Being in a country (or countries) that no longer seem to appreciate the beauty of Chinese music, I am constantly faced with this question from others: Why do you love Chinese music? And until recently, I really didn't have a real answer for them as to why I loved it so much. Because I didn't know myself! But now I think I do have a little inkling of why I have persevered in sharing it with others all these years. Part two of our <Digging Deep> series will instead feature my thoughts on why YOU should be following the Chinese music industry, so stay tuned for that too!
First of all, the reason why I love Chinese music is probably because I'm a pretty sentimental person and it does contain a lot of sentimental value for me. Each song I listen to and even the process of receiving each album documents a stage of my life, or just tiny little moments that I will treasure forever. And it can be the little things or huge events. For example, A-Lin's <Happiness then what> reminds me of one of the first times I was listening to the song and walking to the bus stop on my way to Uni. The air was crisp and cold, but the song instead warmed my heart, making that moment so much more memorable for me.
And another example would be how Freya Lin's <Obviously Love You> and her entire <Knife of time> album which accompanied me as I walked through the streets of Tianmu in Taipei for the first and last time, breathing in the sights and smells of a beautiful place surrounded by friends and also by one of my favourite artists. (This was the day I had lunch with Esther and Lara after winning the TAWKI competition!) It reminds me of a feeling of happiness and absolute exuberance that cannot be replicated in my daily life; however every time I listen to her songs, it reminds me of the fun times I had back then.
Of course in general Chinese music doesn't only document my life, as any kind of music could document your life if you wanted it to. But the fact is that Chinese music has been there for me through the good and the bad, in times of loneliness and sadness it was my only companion. In times of happiness it was by my side celebrating with me. It keeps my spirits up and has made me the optimistic person I am today. And that's why I'm such an 'obsessive fan' as some might say. To me, my favourite artists are not my favourite because they're pretty or handsome; it's because I feel like through their music I know them and am friends with them. I'm grateful to them for their music which has constantly accompanied me; more so than any friend ever could, and so in return I wish to share their music and how it has moved me with the rest of the world. In my opinion, Chinese music has one thing that I find is sometimes missing especially in the K-pop and Western industries. It has heart, and I want to share that big ol' heart with the entire world.
Some people assume that I love Chinese music because I love the Chinese language when in fact it was the music that led me to pursue the language so relentlessly. I want to understand the industry thoroughly, and in order to do that, it has given me the motivation to constantly want to learn more about this beautiful language, and also about how people write lyrics and to appreciate the beauty and flow of Chinese lyrics. I was always a wordy person from young, but never really a Chinese person. I was English-educated, and I spoke in English almost entirely. It was only when I came back to Singapore at age 12 and couldn't speak a word of Chinese that I knew I had to do something. Actually, come to think of it, I never really was a music person before the age of 12, but I had always thought music was the coolest thing in the world and wanted somehow to get my foot into it.
So my motivation to learn Chinese came from one simple idea: I'm Chinese, so why can't I speak it fluently? And indeed, the founding father of Singapore once said something along the lines of 'Chinese is not a language you will need to use in your daily lives, but if you don't learn it, you will regret it for an entire lifetime. Because those are your roots.' And true to his word, he learned Chinese until the day he passed away. I've always had this idea, and felt almost ashamed that I couldn't speak the language my aunties and grandparents spoke. Being Chinese yet not being able to speak the language means that in a way; you've lost your roots. Sure, you may create a new identity as an ABC but in order to truly understand yourself and where you've come from, I feel that languages was the key, and in that case, it meant learning Chinese.
So my passions for Chinese and music came together quite simultaneously, but I do think undoubtedly my passion for music has outshone that for Chinese. They are quite immiscible in my opinion though; in order to completely understand music, you must have a good grasp of the language no matter what music you're interested in.
So that's my story about why I love Chinese music so much! Want to know why YOU should love Chinese music? Stay tuned!
List of artists/musicians/personalities I saw during my time in Taiwan:
**the number next to their name signifies how many times I saw each artist
Again, if you have any questions about any of the artists I saw, please feel free to ask! I'm happy to answer whatever I can. These are artists from all walks of life, some are producers who I really like, or musicians I really appreciate, or of course singers who I'm a fan of. Some may be jazz musicians, others singers from eras past or some of the new up and coming indie musicians. I am so glad to be a part of all these events, and to have had the chance to watch them all perform in their respective professional settings!
Mify Chen (from Roomie)
许仁杰 Stanley Hsu
Lara Veronin梁心颐 (4)
林俊杰JJ Lin (2)
Andrew Chen陈势安 (3)
Lala Hsu 徐佳莹(3)
Hsiao Hung Jen萧闳仁
He ren jie 河仁杰
Skot Suyama (2)
张震岳Chang Chen yue
Lin yu chun小胖
Huang zhi jiao
威权from lollipop F
As I've finally started going through all my Taiwan stuff I've decided to create a log of all the concerts and events that I've been given the privilege of attending during my time in Taiwan. If you'd like any information about any of the concerts that are listed below, feel free to comment or to message Asian Pop Weekly via facebook!
· 21st-Sunny Frog concert @ Ximending Riverside Featuring Lara Veronin, Stanley Hsu, Mify Chen and others
· 24th-KKBOX Awards @ Taipei Arena featuring JJ Lin, Sodagreen, Lala hsu, Yen-J, William Wei, Diana Wang, Dawen Wang, Jam Hsiao, Queen Wei etc..
· 14th-Lara Veronin at Chengyuan High School with Freya Lin
· 28th-Joanna Wang <Midnight Cinema> screening
· 29th-William Wei <有所畏> autograph session at Huashan Creative Park
· 30th-势在必行2 音乐分享Party at Huashan Creative Park
· 11th-Lara Veronin at永春高中with R.Chord and Bii
· 19th –Yen-Joy Everyday Birthday Concert at Legacy Taipei
· 20th-VChuan 《全是爱》 autograph session at City Café 花房
· 20th –Joanna Wang Free Music Event & Autograph Session
· 22nd-Yen-J&Hsiao Hung-Jen 娱乐百分百好友音乐会 Filming at GTV station
· 5th-MP Magic Power Autograph Session for Coke @ 7-11
· 7th-Gigantic Roar音乐会@ Legacy Taipei
· 10th-William Wei <在你身边>Concert @ Legacy Taipei
· 14th –Peggy Hsu <La Valse>音乐会@Starbucks Gongguan
· 16th-金曲奖Program Filming featuring Yen-J, Ricky Hsiao, Li Ya Sha among others
· 23rd-Interviews with Shawna Yang, Brandy Wu and Michelle Wu from Metamorphosis Jazztet @Blue Note Jazz Club
· 24th-City of Irony featuring Esther and Lara Veronin screening at SPOT cinemas in Huashan Creative Park
· 24th -Yoga Lin Speaking in Tongues Concert @Taipei Arena
· 30th-Metamorphosis Jazztet Lunchtime Concert
· 30th-Interview with Skot Suyama
· 31st-Ricky Hsiao <上水的花> Autograph session @ Huashan Creative Park
· 31st-Dawen Wang & Hush performance at NTU
· 1st-Hito Awards Featuring Hebe, Tanya Chua, Lala hsu, William Wei, Claire Kuo, Rachel Liang, JJ Lin, Sodagreen,Waa Wei, Dawen Wang, Yen-J,Diana Wang, Jia Jia etc.
· 5th-The Next Big Thing event @ Legacy Taipei
· 6th –William Wei lecturing for the Golden Melody Awards program @ NTU
· 15th-Lala Hsu preview concert for new album <寻启人生>@ Legacy Taipei
· 22nd-Met Lara & Esther at Topo Café for Afternoon Tea after winning TAWKI poster competition
· 26th –Golden Melody Awards Livehouse-Crossing Borders featuring Olivia Ong, Andrew Tan, Diana Wang and others
These few days I've really been given many great opportunities that have pointed me onto a possible pathway that I might want to take in terms of my future career, and I'm really lucky to have met some people who really care enough to ask me the important questions. One of which is 'what are you going to do after this?'. To be sure, I don't really know how life is going to change after this exchange is over and I'm back in Australia. I really can't exactly be sure of how much I've changed, how much everyone else has changed, and how I'm going to have to adapt in order to fit into my normal everyday routine again.
Perhaps the changes that have happened to me over the past 6 months could cause me to have to change my daily routine, have a new lease on life, and live life in a whole new perspective. Although being in Australia is pretty boring for me, being away from where the music happens and all, I'm grateful for the isolation and the closure that it gives me. It's made me who I am today, and I'm really appreciative of how I've been able to form my own ideas about things, and discover things and see things in ways that other's have never thought of.
But anyway, I'm really happy to have found some people who wholeheartedly support my decision no matter what it be. Although they themselves may not have any answers for me; they've seen first hand how much this music means to me, a side of me that others have never really seen before, and they've really helped to nudge me in the right direction (or what I feel is the right direction) for my future. And everything that has happened to me so far, meeting all these awesome people involved in the music industry and gaining a more indepth understanding of it has made me realise that everything that I do has not gone to waste, and it's really reassuring to finally know that. So to these people, I would like to dedicate this song <听你说> by Freya Lin and Yu Kewei. I've made some lifelong friends on this exchange, and they've helped me realise that sometimes listening is more important than talking. So listen carefully to what those around you have to say, as well as what your heart and your mind are trying to tell you. You never know what you'll learn...
It's been my dream since I started getting to know more about Chinese music to be able to live in Taipei, and now I'm finally going to be able to! Starting from the 11th of February, I will be staying in Taipei for 139 days and hope to share parts of my experiences that may be helpful with readers everywhere! (Feb 2014)