K-pop, Mandopop and other Asian pop

K-pop star Baekhyun from EXO: the ambitious lead singer and budding actor who finds it hard to cry

While he’s all business as he belts out songs on stage, Baekhyun has a more playful side away from the microphone. To celebrate his birthday month, here are some fun facts about the rising star

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 19 May, 2018, 8:33pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 15 January, 2019, 2:22pm

It’s been six years since K-pop boy band EXO made their debut, and almost two years since two of their popular Chinese members – Luhan and Kris Wu – left the group.

Despite the departures and the young age of the group, the nine-member outfit have remained one of the leading K-pop groups both in South Korea and abroad this year. They performed at the closing ceremony of February’s Pyeongchang Winter Olympics alongside South Korean rapper CL.

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EXO are so popular that the Korean Mint created special coins for each member of the group. They were presented to the members at a ceremony in Seoul early last month.

Around the same time, the boy band also became one of the first K-pop acts to appear on Next Big Sound’s Social 50 chart, which ranks the most popular musical artists on social media.

On May 6, further highlighting the group’s social media pull, a hashtag for lead singer Baekhyun’s birthday – #HappyBaekhyunDay – became a top-trending topic on Twitter worldwide, according to K-pop news site Soompi.

In honour of the vocalist’s recent birthday, we take a look back at his work with the group.



A post shared by BaekHyun. (@baekhyunee_exo) on Jan 25, 2018 at 10:10pm PST

Early life

He was born Byun Baek-hyun in Bucheon, a satellite city of Seoul. The 26-year-old knew from a young age that he would become an entertainer. “I said this to my parents when I was 11 years old. I told them that I didn’t think I would be able to work sitting in an office because I’m very lively by nature and I cannot stay still,” Baekhyun told Elle Korea a few years ago.

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In primary school, he saw popular K-pop star Rain performing on television and “officially” decided he would become a singer. “I thought he was very handsome, and I saw this [large] stage being filled up just by his powerful presence [alone],” he told Elle Korea.

Baekhyun was reportedly discovered by SM Entertainment, EXO’s management group, while standing outside his school gates.

His role in EXO

As the main singer, Baekhyun leads EXO’s performances with his strong vocals and stage presence. Fellow band members say Baekhyun tends to be all business while performing, but once offstage his playful and lighthearted side emerges. Baekhyun is closest with Chanyeol, the group’s main rapper. Back when they were trainees, Chanyeol would even walk Baekhyun back home or to his subway station.

His image

Baekhyun strives to be a talented actor, musician and performer, just like his idol and inspiration, Rain. As a celebrity, he has experienced his share of controversy over the past few years, including his secret relationship in 2014 with Taeyeon of K-pop group Girls’ Generation. While fans eventually forgave him for keeping it a secret, Baekhyun and Taeyeon went on to date for more than a year before breaking up.


A post shared by Privé (@privenewyork) on May 6, 2018 at 1:52pm PDT

His solo work

Beyond the group, Baekhyun is a huge success in his own right. Earlier this month, the singer announced he would be launching his own streetwear label, Privé by BBH, in July. Based in New York, the collection – which includes T-shirts bearing images of Baekhyun and hoodies emblazoned with slogans such as “Fearless” – will include monthly releases.

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Baekhyun has also come into his own as an actor. In 2015, the singer made his acting debut as a member of a royal household in the K-drama Moon Lovers, where he was paired with fellow singer IU, who played his on-screen love interest.

Baekhyun says he finds crying scenes the hardest. “I don’t cry much. However, [actor] Lee Joon-gi treated my acting like it was real and I kept up with his lines, [and] I cried a lot. There were many things that I learned while working with him,” he told Nylon Korea about acting alongside the K-drama superstar.

In his words

“I look younger than my age most of the time. The EXO members are all in their mid-20s. These days, many [K-pop] groups that start off [are] in their teens, but when we made our debut we weren’t all that young,” he told Elle Korea.

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“The first day I went to the gym, it was so tough that I almost gave up. But I persevered through the hardships and after doing it a few times, I found that the feeling of showering afterwards was really nice. I would recommend this to people who have trouble dieting,” Baekhyun said in an interview with Elle Korea.

“I am bad at hiding things. I don’t think there is anything that people who like me don’t know about me. They even know where all the moles on my body are,” Baekhyun said in a 2016 interview with Nylon Korea.