MANILA, Philippines - For the last three weeks, Billboard's K-pop Hot 100 chart has been dominated by a new singer under YG Entertainment.
Lee Hi, only 16, has enjoyed extraordinary success since debuting as solo singer last October with the release of her first digital single "1, 2, 3, 4."
The track nabbed the No. 1 position on various music charts in Korea when it was released on Oct. 29 and achieved an "all-kill" status.
Before her solo debut, Lee Hi won as runner-up in the SBS program "Survival Audition K-pop Star" last April. She then signed up with YG Entertainment.
Billboard says Lee Hi is the first female debut act to top the K-pop Hot 100 chart this year.
"Her astonishing range and vocal skills are no surprise to her fans. She created a buzz performing famous American tracks like Duffy's 'Mercy' and Amy Winehouse's 'Rehab' during her 'K-POP STAR' appearances," said Billboard.com.
She also performed Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" during the contest.
Billboard added, "Her debut effort, released under YG Entertainment, is a modern take on 60's soul music, inspired by Motown artists, Marvin Gaye, The Temptations and The Jackson 5. She spills her deep, emotive and soulful vocal prowess in the track as she repeatedly tells her past boyfriend its 'game over."'
After making her debut stage on Nov. 4 on SBS "Inkigayo," Lee Hi won her first music chart award four days later on Mnet "M! Countdown."
The Wall Street Journal blog described Lee Hi as "Korea's Adele."
"Ms. Lee's strong, deep delivery has earned her the nickname "Korea's Adele" and has set her apart from many other local artists," according to the WSJ entry by Ji-eun Seo.
"1, 2, 3, 4" has been downloaded 1.3 million times, the WSJ says.
"Her powerful vocal skill is well-suited for the debut track's modern take on 60's Motown soul," WSJ quoted YG Chief Executive officer Yang Hyun-suk as saying.
WSJ says talent shows in Korea have launched the careers of new singers including Lee Hi and band Busker Busker.
"Far from a Barbie-doll character, she made a smart choice. If she went to a different agency, she may have ended up a banal K-pop product," music critic Kim Gogeum-pyung told the Wall Street Journal.
Billboard says Lee Hi is a "monster rookie" for achieving success at the start of her solo career.
Lee Hi released a new single, "Scarecrow," last Nov. 22 and will have her first album in December.