By AUBREE STAMPER, Photo Editor
Singer, dancer, actor, composer, musician, model, and author are just some of the titles Chinese idol Zhang Yixing (stage name, Lay) has under his belt.
First a member of Korea’s biggest group EXO, the 26-year-old made his solo debut exactly one year ago with his mini album Lose Control. The album is heavily influenced by an R&B sound in which Lay excels in. The album went on to become the best selling album for a solo artist in South Korea in 2016 (260,000 copies), with the highest first day sales and first week sales as well. In China the album has over 1.1 million downloads.
Lay’s newest studio album Lay 02 Sheep was released on the singer’s 26th birthday, October 7. The album’s name comes from the nickname Lay received on the Chinese variety show “Go Fighting” for being naive and trusting like a sheep, also his Chinese zodiac sign.
Rather than only containing R&B tracks, the 10-song album also contains a heavy hip-hop sound with a lot of rapping from Lay. There are also two songs completely in English, “Peach” and “Boss.” In both Lay 02 Sheep and Lose Control, Lay took part in composing the songs and writing the lyrics–something he’s extremely talented at.
Lay is also extremely talented at dancing. He is one of EXO’s main dancers and has showed off his crazy skills in many performances and his music videos–“What U Need,” “Lose Control,” “I Need U,” and “Sheep.” One of his most popular dances though is the choreography to his self-composed song “MYM”:
The album Lay 02 Sheep made Lay the first Chinese singer to enter the iTunes Worldwide Albums List at number 9, as well as ranking number 1 on iTunes in 10 different countries. In China on QQ Music, the album went Platinum in just over a minute and Diamond in just over 9 hours.
Though Lay is still a member of EXO, he hasn’t been present for the group’s promotions this year while he focuses on his solo career in China. Lay has filmed many TV shows and films in China, including Kung Fu Yoga with Jackie Chan in 2017, and the extremely popular series The Mystic Nine in 2016 which surpassed 10 billion views online. The singer even released an autobiography in 2015 titled “Standing Firm at 24” which sold 68,573 copies in 24 minutes.
The singer is now hosting the TV show “Idol Producer,” the Chinese version of South Korea’s extremely popular “Produce 101” that created the K-pop groups I.O.I and Wanna One.
Lay is one of the hottest artists in China at the moment, but his popularity reaches every corner of the world. He is known not only for how talented he is in all areas, but also for how humble and genuine he is.
You can check out Lay’s newest Lay 02 Sheep on Spotify and iTunes now!