Youn Sun Nah was born and raised in Seoul in a voice-loving family; her father was a choirmaster and her mother a musical actress. She learned to play the piano as a child but concentrated on her general studies until she graduated from Konkuk University with a degree in Arts in 1992.
The following year, she was invited by the Korean Symphony Orchestra to sing gospel songs. She made her first steps on record and on stage. Following this experience, she was noticed and hired in musicals. A career opened up for her but she was not convinced that she was on the right track. She finally decided to go back to school to study music and singing in depth.
A Francophile and a song lover, she came to Paris in the autumn of 1995. She enrolled at the Institut National de Musique de Beauvais, at the Nadia and Lili Boulanger Conservatory and at the CIM, a school of jazz and contemporary music. It was there that something clicked.
At the turn of the year 2000, she made her first tours and won prizes in jazz festivals competitions. This was the beginning of a long list of distinctions culminating with the Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres title awarded by the French Ministry of Culture in 2009 and the Sejong Culture Prize awarded by the Korean government in 2014.
From her first album Reflets, released in 2001 in Korea, to 2008 Voyage, which was released worldwide, she gradually established herself as a vocal jazz star.