CL (Korean: 이채린; Lee Chae-rin; born February 26, 1991) is a South Korean idol singer, rapper, dancer and song-writer. She was born in Seoul, South Korea, and spent much of her early life in Japan and France where she learned English, French, and Japanese. In 2009, she debuted along with YG Entertainment label mates Sandara Park, Minzy, and Park Bom as 2NE1.
CL has worked with Big Bang, Uhm Jung Hwa, YMGA, and Teddy Park. With 2NE1, she has released two extended plays, 2NE1 and 2NE1 2nd Mini Album, and one full length album, To Anyone, along with their Japanese releases. Her duet song with fellow member Minzy, “Please Don’t Go,” peaked at number 6 on the monthly Gaon Chart on November 2009.
CL, also known as Lee Chaerin or Faith Lee [English name] was born in Seoul, South Korea. Due to her father’s occupation as a physics professor, she moved around as a child. She has lived in France and Japan. There, she learned English, French and Japanese.
CL was once a trainee under JYP Entertainment, where she befriended Wonder Girls’ Sohee and Yeeun, 2pm’s Jun. K and solo artist Jay Park, Secret’s Zinger and Miss A’s Min.
As a teenager, her family took permanent residence again in South Korea.
2007–2008: Career beginnings
CL’s first feature on a song recording was Big Bang’s “Intro (Hot Issue)” in 2007. Later that year, she had her first stage debut at Seoul Broadcasting System’s Music Awards alongside her label mates at YG Entertainment. Her first credited appearance in a song was in 2008, with Uhm Jung Hwa’s “DJ,” in which she rapped. CL also appeared on YMGA’s track “What” as part of the YG Family.
Main article: 2NE1
YG Entertainment announced that the new group would consist of four members and debut sometime in May 2009. The company stated that the group had trained for four years, and that their debut album would contain songs produced by 1TYM’s leader, Teddy Park and G-Dragon of Big Bang. The group’s name was initially announced as “21”; however, due to the discovery of a singer with the same name, the group was renamed “2NE1”, which “NE” is the abbreviation of “New Evolution”. CL was placed in 2NE1 as the leader, alongside Bom, Minzy and Sandara Park.
The group collaborated with label-mate senior Big Bang for the song “Lollipop”. The song gained immediate success, but questions were still raised as to whether the group could survive on its own.
2NE1 debuted in SBS’s The Music Trend on May 17, 2009 where they performed their digital single Fire produced by Teddy Park of 1TYM. With the release of their self-titled mini-album, the group started the promotions of their title track I Don’t Care. Their mini album hit the no. 3 spot at the Hanteo’s “Best-selling Album of 2009” with over 100,000 copies sold.
After a short hiatus, the group released a surprise single “Follow Me” that took number one for the week of February 13. The single was said to be a surprise for their Thai fans.
In October of the same year, 2NE1 returned with their first full-length studio album To Anyone., which was released on September 9, 2010. Promotions started with the simultaneous showcase of the three title tracks of the album, “Clap Your Hands”, “Go Away” and “Can’t Nobody”. Following those promotions, another song “It Hurts (Slow)” was released on October 31 for Halloween. The album garnered huge success and 2NE1 won an overall 11 times on various music shows from their promotion. The album went on to sell over 150,000 copies.
In August 2009, CL also collaborated with label-mates G-Dragon of Big Bang and Teddy Park of 1TYM for “The Leaders”, which was featured on G-Dragon’s first solo album Heartbreaker. It was revealed that CL wrote her own lyrics to the song.
In August, after finishing “I Don’t Care” promotions, 2NE1 took a temporary hiatus with each member releasing their own solo singles. First, Dara released “Kiss” which featured CL. The song peaked at number five on the Gaon monthly charts. CL then collaborated with fellow member Minzy for “Please Don’t Go,” the lowest performing of the three singles. However, it still charted at number six by the end of November.
On January 27, 2011, it was reported that CL’s vacation to Paris may have been to discuss her solo career. A YG Entertainment contact is said to have stated that she is to launch her solo career alongside 2NE1’s comeback.
On March 2012, CL featured in a new rap campaign “all Originals Make Moves” by Adidas Originals. It was reported that CL personally penned the lyrics to the rap.
Musical style and influences
CL is the rapper in her group,. She cites 1TYM leader Teddy Park, who produces much of 2NE1’s music, and former collaborator Uhm Jung Hwa as influences and inspirations, as well as Lauryn Hill (influenced by her father) and rapper Drake. She has also said she finds inspiration in American singers Madonna, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, and Lady Gaga.