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Singing for the world proves worth the effort

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2017-01-18 07:30

Singing for the world proves worth the effort

Chinese pop singers (from left) Leah Dou, Zhang Jie and Jane Zhang test the international waters with good English skills. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Many Chinese pop singers are polishing their English-language skills to speak-and sing-to a global audience.

Zhang Liangying, aka Jane Zhang, is one of those ambitious-and capable-enough to release albums with English lyrics.

Her latest single, Dust My Shoulders Off, produced by US singer-songwriter Timbaland, reached the top five on the iTunes chart-a first for a Chinese artist.

In April, she will release her first English album.

"Though I have been a singer for more than 10 years in China, I am a newcomer to the US market. I am still learning the language, especially spoken English," the 32-year-old says.

Zhang rose to fame in 2005 when she finished as the second runner-up in Super Girl, a Chinese reality-TV singing contest.

The vocalist, an English major from Sichuan University, has long been performing songs by Western artists, such as Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera. She was even a guest singer on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

"Though I learned English in college, it's still hard to speak English like a native. For example, I have an accent when I say 'son', 'sun' and 'song'," Zhang says.

"Idioms and slang are also hard to master."

Dou Jingtong, aka Leah Dou, is another Chinese pop star known for her English tunes. The 20-year-old singer-songwriter released her debut album, Stone Cafe, in April 2016. It includes 10 English tracks she wrote.

It received critical and popular acclaim, especially among young fans.

Dou isn't just one of China's most popular singer-songwriters-she was famous even before she was born, as the daughter of Asian pop diva Faye Wong and rock singer-songwriter Dou Wei.

Dou Jingtong studied in the US and the UK.

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