At the start of 2019, Kang Daniel opened his personal Instagram account thisisdaniel_k, gaining 1 million followers in 11 hours 36 minutes and breaking a Guinness World Record previously held by Pope Francisco, who got 1 million Instagram followers in 12 hours back in 2016. This impressive achievement gained Daniel immense media attention from international outlets such as the BBC, Time Magazine, Vanity Fair Italy and Times of India, which is India’s most widely read English newspaper, among many others from around the world. On January 21, his company then announced the opening of his official Daum fancafe, breaking another record for the fastest idol to gain 100,000 fancafe members in 39 hours.
Daniel officially ended his activities with Wanna One on January 27 after 4 days of concerts (titled Therefore) charged with emotions and amazing performances. The 11 members of Wanna One bid their final goodbyes as a group and welcomed the beginning of a new chapter in their careers. For Daniel and fellow member Yoon Jisung, who both belonged to MMO Entertainment, their new chapter started on January 31 with the announcement of a change in their management company. From that point onwards, LM Entertainment would be managing their activities, starting with the opening of their official websites and other social media accounts.
However, it was reported on March 3 that Daniel had asked to revise his contract with LM Entertainment in February. On the same day as when news of the dispute broke, Daniel addressed his fans through his fancafe, assuring them to trust and wait for him as “the truth will be known,” as well as informing them that he would open a new Instagram account the following day. The new account daniel.k.here was opened on March 4 at 12 PM KST, and fans reacted by starting a daily hashtag project using #ForeverWithDaniel, #WeTrustDaniel and #BeYourselfDaniel on Twitter. The first two hashtags trended worldwide in 1st and 4th place respectively. On March 7, it was reported that lawyer Seon Jongmoon (Sun & Partners) had been appointed as his legal representative. As the disagreement between Daniel and LM Entertainment was expected to turn into a legal battle, Daniel appointed law firm Yulchon as his legal representative on March 14. This was followed by an injunction filing for the suspension of his contract on March 19 and a contract termination lawsuit filed on March 21. It was revealed that the cause of the dispute was LM breaching Daniel’s contract by signing joint business contracts that sold his exclusive contract rights to third parties without his consent.
Following a series of rebuttals in addition to LM’s inconsistent statements and attempts to delay the court proceeding, the injunction hearing was held on April 24 at Seoul Central District Court. It was during this hearing that Daniel’s side made the statement that “Even if the joint business contract is cancelled, we won’t keep the exclusive contract as the trust is broken.” Following the hearing, the court allotted one week for Daniel’s side to submit additional evidence by May 1. LM submitted 80 pages of information, so the court told LM to remove the redundancies and was given until May 8 to resubmit. On May 10, the court finally made its decision and ruled in favor of Daniel’s side with a full citation, meaning the judge sided with Daniel on every argument presented. As a result, the exclusive contract between Daniel and LM was suspended, and LM is not allowed to interfere in Daniel’s activities and cannot negotiate or sign contracts on his behalf or require him to pursue activities on their behalf. LM Entertainment stated they would object to the court decision, and it was later revealed the objection hearing was set for June 26. LM Entertainment’s appeal regarding the contract suspension was rejected by the Seoul Central District Court on July 11.
After 4 months of forced hiatus, Daniel surprised his fans with an Instagram Live on June 9, updating them with his debut preparations and relaying the message, “Now I will run to you guys. See you soon.” The next day, Sports Donga dropped big news that Daniel had established a one-man agency KONNECT Entertainment (커넥트ENT) and that he would make his debut under such. The news was confirmed by a KONNECT Entertainment representative, who also revealed the agency’s name comes from the words “Korea” and “connect,” meaning that Kang Daniel aims to connect Korea to the rest of the world through his future activities.
His first activity didn’t take too long to happen, as it was revealed on June 12 that Kang Daniel had given his consent to assume the honorary ambassadorship role for his hometown, the city of Busan, and would actively and voluntarily promote the city through various public activities. The official appointment ceremony happened on July 9 at Busan Sajik Baseball Stadium, the home stadium of the Lotte Giants team. In addition to receiving the official letter of appointment and plaque from Busan’s mayor Oh Geodon, Daniel also received the honor of throwing the first pitch at a KBO League baseball match between the Lotte Giants and NC Dinos, in front of an audience of 15,651 baseball game spectators and more than 30,000 people streaming in real time. [Read more about this]
Daniel debuted as a soloist on July 25 with the special EP Color on Me.
Biography update coming soon!