Former U-KISS member Alexander Lee Eusebio — better known by his stage name Xander — has discussed his experience of being one of K-pop’s first foreign idols in a candid, new interview with friend and YouTuber JAYKEEOUT.
Born in Hong Kong and growing up in Macau, Xander started his career when he felt compelled to visit his mother’s native land of Korea at 19 years old. Interested about the Korean entertainment industry, despite not knowing how to sing, dance, or even speak the language, he was cast by the CEO of NH Media while at the gym.
Xander debuted as a member of U-KISS in 2008 and was part of the group’s rise to fame through hits like “Man Man Ha Ni.” The vocalist and rapper departed the group three years later in 2011, with the label publicly stating that he wanted to go back to school to further his studies.
However, as it turns out, the real reason behind his departure was that the company wanted more Korean members and essentially cut Xander off from the group, even going so far as to suggest he wasn’t talented or popular enough.
Despite doing a lot of overseas events, actively helping with promoting, and even teaching the company how to use Twitter, Xander was made to feel like he was nothing, a sentiment he addresses as something “a lot of entertainment companies did to their artists…”
It was thanks to Alexander’s aunt, who had a stern talking to the CEO, that he was able to terminate his contract and leave the company on good terms, something that is typically really hard for an artist to do.
Unfortunately Xander’s struggles within the entertainment industry didn’t end there as he later landed himself in a lot of debt after joining a new company. The silver lining amidst it all was that he made his acting debut with a role in the drama “Immortal Classic.” This eventually led to being cast in the Singaporean film “3 Peas In A Pod,” the popular Korean drama “Moorim School,” and starring as the lead character in the Filipino television drama “My Korean Jagiya.”
Currently, Xander hosts a radio show on TBS eFM with rapper Killagramz called “K-Ride,” every day between 12 p.m KST and 2 p.m KST.
Xander’s story is just one of many that highlights how K-pop companies can mistreat and manipulate their artists, a problem that is made even tougher for foreign idols who have to adjust and adapt to cultural differences and language barriers.
By speaking out about his experience, he hopes to help other artists currently facing the same situation. Xander would like to work at an entertainment company, providing psychological support and understanding— something he didn’t receive from his company during his time as a U-KISS member.
Watch the full interview below!
Justin is an avid K-pop fanboy and a lifelong lover of music with a passion for sharing his love of underrated and lesser known groups.Finding a new appreciation for music during recent times, he has been enjoying getting acquainted with new artists and rediscovering classic favourite songs from the past.
Media: As Credited
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