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That China sheep.

Zhang Yixing (Chinese: 张艺兴; born October 7, 1991), also known professionally as Lay Zhang or simply Lay (Korean: 레이, also stylized LAY), is a singer-songwriter, record producer, dancer, actor, and member of Korean-Chinese boy band EXO and its Chinese sub-group EXO-M. He began his career as a child star in 2005, when he rose to fame as the third-place winner of Star Academy, a TV show based in his hometown of Hunan, China. In 2008, 16-year-old Zhang auditioned for SM Entertainment at the company's global casting auditions held in Changsha. Shortly after, Zhang moved to South Korea for his idol training upon passing the auditions.

Zhang is employed by SM Entertainment for his activities as a member of EXO, but in April 2015, Zhang established a personal agency for his solo activities (mainly based in China), serving as an exclusive management and record label. In September 2018, Zhang signed an agreement with Easy Entertainment whereby his personal studio will collaborate with Easy Entertainment to create a new team to manage Zhang's promotional activities.

In October 2016, he released his first solo EP, Lose Control, in both China and South Korea, peaking at number one on the Gaon Album Chart as well as number four on Billboard's US World Albums chart, and made him the first Chinese artist to enter the iTunes Top 60. The EP contains tracks that Zhang personally wrote by himself, which later became the standard in his releases. He has also written songs for EXO and several Chinese television programs.

The release of his second album NAMANANA marked Zhang's foray into the US music market, with the album containing 22 songs, 11 of which are in Chinese language with English counterparts for each. The album debuted at 21 on Billboard 200, making him the highest ranked Mandopop artist on the chart. The album also ranked 1st on the World Albums and Independent Albums charts.

He's not just any musician, though. In September 2015, he released his autobiography, Standing Firm at 24, which broke several online book records and making him take the fourth place on 'The 10th Chinese Celebrity Writers List', becoming the youngest celebrity author to enter the charts. In July 2016, Zhang was appointed by the Communist Youth League of China (CYLC) of Changsha as a publicity ambassador, the first celebrity to hold such title. In September 2017, he came in at the 20th spot on the 2017 Forbes China Celebrity 100 List with estimated earnings of 120 million yuan; he came in the 11th spot in 2019. Zhang is a brand ambassador of over 30 brands, including Converse, MAC Cosmetics, Chaumet Paris, Ray-Ban, Milka Chocolate, H&M, Perrier, Calvin Klein, Valentino, Huawei Nova (2015-2018), and Samsung (2018-2019).

On April 8, 2022, Lay left SM Entertainment after his contract expired but he insisted that he's still a part of Exo.

Studio Albums
  • 2017 - Sheep
  • 2018 - NAMANANA
Mini Albums
  • 2016 - Lose Control
  • 2017 - Winter Special Gift
  • 2019 - Honey
  • 2014 - Airport tears
  • 2014 - I'm Lay
  • 2015 - Dancing Young
  • 2015 - Youth and Happiness (OST of Oh My God)
  • 2015 - Alone (OST of Ex Files 2)
  • 2015 - Wonderful Day
  • 2016 - Man's Business (with Go Fighting cast, OST of Go Fighting Movie: Royal Treasure)
  • 2016 - Monodrama (For SM Station)
  • 2017 - Prayer (OST of Operation Love)
  • 2019 - Lovebird (Collaboration with Far East Movement)
  • 2019 - 晚安
  • 2019 - 我不好
  • 2019 - 外婆
  • 2020 - Love You More (Collaboration with Steve Aoki and
  • 2020 - 玉
TV Dramas
  • 1998 - We The People, as Huan Huan (cameo character)
  • 2016 - To Be a Better Man, as Xiao Cai (supporting character)
  • 2016 - The Mystic Nine, as Er Yue Hong (main character)
  • 2017 - Operation Love, as Yan Xiaolai (main character)
  • 2018 - The Golden Eyes, as Zhuang Rui (main character)
  • 2015 - Ex-Files 2, as Li Xianghe (special appearance)
  • 2015 - Oh My God, as Le Yi (main character)
  • 2016 - Go Fighting movie: Royal Treasure, as himself
  • 2016 - The Mystic Nine Side Story: Flowers Bloom in February, as Er Yue Hong (main character)
  • 2017 - Kung Fu Yoga, as Xiao Guang (supporting main character)
  • 2017 - The Founding of an Army, as Lu Deming (supporting character)
  • 2018 - The Island, as Ma Xiaoxing (main character)
  • 2018 - Unexpected Love, as Han Ben (main character)
Web Dramas

Tropes relating to his works with EXO can be found on that page.

Lay provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Affectionate Nickname: "Xing" and "Xingxing" which come from his name, "Dandan" (Eggy), "Leiyi'" (cute pronunciation of Lay), "Little Lamb", "healing unicorn", "International Bee", "Little Fox", "Changsha Xiaojiaoao" (Changsha's little pride), "Changsha Xiaoaojiao" (Changsha's little tsundere), "shuài shuài" (handsome handsome), "Zhang zhong" (President Zhang), "Zhang PD" (Producer Zhang).
  • Animal Motif:
    • The sheep. Specifically, that China sheep.
    • In EXO promotions, he's associated with the unicorn.
    • In "Go Fighting!" he is also referred to as a little fox.
    • With the release of his song "Honey", he is now associated with a bee. This time, the international bee.
  • Album Intro Track: The Assembly Call in Lay's NAMANANA album.
  • Arc Number: 10 or 1007, which relate to his birthdate, October 7.
  • Catchphrase: Lay's personal motto and catchphrase is "努力努力再努力" ("Work hard, work hard, and work harder"). This is included in SHEEP's lyrics and is his display name on Weibo.
    • Lay also has a specific way of saying aiyowei (a Chinese expression for shock or surprise).
Lay also has his golden advice for the trainees in "Idol Producer": BALANCE.
  • Child Popstar: Started out as this in China.
  • Christmas Songs: When It's Christmas and Goodbye Christmas.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: Primarily purple, but his releases have a different color assigned: purple for Lose Control, red for SHEEP, green/yellow for NAMANANA, and yellow/orange/black for Honey.
  • A Dog Named "Dog": His first pet (a cat) didn't have a name. In his BuzzFeed interview:
    Lay: I just called the cat "hey, Cat". In Chinese, "hey 猫 (cat)".
  • Dancing Is Serious Business: He is a dance singer and one of the main dancers of EXO.
  • Eiffel Tower Effect: In Lay's I Need U.
  • Fanboy: Of Michael Jackson and has imitated his style for a few performances. He used to impersonate Michael's moves to impress his mother. Lay later becomes a part of a Michael Jackson tribute single "Let's Shut Up And Dance" with Jason Derulo and NCT 127.
  • Fun with Acronyms: The name "Lay" can be interpreted as "Look At Yixing." Additionally, his previous Instagram username of zyxzjs stands for Zhang Yi Xing (his real name) Zhang Jia Shuai (his birth name).
  • Fun with Foreign Languages: The Chinese title of Honey is 和你, which means "with you" and is pronounced like "honey".
  • Gratuitous English: Even before debuting in the US, he tends to add English words when speaking in Korean.
  • Grief Song: His song Grandma, dedicated to his grandmother, who passed away without being able to come to his concerts even once.
  • Healing Hands: His designated superpower in EXO promotions.
  • Hotter and Sexier: His releases get progressively sexier.
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: Ironically, Lay has a slight form of haemophilia, which almost took his life when he had a tonsil operation at a young age. He was seen with bloody hands a few times in public.
  • I Have Many Names: His birth name is Zhang Jiashuai. His name was then changed to Zhang Yixing, which is his current name and what he's called as in Chinese promotions. His stage name is Lay or Lay Zhang and it's what he uses in albums and other promotions.
  • Jack of All Trades: EXO's main dancer who also is sadly given only a little amount of lines in their group songs, but as of 2019, he has released 2 solo albums and 3 EPs in China. And he wrote all his songs by himself, while helping out with the choreography. And not just his title songs have performances: most of his songs are performed with dances. He is a regular cast member and has participated in five seasons of the show "Go Fighting!" which is considered as the Chinese equivalent of the Korean variety show "Infinite Challenge". He is also the main mentor and producer of the two seasons of "Idol Producer". And he also acts in dramas and movies.
  • Meaningful Name: Yixing means "art flourish". Play for fun, but 'Lay' also means "tired" in Chinese (累; lei), and this often gets him teased. It's actually a minor Tear Jerker, given his body condition. But according to Lay, SM Entertainment got it from Huaze Lei.
    Lay: "At that time the company (preparing for debut), they said they think the name "Lay" is not bad. I asked why. They said in "Meteor Garden" there is a character called Huaze Lei, who is quiet and doesn't say much, but plays the violin and is talented and likes music quite a bit. At that time how could I think much? Sure, as long as I can debut, sure sure, you guys do what you want, I'm fine, I'm fine with it. I didn't think it'd become an attribute I can't shake off, 'tired'."
  • The Perfectionist: When asked who was a perfectionist in EXO-M during an interview, Lay pointed at himself. This is shown in his solo works.
  • Singer Name Drop:
    • In Dancing Young: "Y-I-X-I-N-G, My name is, ZHANG YIXING!" and of course, I'm Lay.
    • In the Chinese version of NAMANANA, a lyric says "Lay you got feeling".
    • He also has a song titled Lay Me Down.
  • Stage Names: Lay and Lay Zhang.
  • Translated Cover Version: NAMANANA has all of its songs both in Chinese and in English, but interestingly, the lyrics aren't direct translations and the meaning of the songs are different in each language.
  • You Are Number 6: His designated number in EXO promotions is 10, the date of his birthday.

Alternative Title(s): Zhang Yixing, Lay Zhang