Cover Photo: Instagram/DR Music

The 18-year-old, who goes by the stage name Sriya, was selected to join the girl group Blackswan out of over 4,000 applicants

K-pop has a new face who will soon be rising through its ranks and surprisingly, she’s not from South Korea. Instead, Shreya Lenka is an 18-year-old teenager from India who made the cut into the cutthroat multibillion-dollar entertainment industry after multiple rounds of auditions and training. 

As India’s first K-pop star, Shreya certainly has a lot riding on her shoulders as she joins K-pop girl group Blackswan as its fifth member.

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Blackswan, which comprises Youngheun, Fatou, Judy and Leiam, is also famous for being one of the first K-pop groups to have an African-American member.

The girl group, which was formed by DR Music, has produced two albums since it was formed in 2011 as well as multiple singles. In late 2020, one of its members, Hyeme, left and a global search began for someone to replace her.

The six-month-long global search uncovered Shreya, who will now be joining the group under the stage name Sriya to produce albums and take part in stage performances. 

Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about K-pop’s latest addition. 

Above Gabi and Sriya, Close to Me

1. Shreya was born in Rourkela

Shreya was born in Odisha’s Rourkela district in 2003. She is one of three siblings and her father, Avinash Lenka, works for a private company in Jharsuguda.

Growing up, Shreya was always interested in music and dance, which she started participating in when she was only in kindergarten. While she won many awards and practised heavily, she only started taking it more seriously in 2016. 

2. She is trained in multiple different dance styles

Despite being interested in Korean pop, Shreya has over the years mastered multiple dance forms such as Odissi classical form, freestyle, hip-hop and contemporary dance.

The passionate artist also wanted to learn music but struggled to get a good music teacher because she has a deeper voice. It was her grandmother who found her a Hindustani classical music teacher for her to train under. She attended his classes twice a week but only really learned Western vocals by herself through watching online videos. 

3. She fell in love with K-pop in 2020

In 2020, one of Shreya’s friends started taking an interest in Korean pop and introduced her to the group Exo. As Shreya began exploring the world of K-pop, she started learning their dance moves and attempting them herself. 

In 2021, the young star began applying for online K-pop auditions. It was also during this time that she decided to take a break from her studies to focus on her vocals, on her auditions and learning to speak Korean. This was also when she decided to start a YouTube channel where she began posting videos of herself dancing. The channel blew up and today, it has over 25,000 subscribers. 

She was rejected multiple times by many companies until she came across DR Music’s global auditions for Blackswan. After progressing through multiple rounds of auditions, Shreya was invited to South Korea in December 2021 for a six-month-long training programme at DR Music. 

4. She speaks Korean and has a strong understanding of Korea's culture

During her six-month-long training at DR Music, Shreya brushed up on her vocal training, her dancing and more. As part of the programme, she was also given lessons in speaking Korean and understanding the culture. 

She watched Korean dramas to brush up on her speaking skills and can speak the language quite fluently now. 

5. She will join Blackswan alongside Gabriela Dalcin

Shreya is not the only newbie to the girl group. Rather, she will be joining the team with Gabriela Dalcin from Brazil, who will make up the sixth member of the group. 

Dalcin was selected to join the band after participating in the global auditions alongside Shreya. It was reported that the pair had great energy and worked so well together that the production company did not want to split them up. 


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