Don't mess up his tempo, Chanyeol of EXO wants you to know that he's working harder than ever before.
Since EXO's explosive debut in 2012, the K-pop boy band has had a meteoric rise to the top with hits such as "Growl", "Monster" and "Call Me Baby", to name a few. While the spotlight has been trained on the group for a good seven years, Chanyeol has managed to stand out with his charming personality, killer rap verses and insanely fit physique. EXO-Ls (as the band's fandom is called) constantly fawn over his height (the singer stands at 1.86m tall!), his symmetrical features and swoon at the sound of his deep voice, but you don't need to take our word for it: Just last December, Chanyeol officially became the most followed celebrity on Instagram in South Korea, beating out Big Bang's G-Dragon, who has claimed the top spot since 2014.
In spite of the constant attention, Chanyeol still strikes one as the shy, wide-eyed boy next door, as he sits opposite us on the beige coloured sofas in Prada's private salon for our interview. He was in Singapore for Prada's spring/summer 2019 party, and we sat down for an exclusive chat with the K-pop idol about his biggest career highlights, changes since his debut and his fashion must-haves at the moment.
E! Online Asia: It's been 7 years of EXO — what is the biggest lesson you've learned in that time?
Chanyeol (CY): The biggest lesson I learned, I guess, is that you need to have good people around you. I was lucky to have good members in EXO as well as the staff that assisted us in our activities; and also the managers who helped me — they were all so great! Thanks to all of them, I was able to grow this much. Also, I think the fans who have been supporting me are all good people — that's why I was lucky to be loved this much.
How have you changed since your debut?
CY: I think I've become more relaxed as time has gone by and I am not so nervous anymore. And as time goes by, year after year, I would like to do better — because of that, I am also working harder.
"Don't Mess Up My Tempo" is your best selling album to date. What do you think sets it apart?
It was a piece that was very experiential and I think that because it was a new song — that was why people showed a lot of interest. I can also say that all the members of EXO worked very hard for this. That's why this album did so well — as much as we put in our effort! What's more, we have been working for seven years now, so we have honed our expertise to do better and that was shown in this music.
You're here for Prada — what is your must-have fashion item?
Personally, I like the key rings from Prada. There are a lot of unique key rings in Prada that are beautiful, lovely and very cute. In the past, my close friends and I went to a Prada store and bought the same key ring together, as a souvenir of our friendship. Key rings may be a small item, but even these kinds of small items can stand out a lot. That's why I like the key ring a lot, personally.
Also, as I was preparing myself to come for this event, I was looking through the wardrobe and I am wearing this turtleneck that I feel suits me well. I'd like to wear this turtleneck too when I go out and about as usual.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.