After 10 years, Zhang Yixing, also known as Lay Zhang, returned to the Philippines for his exclusive fan meeting and music listening party held last December 4, 2023, at Teatrino Promenade in San Juan City.
The Chinese rapper and singer-songwriter fulfilled his promise to come to the country and made the Philippines his first stop for his intimate event, where over 160 XBACKs (Lay’s fandom name) were lucky enough to receive an invite after signing up through the link Lay sent before the event.
@inqpop Watch Lay Zhang’s decade-long awaited comeback in Manila! The K-pop idol held a ‘short but sweet’ fan meeting and music listening party last December 4. The event was filled with heartwarming moments, including a surprise fan project, a sneak peek of his unreleased songs, and much more! #BrandRoom #LayZhangManilaFanMeet ♬ original sound – InqPOP!
Before he became the solo artist that he is now, Lay is a member of the South Korean boy group, EXO, which debuted in 2012. Way back in 2013, EXO visited the Philippines for the Dream K-Pop Fantasy Concert, where Lay was part of the Chinese subgroup EXO-M.
Serenading his fans, Lay Zhang entered the stage and played the slower version of his songs “Boom” and “Right Back.”
Lay happily greeted his fans with, “Kumusta, Philippines? Ako si Lay!” Fans requested him to say the word ‘pogi’ (handsome), and Lay was more than willing and said, “Pogi ako,” and in return, the idol complimented his Filipino fans with, “Maganda kayo” [you are all beautiful].
It’s been a while since fans were able to see Lay Zhang here in the Philippines, and a 40-minute fan meet is not enough; Filipino XBACKs want more of him. Everyone started chanting and requesting for “Grand Line,” Lay’s concert tour, and coming from the artist himself, the idol said he would try to bring the concert here to the Philippines.
There was a set of questions prepared for Lay. When asked about his goals for 2024, he mentioned that he wants to visit the Philippines more often. Later, when asked about the genre he hasn’t tried yet but wishes to explore soon, he expressed interest in Afrobeat, believing his fans would love it due to the high energy they give him.
Responding to the question about what motivates him to pursue the things he loves, Lay credited his fans, stating that the love and support they show him provide the energy and motivation to do his job. Fans jokingly remarked, “Sana all’ (We wish everyone is like that),” and, in a serious tone, he responded, “If you don’t love your job, just give up.” Well, he has a point. Thanks, Lay!
Concluding the question and answer segment, Lay sought fan suggestions for possible collaborations with Filipino artists. Some mentioned artists were Sarah Geronimo, Al James, and Lola Amour.
No Filipino fan meet is complete without a fan project. To make the event memorable for Lay, Filipino XBACKs prepared a special video. After watching it, the idol expressed, “You guys make me so snug,” and fans began singing “Right Back,” later joined by Lay himself. It was a touching moment between an idol and his fans.
Before wrapping up the exclusive fan meeting and music listening party, Lay treated the fans to a sneak peek of his unreleased songs, “Psychic” and “Step,” making Filipino XBACKs the first to hear these tracks.
To conclude the event, Lay took photos with the fans. Although it was a brief fan meeting, it was undoubtedly a memorable one for everyone who attended. Lay Zhang’s warm personality and love for his fans shone through.
See you in 2024, Lay! Filipino XBACKs and EXO-Ls will continue to support you until the end.