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This is a Korean name; the family name is Yoo.
Yoo Seung Jun
Birth name Yoo Seung Jun
Also known as Steve
Born December 15, 1976 (1976-12-15) (age 33)
Origin USA
Genres K-pop, R&B, Dance, Urban, Hip hop
Occupations Rapper, singer, Dancer, Model
Years active 1997-2002, 2006-present
Labels DreamBeat
Korean name
Hangul 유승준
Hanja 劉承俊
Revised Romanization Yu Seungjun
McCune–Reischauer Yu Sŭngjun

Yoo Seung-Jun ("Steve Yoo") was a popular South Korean pop star until 2002 for controversies around his military service.[1] He was noted for his high-energy dancing style, rapping, and singing ability.


Early life

Yoo Seung-Jun was born on December 15, 1976, in Seoul, South Korea. When he was 6 years old, he dreamt of becoming a star. He enjoyed listening to music by Michael Jackson. His family moved to the United States when he was thirteen, and where he currently still resides in Buena Park, California. [2] He attended Sunny Hills High School, where he experienced discrimination and did poorly as a result of gang activity and drugs. Yoo eventually overcame these obstacles and joined a church choir.

He discovered that he had a talent for singing and dancing, so he started to make demo tapes of his rapping and dance skills. At twenty years old, he worked hard to get his name recognized in the Korean music industry. He mailed demo tapes to various Korean music agencies showcasing his talents, such as: rapping, dancing, swimming, playing tennis, roller blading, basketball, body building, and Tae Kwon Do. At first, no one replied with any offers, but when Steve Yoo finally received a response, he left California to start his career as a singer. [2]


In 1996, he began filming himself singing and dancing and sent these videos to Brothers Entertainment, where he was eventually scouted. He made his Korean debut as a singer in 1997. His first album West Side became an instant hit with the debut single Gawi (which translates to Nightmare). With the hit of Gawi and I love you Noona, he won Best Newcomer of the Year in many award ceremonies. Yoo gained popularity with the signature dance move of Gawi, in which he and his backup dancers lined up diagonally to perform the same moves in unison. In the summer of 1998, he released 1998 V2 for SALE with Na Na Na as its first single. The song and the music video for Na Na Na topped the charts [3] and his popularity heightened. Many consider this album as the most successful of his career, and it garnered him the title of Best Artist of the Year in multiple award ceremonies. In 1999, he went on to release his third album Now Or Never, which contained the hit single Passion. During this time, he began to expand his career to China and Taiwan. The single Can't Wait was released in those countries, which was a collaboration with Taiwanese singer Yuki (the popularity he gained there would later turn out to be a great advantage). In 2001, he released the single Wow, and he continued to release music in Korea up until his deportation in 2002.

Deportation controversy

In South Korea, all able males must serve 26 months (24 months in 2009) in the military. Yoo said time and time again on Korean television that he would fulfill his duty. But in 2002, just before he was to be drafted, he became a naturalized U.S. citizen and appeared to the government with a U.S. passport. [4][5] As a result, the South Korean government considered his action an act of desertion, and deported him to the U.S, permanently banning him from entering Korea. The Korean public was also shocked at his action, and his fame plummeted. Yoo was later allowed to visit Korea for a short period to attend his father-in-law's funeral.


Yoo resides in Los Angeles, California, with his wife, Christine Oh, and their newborn baby [4]. Several years after the military enrollement controversy brought an end to his singing career in South Korea, Yoo (otherwise known as "Yoo Seung Jun") began a music career in Mainland China, hoping to regain his popularity through different demographics. Yoo still desires to return to his Korean homeland. In an attempt to salvage his career, Yoo begged for forgiveness by appearing on the national television show "tvN" to justify his actions [5]. However, it met with little success in swaying public opinion.

In 2007, he released his 7th album Yoo Seung Jun Vol. 7 - Rebirth of YSJ produced specifically in mind for fans who stood by him through the highs and the lows of his career. The album was produced under the collaboration of production teams from U.S., China, and Korea [6]. He released various singles such as Missing U, Breakin' Love, One For Me, and Fireworks. Not only has Yoo's audience and singing style changed, but his overall appearance is significantly more muscular in comparison to his older days of Na Na Na. Furthermore, his English rapping skills have also improved [7].

He earned a role in an untitled Taiwanese drama loosely based on Bret Easton Ellis' famous novel Less Than Zero. In June 2008, Steve Yoo signed a 15-year contract with Jackie Chan's entertainment management company to become an actor. As of right now, Yoo is attempting to establish a name for himself in Mainland China, while continuing his singing and acting career. Yoo is learning to become an actor at the Jackie Chan stunt school.



  • 1 - WEST SIDE (1997)
  • 2 - 1998 V2 for SALE (1998)
  • 3 - Now Or Never (1999)
  • 4 - OVER AND OVER (1999)
  • Gold Techno Remix (2000)
  • 5 - Summit Revival / 고지탈환 (2000)
  • 6 - Infinity (2001)
  • Promise to Jun (2006)
  • 7 - "Rebirth of YSJ/리버스 오브 와이에스제이" (2007)


External links

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