Shreya Lenka is an Indian Kpop trainee competing to become the fifth member of the South Korean girl band Blackswan, the first Kpop girl group to have an African American person.
She had wanted to learn music since childhood. Her deep voice often became a hurdle in getting a voice teacher. Her grandmother then took her to a Hindustani classical music teacher, who taught her twice a week. However, she trained in western music by watching online videos. Shreya has been training in dance since kindergarten. However, she started training seriously in dance in 2016. She began by learning Odissi for a year and a half but abandoned it as it was expensive. She was trained first by Madan Mohan Purty, who won the BoogieWoogie Hip Hop in 2009. When her father was transferred to Jharsuguda, she enrolled in the dance studio of Mendo Barla, a famed choreographer, fitness instructor, and owner of the dance studio.
She has been training in freestyle, hip-hop, and contemporary dances. She had to drop a year due to the lockdown in India in 2021 after clearing her class 10. Talk Talk Korea She decided to enroll in class 11 when she had to go to South Korea as a Kpop trainee.
Height: 5′ 7″
Eye Color: Black
Hair Color: Black
Her father’s name is Abinash Lenka, who works in a private company in Jharsuguda.
Her mother’s name is Priyathama. She has a brother and a sister.
Competing for Black Swan
In June-July 2020, in a series of Instagram posts by Kpop girl group Rania members, it was announced that the Rania would be reformed as ‘Black Swan.’ Three old members of Rania, Youngheun, Leia, and Hyeme, along with two new members, Judy and Fatou, were named Blackswan.
In October 2020, the group debuted with their full-length album ‘Goodbye Rania’ with their lead single ‘Tonight.’
On November 9, 2020, Hyeme was under controversy for allegedly scamming a friend out of 50 million KRW (approximately US$44,800). The following day, DR music announced the departure of Hyeme due to the controversy and because of her end of the contract with the agency. On May 10, 2021, global auditions for the new member of Blackswan were announced by DR Music. Shreya participated in the global auditions, and for the first round of auditions, she had sent a dance video and song video. After the first round, when Blackswan members announced her name, she jumped with joy. She was among the 23 shortlisted out of 4,000 applicants from across the world in July. While talking about it in an interview, she said,
My name was announced after eighteen girls, so I thought I needed to practice night and day to reach the top spot. I had a difficult time searching for the right song. I shot a few and sent them to my teacher. Though he doesn’t listen to English songs or K-pop, he said one of my songs was good, so I trusted him and sent it to DR Music.”
The second round of auditions took place when it was a partial shutdown in Odisha; studios and gyms were closed so she shot the video in public while following protocols and sent it. Out of the 23 candidates, 4 were selected in the second round to train in South Korea; Shreya was one of them. Two girls decided to drop out, leaving Shreya and Gabriela Dalcin from Brazil fighting to become Kpop idols. In December 2021, she went to South Korea for a six-month training at DR Music to fight off to become the fifth member of Blackswan.
- Singer: PSY
- Kpop Girlband(s): Rania, Blackpink
- Kpop Boyband(s): BTS, Exo
- Song: DR Feel Good by Rania
- Cricketer: Mahendra Singh Dhoni
- Actor: Sushant Singh Rajput
- She is a yoga practitioner, which she picked up gradually being from a family of yoga fanatics. Her uncle and aunt are yoga teachers, and doing yoga is a morning family routine. She has even won several yoga competitions. According to her,
When I learned that yoga asanas could improve my body language and flexibility, I started practicing them more. I am more interested in the creative field, so when my family said that I could build a career in it, I began to put in more effort.”
- She has won awards in many dance competitions.
- Her parents always encouraged her to follow her passion for dancing. According to her parents Lenka was always hard-working and focused. After reaching home from school at 2.30 pm in her school days, she used to go to her dance training and never returned before 9 pm.
- According to her mother, she wanted to pursue dancing but couldn’t as her father disapproved of it. She didn’t know if her daughter would become a K-pop idol, but she was happy that Shreya was living her dream.
- She became interested in Kpop after a friend showed her the song ‘Growl’ by the Kpop boyband Exo. She fell in love with Kpop and began copying their moves. She soon learned about PSY, Rania, BTS, Blackpink and wished to become an idol herself.
- In 2021, one of her friends told her to apply for Kpop auditions being held online. She began applying to numerous entertainment companies. She followed many agencies on social media and watched bloggers who talked about Kpop. That’s how she came across DR Music’s global auditions for Blackswan’s fifth member and applied.
- She gave auditions for many companies to become a trainee. Her first Kpop audition happened during the first lockdown in India. The dance studios were not open, so she had to shoot at the yoga studio where her aunt taught yoga. She did not qualify for the auditions but received positive reviews, which kept her going through the rejection she faced during all the other auditions. While talking about giving auditions in an interview, she said,
With each audition, I tried to improve myself by monitoring the videos.”
- She trained hard in vocals in the one-year gap and auditioned to become a Kpop idol trainee for various companies. She learned English novels to improve her vocabulary and listened to English songs to improve her pronunciation. She also opened her YouTube channel and learned how to shoot and edit her dance videos. Her YouTube channel, Shreya Lenka Dance, has 19.7K subscribers, and she posts dance videos and song covers on her channel.
- She spends all her day in yoga sessions, dance practice, vocal training, learning Korean, watching K-dramas, and researching dance and music.
- In her spare time, she does sketching and Mandala arts.
- Shreya would be the third person to become a Kpop idol from India if she became a member of Blackswan. The first is reportedly Sid aka Siddhant Arora (from Uttar Pradesh), a former member of the multi-national Z-Pop group, Z-Boys. The second is Priyanka Mazumdar (from Assam), a member of Z-Girls, the female counterpart of Z-Boys. The two came from the Z POP, a talent hunt show to promote Kpop in Asia.