South Korean music has exploded over the globe and with it comes an increasingly numerous amount of talented individuals trying to make a name for themselves in the music scene. Among them is Holland, one of the new faces of a modern Korean music industry.
With speculation of an openly gay idol hitting social media, on January 21st Holland released his first single “Neverland”. Accompanying the smooth alt-R&B melody of the track, is a M/V depicting the relationship of a same- sex couple with nostalgic elements.
Holland has said the following about the inspiration behind this song
“Neverland’ is about a boy who couldn’t be honest about his love and was discriminated, thus desiring to move to another place where he can express all the love he wants. Neverland in ‘Peter Pan’ is a dream-like place – a place where no one says anything about my love life. It isn’t like I can get married just like everyone else and even though I don’t know what will happen, I wanted to say it’s going to be okay.”
Starting off his career having openly shared his sexuality has made Holland an icon for the LGBTQ+ community in Korea and LGBTQ+ K-POP fans who often do not feel represented. He is also a symbol of shifting ideologies in modern-day Korea.
Even without a major agency representing him, Holland has done extremely well for himself, with the “Neverland” M/V hitting more than 8 million views and 683k likes.
While his video got a 19+ rating because of its content, specifically a kiss between Holland and his on-screen boyfriend, Holland made it specifically so to address double-standards in the music industry. His strong representation of the LGBTQ+ community is what is making him popular among countries like Canada, Brazil and the US.
To get a more candid reason for why so many K-POP fans are supporting Holland, I interviewed a Canadian “Harling” (his fan name) Morgan.
I had heard of Holland through Instagram, but then I watched Neverland on YouTube and instantly fell in love with him. Not only because he is an openly gay idol, but because of his personality and what he stands for as a person too
The reason I looked him up in the first place is because he is the first openly gay idol. But i understand his music and what message he wants to get across to his fans… and I’m all for it
3. What makes him different from other idols?
The thing that makes Holland different is the fact that he is open with his sexuality. I understand there are lots of K-idols [that are a part of} the LGBTQ+ community (which is amazing), but they aren’t open about it. Holland is open about it which we, as fans, can relate to and connect with him better. Especially me, as someone who is bisexual. It’s really helpful when you have that connection with one of your idols
4. Holland’s international fan base is growing, what do you think about that and why do you think that is?
Yes Harlings around the world are becoming more and more!! I think he’s catching around the world because of the fact that he is an openly gay K-POP idol. …. So I think us fans really want to show our support. For me especially, because here in Canada it’s such a normal thing.
5.Whats the importance of an openly gay idol in this community?
I think having an openly gay idol in the industry will hopefully open some doors for not only youth who are struggling in Korea … as well as worldwide. And hopefully it can help other idols too in the industry!! Love is love
It is evident that his smooth voice aside, Holland is definitely making his mark in the music scene as a political activist of sorts.
I hope he continues to grow in fame as he proceeds through his career and if I’m honest, he definitely is a new face to look out for in the upcoming years. With the plan of a tour in the works, I am hopeful he will wind up in Canada!
To end on some words of wisdom spoken by the man himself
“I believe many people are still troubled and worried about coming out. It really isn’t wrong, and I sincerely hope no one makes poor decisions due to other people. I would like to say that we need to be more confident in order to speak a bit louder of the love we experience.”