K-Pop is having a real moment right now, and I'll be the first to tell you that I don't hate it. While we all know that bands like BTS and BLACKPINK are crushing the game, the Seoul-based band EXO has been making some ~waves~ in the music world, too. And of the nine (yes, you read that correctly) members in EXO, there's one member in particular that fans are talking about: Lay Zhang. He doesn't always participate in the group's comebacks, but he's still a big part of the group. And these five facts about EXO's Lay Zhang will help you get to know the dreamy singer just a bit better than before.
But first, let's give you an abridged version of who Lay Zhang is, exactly. Yes, he's a part of the Korean-Chinese K-pop group Exo, but he's also a solo artist. When he's not working on his own music, he's with his EXO squad: Xiumin, Baekhyun, Chen, Suho, Chanyeol, D.O., Kai, and Sehun.
In an interview with Dazed back in 2016, Zhang was asked how he finds time to balance his solo music, his music with EXO, and his personal life. He said,
I recharge by working on the songs I’d like to present to the fans. It really feels great when I see them enjoying songs I worked hard on, which gives me the strength and energy to keep going. That’s why I want to keep expanding my career into other fields and show a variety of music in the future.
Can someone say, "dedication"? Clearly, Zhang has major talent and drive, and in the facts below, you'll realize he carries those traits with him in every aspect of his life.
1. Lay Zhang is also a published author.
Is there anything that this guy can't do? According to Koreaboo, Zhang's autobiographical book, "Standing Firm At 24" was published back in 2015 and reportedly became a best-seller in China.
In a review by KPopStarz, it notes that Zhang revealed his lack of confidence after becoming a part of EXO, and had "very, very deep anxiety" when performing on stage, but was able to face his fears and overcome them through his dedication to training and working hard alongside the rest of the group.
2. He's also a publicity ambassador.
Back in 2016, Zhang was appointed as a publicity ambassador for the Communist Youth League of China (CYLC), and it was the first time that a celebrity was honored with the title, according to People's Daily Online. At a press conference, Zhang reportedly said that he plans to work alongside the youth league publicity demands, and an official noted that appointing someone like Zhang was "an innovative move by the CYLC to guide and serve young people with the help of their idols."
So not only is Zhang talented, but he's charitable and generous? Lay, if you're reading this, I know about a million girls who would love to exchange numbers. No pressure!
3. He was invited to attend the 61st Grammy Awards.
Mhm, our man is going places, y'all.
Zhang was officially invited to the 61st Grammy Awards as an ambassador of FM Dongguan 101. The invitation was announced by China Music Vision — a Chinese partner of the The Recording Academy for GRAMMY-branded entertainment and educational initiatives — and, as you can tell from the photo above, he slayed the red carpet.
He also took to Instagram to post a selfie before hitting the red carpet with a caption that read, "Excited for the #grammys."
So damn cute.
4. He was the first Chinese artist to enter the iTunes Top 60 for his solo work.
I know, I know. Lay is an overachiever, but in like, the best way possible.
His first album, Lose Control, debuted in October 2016, and Zhang become the first Chinese artist to enter the iTunes Top 60 chart. According to Madness to Creation, Zhang's album "broke the record for most sales in South Korea by a solo artist with pre-orders surpassing 200,000 copies before the physical album was released."
So, you know, no big deal or anything.
5. Lay Zhang has impeccable taste in fashion.
While this is a fact that can be somewhat disputed (depending on who you ask), it should be noted that Vogue wrote that Zhang "stole the show" while sitting front row at Valentino's Spring/Summer Show in June 2018. So there.
"Zhang brought a new verve to Pierpaolo Piccioli’s streetwise look," Vogue reported. "In a tiger patterned navy and slate overcoat from Valentino’s Fall lineup paired with tailored trousers and crisp white trainers, he looked the part of trendsetting idol."
We stan a fashion king.
I don't know about you, but I can't wait to see Lay pop up on my radar moving forward, because he's clearly going places.