Want­ing Qu: Songstress to launch tour

China Daily (Canada) - - ACROSSAMERICAS - By BON­NIE WONG and CHANG JUN in San Fran­cisco

Chi­nese-Cana­dian singerWant­ing Qu launches a tour for her sec­ond al­bum Say the Words in late Fe­bru­ary in Van­cou­ver, fol­lowed by 11 ap­pear­ances in the United States in March.

Born in Harbin, China’s Hei­longjiang prov­ince in 1983, Qu moved to Canada at the age of 16 and was named Van­cou­ver’s first tourism am­bas­sador to China in 2013.

“I’m that bridge be­tween the two cul­tures and it’s def­i­nitely some­thing good that hap­pened to me. I feel ful­filled and ac­com­plished to be this am­bas­sador,” said Qu.

De­spite not be­ing born in Canada, Qu started her song­writ­ing in Van­cou­ver and the love that she has for the city can be seen as she pro­motes Canada over­seas.

The singer-song­writer cap­tured the hearts of Chi­nese fans when she was in­vited to the 2013 CCTV’s Spring Fes­ti­val Gala, and per­formed her hit sin­gle You Ex­ist in My Song on Chi­nese New Year’s Eve be­fore an es­ti­mated 800 mil­lion view­ers.

“It was very ex­cit­ing,” Qu re­called, adding that she wished she had done bet­ter be­cause that plat­form is a de­sir­able place for many in­ter­na­tional artists. “I was very happy to be on there,” she said.

Qu is a fa­mil­iar name to many Chi­nese, es­pe­cially the younger gen­er­a­tion, be­cause more than 880,000 fol­low her tweets on Weibo, the Chi­nese so­cial net­work­ing site equiv­a­lent to Face­book. Her fans are from the Chi­nese main­land, Tai­wan, Hong Kong and North Amer­ica.

Qu be­lieves the qual­ity of her mu­sic in­creases her pop­u­lar­ity.

“I al­ways had a strong be­lief in my songs. I know that my songs are good, and I know people will like my songs,”she said. “I was very con­fi­dent that my mu­sic was go­ing to go some­where.”

Shuf­fling back and forth be­tween China and North Amer­ica, Qu said that as a per­form­ing artist she felt the dif­fer­ences be­tween the two cul­tures.

“I think I can be more of my­self in North Amer­ica, people are more ac­cept­ing here in North Amer­ica. They like the fact that you are dif­fer­ent or that you are opin­ion­ated or you have at­ti­tude, or if you are out­spo­ken,” ex­plained the 31-year-old. “The term singer/song­writer is not as well un­der­stood across China, so in the me­dia I had to stress the singer/song­writer part of me be­cause they tend to just call me a singer, which I don’t like. “

Qu said she wants to bring to­gether the West and the East as a Cana­dian artist with deep Chi­nese roots who sings and writes songs in English and Chi­nese.

Want­ing’s par­ents were ini­tially against her be­com­ing a singer-song­writer. Her par­ents en­cour­aged her to ex­plore fields such as in medicine or busi­ness. She re­calls feel­ing very alone and frus­trated, un­der­stand­ing that al­though her par­ents’ in­ten­tions for her fu­ture were good, her main in­ter­est was her mu­sic.

Qu is the first Chi­nese artist to sign a con­tract with the Cana­dian Net­twerk La­bel, and she re­called her meet­ing with founder Terry McBride at a Sarah McLach­lan con­cert in 2005. She had met McBride at a work­shop and ap­proached him be­liev­ing that he should be her man­ager one day.

Four years later in 2009, Qu had her mu­sic ready, showed it to McBride and “he signed me.”

Unl ike her last visit to San Fran­cisco for the Asian Her­itage Street Cel­e­bra­tion in 2013, Qu hints that her per­for­mance in San Fran­cisco in March will be packed with more songs in­clud­ing not just her bal­lads, but also party songs with a full band.

In­stead of her more pop­u­lar songs, Qu rec­om­mends some of her songs in her sec­ond al­bum, such as Life is a Strug­gle, Exit This Way and My lit­tle Friend.

Af­ter her North Amer­ica tour and then her Asia tour, Qu plans to take a break.

I feel I have been con­stantly go­ing,” she said. “So I want to be able to en­joy my life at least for a month, or two, or three af­ter the tour.”

Qu will per­form in San Fran­cisco on March 23 fol­low­ing ap­pear­ances Minneapolis, Chicago, Bos­ton, New York, Wash­ing­ton, Philadel­phia, San Diego and Los Angeles. She will add two more shows in Port­land, Ore­gon, and Seat­tle on March 24 and 25, re­spec­tively. Con­tact the writ­ers at Bon­niewong@chi­nadai­lyusa.com and junechang@chi­nadai­lyusa.com.

Want­ing Qu,

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