Lee Hoyang, Prolific K-Pop Producer and Songwriter, Dies at 40

Lee Hoyang, Prolific K-Pop Producer and Songwriter, Dies at 40

Lee Hoyang, a prolific producer and songwriter of South Korean pop music who was professionally known as Shinsadong Tiger and who helped create some of the biggest K-pop hits of the 2010s, died on Friday in Seoul. He was 40.

His management agency confirmed his death in a statement. It did not mention the cause. It said that a private funeral was being held in Seoul. The agency, TR Entertainment, did not respond to an emailed request for comment. A police detective in Seoul also confirmed Mr. Lee’s death but would not disclose further details.

Mr. Lee was often credited with shaping the musical style that defined K-pop in the early 2010s: catchy, upbeat and repetitive with a strong hook. He produced many commercially successful songs throughout the decade, mostly for young female artists. Among the hits were “Roly-Poly” and “Bo Peep Bo Peep,” both by T-ara; “NoNoNo,” by Apink; and “Bubble Pop!” by HyunA.

“He created an exciting, funky, beat-driven K-pop style that continues to be repeated over and over again,” said Do Heon Kim, a pop music critic in South Korea. “There is no place where his influence hasn’t been felt.”

Lee Hoyang was born on June 3, 1983, in Pohang, a city on South Korea’s southeastern coast. With no formal music education, he immersed himself in music starting in middle school, when he played in a band and remixed songs with his friends, he said in an interview in 2011.

He debuted as a songwriter in 2004, when he produced a song called “Man and Woman” for the South Korean pop band the Jadu. The song, which had a pulse of Brazilian bossa nova, was released in 2005.

Mr. Lee’s career took a downturn in the late 2010s as his music came to be increasingly regarded as repetitive and he was faced with plagiarism accusations, which he denied, Mr. Kim said. Mr. Lee focused more of his energy on producing and helped form the girl groups EXID, which debuted in 2012, and Tri.be, which debuted in 2021.

Jin Yu Young contributed reporting.


Kyle C. Garrison

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