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Singer-songwriter Qu Wanting says she lacks nothing if she has music in her life.
The 28-year-old has released her debut studio album, Everything in the World, in Beijing. It contains 16 Chinese and English songs, written and composed by her in the past seven years.
The skinny, chic young lady's voice ranges from husky and mature, to high and powerful. Her talent attracted Terry McBride, CEO and co-founder of the Nettwerk Music Group, which owns Canada's largest independent record label, Nettwerk Productions.
Qu first caught McBride's attention when she sent him an e-mail of demos. He was immediately captivated by the honesty of the lyrics and the authentic music.
"She has the wonderful ability to seamlessly blend the cultures of East with the melodies of the West," says McBride, a veteran manager, who helped establish a number of big-name stars, such as Sarah McLachlan, Avril Lavigne and Coldplay. In 2009, Qu became the first singer-songwriter from Asia signed by Nettwerk Productions.
"Wanting's music is borderless. One of the best parts about her is she writes her own music, which makes her voice connected with the lyrics and tunes," says McBride, who came to Beijing for Qu's album release.
Her energetic pop songs like Admit and Life is Like a Song and love ballads, like Drenched and You Exist in My Song, which were recorded for the soundtrack of movie, Love in the Buff - directed by Pang Ho-Cheung and starring Miriam Yeung and Shawn Yue - have enabled Qu to become one of the most promising Chinese singer-songwriters this summer.
Her national tour will kick off in Shanghai on Sept 15 and will take her to other cities like Beijing, Hong Kong and Guangzhou.
"I've been hoping to be recognized by others and kept on trying to improve my music. The process might be tortuous, but when you want something badly and make great efforts for it, you'll be magically rewarded," Qu says.
Born in Harbin, capital of Heilongjiang province, Qu started to sing before she could even talk. Her mother recalls: "You would know when she was awake because she'd be singing the theme song from the Chinese TV series Undercover Cop, loudly in bed, to the ceiling, every morning."
Due to her good sense of music, her mother bought her a piano when she was 6. But music was never considered a career for Qu.
At 16, Qu's mother sent her to study international business in Canada. The loneliness of a strange environment and adolescent rebellion made her unhappy. It didn't take long, however, before she realized her true passion and dream was to become an influential recording artist.
She taught herself to play the guitar and tried to write her first song, To Markus, which was dedicated to her then-boyfriend.
In 2005, she started her band, The Wanting Band, and sang at clubs and restaurants.
"My mum didn't want me to pursue music as a career, just like she hated my boyfriend then," Qu says. "So everything about realizing my music dream was secret then."
She went on to earn her business degree, but also tried her hand at songwriting in both Chinese and English and began performing in the Toronto area. She relocated to Vancouver, continuing to write and perform at events. It was there that she caught the attention of Nettwerk Music Group.
She is a productive songwriter and is preparing for her second album.
It seems that Qu is on an express train to musical fame, but says she hopes to hop off that train at some point in the future.
"Before I signed the contract, I felt confused and even thought about giving up. I didn't know where I was heading," she says. "Now I've released the first album and received some attention, I am still the person I started out and I believe I will stay the same."
(China Daily 08/10/2012 page18)