K-Pop Before H.O.T. – Personal Favorites of 90s K-Pop Singers

90s K-Pop

Ever since reaching the age of “over the hill,” I often find myself reminiscing and longing for days when life was more innocent and carefree. This happens more often the older I get and especially when this time of year comes along. Music has been a prominent part of my whole life; I grew up eating and breathing K-Pop ever since I could talk. I remember sitting in front of the television set watching “Gayo Top 10” dreaming of singing and dancing onstage, mesmerized by Kang Susie and Yang Soo Kyung. I would put on my prettiest dress and sneak into my mom’s make-up drawer for some blush and lipstick and sing into my pretend mic: a hairbrush. I’m too old to dream about becoming a superstar now, but those songs I used to sing and dance to are still a significant part of my life. So without further ramblings about my childhood, I would like to introduce all of you Soompiers to some K-Pop artists I grew up listening to. This list specifically consists of singers, who debuted between 1990-1995, whom I consider the “sunbaes” of 90s K-Pop that paved the way for today’s idol stars.

 Disclaimer: This list is 100% my personal opinion. By no means am I a music expert or have any intentions to offend anyone.


Before H.O.T came a mixed group named Cool. The group originally debuted with four members in 1994, but soon underwent member changes and wounded up as a trio consisting of two guys and a girl. Most of Cool’s title songs had a cheerful and happy melody despite singing about heartbreak. Cool’s songs were entertaining and relatable at the same time.


Kang Susie was one of those singers I loved so much that I wanted to be like her. When I first watched her on TV singing “Violet Fragrance,” I thought I was watching an angel. Many singers who came after her remade her hits, and she paved the way for Korean singers to enter the J-Pop market gaining much success through her Japanese debut in 1995. Although she retired from singing, she continues to make appearances in Korea.

Violet Fragrance

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