NCT DREAM’s second full-length album, Glitch Mode, will be released soon. After the success of 2021’s Hot Sauce and its Hello Future repackage, the group is set to show off a new image in the upcoming era. To celebrate, EnVi is reflecting back on each member’s individual growth and evolution. Let’s look back at Chenle’s journey to stardom, his skills, and various charms.

Child Prodigy

Chenle has been paving a successful career in the entertainment industry from a young age. Before NCT, Chenle was already a child star singer with a lengthy list of achievements. Chenle’s achievements include participating in multiple variety shows, including China’s Got Talent (2010) and the multicultural children’s musical Zeke & the Kiddos (2014) in Buenos Aires. In addition to releasing solo albums and hosting concerts as a child, Chenle was also invited to hold a performance at Austria’s Golden Hall of Vienna in 2011. The outstanding caliber of Chenle’s childhood achievements became a glimpse of his soon-to-be success as part of NCT. 

Reliable Vocalist

Chenle has continued to share his talent with the world as part of the SM family. As one of NCT’s main vocalists, Chenle is known for his good vocal control and high notes. With his lengthy experience in singing, Chenle makes his outstanding vocal execution look effortless. Whether it’s his melodic closing line for “Dive Into You,” or covering Haechan’s high note in “Hello Future,” Chenle is a skillful and reliable singer that will bring his best into any song. In 2021, Chenle shared his vocals for the song “Too Good,” a collaboration with IMLAY for his mini-album UTOPIA.

Pianist Chenle

Adjacent to his vocal abilities, Chenle has also been perfecting his skills as a pianist since childhood. Though Chenle doesn’t get many opportunities to showcase his piano skills, occasionally he will release song covers with his piano. Such was the case for the surprise cover video with WayV’s Kun. In this cover, Chenle and Kun demonstrate their vocal and piano abilities through a stripped down rendition of HONNE’s “Free Love.” Similarly, for NCT DREAM’s live clip of “Be There For You,” Chenle accompanied Haechan and Renjun vocally by playing the piano arrangement of the song. Additionally, for THE DREAM SHOW tour, Chenle kicked off the stage of “Best Friend” with a piano introduction. 

Magazine Sweetheart

Chenle’s talent and prolific musical career has also landed him magazine features, two of them in variations of ELLE Magazine. After finishing promotions for NCT DREAM’s Reload, Chenle and Jisung were featured in the July 2020 issue of ELLE KOREA. With luxurious summer photographs, in the interview, Chenle and Jisung reminescened on their dynamic as the youngest members of NCT. A year later, Chenle made his solo pictorial debut in ELLE Idol’s July digital magazine issue. Wearing outfits with luxury brand items from Marni and Valentino, Chenle received the spotlight and shined in chic summer photographs.

Golden State Warriors Enthusiast

Beyond his musical career, Chenle is quite vocal about one of his favorite interests, basketball. He roots for the American basketball team Golden State Warriors and idolizes Stephen Curry. Chenle’s passion for the Golden State Warriors as a member of Dub Nation was featured in NCT Daily’s YouTube content “Help! Johnny Marky,” in which Johnny and Mark helped Chenle send a message to Stephen Curry. This message began an ongoing exchange of interactions between Chenle, the Golden State Warriors, and Stephen Curry. Since then, Chenle has received a uniform and autograph and was featured in the National Basketball Association (NBA) news blog, and made a playlist for Dub Nation. He also participated in the “Dub Hub,” a video call feature for one of the games against the Memphis Grizzlies. To say Chenle is a successful fanboy is an understatement. 

Akdong Seoul Radio Show DJ

Chenle participated as a radio host for the Akdong Seoul show from October 2020 to September 2021. Akdong Seoul is a Chinese radio show for TBS eFM, a 24-hour foreign language radio operating from Seoul, Korea. Aired every day from 9pm to 10pm KST, Akdong Seoul is live-streamed on the official TBS eFM 101.3 MHz YouTube channel. Due to its daily occurrence, Akdong Seoul’s programs––the themes and segments addressed during the show––varied from day to day. Similarly, the guest DJs that would join Chenle also changed. Some of the show’s programs included “My Personal Playlist,” “Moonlight Cinema,” and “Today’s TMI.” Though mainly audio, once a week there would be a viewable stream. While Chenle no longer hosts Akdong Seoul, the year he spent as a DJ remains memorable among fans.

Competitive Spirit

One of Chenle’s remarkable characteristics is his competitive spirit. If the occasion presents a competitive setting, Chenle has attested time and time again his conviction to win. For ​​IDOLLIVE’s YouTube series “Bu:QUEST of NCT DREAM,” Chenle demonstrated his competitiveness by winning the ultimate prize after completing a series of mini-games. In one episode, Chenle triumphs in a minigame taking place at a mudflat after playfully wrestling group member Renjun. Some fans were also impressed by Chenle’s competitiveness when in the variety show NCT LIFE : DREAM in Wonderland, he was even high spirited during a rock-paper-scissors match. NCT members have also pointed out Chenle’s competitive spirit. During NCT WORLD 2.0s online press conference, leader Taeyong commented on the good chemistry between Chenle and Doyoung due to their competitive nature. 

If you are interested in keeping up with Chenle, you can follow his Weibo or NCT DREAM’s Twitter and Instagram accounts. You can also stream NCT DREAM’s discography on Spotify.

Want more Chenle content? Check out our recap of Chenle in ELLE Idol’s issue here!