Shreya Lenka has become the first-ever Indian to become a professional K-pop artist. The 18-year-old from Odisha is now a part of popular South Korean girl group Blackswan along with a Brazilian girl called Gabriela Dalcin. The news was announced by Blackswan’s music label, DR Music.
Shreya, who goes by her stage-name Sriya, and Gabriela (or Gabi) were selected by a program organized by DR Music to discover and train budding singers from around the world. A post by the music label had a photo of the two together. The caption said the programme, called the Cygnus, helps the young musicians make their dream come true.
“Sriya and Gabi are coming to you soon as 1st Cygnus members. Thank you for your interest and support. The Cygnus project continues,” the caption read.
Cygnus originated because one of Blackswan’s members, Hyeme, left the group in November 2020. The current lineup of the band consists of Youngheun, Fatou, Judy, Leia, Gabi and Sriya.
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Lenka and Dalcin were selected for the band after participating in the six-month-long global auditions, that were announced by DR Music last year. DR Music Entertainment Korea director Philip YJ Yoon said Lenka and Dalcin worked well together during the audition process.
“They showed us very positive energy when sticking together and achieving each of the assignments they needed to overcome. It was one of the reasons we decided not to separate them,” Yoon told PTI in an email interaction.
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As part of the training, which started in December, both the artists had to work on their Korean language, dancing and vocal skills.
“The duo will now start preparing for their new album and stage performances,” Yoon added.
Lenka, a trained dancer, was introduced to K-pop by a friend a few years ago. She found the choreography in the music videos very attractive and got hooked onto its “unique style” of singing and dancing.
Boy band Exo was the teenager’s introduction to the world of K-pop and subsequently she fell in love with songs by the BTS, Stray Kids and The Boyz. In 2020, she saw K-pop record labels open online auditions due to the COVID-19 pandemic and decided to give it a shot.
When Lenka’s family learned that she was applying for K-pop auditions, her grandmother introduced her to a classical music teacher. Her short stint in learning Odissi helped her improve subtle nuances.
(With PTI inputs)