SM Entertainment’s BAEKHYUN completed his service in the South Korean military on February 5. BBH-Ls, or Byun Baekhyun Lovers, are ready to celebrate his return with plans of cupsleeve and “cansleeve” events around the world. 

Prior to his enlistment, BAEKHYUN filmed 21 videos to be uploaded one per month to his YouTube channel as a gift to fans. Five of the vlogs were posted but later deleted. A 2021 statement from SM Entertainment said the remaining 16 videos would be released at the end of the singer’s enlistment.

BAEKHYUN shared his excitement and nerves of seeing his fans again after 21 months as a public service worker. With his return, here are seven things to know about BAEKHYUN.

Getting Discovered

In the K-pop industry, most idols either went to open auditions or were street-casted to be signed with a company. BAEKHYUN revealed that since middle school, he would be approached by company recruiters. However, some would be scammers asking him to pay 3 million won ($2,400). Due to those experiences, he had his guard up whenever others would try to recruit him. 

When he was 20 years old (Korean age), BAEKHYUN was approached by another casting recruiter while preparing for his college entrance exams. The person tapped his shoulder and asked him, “Don’t you want to become a celebrity?” Being used to this, BAEKHYUN asked, “Which agency are you from?” The recruiter replied that he didn’t need to know and asked him for his number. Intrigued by her confidence, BAEKHYUN gave it to her. 

Later that night, BAEKHYUN received a call from a SM Entertainment employee. Since he was unsure if it was a scam or not, he searched SM’s address online and asked the employee multiple questions. After his worries dissipated, BAEKHYUN agreed to an audition where he sangClean Up” by The Ray in front of TVXQ. That same day, he met his future bandmate CHEN. 

With the panel being impressed by his performance, BAEKHYUN became a trainee for seven months. He then debuted in the boy group EXO, where Byun Baek Hyun soon became known as the mononym BAEKHYUN. 

Flourishing Main Vocalist

BAEKHYUN’s debut in EXO and the sub-unit EXO-K marked the beginning of his idol career. Mama was released on April 9, 2012, with BAEKHYUN as the main vocalist of the group. 

Due to his short trainee period, BAEKHYUN felt pressure once he debuted because “the other members were already so prepared and had so many things to show but what I could show at the time was limited.” However, he overcame those obstacles and grew more confident throughout his years in the group. He then debuted in the sub-unit EXO-CBX with the mini album Hey Mama! in October 2016.

His confidence and refined skills earned him a spot in SuperM, the self-proclaimed “Avengers of K-pop.” The group consists of seven members from SM Entertainment’s SHINee, EXO, and NCT. SuperM debuted in October 2019 with a self-titled first mini album. SuperM then released its first album, Super One, in September 2020. Aside from being the group’s main vocalist, BAEKHYUN is also responsible as its leader.

Solo Move to UN Village

BAEKHYUN’s solo career started on July 10, 2019 with the release of his first solo mini album City Lights. He showcased his vocal prowess on the six-track R&B EP. The music video for the single “UN Village” currently has over 52 million views. 

In June 2021, his third EP Bambi earned BAEKHYUN his first certified million album by the Korea Music Contents Association. It was a rare feat in South Korea, as BAEKHYUN was also the first solo artist to earn the certification at the time. 

The Prince Next Door

Not only is BAEKHYUN a certified singer, but he also dabbled in acting. He made his on-screen acting debut with fellow EXO members CHANYEOL, D.O., and SEHUN in EXO Next Door (2015). The members play a fictional version of themselves, where two characters become entwined in a love triangle with the female lead. BAEKHYUN also recorded his first ever OST, “Beautiful,” for the web series.

BAEKHYUN also played the role of Wang Eun in the 2016 drama Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo. Wang Eun is a mischievous and enthusiastic prince in the historical period drama. One fan of the show said BAEKHYUN was a “legitimate rendition of the character.” BAEKHYUN also participated in the OST “For You” with EXO members CHEN and XIUMIN.

BAEKHYUN has also made his theatrical debut in the Korean adaptation of Singing in the Rain (2014). He had the lead role of Don Lockwood, a polite and dashing actor who hopes to become a successful performer. 

Making His Name in Fashion

BAEKHYUN has also shown great interest in fashion. In May 2018, Privé Alliance appointed him as a co-creative director. The unisex streetwear label released his first collection for the Privé by BBH brand in July 2018. The six-piece collection included black and white tees, hoodies, sweaters, and sweatshirts. Since then, clothing from BAEKHYUN’s line has featured portraits of him, lyrics and phrases in his handwriting, the word “fearless,” and the Privé logo. 

In September 2020, BAEKHYUN was announced as the brand ambassador for Burberry Korea. He sported the brand on the cover of Harper’s BAZAAR Korea’s October 2020 issue. He also shouted out the brand in his duet “Monroe” with NCT’s TAEYONG.

In The Big Leagues

BAEKHYUN can also be considered a gamer, especially with his skills in League of Legends and PUBG. For SM Entertainment’s Super Celeb League, BAEKHYUN was the leader of the Demasiah Team against the Aeonian Team led by SUPER JUNIOR’s HEECHUL. The two teams played six rounds of League of Legends in the 2017 competition. 

In April 2020, BAEKHYUN tweeted asking if anyone was good at the game PUBG. Numerous professional gamers replied to the tweet, but one team in particular caught his attention. BAEKHYUN replied to Gen.G, which led to the team offering BAEKHYUN a chance to play together.

BAEKHYUN then live streamed the PUBG match with Gen.G on his YouTube channel on October 28, 2020. While gaming, Gen.G’s Pio said if BAEKHYUN trains a bit more he can join the team. The professional gaming team won the 2019 PUBG Global Championship.

Black Belt Baekhyun Defending His Title

Another achievement under BAEKHYUN’s belt is that he has a third Dan Black Belt in hapkido. Hapkido is a Korean martial art that demonstrates joint locks, throws, strikes, and kicking technique. The practice puts emphasis on deflecting attacks instead of forceful blocking present in other martial arts. 

BAEKHYUN demonstrates his expertise in a 2015 episode of Cool Kiz on the Block. In the episode, he reveals that he practiced hapkido for nine years since second grade. He has competed in national championships where he was awarded gold medals. He also said that the reason he was unable to be promoted in rank is due to the Korea Hapkido Association’s rule that sets a minimum age requirement for the fourth Dan Black Belt. 

BAEKHYUN also jumped over seven members of the cast, earning him the nickname “human bird.” 

What’s Next?

BAEKHYUN will be doing his first YouTube live since his enlistment on EXO’s official account. The livestream will occur on February 6 at 8 pm KST. The theme for the stream is a “special lecture” with BAEKHYUN as the instructor. BBH-Ls can fill out a Naver form for the event where some responses will be read out by BAEKHYUN. The form has five fields that fans can fill out, one being a letter “To BAEKHYUN.” The deadline to submit responses is on February 5 at 11:59 p.m. KST. 

Fans can also look forward to BAEKHYUN’s group activities this year. EXO’s SUHO took to Instagram to confirm the group’s comeback Soon after, SM Entertainment confirmed SuperM’s 2023 return with a group teaser on January 1. 

Want to know more about BAEKHYUN? Read about his EP Bambi here!