Artist of the week – Big Mama

Our featured artist this week is the female R&B group Big Mama. This 4-member group proves to us that talent speaks louder than looks. Certainly, they are not the prettiest girl group in Korea. Even before Big Mama debuted, their members have been around the music industry for a while as backup singers and songwriters. No record companies want to give these 4 ladies a chance, except YG, who always believes that great singers with great voices can be successful without brilliant dances or appearance. Their first album "Like The Bible" sold more than 100,000 copies in 2003, and was among the top 10 sellers even several months after release. They rarely appeared on gayo shows (which is still true now), relying on their music to impress listeners. In my opinion, Big Mama revolutionized the modern day Korean female R&B groups. Now we are seeing a lot of new female R&B groups with great voices but without looking like models. Let’s find out more about Big Mama:


Name: Shin Yeona
Date of birth : August 12th, 1973
Blood type : O
Nickname : Schindler
Motto : Live an earnest life.
Favorite musicians : Laura Figi, Chet Baker, Ella Fitzgerald

Name: Lee Ji-young
Date of birth : July 25th, 1975
Blood type : A
Hobbies : Graffiti, dreaming, walking, watching movies, reading, singing
Talent : Graffiti
Motto : Not being able to feel something means having no life.
Favorite musicians : Lauryn Hill, Bjork, Han Young-ae, Stevie Wonder

Name: Lee Young-hyun
Date of birth : December 25th, 1981
Blood type : A
Hobby : Lip syncing
Talent : Singing
Motto : Be patient.
Favorite musicians : Sarah Borgman, Whitney Houston

Name: Park Min-hye
Date of birth : September 18th, 1982
Blood type : B
Hobby : Listening to music
Motto : Pray to live.
Favorite musicians : Manhattan Transfer, Foreplay, Yang Hee-eun


As the name of the band indicates, Big Mama is a 4-member female vocal band consisting of 4 “big” women – both in terms of physique and vocal talents. Despite their great talents in singing, most of the 4 members of the band had to perform as back chorus singers because of their “not so beautiful” appearances. Of course, that is only compared to the female singers who have Barbie-like figures and faces. Yang Hyun-seok, Former member of Taeji and Boys, discovered the talents of the 4 female vocalists and teamed them up as a band to stir up the local pop music scene with a sensational wave that great singers with great voices can be successful without brilliant dances or appearances. Shin Yeona, the eldest member of the band had made her debut in the pop music scene by winning a silver prize at the Riverside Song Festival held in 1995. Since then she had been actively performing as lyrics writer and singer behind the scenes of various television and radio commercials and theme songs for televisions dramas until she joined Big Mama. Lee Young-hyun had won a special prize at the Riverside Song Festival held in 2000. Lee Ji-young had performed with the Han Sang-won band as a vocalist. One of the most extraordinary conditions of contract for the band Big Mama was that if any of the members would have a plastic surgery, the whole band will have to be disbanded. Thus, the promotion of the vocal band focused on highlighting the band’s vocal talent rather than its appearance. As soon as its debut, the band proved that it’s only the music that counts for the success of a band.


Like the Bible (1st album, 2003) : Break away, Monolog, Refusal, Give Up, His Eyes Are on Sparrow
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It’s Unique (2nd album, 2005) : Sound, After Giving Up, Woman
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Big Mama’s Gift (Christmas album, 2005) : Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, Jingle Bell Rock, Let It Snow, The First Noel
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For the People (3rd album, 2006) : Nevermind, Love Gets Wings, Calling, Get Out, One Fine Day, Shout Love
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For The Christmas (Christmas album, 2006 – to be released on November 27)
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– credits to KBS World