Hip-hop star blazes fresh trail
In the summer, when rapper Vinida made her debut on Sing! China, a popular variety show aired by Zhejiang Satellite TV, the 22-yearold became a star among the country’s emerging singers.
Wearing tight jeans, a tank top and high heels, Vinida, whose real name is Weng Ying, is a rare sight on China’s music scene mainly because she is a female rapper.
Based in Fuzhou, East China’s Fujian province, she has adapted songs such as Taiwan pop icon Jay Chou’s Cowboy On the Run and Give Me a Kiss, a song from 1940s Shanghai.
She has 350,000 followers on Sina Weibo, and was recently noticed by Shen Lihui, CEO of Modernsky, one of the largest indie record labels on the Chinese mainland.
On Dec 9, Modernsky released Vinida’s debut single, Dirty Mind, for which she wrote some smart and edgy lyrics.
Early next year, she will release her first full album, which will include 10 original tracks written by her.
“When I saw her performing on TV, I was impressed by how she presented her music. Many hip-hop musicians are emerging from the underground and she came right on time,” says Shen, a former rock singer who founded DirtyMind Modernsky in 1997 to promote indie rock in China.
Hip-hop is a new area that Shen has set his eyes on. He recently founded a branch hip-hop record company under Modernsky, calling it MDSK, with the aim of supporting local talent.
“Shen started as a rock singer-songwriter and he knows what matters to a singer-writer,” Vinida says.
“I am excited that people noticed me on the TV program because I sing not just for myself but also for fellow rappers here.”
She was a top contestant on the TV show.
Vinida, whose mother is a nurse and father a former worker, didn’t know much about hip-hop until she was 12, when her parents bought her a MP3 player with an image of Mickey Mouse on it.
“My aunt has a computer and I went to her house after school to download music daily,” recalls Vinida.
“I listened to pop, rock but was most attracted to hiphop.
“One of my favorite Western singers is Beyonce. I love her onstage energy.”
Before she became a professional rapper, Vinida joined small hip-hop labels while studying at Chongqing Normal University.
Along with other hip-hop musicians, she performed at live-music venues, where she met 3S, her boyfriend who produces music and goes by that name. He is assisting her with her debut album.
She graduated from university last year and she was prepared to get a regular job and use her salary to pursue her dreams in case she failed as a singer.
Like many others from their generation, Vinida’s parents were against their daughter’s decision to become a rapper because some still associate rap and hip-hop with unhealthy lifestyles.
“With my performances on TV and the recognition I have received, they are now supportive. I can make a living from music,” Vinida says.
“The market is diverse and there are fans for different types of music.”
Vinida hopes more Chinese will make it big in hiphop.
Vinida released her debut single on Dec 9.