After months of rigorous training in dance, voice and Korean language, India’s Shreya Lenka has been named a member of DR Music’s K-pop girl group Blackswan.
Born in Odisha in Eastern India, 18-year-old Lenka bested more than 4,000 hopefuls from all around the world who auditioned for a spot in the multi-national group after one of its original members, Hyeme, left in November 2020.
Lenka, who goes by the stage name Sriya, told GQ India that she submitted an unedited song and dance video to DR Music and was selected as a finalist in July 2021. She relocated to Seoul in December of the same year for the last leg of training before she was unveiled as a new member of the group alongside Brazil’s Gabriela Dalcin recently.
The music label made the announcement on its official Instagram page in May, unveiling a photo of Lenka and Dalcin as the first batch of trainees that passed the global audition program called “Cygnus.”
Since kindergarten, Lenka has formally trained in hip-hop, freestyle and contemporary dance. She has also received training in Odissi, a classical Indian dance form that emphasizes the expression of songs through body language and movements of the face and feet.
Lenka’s interest in K-pop started when a friend showed her the music video of “Growl,” a song by the boy band EXO. Her newfound love for the group inspired her to learn the dance steps to the song, and before she knew it, she was already supporting more K-pop artists like BTS, PSY, Blackswan and Blackpink.
Lenka previously revealed that even after going through a challenging audition process and a six-month training period, she still found it hard to believe that she was indeed transitioning from being a fan girl to a K-pop idol.
“I can’t even imagine that I have achieved this thing,” she told WION earlier this month.
“My family’s reaction, my friends’ reaction was really priceless. It was really precious to me because I have always wanted to hear these things from my friends, my family,” she continued.
Formerly known as “Raina,” Blackswan was formed in 2011. Its other members are Youngheun, Judy, Leia and Fatou, who hails from West Africa’s Senegal. The group has released two albums and multiple singles since it was created.