EXO’s Lay: Profile, Solo Activities, Most Recent News, etc.

Zhang Yixing

Learn More About EXO’s Lay

EXO’s Lay, or also known as Zhang Yixing, is a Chinese singer, songwriter, record producer, dancer, and actor. He is a member of the South Korean–Chinese boy band EXO and its subunit EXO-M under SM Entertainment. He is currently active in his solo activities in China and recently made his US debut.

In this article, Channel-Korea will provide you with a detailed rundown of everything about Zhang Yixing. So, stay tuned!

Zhang Yixing’s Full Profile


Stage Name: Lay (레이)

Birth Name: Zhang Jiashuai (张加帅), his birth named was changed to Zhang Yixing (张艺兴)

Korean Name: Jang Ye-heung (장예흥)

Date of Birth: October 7th, 1991

Birthplace: Changsha, Hunan, China

Star Sign: Libra

Height: 177 cm

Weight: 60 kg

Blood Type: A

Nationality: Chinese

Specialties: Guitar, dancing, piano

Languages: Chinese, Korean and English

Twitter: @layzhang https://twitter.com/layzhang?lang=en

Facts About Zhang Yixing

  • His first known acting role was at six years old, starring as Huan Huan in the 1998 Chinese television drama We the People;
  • At nine years old, he participated in a Chinese television show as a fan club member of the Taiwanese singer and actor Jimmy Lin;
  • He began his career as a local child star after winning the third place in a competition organized by the Hunan-based television show Star Academy in 2005;
  • He was featured as an outstanding student for his achievements in his high school;
  • In 2008, he auditioned for SM Entertainment through the global casting auditions in Changsha;
  • After passing the audition, he moved to South Korea for his idol training;
  • He arrived at SM the same day as Luhan. That’s how they became close;
  • In 2011, prior to his debut with EXO, he briefly worked with SHINee during their SHINee World concert tour as Jonghyun’s dance replacement;
  • He was officially introduced as an EXO member on January 17th, 2012;
  • He was supposed to be EXO-M’s leader, but it was changed to Kris;
  • He is humble, easy-going, funny, hard-working, mischievous at times, forgetful;
  • On stage, he is strong and charismatic, but off the stage, he is humorous and playful;
  • His friends used to call him Da Tou which means Big Head;
  • He is a bit slow to react. An example would be if someone says a joke and everyone else is laughing, Lay would laugh about a minute later (after he understands the joke);
  • His hobbies are cooking, dancing, playing piano and guitar, playing on the computer, mastering the Korean language, composing songs;
  • He learned to play the piano by himself;
  • He loves eating fruit;
  • His favorite foods are tidbits, junk food, anything he cooks;
  • His favorite colors are purple and black;
  • He takes the longest time to learn the choreography;
  • He is afraid of pigeons (basically he is afraid of anything that has a beak);
  • His neck is sensitive to the wind;
  • When he’s angry, he will keep it to himself and bottle it up until he explodes;
  • He established his own charity foundation titled Zhang Yixing Arts Scholarship;
  • He is the first ambassador of Perrier company in China, first ambassador to the Valentino brand, first ambassador of Milka company, first ambassador of Converse in Asia and the Pacific Ocean;
  • He was appointed by the Communist Youth League of China (CYLC) of Changsha as a publicity ambassador;
  • Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in Beijing made a wax figure of him in modern clothes and Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in Shanghai also made a wax figure of him, but styled him after the character Er Yue Hong that he played in the drama The Mystic Nine (his first leading role).
  • He is ranked 23rd on Kantar and CBN Weekly The CelebrityZ Top 100 Most Valuable Celebrities;
  • He is ranked 20th on the 2017 Forbes China Celebrity 100 with estimated earnings of 120 million yuan;
  • He is ranked 18th on TC Candler The 100 Most Handsome Faces of 2018;
  • He is ranked 11th on the 2019 Forbes China Celebrity 100.

Yixing’s Solo Activities in China and Taking a Break from EXO


In 2015, Zhang Yixing began his solo activities in China. He became a regular cast member of the Chinese reality television show Go Fighting! from the first season until the fifth season. He published his autobiography Standing Firm At 24 and the book sold 400,000 copies within six months. He also made a debut as an actor in the Chinese romantic comedy movie EX-Files 2: The Backup Strikes Back. In October 2016, he debuted as a solo singer with “What U Need?” as a surprise gift for his fans on his birthday.

Zhang Yixing is active in his solo activities in China and recently he even debuted in the US. However, he hasn’t been active in any of the EXO promotions. The reason is due to the ongoing tensions between China and South Korea. Yixing was appointed to be the Ambassador for the Youth in China. Being an Ambassador makes him a key figure in any sort of political movement. If he was seen to be promoting in Korea with EXO, there is a probability that his career in China will be ruined. Moreover, there is Hallyu Ban in China prohibiting all Korean artists from performing in the country. Yixing can not actively promote with EXO because the ban is not over yet.

Another reason is due to his schedule. Zhang Yixing’s schedule in China is not managed by SM Entertainment, but rather his own Chinese management company. The company seems to have him booked for numerous events and opportunities in China leaving him very little time to return to Korea and to EXO. In the past years, he has done numerous dramas, movies, CFs, interviews, and variety shows in China. He has even spent time promoting two Chinese albums. He was too busy with his solo activities that it’s no wonder that he hasn’t been with EXO.

Yixing’s Solo Discography

Studio Albums

Title Details Peak chart positions Sales
Lay 02 Sheep
  • Release Date: October 7th, 2017
  • Label: S.M. Entertainment, Zhang Yixing Studio
  • Formats: CD, digital download, streaming audio
10 87 4
  • CHN: 1,000,000 (Physical+Digital)
  • JPN: 757
  • KOR: 22,768
  • Release Date: October 19th, 2018
  • Label: S.M. Entertainment, Zhang Yixing Studio
  • Formats: CD, digital download, streaming audio
161 21 1
  • CHN: 1,135,888 (Digital)
  • US: 24,000

Extended Plays

Title Details Peak chart positions Sales
Lose Control
  • Release Date: October 28th, 2016
  • Label: SM Entertainment, Zhang Yixing Studio
  • Formats: CD, digital download, streaming audio
1 34 23 4
  • CHN: 1,197,813
  • KOR: 281,360
  • JPN: 2,689
Winter Special Gift
  • Release Date: December 22nd, 2017
  • Label: SM Entertainment, Zhang Yixing Studio
  • Format: Digital download, streaming audio
8 CHN: 822,493
  • Release Date: June 14th, 2019
  • Label: SM Entertainment, Zhang Yixing Studio
  • Format: Digital download, streaming audio
11 CHN: 4,001,495


Title Year Peak chart positions Sales Album
“Monodrama” (独角戏) 2016 155 5 N/A S.M. Station Season 1
“What U Need?” 4 KOR: 4,242 Lose Control
“Lose Control” (失控) 18
  • CHN: 136,300
  • KOR: 6,691
“I Need U” (需要你) 2017 N/A Lay 02 Sheep
“Sheep” (羊)
“Goodbye Christmas” Winter Special Gift
“Sheep” (Alan Walker Relift) 2018 64 CHN: 435,400 Non-album single
“Give Me a Chance” (爱到这) 7 CHN: 187,600 Namanana
“Namanana” (梦不落雨林) 2 N/A
“When It’s Christmas” Non-album single
“Honey” 2019 4 Honey
“I’m Not Well” (我不好) Non-album singles
“Grandma” (外婆) TBA

Promotional Singles

Title Year Album
“I’m Coming” 2014 Non-album release
“Dream High” (夢想起飛) 2017 SPD Bank Theme Song


Title Year Peak chart positions Sales Album
“Let’s Shut Up & Dance”
(with NCT 127 and Jason Derulo)
2019 35 34
  • CHN: 300,000
  • KOR: 3,952 (Phy.)
Non-album singles
“No Man’s Land” (无人之域)
(with Anti-General and Jasmine Sokko)
(with Far East Movement)

Other Appearances

Title Year Album
“Because of You” 2013 Non-album single
“I’m Lay” 2014 Exology Chapter 1: The Lost Planet
“Youth Day” (theme song) 2018 Non-album single

Soundtrack Appearances

Title Year Album
“Happy Youth” (with Coco Jiang Wen and Li Xiaolu) 2015 Oh My God OST
“Alone (One Person)” Ex-Files 2: The Backup Strikes Back OST
“A Man Thing” (with Royal Treasure cast) 2016 Royal Treasure OST
“Pray” 2017 Operation Love OST
“Everything Like You” 2018 I’m Around You OST