The real story behind K-Pop star Holland

The real story behind K-Pop star Holland

He might only be 22 years old, but K-Pop star Holland has already taken over the world with his debut song "Neverland" which has already sold 9 million times, But what's most striking about Holland is that he is the first K-pop openly gay idol in a nation where LGBTQ+ relationships are still subject to taboo and where gay marriage is yet to be legalised. Despite all that, the video of Holland's first song release, Neverland, gathered more than 1 million views on YouTube in a single day, and to date, it has been watched more than 9 million times, which is a milestone for any solo artist who is just starting out in South Korea, and was not promoted at all.

‘It's going to take homosexuality coming out of the water,' he told ‘A lot of exposure and consumption. And a lot of people have to say it's not wrong.

‘I think culture is the most powerful weapon' he added. ‘Korea is also hard to survive in as a gay entertainer. I think Korea should develop more culturally.'

To prove that the LGBTQ+ community is still a taboo topic in South Korea, when Holland released his music video for his single I'm Not Afraid, it was given an age restriction on YouTube. This prompted the start to tweet: "My fans, listen up, you know, if you saw my music video, Race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity it is individual difference and there should never be any discrimination in it. ‘I'm sorry, hate criminals can't be my fans.'"

His first single "Neverland" documents his experiences growing up as a gay person in his home country. Some YouTube viewers have compared him with the Aussie singer Troye who also happens to be an iconic gay singer.

The song tells the story of a boy who lies to himself and everyone about his true desires and identity. Then he finds himself being discriminated against because of his sexuality. During that time of discrimination, he wants to go to a place where he can follow his heart and do what he wants.

"Neverland (in the world of J.M. Barrie's) Peter Pan is a dreamland," Holland told SBS Pop Asia. "I want to tell queer people that although we can't marry someone, and we are not sure what's going to be next, but we are OK, nevertheless."

The music video of the song showed Holland having a date with a man and then kissing him in bed. It was the homosexual kiss what resulted in the video receiving a 19+ rating in South Korea.

Holland is very open about his struggles growing up and suffering bullying. This lead him to suffer from depression, which started when he was in middle school. "When I decided to come out in [my] middle school days, I told one of my closest friends about being gay," Holland said in a video interview with South Korean video channel PRAN. "The next day everyone in school was gossiping about it."

Now he wants to fight for the rights and wellbeing for the LGBTQ+ community. "There are not many celebrities in Korea who speak up for human rights," Holland told SBS PopAsia. "I thought there's got to be someone like me who discloses their sexual identity."

"The fans are very special to me," an emotional Holland said in an emotional video interview with South Korean magazine Dazed. "I'm working harder because I want to be a special person for my fans, too."

Holland's overnight success remains an unprecedented phenomenon. He said that his success was possible thanks to the world becoming more "sensitive" to k-pop. Some of the big hits lately have been the K-pop band BTS, and Holland is a fan of them. ‘It's like catching the world's most fashionable things and turning them into K-pop. It's a great thing,' he said.

He hopes more people will listen to South Korean indie band Hyukoh. Apart from being a K-pop fan, Holland is also into British music too. "I love British bands so much," he told I really like Nothing But Thieves and Harry Styles' album is the best.'