SONG OF SPRING

Zhang Liangy­ing, who has been in the news over ‘family mat­ters’, is now fo­cus­ing on her first English al­bum. re­ports.

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFE - Ing You tina.

Chi­nese pop singer Zhang Liangy­ing’s life has been dra­matic lately. In Oc­to­ber, she an­nounced her wed­ding to Feng Ke, CEO of her man­age­ment com­pany, Show City Times.

Her mother op­posed the al­liance by re­leas­ing a long open let­ter and filed a law­suit over a fi­nan­cial dis­pute with Feng at the Chaoyang Dis­trict Peo­ple’s Court in Beijing.

While peo­ple were still di­gest­ing the news, Zhang was seen par­ty­ing with her mother and Feng on her 32nd birth­day in Chengdu, South­west China’s Sichuan prov­ince.

In Novem­ber, the cou­ple had a grand wed­ding in Italy.

“Af­ter all, it’s family af­fairs and ev­ery family has its is­sues. What I have to do is to be pa­tient,” Zhang says in an in­ter­view at her com­pany of­fice in Beijing.

She keeps her­self busy as a way to han­dle stressful sit­u­a­tions, she says. Wear­ing a loose sweater and jeans, Zhang ap­pears en­er­getic.

Un­like some fe­male pop stars in China, life af­ter mar­riage for Zhang won’t mean a back seat for her ca­reer, she says.

Zhang’s fo­cus now is her first English al­bum, which is ex­pected to be re­leased in spring.

“I am lucky to have my fans’ sup­port for the past 10 years. I want to move for­ward with new mu­sic,” says Zhang.

Born in Chengdu, Zhang ma­jored in English from Sichuan Univer­sity. Her mother di­vorced her fa­ther when Zhang was 13 years old and Zhang’s fa­ther died soon af­ter.

She started singing at lo­cal pubs, where she was ex­posed to a wide range of mu­sic, es­pe­cially West­ern pop singers such as Mariah Carey, who is one of Zhang’s fa­vorite mu­si­cians.

She shot to fame by win­ning third place in the 2005 sea­son of the Su­per Girl con­test, a re­al­ity TV show like Amer­i­can Idol, where she im­pressed mu­sic fans by singing English pop songs such as Hero, Lov

and Don’t Cry For Me Ar­gen-

In 2008, she started to think about re­leas­ing her own English al­bum.

“Though I have per­formed many English songs, I wanted to have an English al­bum of my own. Ear­lier, I wasn’t sure if it would be pos­si­ble,” she says.

In the past few years, she has re­leased Chi­nese albums, in­clud­ing Jane@Mu­sic and Be­lieve in Jane, and made her US tele­vi­sion singing de­but on The Oprah Win­frey Show in 2009.

She held con­certs in China and par­tic­i­pated in the Chi­nese va­ri­ety show I Am a Singer.

As one of the best-sell­ing fe­male pop singers on the Chi­nese main­land, Zhang is also the win­ner of sev­eral China Pop Charts Awards. She won the best fe­male singer award seven years in a row start­ing in 2008.

How­ever, she never stopped pre­par­ing for the English al­bum.

Four years ago when Zhang met Amer­i­can rap­per and record pro­ducer Tim­ba­land, whose pro­duc­tion cred­its in­clude Jay Z, Ri­hanna and Madonna, Zhang was ready to fi­nally make it hap­pen.

On Oct 14, Zhang re­leased an English sin­gle, Dust My Shoul­ders Off, fea­tur­ing Tim­ba­land.

Just two weeks af­ter it was launched, the song broke into the Top 5 on the iTunes down­load chart, mak­ing her the first Chi­nese artist to do so.

“The process of record­ing mu­sic with Tim­ba­land was an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, which was dif­fer­ent from my pre­vi­ous albums. We ar­rived at the stu­dio and brain­stormed on lyrics,” says Zhang.

“I sang to his beats im­promptu and we jammed with dif­fer­ent in­stru­ments, which was so much fun.”

One of the lines in her song was a real por­trayal of how she spilled hot cof­fee on her blue jeans, she says.

Tim­ba­land also praised Zhang: “Jane is a global artist, work­ing with her is a great ex­pe­ri­ence. Our collaboration al­lowed us to con­tinue bridg­ing the gap be­tween Chi­nese and Amer­i­can pop cul­ture.”

The Grammy win­ner is also the ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer on Zhang’s up­com­ing English al­bum.

“I al­ways look for mu­sic that can set me apart from my past songs. If I stop dis­cov­er­ing my­self through dif­fer­ent mu­sic and changes in the en­vi­ron­ment, I will lose my vi­tal­ity,” she says.

Zhang hopes to ex­pand her fan base to the West by re­leas­ing the English al­bum.

“I will do in­ter­views like a new­comer, in­tro­duc­ing my­self and my mu­sic like I did when I started out as a singer. I am both ner­vous and ex­cited.”

Con­tact the writer at chen­nan@ chi­nadaily.com.cn

FENG YONGBIN / CHINA DAILY

Zhang Liangy­ing says mar­riage won’t mean a back seat for her ca­reer.

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