The 31-year-old star, who rose to fame as a former member of K-Pop boyband EXO before launching a solo career, already is a household name in Asia, boasting more than 80 million followers across social media. As an actor, he stars in the Chinese box office smash “No More Bets,” which has earned more than $547 million in China to date, becoming the country’s biggest hit of the summer. Lay is now the youngest and fifth-ever Chinese actor to reach this box office milestone. “No More Bets” also received a limited release in the U.S. on Sept. 1.
Next year, he will be seen starring opposite Jackie Chan in the film “A Legend.” His other film credits include films “The Island” and “Kung Fu Yoga,” and he has also appeared on the TV series “Go Fighting!” and “Idol Producer,” serving as a judge and host on the latter.
Since his rise as a core member of EXO, he embarked on a solo career, with his debut EP “Lose Control” hitting No. 4 on Billboard’s U.S. World Albums chart. He is the first Chinese solo artist to hit the Top 25 on the Billboard 200 and the first Chinese solo artist to hit Top 5 on the Worldwide iTunes Album Chart.
In August, Lay’s “Grand Line Tour” concerts in Shenzhen and Beijing immediately sold out, with more than 30,000 tickets purchased within seconds of going on pre-sale, leading to additional concerts being added in Shanghai, Nanjing and Chongqing.
As a global brand ambassador, Lay is currently working with Hublot, Sprite, Fila and Bang & Olufsen. He was Calvin Klein’s first Chinese global spokesperson for their underwear and jean lines and the first Valentino, Converse, Perrier, MAC and Daniel Wellington spokesperson in China.
“Lay Zhang is exactly the type of artist Range was built for. He’s a true multihyphenate with global appeal,” said Range Music managing partner Cory Litwin and Range co-founder and CEO Peter Micelli in a joint statement. “With the recent breakthrough success of his latest film, ‘No More Bets,’ his presence onscreen shows big box office potential.”
Lay, who is fluent in Mandarin, Korean and English, joins a Range Music roster that has made impressive strides since its inception two years ago. The division launched its own label in partnership with Capitol Music Group and Virgin Music & Artist Label Services and represents a wide range of talent including Jack Harlow, Saweetie, Justin Tranter, Cordae, Midland, Murda Beatz and Nicky Romero. The division earned seven Grammy nominations this year, with Nova Wav nabbing two awards for its production and songwriting work on Beyonce’s “Renaissance.”
The management company is adept at crossing over stars from one entertainment area to another. It helped launch actor Luke Grimes’ music career while starring in “Yellowstone.”