Everything you want to know about Shreya Lenka, India’s first K-pop star

From a young age, Lenka has been prone to performing arts. Lenka’s parents encouraged her passion for dance and enrolled her under the guidance of ‘Boogie Woogie HipHop’ 2009 winner, Madan Mohan Purty. Despite the family’s financial difficulties, Purty, impressed by her talent and courage, decided to continue teaching her. Later she trained under Mendo Barla. Aside from hip hop, freestyle and modernity, Lenka is trained in Odissi, a popular classical dance form that taught her to express stories in songs via body language, facial expressions and foot movement.

2. She competed with over 4000 girls for the spot

Several international reports have claimed that Lenka and Dalcin were selected from an application pool of over 4,000 girls, all desperate to win first place. Also, when we talk about prime spot, there should be only one – ie. only one girl was to be elected as the newest member of Blackswan. However, as DR Music Entertainment Korea director Philip YJ Yoon told PTI: “They (Lenka and Dalcin showed us very positive energy as they held together and achieved each of the tasks they had to overcome. That was one of the reasons why we decided not to separate them.”

3. She fell in love with K-pop after watching Exos ‘Growl’

Lenka attributes her love of K-pop to the South Korean-Chinese boy band Exo’s huge hit ‘Growl’, for which a friend introduced her. She liked it so much that she began to mirror their movements, and soon enough she was down in a rabbit hole of discoveries in the optimistic forms of PSY, Blackswan (then ‘Raina’), Blackpink and of course BTS.

4. The pandemic was a learning period for the young artist

With the pandemic that wreaked havoc around the world, many faced a number of economic strains. Lenka’s family was no exception; and she had to take a year off after her class 10 exam as a result. But she did not fuse this gift of time and spent it training in vocal lessons, improving her dance, learning Korean and auditioning for K-pop companies. With studios closed due to shutdowns and such, she would spend hours practicing on the roof of her house and even learning to record and edit videos, eventually launching her own Youtube channel. In an attempt to improve her singing, her grandmother found her a Hindu classical music teacher to train under. She has also taught herself western songs through online tutorials.

5. She has just spent six months in South Korea and now lists kimbap as one of her favorite dishes

Lenka had submitted an unedited song and dance video for her audition for Cygnus, and as a testament to her skill, she was selected as a finalist in July 2021. She moved to Seoul in December of that year for the final part of the training. It was not easy to be away from family and friends while trying to absorb the culture of a whole new country. But soon enough, the traditional Korean dish ranked kimbap high among her favorite dishes and Mr. Queena Korean time-traveling historical drama, turned into a beloved binge-watch.

Lenka recently returned to Odisha for a short visit and is ready to work on an exciting new Blackswan album when she returns to Seoul.

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