EXO is a South Korean-Chinese boy band produced by S.M. Entertainment that debuted in 2012. EXO comprises twelve members who are separated into two subgroups. EXO-K and EXO-M. The former releases music in South Korea, while the latter promotes music in mainland China. EXO’s name was taken from EXOPLANET, a term referring to planets outside of the Solar System.
Lay (Korean: 레이), born as Zhang Yixing (Chinese: 张艺兴; pinyin: Zhāng Yìxīng) on October 7, 1991 (age 22), is from Changsha, Hunan, China. Lay was a local child star in Hunan, having won third place in a competition hosted by the popular TV program, Star Academy (明星学院) in 2005. He also appeared in an episode of Yue Ce Yue Kai Xin (越策越开心) and Liu Na’s variety show, Na Ke Bu Yi Yang (娜可不一样) that same year.
Lay joined S.M. Entertainment in 2008 after a successful audition with the company’s global casting system in Changsha. At the time of the auditions, he was 16 years old and was studying for his college entrance exams. In 2011, prior to debuting with Exo, he briefly worked for SHINee in their concert tour as Jonghyun’s dance replacement. Lay was formally introduced as a member of Exo on January 17, 2012. He is also associated with the dance group, S.M. The Performance, with Exo-K’s Kai.
(Credits goes to Wikipedia and SM Entertainment)