Everything to know about idol Chenle
NCT 127’s latest album just dropped, so we know you K-pop stans are living your best lives jamming out right now. NCT is unique in the K-pop world, as it isn’t one group but made up of several units under the brand. You have NCT 127, NCT U, NCT Dream, and WayV.
The group has been making waves since 2016, thanks to the ever-growing line up of SM Rookies joining the roster. But most unique of all the groups is NCT Dream, which is the only unit that the boys can age out of. Every idol in the group is under the age of 20 and ages out once they hit that magical age.
Of course, let’s not play stupid. If you want to talk NCT Dream, you have to talk Chenle. Chenle is one of two members to join NCT without becoming an SM Rookie first, which is no surprise when he was a solo artist before joining NCT. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. What’s up with Chenle, and why should he be your new idol to worship?
Shanghai-born and raised
Chenle is not Korean, but Chinese. He was born in Shanghai and studied at the Beijing Contemporary Music School. But by the age of five, he entered the Shanghai Ying Siu Sing School, where his future music career really took off.
At just eight years old, Chenle won the Elf Genie Award and runner-up through the Yueyue Elf vs Season Trial. A year later, he and his vocal group won a gold medal at the National Chinese Young Talent Selection. That same year, Chenle released his first album Tomorrow.
In 2011, he dropped his second album My Wings. He was also privileged enough to participate in the opening and closing ceremonies of the Shanghai International Children’s Art Festival in 2011.
Covers launch a career
Just like a lot of young singers, Chenle also turned to Youtube to get his voice out there. Often covering the music of Declan Galbraith, Chenle found himself an audience online. So much so, Chenle was invited to perform “Memory” from Cats on stage at the Golden Hall of Vienna. He was only 10 when he did that, so that right there shows his talent.
He also found fame on China’s Got Talent, even without making it to the semi-finals. After his appearance, Chenle found himself on a variety of variety shows performing Memory and other covers from his studio albums. In 2014, Chenle was blessed enough to headline his own solo show at the Shanghai Concert hall.
While his music career is impressive, what’s more impressive is Chenle’s work as a Chinese diplomat. Chenle was the Chinese ambassador for the World Organization of Child Ambassadors of Peace, performing with children around the world on behalf of pianist Ezekiel Elkin.
Elkin also created the Musical Summit and invited Chenle to perform in Buenos Aries in 2014. The international multicultural performance included Chenle singing a song custom written for him by Elkin, “The Dragon’s Romance”.
Finding his way to NCT
So with such an established career by the age of 13, what made Chenle join NCT? Chenle did enlist in a Chinese training program back in 2013, but most likely realized that if he truly wanted to reach idol status, he had to go to Seoul and train there. Fellow member Jisung was in the same program, and the two ended up in the same group.
Out of all members of NCT Dream, Chenle has the least amount of training with only 2-3 months under his belt before the group’s debut. While still an active part of NCT Dream, Chenle doesn’t live the same life as the rest of his group mates. Chenle comes from a loaded family, and he usually spends his time in a home his mom has in Seoul unless NCT is promoting or performing.