Today (April 8), which is also notably the 10th anniversary of EXO debut, the Chinese K-pop idol took to his personal social media accounts with handwritten letters, in both English and Korean, to announce his departure from long-time label SM Entertainment.
Lay captioned his posts with, “This decade is one of the greatest gifts I could’ve ever received,” and expressed his gratitude towards his fellow EXO bandmates, SM Entertainment staff and fans for their support throughout his 10 years at the company
This decade is one of the greatest gifts I could’ve ever received. pic.twitter.com/7Cmpyygprg
— Lay Zhang (@layzhang) April 8, 2022
Despite his departure from the company, which he wrote now marks a “new beginning” for himself, he reassured that his support for EXO will never waver. “I will always be the Lay when my members need me,” the letter read. “I’m your family member in China, Zhang Yixing.”
The singer also released a new single titled ‘酒 (Jiu)’ alongside his announcement, which notably features an intro that appears to be recorded conversations between himself and several members of EXO, including Kai, Xiumin, Baekhyun and Chen.
The soundbites range from Kai wishing Lay a “Happy New Year” and Baekhyun asking if he had heard his solo single ‘Bambi’, which dropped in March last year, to Chen advising him to not get hurt.
EXO’s last release as a group was the special album ‘Don’t Fight The Feeling’ in June last year, which included a title track of the same name. That record also marked Lay’s return to the group after a four-year hiatus, during which he had established a solo music career in China, with hits such as ‘I Need U’, ‘Honey’ and ‘Joker’.