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Vikingen

Can I become a star in China?

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Vikingen

Hi everybody, 

A couple of weeks ago while drinking beer with a friend we ended up on a quite random topic discussing if I could build myself a music career in China. We had some crazy ideas but we concluded one thing -  I should sing catchy pop music in perfect Chinese.

As I'm 191 centimeters tall (6.3 feet) and light blonde male from Scandinavia this would be something completely different. Wouldn't it?

 

While visiting Shanghai last year I got photographed a several times just by walking along "the Bund" for half an hour, which was a rather different but quite fun experience.

I've studied mandarin for 2 years but still have a long way to go before my pronunciation is great. Music is one of my great passions, my singing voice is all right and I got some contacts in the music industry. 

 

By combining my visual appearance with catchy music in mandarin and a great music video - do you think I could become a star in China?  

And I'm very serious about this idea. I appreciate your answers and all the help I can get. Thank you!

/Vikingen

 

 

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TheBigZaboon

Stranger things have happened...

 

I've seen a number of foreigners singing on Chinese programs, including one young African-American guy who even did some songs from Beijing opera. He was very, very good, and seemed to be very popular with the audience. But whether that will lead to a career is another story altogether. Sometimes a foreign singer is just look upon as a novelty.

 

I live in Japan, and for years there have been a few singers, males, females, and small groups usually made up of family members, who have had one or two hits, but never had a real long running musical career. Recently, however, at least two young American guys, one named Chris Hart, and another named Jero, who won song contests in Japanese, have since built up real solid, multi album careers here. And they only sing in Japanese, they're not local place holders for western music stylists. Hart sings pop music, some covers of J-Pop, and some of his own stuff. Jero sings "enka," a kind of Japanese country and western (no cowboys, lots of fishermen and jilted lovers) that is distinct from traditional Japanese folk music. But the key to the success of both singers is real Japanese pronunciation and enunciation in the songs. These guys have almost no traces of foreign accents when they sing. Both are also quite personable, speak Japanese, and have each built up a fan base of their own.

 

 

My advice to you, before you enter a contest or go looking for a Chinese agent among your music contacts is perfect your pronunciation and your ability to enunciate a song the way a native Chinese speaker would. Always learn a song by ear, by listening and imitation. Never learn it from the printed page, whether in hanzi or pinyin. There's lots of Chinese music from a number of genres easily available. Buy something from a store and learn a few songs first to see if you really can sing in Chinese. 

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imron
I appreciate your answers and all the help I can get. Thank you!

Foreigners singing in Chinese are a dime a dozen these days (and have been for years) - mostly it's just singing existing and well-known Chinese songs.

 

If you want to stand out, consider writing and singing songs with original lyrics and music (obviously this is much more difficult).

 

Other than that, create an account on Youku, sign up for Wechat, and see where your luck leads you.

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tysond

Who knows what can happen.

 

Here's is Chloe Bennet, half Chinese, US citizen, singing in Chinese.

 

Her singing career didn't really take off in China (she was 15 at the time), went back to USA and tried acting.

She is now on the TV show Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. every week.

 

Her Chinese is not strong, I saw her on a video of a fan meet up, she needs a translator to take questions and answered in English.  In the video she seems to be struggling with pronunciation.

 

If your voice is incredible, your Chinese is superb, and you are as good looking as Chloe, maybe there's a career in it for you. 

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arrow

Yes, I suppose you can. China is full of opportunities. For a starter, you can signup for some chinese websites where you can upload videos to promote yourself.

When you get famous, consider joining some TV shows to even make yourself more well known. Of course, you need to be really good at singing and be special in some way for which people can easily remember you.

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anonymoose

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think most stars don't become stars just because one day that have the thought, "I wanna be a star".

 

I'm not tall and blond, but I get photographed in China too, so I wouldn't read too much into that.

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Johnny20270
I'm not tall and blond, but I get photographed in China too, so I wouldn't read too much into that.

 

 

 

I'm 6'3" and blonde, but have zero talent , so no chance I can become a star :D 

 

Wouldn't read too much into the photograph thing either. They also photograph obese people and anything out of the ordinary

 

Give it a go, why not? New adventure

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Silent

 

A couple of weeks ago while drinking beer with a friend we ended up on a quite random topic discussing if I could build myself a music career in China. We had some crazy ideas but we concluded one thing -  I should sing catchy pop music in perfect Chinese.

Of course you should produce something at least half decent, but marketing is at least as important as performance. So if you have big funds for promotions e.g buy airtime at major stations, get interviews/articles in  the right papers/magazines, build an advanced internet strategy etc that would be a huge help.

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liuzhou

Becoming a "star" is a highly competitive business, anywhere, but especially so in Asia (as a result of population numbers alone.)

 

While it is not impossible for a foreigner to become a "star" (see "Dashan"), it is highly unusual, A scant few get brief exposure as a novelty act, then are forgotten and disappear.

 

Do remember that the really successful 'stars' are those who do what they do out of a love of their particular art form rather than ideas of stardom. In fact, many 'stars' hate their fame.

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gato

You could try to study how the Danish band Michael Learns to Rock (led by Jascha Richter) made it big in China.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_Learns_to_Rock#Regrouping_and_new_releases_.282000.E2.80.932006.29

Michael Learns to Rock

In 1988, singer and keyboard player Jascha Richter, intent upon putting together a band to perform his songs, joined with his high school friend and drummer Kåre Wanscher in Aarhus, Denmark. Realizing the limitations of playing as a duo, they recruited the guitarist Mikkel Lentz, who was then playing rock music with his group the Rocking Studs. On 15 March 1988, their first night of practice and still needing a fourth musician, they asked Søren Madsen, another guitarist who was into Led Zeppelin, to join in on bass guitar.[2]

In 2004, the band regrouped again, departing from the name MLTR, and using the original name for their sixth album called Michael Learns to Rock, released in Asia as Take Me to Your Heart. The album focused on the Asian market. The single "Take Me to Your Heart" was a remake of Jacky Cheung's "Goodbye Kiss" ("吻别"), and was popular in China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Thailand and Taiwan. By the end of financial year 2006 alone, the single created a record when it sold over 6 million paid downloads and was awarded the "Most Downloaded Single of the Year 2006".

The band has attributed its success in Asia to a clean-living image and to singing in English as a second language.

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889

Before you go too far down that road, at least consider the consequences of becoming well-known to a few billion Chinese. By now, you must have noticed how quickly crowds form at the most minor things.

 

There's a lot to be said for being faceless in China.

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Chris Two Times

As I'm 191 centimeters tall (6.3 feet) and light blonde male from Scandinavia this would be something completely different. Wouldn't it?

 

...not these days it wouldn't.

 

Warm regards,

Chris Two Times

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Johnny20270
Before you go too far down that road, at least consider the consequences of becoming well-known to a few billion Chinese. By now, you must have noticed how quickly crowds form at the most minor things.

 

 

ok, without sounding like Simon Cowel, but lets have a reality check here.   :wink: 

 

As I'm 191 centimeters tall (6.3 feet) and light blonde male from Scandinavia this would be something completely different. Wouldn't it?

 

 

try revive the 80's soft rock bands like Airsupply, REO speedwagon, Journey and whitesnake

 

Come'on you know some of you have that on your phone ...  :D

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Angelina

Once, on a plane back to China, I met a singer from Moldavia who is mostly performing at Chinese clubs. She is earning a lot of money and singing in English. She is famous because she is a foreigner and has gigs very often. Do you really want this kind of a life? 

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roddy

Sad to see young people today are so unambitious. 

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Lu

Consider Wang Leehom. Taiwanese-American, decided that as an Asian he was never going to be really successfull in the US, so he came to Taiwan. From what I've heard, his Chinese was not all that great back then. He's a seriously talented musician, he must have worked hard on his Chinese (although he still has a strong accent), and he was already one of the most handsome men in Asia.

So yes, it's possible. Not sure if it would have been easier for him (since he looked like a popstar) or for you (exotic looks), but I imagine that when he arrived in Taiwan he didn't have any connections (since he grew up in the US), just like you. As a foreigner, you will need something to make you stand out from all the other foreigners who can sing Chinese or play music. The husband of a friend of mine (average looks, non-white) has been making a living of his music for years without getting famous, which is a much more likely outcome.

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Demonic_Duck

Agree with what others have said. Hone your art, and you'd better make sure you love what you do for its own sake, too. Aiming at fame for fame's sake just looks desparate. You don't want to end up famous but only as a figure of ridicule, a la 芙蓉姐姐.

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geraldc

I say just do it. Follow the Justin Beiber path. Just as he got his start in Canada via the internet, you can do the same from where ever you are in the world. Just get yourself on weibo and Youku, and get content up there now. Forget about high quality videos, just get a lot of content up there, and get people to subscribe.

 

You've just got to work out what will go viral. 

 

I suggest starting with cover versions that everyone will know. Even if you're bad, as long as it's funny bad and not painful, people will watch.

 

You've just got to do enough to get noticed by someone in China who's willing to bankroll you.

 

Here endeth me pretending to be a pop tactician. 

 

Good luck. I expect to see you on a spring festival show within 5 years, when I expect a shout out.

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Angelina

You will probably end up doing a minstrel show where your character is a combination of Justin Bieber, Rebecca Black, Dashan and a viking. Depends on how okay you are with minstrel shows, I am not saying don't do it. 

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