Holland: 5 Things To Know About K-Pop’s First Openly Gay Singer

Way to go, Holland! K-Pop’s first openly gay idol was just named the 2018 Dazed 100 winner, so get to know all about this revolutionary singer!

1. He’s been named one of the biggest new stars on the scene today. Congratulations to Holland! The 22-year-old singer, thanks to a legion of stans voting for him, just won the 2018 Dazed 100. The publication’s list is “your definitive guide to the people whose moment is now,” one that has “charted the steady rise of those who’ve dared to give pop culture a shot in the arm.” If there’s someone who’s giving K-Pop a shot in the arm, it’s Holland. As the first openly gay K-pop idol, the “Neverland” singer is challenging his home country’s perceptions about homosexuality. Upon hearing he won, Holland tweeted his gratitude. “OMG. Thank you DAZED.”

2. He made his debut at the start of the year. Holland released his first single, “Neverland” on Jan. 21, according to Billboard. Despite homosexuality being very taboo in South Korea, and the music video receiving a +19 rating because of a same-sex kiss, “Neverland” was viewed more than 700,000 times within the first 24 hours. It has since amassed more than nine million views. #HollandDebutDay began to trend worldwide on Twitter, as fans eager to see more diversity and representation in K-Pop quickly got behind this young man,

3. Holland said he was bullied in school for being gay. “I had a very hard time in my school life,” he said when speaking with Dazed. “I confessed my love to a boy I loved when I was a secondary school student, and the response was not good, so that made my school life very hard.” Thankfully, Holland says he has been very “lucky” in life. “Within my friends and family. I have never had anyone who has been upset about my sexuality since secondary school.”

4. He’s happy to be a role model. Though Holland said that he wanted to be a singer ever since he was a young boy, he sees his rise to fame as a way to do some good for the LGBTQIA community back home. “Although at that time there wasn’t a single role model to look up to in Korea, I was very consoled by foreign celebrities,” he told Dazed. “So I thought, ‘I want to be a famous person like them,’ and I’m trying to be that at the moment.”

5. Holland is more punk than you think. K-pop and punk rock may seem completely opposite, but Holland has a lot in common with old hardcore bands like Minor Threat and Black Flag. Like them, Holland didn’t have any major label support – he had no large agency backing him, per Billboard – so he pretty much embraced DIY (“Do It Yourself”) in order to release his debut song. He said he funded the making of “Neverland” by “working part-time jobs” and by getting help from his friends. All that hard work paid off, as he found success and an army of loyal fans who raised him to the top of the DAZED 100. “The fans are really special to me,” he said. “I’m working harder because I want to be a special person to my fans too.”

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