Samuel Arredondo Kim, 15, is a Korean-Mexican idol who’s ready to take on the world of K-pop.
At his age, Samuel is already a solo artist, a relatively uncommon sight in the industry populated by idol groups with members in their late teens and early adulthood.
Samuel debuted in August under Brave Entertainment with “Sixteen,” a dance track featuring Korean rapper-producer Changmo, along with five other songs in a mini-album of the same title.
Shortly after its release, “Sixteen” rose to number one on the iTunes worldwide album charts in Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam, while placing in the top 10 charts in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Thailand and Singapore, according to local media.
“Sixteen” also performed well in physical sales, topping the local Hanteo Chart on Aug. 3. Five days later, all copies were sold out, with many purchases coming from overseas.
According to Soompi, distributor LOEN Entertainment announced:
“All 30,000 first copies were sold out as of August 8. The export sales overseas have been extraordinary. You could say it is a reflection of his popularity overseas. As additional orders continue to come in, we are producing more of them. In particularly, the mini album ’Sixteen’ has been maintaining a high spot on the Hanteo realtime chart.”
Born to a Korean mother and a Mexican father in Los Angeles, Samuel moved to South Korea when he was 11 and began training to be a K-pop idol under Pledis Entertainment
He trained alongside members of the now-successful SEVENTEEN. It is understood that if he did not opt out of Pledis, Samuel would have debuted as the youngest member of the group.
Samuel didn’t quit K-pop, and he soon joined Brave Entertainment — his current label — and debuted as half of a hip-hop duo called 1Punch. He was then known as “Punch”.
Now performing by himself, Punch collaborated with “Watch Me” singer Silentó in a track called “Spotlight”, which, sadly, did not do much for the young artist.
Then came Produce 101, a reality show where participants (often trainees) from different labels compete for a slot in a winning lineup that debuts as a temporary idol group. Samuel participated and performed consistently well, but by the end of the show, he failed to be part of the winning 11-member group now known as Wanna One.
It was all well as Brave Entertainment clearly had something in mind for Samuel. While the young artist failed to be part of Wanna One, the label announced his solo debut days after Produce 101’s finale, and the rest is history.
Amidst setbacks and with that kind of determination and hard work, it’s only right to see Samuel finally win more love.
For now, fans are eagerly waiting for his full album in October, as announced by Brave Entertainment (via Aallkpop):
“Because we had so much already prepared, it was possible for [Samuel Kim] to prepare his full album in a short period of time.”
Check out “Sixteen” below: