Holland Releases Debut Single 'Neverland' as The First Gay K-pop Idol
The Korean music scene took a huge step forward for representation when the singer Holland put his sexuality front-and-center of his debut.
The newcomer released his first single “Neverland” on Jan. 21, kicking off the new year with a song and music video that revels in queer love. Holland’s “Neverland” is a mellow alt-R&B track that relays the emotions of a man who wants to avoid discrimination and escape to a place where he can love freely.
The song’s accompanying music video similarly places the singer’s sexuality in the spotlight, depicting a rare same-sex kiss in an aesthetically pleasing video describing the ups-and-downs of a relationship. “Neverland” received a 19+ rating because of the kiss.
Holland is the first openly gay K-pop idol to debut, though MRSHLL, an alt-R&B artist, came out before releasing his first music last year, becoming the first Korean singer to begin his career while openly addressing his sexuality. Same-sex love is rarely addressed in K-pop and South Korea’s entertainment industry. Only a handful of celebrities, including the entertainer-entrepreneur Hong Seokcheon and the transgender singer Harisu, are publicly out.
Though Holland has no large agency backing, and was a relative unknown on the K-pop scene until last week, when he first started teasing his debut single, he has already caught the attention of many K-pop watchers who have been eager to see more diversity and LGBTQ+ representation in the Korean idol industry. Fans tuned in to see the first publicly out Korean idol debut, and “Neverland” racked up more than 700,000 views within 24 hours of its release. The song also spurred the worldwide trending hashtag #HollandDebutDay on Twitter.
Watch the music video for “Neverland” below: