Yu Hui-yeol’s Profile
Real name: Yu Hui Yeol/유희열 / 토이 Alternative name: You Hee Yeol/Yu Hee Yeol/Toy Nationality: South Korea South Korea Gender: Male Date of Birth: April 19th, 1972 (48 years old) Status: active Beginning: 1992 Genres/Occupation: Radio Host, Composer, K-Pop, Lyricist, TV Presenter Label/Agency: Antenna Music Old band: I am Korea (Piano) (2015) Facts • Yu Hui-yeol graduated from the prestigious Seoul National University’s College of Music with a major in composition. • He won the grand prize at the 4th Yoo Jae Ha Music Contest in 1992. • He started the project band Toy in 1994. • He also has served as producer for many other K-Pop musicians, including Lee Seung Hwan, Yoon Jong Shin, Lee Sore, and Lee Moon Se. • In addition to his musical endeavors, Yu Hui Yeol has been the host of the major K-Pop live music show Yu Huiyeol’s Sketchbook since 2009. • He appeared in PSY’s “Daddy” music video. • He joined the cast of Saturday Night Live Korea in September 2013.
Debut with Band TOY
The band Toy started as a duo of Yu Hui-yeol and Yoon Jeong-oh and was named after their two initials “y”, as in ‘Two + Y = Toy.’ However, not long after the release of Toy’s debut album, Yoon Jeong-oh left the band to study overseas and Yu Hui-yeol joined the navy for his mandatory military service. Yu Hui-yeol has been the sole member of Toy since 1996. After he was discharged from the military service, Hui-yeol released Toy’s second studio album Yooheeyeol. The title song “Remember I Was Next To You” (Korean: 내가 너의 곁에 잠시 살았다는 걸; Naega Neoui Gyeote Jamshi Sarattaneun Geol), was sung by Kim Yeon-woo, and became a big hit and the album was a commercial success. In 1997, Toy released the third studio album Present. The band also started a record label named Toy Music (currently Antenna Music). After a six-year hiatus from Fermata (2001), the band released their sixth studio album Thank You with the title song “A Passionate Goodbye” (Korean: 뜨거운 안녕; Tteugeoun Annyeong) featuring vocals by E. Z. Hyoung.
Founder of Antenna Music
Antenna Music, the label that was founded with the original name Toy Music in 1997 by Yu Hui-yeol, attracted the attention of many music lovers in South Korea as an indie label that has a position in the mainstream realm. One proof can be seen in the participation of Yu Hui-yeol as the only judge from the indie music agency in the talent search event K-Pop Star. Yu Hui-yeol first founded the indie record label Toy Music in 1997. In the following decade, the label published several albums by artists including Lucid Fall, Kim Yeon-woo, Dear Cloud, and Yu Hui-yeol himself. In 2007, the label’s name was changed to Antenna Music. The modem electronic band Peppertones signed under Antenna Music in 2008, followed by pianist Jung Jae-hyung following completion of his degree from the Ecole Normale de Musique de Paris, and singer-songwriter Park Sae-byul.
From the latest news, the label has several solo artists as well including Lucid Fall, Jung Jae-hyung, Park Sae-byul, Sam Kim, Kwon Jin-ah, Jung Seung-hwan, Lee Jin-ah, and Lee Soo-jung. Yu Hui-yeol is also known as a nice CEO because he tends to have this not-so-serious approach with his artists. In the company, he created such a warm and family-like working environment. We can see his interactions with his artists in the video above. So funny!
Popular with KBS ‘Yu Hee-yeol’s Sketchbook‘
Yu Hui-yeol’s Sketchbook is a South Korean music program that combines a talk show and a live music performance. It is hosted by Yu Hui-yeol himself. The program has been on the air since April 24th, 2009. He invites famous musicians and bands to talk about career stories and their latest works. They also usually present their newest hits to entertain the audiences. When he interviews his guests, it seems like we’re watching a private conversation. He usually asks about the progress of the current work of the artist. He also wants to know about the story behind their creation. There are many moments where both he and his guests throw jokes at each other to keep the atmosphere fun and relaxed. So it is not only the audiences who laugh, but the host and the guests are also having fun in appearing in the show. Yu Hui-yeol’s Sketchbook airs on KBS2 every Friday at 12:35 AM KST and has a running time of about 80 minutes. Each week, about 3 – 4 musicians appear as the guests to perform and have a talk with the Yu Hui-yeol for 10 – 15 minutes.
Yu Hui-yeol got married in 2005. Her wife’s name is Lee Sang-eun. There is not much news that goes around about the marriage. But, it was said that the reason that made Yu Hui-yeol realize that Lee Sang-eun was the one, was that she said this to him, “Do you think I’m dating you to be happy? No, I’m dating you because even if I have a hard time, it will be OK if it’s you,” after a resentful conversation between Yu Hui-yeol and his parents.