment.
IU at 15 years old
IU released her debut single, “Lost Child”, at just 15 years old!
Unfortunately, IU faced hate and her first album performed poorly in sales. However, she took it all in her stride.
IU at 16 years old
The next year, her image was changed to become more youthful and “cute”. She also began performing acoustic covers of major hits, such as Girls’ Generation‘s “Gee” and Super Junior‘s “Sorry, Sorry”.
At the time, IU wasn’t too happy with her new styling, but her performances did begin receiving a lot of positive comments from the public.
IU at 17 years old
When she was 17, IU scored a #1 hit with “Nagging”, a duet with 2AM‘s Seulong. This was the year when praise for her singing really began to skyrocket.
As she began to show more sides of herself, IU started drawing in a wider demographic of fans than typical K-Pop stars of the time.
IU at 18 years old
At 18, IU began appearing in multiple variety and reality shows, from Heroes to Kim Yuna’s Kiss & Cry.
That year, she released her second studio album. Critics claimed it was one that would “suit all kinds of musical tastes and fans”, and they were certainly not wrong.
IU at 19 years old
By the last year of her teens, IU was already achieving immense popularity. That year, she embarked on her first solo concert, which sold out in just 30 minutes.
IU also made her debut in Japan at 19 years old.
IU at 20 years old
With her singing career well-established, 20-year-old IU began delving back into the acting she’d loved so much in her youth.
Despite early reservations from viewers, IU’s performance in the lead role of You’re the Best, Lee Soon-shin received very positive reviews.
IU at 21 years old
At 21, IU released her first cover album, which was later nominated for an Album of the Year award.
In the same year, she made her US debut at KCON in Los Angeles.
IU at 22 years old
The next year, IU starred in a drama called The Producers, which skyrocketed her popularity in China.
She was named “Woman of the Year” by GQ Korea for her outstanding achievements.
IU at 23 years old
IU’s worldwide popularity was so big by the age of 23, her Taiwan concert sold out in just 2 minutes.
From dramas to music, IU already had everything going for her.
IU at 24 years old
One of IU’s best known albums, Palette, was released when she was 24 years old.
That year, she won two “Album of the Year” awards, a “Best Female Artist” award, and three awards for her lyrics and composition.
IU at 25 years old
When IU was 25, she was already celebrating her 10-year debut anniversary.
Within just 16 hours, her anniversary song (“Bbibbi”) reached 1 million unique listeners on MelOn.
IU at 26 years old
IU made her film debut just before turning 26 years old, starring in Netflix‘s Persona.
She also starred in Hotel Del Luna, one of the most-loved K-Dramas to date.
IU at 27 years old
And at 27 years old, IU is still going strong.
Let’s hope there’s only good to come in her future!