Odisha's Shreya Lenka becomes first Indian K-pop star after joining popular band Blackswan 

Sriya, will be joining the original members of the girl group -- Youngheun, Fatou, Judy and Leia -- along with Gabriela Dalcin (Gabi) from Brazil as the sixth member.

Published: 28th May 2022 02:30 PM  |   Last Updated: 29th May 2022 06:24 AM   |  A+A-

K-Pop star Shreya Lenka

K-Pop star Shreya Lenka (Photo| YouTube screengrab)

Express News Service

BHUBANESWAR: A few days back, the hugely popular Korean pop band Blackswan announced its return to the stage, but with a twist. They will have two new members one from down south in India and another from far away Brazil.The Indian member was 18-year-old Shreya Lenka from Rourkela in Odisha. She has etched her name in history books by becoming the first Indian to enter the K-pop scene.

The young artiste battled it out with at least 4,000 girls from across the world to be a part of the band that was hunting for new talent since November last year. DR Music, the record label managing the band, took to its Instagram handle recently to announce the addition of Shreya - who goes by the stage name Sriya - along with Gabriela Dalcin from Brazil. With the two new faces on board, DR Music shall be back with a brand new Blackswan, it wrote.

A versatile performer, Shreya is not only trained in Odissi, contemporary, freestyle and hip hop dance styles but has also learnt Hindustani Classical music and has been practising yoga since childhood. Although she had no real professional experience in the Korean pop music scene, Shreya’s dancing prowess and singing style endeared herself to the other band members and her mentors alike. She will join the Blackswan bandmates Youngheun, Fatou, Judy, and Leia.

As a teenager, she was hooked to Korean pop music and had first auditioned for a K-pop band in 2020. When the world shut down due to Covid-19 outbreak, many bands decided to hold online auditions on YouTube and Shreya decided to give it a shot.

A self-taught artiste who learnt freestyle and hip-hop dance forms by watching reputed artistes online during the pandemic, she uploaded an unedited dance video on YouTube as a part of the audition. Although Shreya was not selected, her video garnered a lot of views (approximately 60k) and appreciation. This was when she decided to pursue K-pop auditions seriously.

In 2021, the four-member Blackswan launched a global audition after its senior most member Hyeme left the band. By then, Shreya had already gained experience in auditioning and started learning Korean online to be able to read and sing in the language. Impressed with her dancing and vocals, Shreya was chosen as the top-20 finalists from the 4,000 aspirants for the band by DR Music.

“In the second round, we were asked to cover and shoot an unedited video on one of the songs of Blackswan. Also, I was asked to sing or rap. I sent them all the three videos of my dance, singing and rap and this got me in the top-4 spot. For the final round during August last year, we were supposed to visit Korea and train but due to Covid and travel ban it could not materialise,” she said.

In December, the record label helped her in enrolling into a Korean language training college in Korea and she shifted to the country on a student Visa. It started training her in vocals, dance and rap. In the last six months, she improved her skills by leaps and bounds, be it learning to speak or sing in Korean or dance in contemporary style, which led to her final selection.

Passionate towards dance and yoga since childhood, Shreya’s professional training in modern dance had started at an early age of 10. She learnt the nuances of various dance forms from Madan Mohan Purty, a BoogieWoogie Hip Hop winner, in 2009 in Rourkela. After a few years, she moved to Jharsuguda following her father’s transfer where she  trained under Mendo Barla, a student of Bollywood choreographer Geeta Kapoor.

“Practising music and learning the dance forms for K-pop auditions was something that I did on my own during the Covid pandemic. But it was both my dance teachers who groomed me throughout and helped me nurture my passion for dance. My family’s financial condition was not such that they could afford my training. But my teachers realised my potential in dance and never charged me a pie,” said Shreya, who is a Plus II first year student of Jharsuguda Women’s College. Although she will now focus on the new Blackswan album that will be released in a few months, Shreya also plans to complete her education both in Odisha and Korea.



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