Who is Psy: Biography, Career, Net Worth, Personal Life and More
Who is Psy: Biography, Career, Net Worth, Personal Life and More

Psy is a singer-songwriter, rapper, dancer, and record producer who attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston. After his schooling, Psy returned home to Korea to become a recording artist and released his first album, PSY from the Psycho World!, in 2001. The album was very controversial in South Korea because of the content, dance moves, and even his appearance.

Originally known in his country as a controversial and satirical hip-hop artist, he achieved international fame in 2012 with the music video to his humourous pop song “Gangnam Style,” which became the first video to have more than one billion views on YouTube.

PSY Childhood & Early Life

Park Jae-Sang was born in Seoul, South Korea on 31st December 1977 to a well-settled businessman family Kim Young-hee and Park Won-ho. His father is the executive chairman of a big MNC while his mother owns and operates a chain of restaurants.

PSY’s tryst with music started early while he was in school. While studying at Banpo elementary school, then Sehwa High School, his love for music grew deeper. He was known as the ‘class clown’, irritating every teacher but somehow, everybody was fond of him due to the energy he brought to the class.

When he was 15, he was introduced to American pop music, and just like that, he was hooked on it. He discovered newer possibilities in music creation and decided to become a musician. He cites ‘Queen’ to be the biggest influence on him as a kid.

However enthused PSY was about his music career, his father wanted him to study business administration at Boston University, which he did for a brief period of time. He got bored of it and enrolled himself in the Berklee School of music where he learned some basics about creating music. He eventually got uninspired and came back to South Korea to officially start his career in music.

PSY Education

Park Jae- Sang went to Banpo Elementary School, Banpo Middle School and Sehwa High School. He never liked school and was the class clown. Park Jae- Sang’s former school teacher in an interview on South Korea’s Seoul Broadcasting System has said that “I remember Psy making a lot of sexual jokes during class. He had such a big influence that he would drive the entire class to his jokes. I disliked him at the time, but looking back, I see that he added a great energy to the class.”

Psy went to Boston University to study business administration in 1996 to take over his fathers’ company but he dropped out and applied to study music in Berklee college of music. Psy took core lessons of music and later on dropped out from there as well and went back to South Korea to pusrue his career in music.

PSY Family and Personal Life

Photo: biographytribune
Photo: biographytribune

He was born to Park Won-ho and Kim Young-hee and has a sister named Park Jae-Eun. Yoo Hye-Yeon was born on 10 March 1989, in South Korea, and is best known as the wife of South Korean artist PSY.

Despite an age gap of 12 years, PSY and Yoo married in 2006 after being in a relationship for more than three years; they now have twin daughters. The family later moved to Los Angeles, California where they now reside. Despite his popularity, the family has managed to keep their private lives away from the media spotlight. It is known that Yoo has supported Psy’s career, possibly even managed some of his affairs, but at least contributing as a costume designer

In a TV interview, PSY stated that he has drinking problem and he drinks to the point of exhaustion almost every day.

What is the meaning of Psy?

PSY is short for PSYCHO. During his appearance on "Ellen," PSY revealed people call him "Sai."

However, he decided to change his name to the homophone when he started singing.

PSY Career

The start of PSY’s music career was not that good as his first album ‘PSY from a Psycho World’, which got released in 2001, was fined by the Korean government due to ‘inappropriate content’. However criticized he was for his first attempt, it was a moderate success. He followed his first album with two more quick albums named ‘Sa 2’ and ‘3 PSY’ in 2002. His lyrics were panned for being too suggestive and ‘not a good influence’ for Korean youngsters, but that didn’t stop PSY from receiving accolades at the Seoul Music Awards.

In 2003, PSY took the necessary military training, mandatory for all South Korean men and was soon released due to his job profile as a software engineer. In 2006, PSY made a comeback with his next studio album titled ‘Ssajib’, which later turned out to be a critically and commercially successful album. The album received honors at SBS Music Awards and the Asian Music Awards.

In 2007, PSY was redrafted to finish his military service due to some issues at the workplace and served the military for two straight years after that, before he was finally released off his duties in July 2009. In 2010, Korea’s biggest entertainment label, YG entertainment signed him on and his fifth studio album came out in the same year, titled ‘PSY 5’. However, the troubles didn’t leave him alone and a single from the album titled ‘Right now’ was banned partly in South Korea due to the obscenity at display.

Mezamashi TV, a Japanese network, telecast his concert in Japan, which turned out to be the first taste of international fame for PSY. His dance moves mocking Beyonce and Lady Gaga became a rage in Japan and PSY found a new fan-base amongst the Japanese.

In July 2012, PSY released his sixth studio album titled ‘PSY 6 part 1’ and the single from the album ‘Gangnam Style’ started telecasting on TV and radio. Soon, it became a rage and as the time passed, the song became one of the most watched music videos in the internet history. In August that year, the song reached at the top spot in the iTunes chart. PSY was the first South Korean artist to achieve the feat.

Following the success of the song, and the album, PSY started touring around and spent most of the later part of year doing concerts across the world. Sometime later, PSY released another single ‘Gentleman’ which was well received but never became as successful as ‘Gangnam Style’. Collaboration on a song ‘Hangover’ with Snoop Dogg followed and PSY became a household name in the USA.

In December 2015, PSY released two ‘tongue in cheek’ style videos titled ‘Daddy’ and ‘Napal Baji’ from his next studio album which was titled ‘PSY seventh album’. The album included guest appearances by some of the most popular American musicians such as Black Eyed Pea and Will.i.am.

Apart from music, PSY has been a well-known name for South Korean and American television audiences as he has made appearances in popular shows like ‘Saturday Night Live’, ‘Hello Counsellor’, ‘Radio Star’ and ‘Fantastic Duo’.

PSY is widely regarded as the first Korean pop singer to achieve gigantic success in west. He is also known to be the first solo Korean music artist to win the YouTube Silver Button, for crossing 10 million subscribers on his YouTube channel.

What is Gangnam Style?

Photo: allkpop
Photo: allkpop

Everything changed for Psy with the release of his sixth album, "Psy 6 (Six Rules), Part 1." The song "Gangnam Style" exploded into the mainstream music scenes around the world, and to say the video went viral is an understatement. On August 21, 2012, the song officially charted to No. 1 on the iTunes Music Video Charts, overtaking the likes of Justin Bieber and Katy Perry. "Gangnam Style" has been viewed more than 3 billion times on Youtube since its release on July 15, 2012. The song reached #1 on the iTunes sales chart and is the most-liked and viewed video in the history of Youtube. The song has been parodied countless times across the world including on Saturday Night Live where Psy made a surprise guest appearance. Thanks to the success of "Gangnam Style," Psy has appeared on The Today Show, The Ellen Degeneres Show, and many more. On November 24, 2012, "Gangnam Style" became the most-viewed video in YouTube history. The song has been lauded by people all around the world, including political leaders like President Barack Obama and British Prime Minister David Cameron. To date, the YouTube video has 3.5 billion views.

It’s not just a random word and theme to a song backed by ridiculous dancing. Gangnam is the home of the rich and privileged children in a wealthy part of Seoul, the capital of South Korea. The kids’ parents are millionaires so the direct translation of “Gangnam Style” is “Swag Style.” And yes, Psy was born in this district.

Life After Gangnam Style

In November 2012, Psy held a speech in England at the Oxford Union and discussed the inspiration for the song. He described life after Gangnam Style to be both a dream and a nightmare, in that he knew it would be impossible for his next song to equal the success of the previous one. Later that month, Psy became only the second South Korean music artist to appear at the MTV Europe Music Awards. Riding out the waves of success of Gangnam Style, in 2012, Psy signed on with Justin Bieber's manager Scooter Braun and his Schoolboy Records. He released two more albums with varying degrees of success and formed his own company in 2019, P Nation. He has signed P Nation, Hyuna, Dawn, and other artists since the formation of his company.

How much money did Psy make from Gangnam Style?

Thanks to the incredible success of "Gangnam Style," Psy made a small fortune from his song in the first year of its release. Psy's 7 billion video views have earned millions worth of ad revenue sharing. From the 4 million iTunes downloads, Psy has earned around $4 million. His streaming revenues are relatively paltry, a mere $500,000. Psy has also earned an estimated $8 million from endorsement deals with brands like Samsung. In total, the incredible success of "Gangnam Style" has put more than $20 million into Psy's pockets, before taxes, managers fees, etc.

PSY's new album

PSY said his new album marks a “farewell to ‘Gangnam Style’" — the hit song that propelled him to superstardom exactly a decade ago.

Indeed, the music video for the lead single — “That That” featuring Suga from BTS — shows PSY in the famous blue suit he wore in the “Gangnam Style” video.

“So, a guy in a blue tuxedo comes out and gets a slap from Suga and goes on his way,” alluding to his old self walking away from the past, PSY told The Associated Press during an interview before the album's release. His latest album “PSY 9th," released Friday, has 12 songs, including one featuring Korean-Canadian rapper Tablo.

PSY has released a total of six albums.

"Gangnam Style" is featured on the rapper's latest CD.

Here are his albums in case you want to check them out:

  • PSY from the PSYcho World! (2001)
  • Sa 2 (January 16, 2002)
  • 3 PSY (September 19, 2002)
  • Pssazip (July 24, 2006)
  • Psyfive (October 20, 2010)
  • PSY's Best 6th Part 1 (2011)

PSY Net Worth

Psy is a South Korean rapper who has a net worth of $60 million. Psy gained nearly-instant international fame thanks to his catchy hit single "Gangnam Style" and subsequent YouTube fame for the music video.


Hye-yeon’s husband has been wrapped up in several controversies, mainly stemming from his participation in protests that promoted an anti-American sentiment in South Korea. The first issue that led to this was after a US military convoy accidentally killed two South Korean schoolgirls; during one of his concerts, international media misinterpreted the lyrics of his song as promoting the deaths of Americans. While the translation was later refuted, he still appeared in front of the camera and apologized for his behavior. Aside from these, the song after “Gangnam Style” named “Gentleman” was originally named as “Assarabia”, which is a South Korean expression, but he later changed it because of the possibility of it being a misrepresentation to the Arabic people.

Favorite Quotes from PSY

“The fact that I’m shouting that I have Gangnam style makes people crack up. Imagine if Brad Pitt was singing the song – would it be funny? A twist is important when it comes to writing lyrics.” – PSY

“If you give a man the correct information for seven years, he may believe the incorrect information on the first day of the eighth year when it is necessary, from your point of view, that he should do so. Your first job is to build credibility and the authenticity of your propaganda and persuade the enemy to trust you although you are his enemy.” – PSY

“As an artist, the more experienced, the better the creation. I’m a very positive person.” – PSY

“When I signed with Scooter Braun and I decided to go overseas to promote my song, the only concern was how should I communicate with the public and the audience with my language. Scooter and I talked a lot about that: should we translate or not? Finally, we didn’t, and I think that was a really good decision.” – PSY

“I’m not that good-looking. That’s why ‘Gangnam Style’ works. If someone handsome uses that phrase it’s just awkward. But if someone like me uses it, it’s funny.” – PSY

“I lived in the States from 1996 till 2000. I attended the Berklee College of Music in Boston in 1997. But I wasn’t the most hard-working student. I rarely went to school. At that time, I seriously doubted that you could learn creativity in school. Music isn’t something you can just learn from other people. Sometimes I regret missing classes.” – PSY

PSY's Facts

He was arrested for marijuana possession in 2001.

PSY revealed in an interview his grandfather passed away three days after his arrest. As a result, his biggest regret was his inability to attend his funeral.

He's a college dropout

In the same interview, he said the school was never his thing.

Psy attended Boston University & Berklee College of Music before supposedly dropping out because of early class times.

He served in the military twice

In South Korea, all men between the ages of 18-35 must serve in the military.

Though PSY was reported to serve his time from 2003 to 2005, reports surfaced the singer neglected to fulfill his duties.

After going to court, PSY was ordered to serve a second term in August 2007 until 2009, leaving behind his wife and daughters born two months prior.

He lives by the phrase "Dress Classy and Dance Cheesy."

PSY shared his ubiquitous motto with Britney Spears on "Ellen" saying the phrase is the mindset behind the dance.

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