I'm loving all this attention surrounding K-Pop lately. As a multi-stan, I love seeing my fave K-Pop groups and soloists finally get the international recognition they deserve. I'm always looking for new K-Pop music to listen to and besides YouTube, my fave place to discover new artists is through the K-Pop playlists on Spotify, which was where I discovered the K-Pop group Wanna One. Since debuting in 2017, Wanna One has won several rookie awards, including at the Mnet Asian Music Awards and Melon Music Awards. Billboard also named them the Best New K-Pop Act of 2017, and in 2018, they went on a U.S. tour and even performed at KCON in New York City. Since all good things must come to an end, Wanna One, unfortunately, disbanded in January 2019, but don't worry, Kang Daniel is still around and getting ready to release new music. Who Is Kang Daniel? Kang Daniel was one of Wanna One's eleven members. Now that the group has disbanded, he is ready for his career as a K-Pop soloist.
Before I get to Kang Daniel, let me tell you a bit more about Wanna One. South Korean entertainment company CJ E&M recruited the group's eleven members through the second season of the survival competition show Produce 101. By the end of the season, CJ E&M concluded that Kang Daniel, Park Ji-hoon, Lee Dae-hwi, Kim Jae-hwan, Ong Seong-wu, Park Woo-jin, Lai Kuan-lin, Yoon Ji-sung, Hwang Min-hyun, Bae Jin-young and Ha Sung-woon would debut as Wanna One on Aug. 7, 2017. Together, Wanna One came out with bops such as "Energetic" (one of my fave K-Pop songs of all time), "BOOMERANG," "Burn It Up," and more.
During Kang Daniel's time with Wanna One, he worked on several projects on his own. He appeared on variety shows like It's Dangerous Beyond The Blankets and Master Key and also appeared on magazine covers for Weekly Chosun and InStyle. Before he takes over the K-Pop world with his solo music, you can familiarize yourself with Kang Daniel by looking at this pic of him:
From the beginning, Wanna One was a temporary group, so both the fans and the group's members sadly knew that disbandment was going to come eventually — though, that didn't stop them from hoping the K-Pop gods would work some miracle in the end. Alas, the group performed their last concerts together in January, and ever since then, fans have missed seeing the group perform together. Although Wanna One is no longer together, fans were happy to hear that Kang Daniel would continue music as a soloist. Just to give you an idea of how beloved Kang Daniel had become as an individual, he broke a Guinness World Record record for the fastest time to gain one million followers on Instagram. The previous record was held by the Pope, so yeah, you could say it was kind of a big deal.
But despite being immensely popular in the K-Pop world, things have not been smooth sailing for Kang Daniel when it comes to kicking off his solo career. While other members of Wanna One, like Sungwoon, released solo music, up until very recently, Kang Daniel was in limbo due to a legal battle with his former label, LM Entertainment, that prevented him from releasing music.
Basically, he claimed LM Entertainment breached his contract by selling most of his management rights to a third party company, according to E!. Kang Daniel and LM Entertainment went to court in April, and that was where he requested to part ways with the company. Thankfully, according to a statement released by his legal representatives on May 10, Kang Daniel won in court and is continuing with his music career as a free agent. Yay!
Amid his legal dispute with LM Entertainment, at which point he did not have access to his verified social media accounts, Kang Daniel launched a new Instagram account, so you can @ him now at @daniel.k.here.
On June 9, Kang Daniel went on Instagram live to update fans about the good news regarding his victory in court. According to Soompi, during the Instagram live (on his new Instagram account), he told fans, "The reason I’m doing this live broadcast is because I wanted to greet you guys as soon as possible, rather than [wait] for an official occasion."
Kang Daniel revealed that he would be making his solo debut soon and that he would be creating his own talent agency named Konnect Entertainment.
Soompi translated his message to the following:
I am now completely in the preparation stage [for my solo debut] and am working on making music. For this [new album], I am participating in writing both the lyrics and the music, and I have been thinking a lot about how I can deliver better music and messages to you guys. Please look forward to it a lot.
Kang Daniel ended his Instagram live by thanking fans for being so patient with him and that the wait would be worth it once his new music comes out.
He said, "I am always thankful for you guys. I hope you look forward to my [upcoming promotions], and I am sorry for making you wait so long."
You can watch Kang Daniel's Instagram live below.
Kang Daniel was a main dancer, lead rapper, and a sub vocalist for Wanna One. Oh, and he can obviously dance and model, too. He has so much talent and he's only 22! Wow, I'm 22! But he's clearly more talented than me. As a Wanna One fan, I'm really looking forward to his solo debut. If he's done so much being in a group, imagine what this guy could do solo!
Editor's note: This post has been updated to reflect that, amid his legal dispute with LM Entertainment, Kang Daniel launched a new Instagram account, @daniel.k.here.