The Moonlight Shines Above Eason Chan

Nobody does melody based adult contemporary piano ballad love songs as well as the recording artists of greater China. Steadily growing in popularity over the years is Hong Kong’s Eason Chan. The man has released some 45 studio albums in both Cantonese and Mandarin since he began making music in 1996. Eason spent his formative years studying in England before returning home to launch his career. His latest offering comes in time for the Moon Festival, October 4 this year. The song is currently #2 at Hit FM. Watch the MV below.

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MLTR, Phoebe Yang, and Eternal Love

Danish soft rock group Michael Learns to Rock which performs in English has had a dramatic career filled with many ups and downs. Of all the places in the world, the band became massive superstars in a most unexpected but most populated region—eastern Asia. The band came up with the name in keeping with phrases common at the time (1988), Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Johnny Hates Jazz, etc. MLTR is considered the most popular international act of all time in China. The group recently reworked a song from a Korean TV drama called Healer and featured Chinese singer Phoebe Yang. The song is bilingual, sung in English and Chinese, and MLTR has released a gorgeous music video (shot in China) which we embed below. The song is called “Eternal Love”. Enjoy.

Celebrating Chinese New Year 2017—Year of the Rooster

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To celebrate Chinese New Year, we are presenting a few classic Chinese songs and tying them in with a few aspects of Chinese culture. We don’t want to overwhelm you, so we’ll just do three. There are thousands of classics. This is just a granule.

Red Bean, Faye Wong

More than 4600 years ago, violent conflicts broke out in northern China. One day, a herder was pressed to go into battle. With great reluctance, he left his wife and children. The wife spent every day looking for the return of her husband. She leaned on a large tree on a high mountain, scanning the horizon for any sign of him. Her husband never returned. Because of her deep love, the woman wept under the big tree. As time passed, her tears turned to blood, and as these tears dropped to the ground they hardened and became red beans. The red beans sprouted and eventually a forest of big trees grew at the site where the wife had expressed her devotion and love. The legend of this love story grew and the people started calling the fruit of this tree love beans. Red beans have a a strong foundation of meaning in Chinese culture. Red beans often come in a heart shape. These love beans are similar in colour to that of blood and can be stored for a very long time without rotting, or fading in colour. Red beans symbolize love and fidelity.

Born in Beijing and relocating to Hong Kong, Wang Fei, or Faye Wong is one of the biggest superstars of all-time. In fact, her song “Hong Dou” or “Red Bean” is considered the third biggest of all time (after Teresa Deng’s “The Moon Represents My Heart” and Jacky Cheung’s “Goodbye Kiss”). Apparently, it stayed at #1 on the karaoke charts for 18 months straight back in the day. It has a subtle melody that may require a few listens before getting into its groove. But once you do, you’ll be hooked for life.

The Common Jasmin Orange, Jay Zhou

The common jasmin orange is a plant with white flowers and vermillion berries. The Chinese term for it is Qi Li Xiang. Taking the characters individually, they mean seven-mile fragrance. The idea is that it is so fragrant, you can smell it from seven miles away. Jay Zhou, from the island of Taiwan, uses it as a metaphor, that the love between a couple is so intense, they can smell its fragrance even if seven miles apart.

Firework, Gigi Leung

Chinese New Year wouldn’t be the same without an array of fireworks. Lots and lots and lots of fireworks. The nation that discovered gunpowder, making and setting off fireworks are the country’s speciality. They say the Inuit have many words for snow and the Arabs for sand. The Chinese have many for the different types of fireworks based on their effects. We have rough English words to describe them as well. Hong Kong’s Gigi Leung composed the song “Hua Huo” which is the type that rains down a shower of sparks. Of course, it is used in the song as a metaphor. One of the most beautiful songs ever recorded in any language.

Janice Vidal’s Wounds Hit the Top

Janice Vidal is one of the bigger names in Cantopop. The Hong Kong based singer has topped the iTunes chart in the SAR with her fresh 2017 single “Wounded”. Its beautifully shot music video is embedded below. Janice is very special for a couple of reasons. She is of maternal Korean and paternal Filipino ancestry. Janice was born in Hong Kong with her twin sister Jill. She has been active as a recording artist since 2005 and has recorded songs in Cantonese, English, Mandarin, and Japanese.

The Most Popular Chinese Song of 2016?

There is really no official top 100 songs of the year chart for China. Throughout the greater Chinese region, various radio stations may publish charts, various karaoke chains publish most called up songs. Websites like KKBox and Baidu track stats for songs streamed or downloaded. Since 1998, the Hit FM radio network on the island of Taiwan (the city of Taibei is pretty much the world’s main music hub for Mandopop) has published lists of the year-end top 100 songs. It is at least something to go on, and it is agreeable that the songs on the chart are among the more popular through the year. The 2016 year-end chart is here (easier for Chinese language readers). At #1 of the year is not a Chinese national but a Singaporean artist named JJ Lin. His English name is Wayne. The JJ is an abbreviation of his Chinese name Junjie. He has somewhat of a unique sounding voice which some may like and some not. The top song from a homegrown artist is adult pop ballad “When You Are Gone” from Hebe Tien. This is a song of hers as a soloist. She is also 1/3 of extremely popular girl group S.H.E. We have embedded the MV below.

S.H.E Is Irreplaceable

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Female trio S.H.E has released a new EP entitled Irreplaceable. The title track, a dance number, is at #3 on Hit FM. The remainder of the disc is more on the adult contemporary side. S-Selena, H-Hebe, and E-Ella, since debuting in 2001 have become arguably the most successful Chinese girl group in the world selling some 10 million albums and scoring a string of massive hits. We embed the new MV for “Irreplaceable” below.

BeSIDEme, Gigi

Gigi Leung

C-pop superstar Gigi Leung of Hong Kong is celebrating 20 years of making music. The model, actress, and singer released her first album, Love Myself (Cantonese) in 1996. Gigi become a household name throughout greater China with her followup, the Mandarin disc Short Hair. The title-track was such a blockbuster hit that many girls and young women across China cut their hair short. Known for her tall stature, short hair, and birdy voice, Gigi has worked hard through the years releasing well over 20 studio albums with a mixture of adult contemporary, singer-songwriter, and pop tunes. In 2001 she released four LPs within the year. In celebration of the anniversary, Gigi Leung presents “BeSIDEme”.  We embed the Mandarin version followed by the Cantonese version below.

When You Are Gone, Listen to Hebe

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Originally from the city of Xinzhu in the Republic of China, Hebe Tian rocketed to superstardom as a member of female trio S.H.E. the most popular and successful Mandopop girl group of the new millennium. Since 2010, Hebe has etched out a fruitful solo career and released her own fourth studio album on July 12, 2016 called Day by Day. Her current hit single is “When You Are Gone” currently sitting at #3 on Taiwan’s Hit FM chart. The music video, embedded below, has attracted over 1.6 million views in less than three weeks of release. The song won’t get you dancing, but it will relax you in its pleasant, chillout sentiment.

Wanting Qu Drops Two New Tracks

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Originally from Harbin, China, singer-songwriter Wanting Qu (female soloist) has been based in Vancouver, Canada since age 16. Both Canadian networks CBC and CTV have televised documentary features on her. Wanting hit the music scene as a breath of fresh air, for in the midst of a western music industry that stands largely as a Blacks and Whites only club, she became in 2009 the first Chinese artist to be signed to the Nettwerk label (Sarah McLachlan, Delerium, Chromeo). As the city of Vancouver is roughly 30% ethnically Chinese with about 20% through the metropolitan area, such a recruitment was long overdue. It came with recognition of a songwriter that had an extraordinary gift. Wanting’s songs are just beautiful. Terry McBride was the man who awakened to this reality and took it upon himself to manage her. In the west, Wanting’s music is being absorbed gradually, while in her native country, she became an overnight superstar. Her debut album, Everything In the World, achieved platinum sales within its first week of release largely owing to her multiple award winning song “You Exist in My Song”. Wanting’s first two albums were bilingual releases with songs in English and in Chinese. While the media likes to consult the grapevine in writing about her for a couple of reasons, it is her music that we find the most worthy of attention because it is so good. Wanting is working on her third studio album and recently released two brand new tracks, the English “Your Girl” which is sweet and fun, and the Chinese “Best Plan” which is powerful and uplifting. We embed them below to whet your appetites.

Angela Zhang is Head Over Heels

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Pop superstar Angela Zhang will be releasing her 9th studio album Head Over Heels on July 28, 2016. Angela is originally from the Taiwanese isle. She attended high school in Vancouver, Canada before returning and became an overnight sensation with song “Invisible Wings”. The new album is going to be an artistic one. A story writer and painter were brought into the project to augment the 10 songs with related fables and illustrations, and the CD package, available in a couple of editions, will come with books and cards containing the art work. Angela makes her directorial debut for the music video of self-produced lead single “Before Goodbye” which we embed below.

Jay Zhou and A-Mei in Duet

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Chinese superstar Jay Zhou will be releasing his 14th studio album Bedtime Stories on June 24. Jay is one of the best-selling Mandarin artists of the new millennium having sold some 30 million albums worldwide. A big highlight of the new album is a duet with fellow Taiwanese singer A-Mei who is also an A-lister. Although the two have collaborated on stage a few times, this is the first time they have done so on an original song. The track is called “Bù gāi” going by the working English title of “Shoudn’t Be” and has leaped to the top of iTunes through Greater China. The official MV came out a couple days ago. Check it out below.

China’s Della Wants to Be Her Own Friend

網頁Della Ding’s (birth surname Wu) rise to superstardom has been slow and steady. She is a native of Zhejiang Province (south of Shanghai), and when 18 years old pursued a singing career, eventually basing herself in Taibei which has developed a strong music industry infrastructure over the years. Della released her debut album, Run Away from Home in 2007, and her momentum hasn’t ceased since then. Her followup in 2008, Decisively Loved, created much buzz especially with delicious tracks “Four Leaf Clover” and “Hard to Guess”. Della released her seventh studio album in March, 2016, Be My Own Friend. Strength lies in her vocals which are just gorgeous and wholesome as she tries them out on a number of musical styles through the disc. Della collaborates with lyricist Chen Mo and famous Korean producer Jae Chong to rework Thailand rock band Slot Machine’s hit song “Kloem” into opener “Want to Fall in Love”. But it is a number of other tracks that have topped the HIT FM charts, the music videos of which have made the 1 million plus club. We have embedded the breathtaking MV for track #3 below.

Della’s big success with this album accompanies an announcement made recently by the IFPI that the Chinese music market grew faster in 2015 over 2014 than any other country in the world. Legal music sales increased 63.8% to $169.7 million, and China now stands as the world’s 14th largest market for music in the world.