Let’s Get Closer with the One and Only, EXO’s Multi-Talented Chinese Member Lay
Zhang Yixing (simplified Chinese: 张艺兴; traditional Chinese: 張藝興) was born on October 7, 1991, in Changsha, Hunan, China. He is also known professionally as Lay Zhang or simply Lay (Korean: 레이). He is a Chinese singer, songwriter, dancer, and actor. He is a member of the South Korean-Chinese boy group EXO and its sub-unit EXO-M. He was first known after participating in the Chinese TV talent show Star Academy in 2005.
On April 25, a personal studio was established for Zhang Yixing’s solo activities in China. In September 2015, he released his autobiography titled Standing Firm at 24, which broke several online book records. In July 2016, Zhang was appointed by the Communist Youth League of China (CYLC) of Changsha as a publicity ambassador, the first celebrity to hold such a title. On October 28, 2016, Zhang Yixing released his first solo album Lose Control in South Korea and China. The solo album was a commercial success peaking at number one on the Gaon Album Chart as well as number four on Billboard’s US World Albums chart, making him the first Chinese artist to enter the iTunes Top 60. Kantar Millward Brown and China’s business magazine CBN Weekly recently launched the CelebrityZ Top 100 Most Valuable Celebrities where he came in at the 23rd spot.
In September 2017, he came in at the 20th spot on the 2017 Forbes China Celebrity 100 List with estimated earnings of 120 million yuan.
Lay’s Absence from EXO Group Activities, Is He Leaving EXO?
naver.comAs is known, initially, EXO consisted of 12 members. However, the S.M. group lost three members from China who chose to file lawsuits against S.M. Entertainment.
After the release of Luhan, Kris, and Tao, Lay began to get a lot of attention because he was the only member from China still in the group. After the departure of three personnel, several netizens thought that Lay would immediately leave EXO too. EXO managed to break that prediction by continuing to promote with nine members. Lay also assured fans that he would not stop his contract with S.M. and will keep his promises with the members.
However, concerns about Lay’s departure increased along with his absence from EXO activities. This year, Lay was unable to participate in the EXO concert tour due to difficulty adjusting his schedule. Additionally, Lay was also not present in “KoKoBop” and Power.
Many non-EXO-L netizens mistakenly thought that Lay had left the group. “Hah? Lay hasn’t left the group? They are always only eight personnel so I think he did…,” wrote a netizen as quoted by Allkpop on September 13, 2017.
“I … I’ve never seen him on a music show with EXO so I thought he was gone,” another netizen said.
Others believe that Lay’s absence constantly predicts his departure from the group. “I will support them as a group of eight at this time,” netizens wrote.
“I think he finally left this group …,” continued another netizen.
On the other hand, there are those who think if Lay really wanted to leave, he would just do it. These netizens explained the main reason why Lay did not or could not participate in the Korean comeback was because of China and Korea’s heated relations.
In the midst of all this, Lay is currently busy continuing promotions in China and with his solo debut in the United States. Also, recently, Lay became the third artist from S.M. Entertainment to have a wax statue at Madame Tussauds.
Often Rumored to Be Leaving EXO, Lay Proved His Love for EXO Members
Until now, EXO has lost 3 personnel from China who left in 2014-2015. As the only member from China left, Lay is often rumored to be leaving like his former group mates.
But, the gossip was denied by Lay even though indirectly. On several occasions, he has shown his closeness to the members and how much he loves them.
While filming for the 2015 Go Fighting Chinese variety show, Lay and his crew and colleagues went to Li Jiang. The singer wrote a prayer message for EXO and fans that read, “My fans, safe, healthy” for fans and “Brother. EXO (heart picture) is healthy” for EXO.
On another occasion, Lay was found buying a lucky charm for the members. One of Baekhyun’s Instagram posts shows that Lay’s charms are hung on a doorknob. Baekhyun also mentioned the lucky charm at the EX’ACT album showcase.
“We have a charm hung on the door. After we got it from Lay, everything started going well,” Baekhyun said. Leeteuk, who at that time became the MC, asked Lay why he did not mention it, to which Lay replied, “As long as the members are happy it’s okay.”
Lay Stressed That He Would Never Leave EXO
The allegations of Lay leaving strengthened after SM Entertainment announced it was making a special agency for Lay’s individual activities in China. Adorning a local magazine, Lay’s sexy aura was seen with teasing poses on the cover released through Weibo.
“I didn’t cancel my contract to keep my promise with EXO members” the headline read. It seems that Lay revealed many of his views about EXO in the interview there.
Previously, Lay said that he was happiest when he was with EXO members. “I always say this, but I think you will never forget the essence of who you are. My main priority is to become a singer and EXO,” he said.
Currently, Lay is busy going back and forth between Korea and China for the promotion of “Call Me Baby” and filming Oh My God.
Lay Made His Fans Cry During His Second Solo Album Showcase
As is known, Lay recently made a comeback through his second solo album Lay 02 Sheep. The album itself was released digitally on October 7th, right on Lay’s 26th birthday (or 27 according to age in South Korea), but his new physical album was launched on October 18th.
Following the solo comeback, the EXO member held a showcase in China on October 12. On that occasion, of course, Lay presented various latest works to fans who were present at the special event.
However, unexpectedly, it turned out that Lay also took time to play EXO’s song “Promise” which was part of the album Love Me Right. The song itself was composed by EXO members themselves, namely Chen, Chanyeol and Lay, and was dedicated specifically to EXO-L, their beloved fans.
When the instrument “Promise” began to be played, Lay bent down in front of the fans. And he continued to bend like that for about one and a half minutes to show respect and love for EXO-L.
As is known, lately, Lay had been doing promotions in China more often, even skipping EXO’s latest comeback through “Ko Ko Bop” and “Power.” This also caused many rumors about Lay leaving EXO.
However, with what Lay did, fans felt confident that he would fulfill his promise to continue with EXO and EXO-L. Besides that, many fans claimed to be deeply moved by what Lay did.
“I cried to see Lay bent and that ‘Promise’ song. I miss you, Yixing,” said one netter. “We miss you, Lay …” commented another netter. “Lay, you make me cry,” said another.
Meanwhile, it seems that Lay will still be busy with the promotion of his latest solo album for some time to come.