SONG OF SPRING
Zhang Liangying, who has been in the news over ‘family matters’, is now focusing on her first English album. reports.
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
Zhang Liangying says marriage won’t mean a back seat for her career.