Fly to the Sky (Korean: 플라이 투 더 스카이) is a South Korean duo, consisting of .U.S.-born Brian Joo and South Korean native Hwanhee.

Initially marketed as a duo that can sing, rap, and dance, their early works featured bubblegum pop and upbeat techno music. The duo later changed their image and style with the release of Sea of Love in 2002. With their subsequent albums, the duo solidified their status as R&B artists and are credited as the first R&B duo of South Korea

Musical Career:

1999-2001: Debut and the early years


The duo was formed in late 1998 by SM Entertainment. Brian Joo auditioned while he was attending highschool in New Jersey Hwang Yoon-Suk, later to be known as Fany, was encouraged to audition by a staff member working for the label at his high school festival. Fly to the Sky officially debuted on November 21, 1999 at the LOG-IN H.O.T.Concert and SM Festival Concert ’99.

Soon after, the duo released their debut album Day by Dayon December 9, 1999, and made their first official television appearance two days later. Unlike their predecessors on their label, popular teen idols at that time, they shied away from upbeat techno and dance music, opting for mid-tempo ballads. The debut became highly successful selling over 250,000 copies. The duo acquired status as the next-generation stars as they won Best New Artist award in 2000. At the same time, the duo failed to rise to instant stardom unlike their predecessors such as H.O.T., whose album sales have passed the one million mark.

Their popularity slowly climbed with the release of their second album The Promise in 2001, which featured more diverse genres than its predecessor. With more upbeat tracks, it peaked at #2, but quickly disappeared from the charts. In the same year, they held a joint concert with Korean R&B singer Kim Jo-Han.

2002-2004: Musical transition

In April 2002, their third album Sea of Love was released while Joo was in New Jersey attending Rutgers University. As a result, Hwang began to perform by himself until Brian returned to Korea. The lead single from the album was the title track, a poppy ballad, and it became a summer hit. Their second single “Condition of my Heart” was written by American singer Brian McKnight; in contrast to the first single, “Condition” was a heavier ballad. The single signaled the duo’s musical transition from bubblegum music to R&B. Along with their music, their image began to change as the duo traded in their “bishounen” look for a more masculine image.Their 2003 studio album Missing You featured more tracks that departed from bubblegum music and emphasized their vocal skills for an image as serious artists. Performing commercially well, the album gave the duo many awards including “Bonsang” award from SBS Gayo Daejun and Korea Music Awards. This period is remembered for the highly publicized death of their manager, who was also the manager of BoA, another Korean singer.On a variety show, both members recalled this incident as an emotionally hard time for them. Fany was especially shocked, because he was on the same vehicle with his manager just hours before the incident.

In November 2004, the duo released their fifth and last studio album under SM Entertainment, Gravity. The album received little promotion, and became the duo’s lowest-selling studio album, selling just below 90,000 copies. Nevertheless, they held their first official concert successfully in Jamsil Arena on December 21, 2004, and received “Best R&B Artist” award from SBS Gayo Daejun. A controversy rose as critics questioned their eligibility for the award, because the album was released only two months before the show. They challenged the credibility and fairness of SBS Gayo Daejun in its entirety as the artists who boycotted SBS such as YG Family or those who were not present did not receive any awards. They scorned the show as “a party for only those who were present.”

The release of their Greatest hits album Eternity in 2005 coincided with the release of the soundtrack of Korean drama Fashion 70s which featured the duo. The popular Korean show made their song “가슴 아파도” (“Although My Heart Aches”), the theme song of the show, an unexpected hit.Eternity is the last Fly to the Sky album released by SM Entertainment.

2007-present: No Limitations

The duo’s seventh album No Limitations was release on July 4, 2007. Their first television performance to promote the album was on June 29, 2007. Popular tracks that are included in the album are “Oneuldo Eebbeungul,” (“오늘도 이쁜걸” Pretty Today Too) “Geuraedo Sarangipnida,” (“그래도 사랑입니다” It’s still love) and “Gee-uk Han Joom” (“기억 한 줌” Grain of Memory), as well as “My Angel”, which became a hit amongst the fans, peaking at #1 on many on- and offline charts. No Limitations became the duo’s first number one album.

Solo activities

Fany starred in the MBC series Over the Rainbow with co-stars Kim Ok-bin and Ji Hyun Woo. The series first aired on July 26, 2006, and ended on its 16th episode on September 14, 2006. Fany’s portrayal of cocky rock star Rex, the protagonist of the show, was met with mixed reviews. The drama had struggled with low viewership well below 10% throughout its airing. The finale garnered meager ratings of 9.3% and was criticized for its predictable ending.After the contract to SM Entertainment expired, the duo, Brian in particular, has appeared frequently on variety shows since 2005. Brian became one of two MCs for MBC’s “Music Core” on May 6, 2006. This helped Brian gain publicity and expand his fanbase in ways he could not have in the early days of his career. After the duo officially took a hiatus from their sixth album, Brian continues to appear on variety shows such as Love Letter, and is still the MC of Music Core.

Brian’s solo album was released December 18, 2006. Brian performed his first single, “Gajima” (Don’t Go) on Mnet Countdown on December 7.

Musical style

The duo’s debut single “Day by Day” was a light bubblegum love song. Their subsequent songs were a combination of R&B, pop rap, and hip-hop until 2002, when the duo abandoned bubblegum pop. Since 2002, they opted for a blend of heavy R&B and Korean pop. They continue to sing love songs, and some of them continue to incorporate hip-hop and rap from Brian.The duo differs in their taste of music. Producer of Transition, Hwang Se-Jun, has said Fany prefers pure R&B while Brian likes music with distinct beats and has a strong liking for rap. Despite his passion, their 2006 studio album Transition does not feature any. Brian predicts that there will no longer be any opportunity to include his rap in their album, and dislikes “being generalized as a duo comprised of one rapper and one vocalist.” He lamented the waning popularity of hip-hop in South Korea where “hip-hop is merely labeled as dance music in Korea.


Prior to the duo’s transition to R&B, critics were displeased as despite being promoted as serious artists that appeal to older audiences, they felt that the duo was no different from other popular teen idols at that time. In a lengthy interview with music review site “52street”, the site described the duo in the early years as, “trendy hairstyle, thick make-up, and flashy dance moves.”As their career matured, critics have pointed that Fly to the Sky has yet to find their own style. The duo has been criticized for lack of creative control over their works and relying heavily on composers whose distinct styles overpower their vocals. During their career they have written lyrics for four songs in albums Gravity and No Limitations. Music critic Shin Hye Rim says,

“ Ironically, Fly to the Sky’s sixth album Transition, which means change or transformation, shows no significant improvement. Despite that this album is their first step under their new label, the album almost turns out just the way we have predicted. Fany’s thick tone color and Brian’s clean-cut voice fuse to make music that spits out sorrow. That’s about it. ”

Their appearances at variety shows were met with scrutiny as the duo were seen frequently outside of music programs during 2006. They were one of many artists who hopped on a bandwagon to promote their albums by appearing comical on variety shows. Critics compared this choice to a double-edged sword; while they gained more publicity and a more viewer-friendly image, they were compromising their image as professional artists. From January to February 2006, Seoul YWCA conducted a research to study variety shows that air from 6PM to 8PM. The research concluded that “variety shows star the same celebrities and air similar content.” The article listed celebrities who frequent those shows, of which Brian was one of them. He appeared in television shows of three major broadcasting networks of Korea during the same time slot on January 6 and January 29.


2000- Best New Artist at SBS Gayo Daejun

2002- Best R&B Artist at SBS Gayo Daejun

2003- Best R&B Music Video at MNET Music Video Festival

– Best Male Dressers at KOREA

– Bonsang at 18th Golden Disk Awards

– Bonsang at SBS Gayo Daejun

– Bonsang at Seoul Gayo Awards

– Most Popular R&B Artist at Korea Music Awards

2004- Best R&B Artist at SBS Gayo Daejun

2006- Best R&B Artist at MNET KM Music Festival

– Best Dressers at The 4th Korea Fashion Awards

– Bonsang from 2006 Golden Disk Awards

– Bonsang from SBS Gayo Daejun

( credits:wikepedia-fly to the sky )


2 Responses to “Fly to the sky”

  1. November 13, 2008 at 12:42 pm

    As everybody knows already, the 9th Anniversary for Fly to the Sky’s Debut is coming up!

    For those, who would like to send the congratulation messages to Fly to the Sky, you can leave the message at the following board.

    For example, you could write how you got to know Fly to the Sky’s music or what you like most about them ^^

    All of your messages will be delivered directly to Fly to the Sky.

    Our link is : http://z15.invisionfree.com/Flytothesky/index.php?showtopic=1388&st=0

    Thank you

  2. 2 mira ayu
    March 11, 2010 at 7:28 am

    where i can buy FTTS album No limitations? can you tell me?

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Fly to the sky Philippines

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