News / Arts & Entertainment

    Singer Wanting Bridges Gap Between Asian, Western Cultures

    Chinese-Canadian Singer Wanting No. 1 in China, Several Asian Countriesi
    X
    David Byrd
    March 21, 2014 12:49 AM
    She has just released her second CD, Say the Words, and already Chinese-Canadian singer Wanting is No. 1 in China and several Asian countries. VOA’s David Byrd caught up with the singer on her North American tour, and reports she is bridging the gap between Asian and Western cultures through her music.
    David Byrd
    She has just released her second CD, "Say the Words," and already Chinese-Canadian singer Wanting is No. 1 in China and several Asian countries.  She is bridging the gap between Asian and Western cultures through her music.

    Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star

    Wanting (full name Wanting Qu) didn’t start out to be an international pop star.  The thin, delicately-featured Harbin, China native first touched a piano when she was five.

    “I actually played the first piano that I touched when I was five and that’s when I played Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star,” she said. “We were at my mom’s friend’s house and my mom was like ‘did you just play “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” without any training or anything?’ And so she saw that I had some sort of musical talent and so she gave me a piano as a birthday gift on my sixth birthday.”

    She studied classical piano for three years, but then stopped playing for more than a decade.  Wanting moved to Canada when she was 16, learned English, and then studied business for four years.

    But she was miserable.

    “I was studying economics,” she said.  “Eventually I graduated in business management. But I spent four years not loving my life. I hated it.  So I know, it was a lesson for me - it took four years to know that I don’t want to do business.”

    Music returns

    By 21, she had revived her music, and began writing and composing her own songs.  She participated in a workshop conducted by Terry McBride, the founder of Vancouver’s Nettwerk Records, which handled artists such as Sarah McLachlan and Avril Lavigne.

    After four years of putting together demo CDs, Wanting sent one to McBride, who signed her to Nettwerk. She also returned to China where a friend Xiao Kui of the punk band Noodle Killers helped her establish valuable connections in her homeland.

    Commercial success

    Wanting’s first CD "Everything in the World" was released in 2012 and was a huge success in China, reaching multi-platinum status thanks to her single "Drenched," which director Pang Ho-cheung used in his film "Love in the Buff."

    Wanting’s single “You Exist in My Song” had more than 100 million combined video views and was the #1 radio single in China for eight weeks.

    She also raked in several awards, including three Global Chinese Music Awards and four Chinese music awards.  She also performed on the China Central Television New Year’s Gala, seen by an estimated 700 million people.

    Across Cultures

    The Chinese-Canadian singer says that writing in English and Mandarin is a challenge, but she wants to stay true to what’s in her heart.

    “I think the Chinese songs that I wrote are the way they are right now is because I am Chinese, I lived in China for 16 years, I have that in me,” she said.  “But I am also like, half Canadian. I have lived over a decade in Canada. So whatever you hear or see with my music, that’s just who I am, that’s the way I am.”

    From the Heart

    For all her success, Wanting says that she doesn’t cater her songs to her audience. Instead, she writes from the heart and her music finds an audience.

    “I write songs for myself,” she said emphatically.  “But then afterwards, when the song becomes this piece of art and it goes to the society and it goes to the world and people love my songs, that’s rewarding to me. I do feel happy about that. But that’s not the … I don’t write the song initially for the people.”

    Asked if she has a favorite song on "Say the Words," Wanting picked “Life is a Struggle,” which had a unique genesis.

    “I didn’t write it in real life; I dreamt the melody in my dream,” she said. “And then I woke up I put down the melody and I finished the song that day.  And it’s like, basically just how I felt, purely how I felt in those days.   Life is a struggle.”   

    Some could say her musical dreams are coming true. "Say the Words" debuted at No. 1 in China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Macau and Malaysia.  

    One of her songs from the CD, “When It’s Lonely,” was featured on the Chinese soundtrack for the movie "The Hunger Games: Catching Fire."

    "Say the Words" also features Far East Movement on the cut “Time, My Friend.”  Grammy award-winning producer Ron Aniello - who has worked with Bruce Springsteen and Bare Naked Ladies - produced the CD for Nettwerk.

    Wanting is currently wrapping up a North American tour which has taken her across Canada and the United States.

    You May Like

    US Lawmakers Vow to Continue Immigrant Program for Afghan Interpreters

    Congressional inaction threatens funding for effort which began in 2008 and has allowed more than 20,000 interpreters, their family members to immigrate to US

    Brexit's Impact on Russia Stirs Concern

    Some analysts see Brexit aiding Putin's plans to destabilize European politics; others note that an economically unstable Europe is not in Moscow's interests

    US to Train Cambodian Government on Combating Cybercrime

    Concerns raised over drafting of law, as critics fear cybercrime regulations could be used to restrict freedom of expression and stifle political dissent

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roari
    X
    June 28, 2016 10:33 AM
    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video New York Pride March A Celebration of Life, Mourning of Loss

    At this year’s march in New York marking the end of pride week, a record-breaking crowd of LGBT activists and allies marched down Manhattan's Fifth Avenue, in what will be long remembered as a powerful display of solidarity and remembrance for the 49 victims killed two weeks ago in an Orlando gay nightclub.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.
    Video

    Video Tunisian Fishing Town Searches for Jobs, Local Development Solutions

    As the European Union tries to come to grips with its migrant crisis, some newcomers are leaving voluntarily. But those returning to their home countries face an uncertain future.  Five years after Tunisia's revolution, the tiny North African country is struggling with unrest, soaring unemployment and plummeting growth. From the southern Tunisian fishing town of Zarzis, Lisa Bryant takes a look for VOA at a search for local solutions.
    Video

    Video 'American Troops' in Russia Despite Tensions

    Historic battle re-enactment is a niche hobby with a fair number of adherents in Russia where past military victories are played-up by the Kremlin as a show of national strength. But, one group of World War II re-enactors in Moscow has the rare distinction of choosing to play western ally troops. VOA's Daniel Schearf explains.
    Video

    Video Muslim American Mayor Calls for Tolerance

    Syrian-born Mohamed Khairullah describes himself as "an American mayor who happens to be Muslim." As the three-term mayor of Prospect Park, New Jersey, he believes his town of 6,000 is an example of how ethnicity and religious beliefs should not determine a community's leadership. Ramon Taylor has this report from Prospect Park.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora

    New in Music Alley

    Take It From The Top: Stanley Jordani
    || 0:00:00
    ...  
     
    X
    May 17, 2016 5:01 PM
    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously. He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

    Jazz fusion artist, Stanley Jordan is known for his touch technique which allows him to play melodies and chords simultaneously.  He can also play two different guitars or a guitar and piano at the same time.

     

     

     

     

    Blogs

    African Music Treasures