Global Superstar Lay Zhang Releases Highly-Anticipated Album ‘LIT’
Lay Zhang, the “Justin Timberlake of China,” is back and better than ever. On July 21, 2020, the Chinese musician released the second part of his album LIT. With the final six songs released, the 12-song album details Zhang’s growth as an artist as he recognizes his past accomplishments while stepping forward with a new sound.
He is a successful solo artist
Zhang debuted with SM Entertainment’s boy group EXO in 2012. A powerhouse in the music industry, EXO has won 23 Daesangs and won Artist of the Year at the Melon Music Awards in both 2016 and 2017. The band is made up of nine members and releases music in Korean, Mandarin, and Japanese.
Outside of EXO, Zhang is an accomplished solo artist, and he released his debut EP Lose Control in October 2016. For the EP, he participated in the composition and writing of every song, and he served as a producer on the album as well.
Since his solo debut, Zhang has released multiple EPs, studio albums, and singles. In April 2020, he received international recognition when he collaborated with Steve Aoki and will.i.am on the song “Love You More.” The song reached No. 1 on the QQ Music China chart.
Zhang has also acted in multiple TV shows and films including Ex-Files 2, Kung Fu Yoga, The Island, The Golden Eyes, Royal Treasure, and Oh My God.
Lay Zhang released the first half of ‘LIT’ in June 2020
A household name in Asia, Zhang has over 49.5 million followers on Weibo and over 12 million Instagram followers. Because of his popularity, fans’ anticipation and expectations for LIT were high. To create the album, Zhang worked with Grammy Award-winning producers Scott Storch and Murda Beatz.
Zhang released the first part of LIT on June 1, 2020, and digital album sales surpassed 1.5 million pre-orders within 7 minutes and 19 seconds. With these sales, the album reached No. 1 on QQ Music’s daily and weekly album sales chart.
Within the first 24 hours of the release of the “LIT” music video, Zhang’s YouTube channel reached 1.6 million views. To date, the music video has over 11 million views. The song also debuted a No. 22 on Billboard’s World Digital Song Sales chart.
The second part of Lay Zhang’s album ‘LIT’ just dropped
Earlier in July, Zhang gave a preview of what to expect from the second part of LIT with the pre-release single “Boom.” Following the success of the first part of LIT, Zhang completed the album by releasing the second part on July 21, 2020. Now, fans of Zhang have the chance to listen to the singer’s completed story with the six new tracks.
A cross-cultural album, LIT combines traditional Chinese instruments with contemporary hip-hop and pop sounds. The lyrics are sung in both English and Mandarin. Zhang’s personal touches are noticeable throughout the album, and he participated in the songwriting and production of each track.
With the new tracks completing the album’s themes of solitude, arrogance, self-confidence, loyalty, resolution, and courage, the title of the album makes even more sense in connection to Zhang’s own artistic journey.
According to a press release, “蓮” translates to “LIT” in English and references the “Chinese religious belief of the duality of ‘Life & Death'” as well as the “cultural icon” of the “Lotus Flower.” Together, these act as a metaphor for Zhang’s new album. Split into two parts, Zhang both acknowledges his past and looks forward to the future after his new birth as an artist.