Odisha: Parents Of India’s First K-Pop Star Shreya Lenka Speak About Her Journey [Watch]
Jharsuguda: The journey to international stardom was an easy one for Shreya (Sriya) Lenka of Odisha’s Jharsuguda. She has made the state proud by becoming the first K-pop artist from India.
Though DR Music was supposed to pick just one member for Blackswan, they announced the names of Sriya and Gabriela Dalcin from Brazil to be the 5th and 6th members of the K-pop group. “With their debut, we will be back with Blackswan,” said the group in a post on Instagram on Thursday.
Speaking to the media, Sriya’s father Abinash Lenka said that the first step was not easy and neither was the last one. “As she gave wings to her dreams, our expectations too soared with her. We had expected her to earn a name at the national level, she surpassed that to gain a place on an international platform. It feels good to be known as Sriya’s parents,” he said.
A trained dancer, singer and yoga practitioner, Shriya (18) along with Gabriela (19) was chosen among 4,000 applicants through a YouTube audition programme that began in June 2021. They will be in Seoul for the next few months for practice so that the group brings out their next album, sources said.
“It is a proud moment for us as parents. She has worked really hard for this undeterred by all the hurdles that came her way,” said her mother Priya Lenka.
Sriya had been into performing arts since her kindergarten days. She began with Odissi but had to give up training in the classical dance form after a year due to financial constraints. Five years back, she enrolled for dance training under the guidance of a popular dance reality show, ‘Boogie Woogie HipHop’ 2009 winner, Madan Mohan Purty. Taken aback by the girl’s determination, Purty stood by her and nurtured her skills despite the financial instability being faced by her family.
Later, she honed her skills under Mendo Barla. The quest for making it big made her participate in at least 30 national and regional-level dance competitions. Not just that, she had also been a self-learner of freestyle and hip-hop dance forms as she spent time following popular artists online.
“Since I have a deep voice, I faced difficulty in finding the right vocal trainer. My grandmother helped me find one. She took me to a Hindustani classical music teacher, who taught me twice a week. But, for the western songs, I had to rely on online videos and self-learning,” Sriya recalled in an earlier interview.
With recording studios for dance and music shut in her town due to COVID restrictions, she turned her mini-terrace at home into an open-air studio for recording her audition videos. She learnt Korean online and watched a lot of Korean dramas to learn both the language and culture. Battling all odds, Sriya is now made it to the much-sought-after platform.