Hip-hop star blazes fresh trail

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - LIFE - By CHEN NAN

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.

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