Bang Chan and Felix are two Aussies conquering the K-pop industry and taking the world by storm.
Stray Kids is a Korean boy band, formed under JYP Entertainment. They are made up of eight members: Bang Chan, Lee Know, Felix, Changbin, Hyunjin, Han, Seungmin, and I.N.
Before Stray Kids was a band, they were on a reality TV show by the same name. JYP’s male trainees partook in various singing and dancing competitions to determine who, out of an already developed group, would debut under the Stray Kids name.
Of the Korea-born members, however, are two honourary Australians: Bang Chan and Felix. How does one go from a regular Sydney-sider to Korean stardom in one of the biggest entertainment companies though?
Bang Chan: Leader
Bang Chan (24) is the leader of the group, having first auditioned for JYP Entertainment at the age of 13. JYP Entertainment is home to other notable K-pop acts, including Day6 and Twice, and was also home to Got7. The CEO himself, Jin Young Park, was also part of a K-pop group in the 90s and is still heavily involved in the industry as a solo artist 17 years later.
But the road Chan took from K-pop trainee to idol was a gruelling one, one that took 7 years to become reality. In an interview with GQ Australia, he said: “Trainees come and go… but I had no thought of leaving, they [JYP] had no thought of kicking me out. I think the company found potential in me, and I felt potential from the company as well. It was a two-way thing”.
Growing up in Sydney as the oldest of three siblings, he recalled how his childhood was filled with his mother’s musical influences; Air Supply, ABBA, Michael Jackson, and Frank Sinatra, to name a few. It was when he joined the school choir and his class’s music performances that he realised music was something he could follow seriously. Now, Chan finds himself not only the leader of Stray Kids, but as the lead vocal and producer for the band.
When asked about his future with the band, he gave honest insights into his path:
“Like, 20 years from now, I have no idea what’s going to happen. So, as long as I do what I’m supposed to do, I believe that the universe will package my future for me.”
Felix: Lead Rapper, Lead Dancer, and Sub Vocalist
Felix (21) is Stray Kids’ lead rapper, lead dancer, and sub vocalist. He was approached and cast for an audition by JYP when global auditions were held in Sydney. It was then only 8-9 months before he joined Stray Kids. While he was initially eliminated from the Stray Kids show, he was invited back by JYP in the ninth episode for a second chance to join the band’s final line-up.
While less is currently known about Felix’s life pre-debut, he remains a beloved member of the group. He is adored by fans for his deep rapping voice and has recently made the rounds on TikTok, where his dance to “Let’s Groove” was viewed 59 million times.
World Tours and Comebacks
The last time the boys were able to come home was during their UNVEIL World Tour “I am…” in 2019. While the boys may have come back in 2020 with their “District 9: Unlock” tour but the pandemic saw an unfortunate postponement of these plans. Nonetheless, they have just made their comeback with “Thunderous” being featured in their full-length album NOEASY. The comeback was emotional and long-awaited by Stays, after member Hyunjin was on an indefinite hiatus following school bullying allegations. Stray Kids currently holds the No. 9 position in the Billboard World Album ranking for a third week straight. It’s quite easy to see how they’re making their mark in the music world.