S.M. Entertainment Wiki
Lee Soo-man


18 June 1952 (age 63)


South Korea


M.A. in Computer Engineering

Alma mater

California State University,
Seoul National University


Singer, Chairman, entrepreneur


2008 M.net Golden Disk Award for Record Producer of the Year
1997 SBS Seoul Music Award for Record Producer
2011 Seoul Cultural Arts Awards for Pop Music Producer’s Award SM Entertainment
2012 1st Gaon Chart K-Pop Awards Kpop Contribution Award

Lee Soo-man (born June 18, 1952) is a South Korean entrepreneur and the founding chairman of SM Entertainment Group, specializing in K-pop groups. Lee started his career as a singer while attending Seoul National University in 1972. He co-founded the agency in 1989, and it has taken an extremely important position within the South Korean entertainment industry. SM is now the largest record label in South Korea, due to the success of artists such as H.O.T, S.E.S., Shinhwa, BoA, TVXQ, Super Junior, Girls' Generation, SHINee, f(x) and EXO.


1952-1972: Early years

Lee was born in Seoul, South Korea on June 18, 1952. He did very well in school and was admitted to and entered Seoul National University. He began singing in a coffee house in 1971.

1972-1980: Singer years

Lee debuted as a singer in 1972, but didn't initially attain a huge amount of popularity during the first three years of his singing career. 1n 1976, with hits like 「Happiness」, and 「One piece of Dream」, his career began to take off. The following year, he received the 「MBC TOP 10 Singer」 award. Besides singing, he became a successful TV host during that time.

1980-1989: Studying in US and return to music

He formed the band 「i·suman·gwa·365Il」(Lee Soo Man and 365 days) in 1980, which became the first heavy metal band formed in the Korean music industry. But, at the same time, the new Chun Doo-hwan government began its policy of censoring the media. As a result, Lee saw no real future in Korean entertainment. The next year, 1981, he went back to pursuing his original dream of being a top engineer and moved to California to attend California State University, Northridge and to continue work on his Master's degree. His primary research area was in the field of robotics. However, Lee witnessed the revolution of US entertainment at that time, the MTV generation (Michael Jackson's Thriller for example), and he felt there was huge commercial potential in that industry and decided he would "Replicate US entertainment in Korea." Immediately after earning his Master's degree in 1985, Lee returned to Korea to pursue a career in the entertainment industry. His return was a success in a variety of areas, such as singing, hosting TV shows, and hosting radio programs. Moreover, he was also working as a part-time DJ and managing a restaurant.

1989-present: Music producer

In 1989, starting with 200,000,000 won for initial capital, he founded SM Entertainment. Since then, he produced many groups, such as the dance group "hyon·jinyon", the folk group "han·DongJun", R&B singer "Liu in Jon", and "hyon·jinyon." In 1995, SM Entertainment became a publicly traded company. After producing H.O.T. in 1996 which became a highly successful group, Lee went on to produce many other superstars, such as S.E.S., Shinhwa, Fly to the Sky, BoA, TVXQ, Super Junior, Girls' Generation, SHINee, f(x),EXO,NCT,Super M. SM is now the single biggest entertainment agency in South Korea, and Lee is the most important figure within it. In February 2010, Lee resigned from his position as a member of the board of directors. An official at SM is quoted as saying that Lee had decided to do so in order to "focus more energy on SM's overseas business, new business management and artist development".


  • Lee Soo Man, 1977
  • Lee Soo Man, 1978
  • 애창곡집, 1978
  • Greatest, 1980
  • Lee Soo Man, 1983
  • Lee Soo Man, 1985
  • 끝이 없는 순간, 1986
  • NEW AGE 2, January 1989
  • NEW AGE, November 1989