Gong Linna: I'm an artist, not an entertainer

By Ruan Fan ( ) Updated: 2016-07-29 09:01:43

Gong Linna: I'm an artist, not an entertainer

Robert Zollitsch and Gong Linna. [Photo by Ruan Fan/]

The idea of the Vocal Initiative came from Gong's experience as a younger singer.

As a graduate from one of China's top musical schools, China Conservatory of Music, and prize winner of a national singing competition, Gong said she enjoyed fame and fortune upon graduation. At the same time, though, she was quite puzzled about where she was going.

"We are all trained to sing in a bel canto way, and everyone sings more or less in the same way. If you close your eyes, you won't even know who is singing."

Gong said her peers back then were all caught up in the idea of standing up straight, smiling and looking beautiful. "It was quite frustrating," Gong said.

It was not until she met her husband Robert Zollitsch, or Lao Luo, that Gong took the brave step of really being herself.

"My husband Lao Luo used to say that my pretentious look and singing on TV was disgusting. It was a heavy blow for me, but I guess it is the medicine that the patient needed," Gong said.

Starting then, Gong freed herself from high-heeled shoes, make-up, and long beautiful gowns, and just went "wild".

She and Robert tried to do what they deemed as art, and unexpectedly, their act went viral.

One of her songs, Tante, or Perturbed written by Robert, made Gong a household name overnight.

Without lyrics, Tante is filled with a string of vocals that rise and fall in unexpected pitches. It was said to be impossible to imitate by some renowned Chinese singers. But such comments just made more want to challenge themselves, that they went further to imitate Going's exaggerated facial expressions.

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