Zya finds success but not her Mr Right

By Mark Hughes (China Daily)
Updated: 2011-06-09 15:58
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Zya finds success but not her Mr Right

Zya, who sang the Olympic song for China in 2008 as one of 25 featured entries from around the world, is to release a new single this year.

The 33-year-old, who was born in Yantai, Shandong province, is creating a remodeled version of Wo Ai Ni Zhongguo (I Love You, China), to be released on July 1. There are new melodies in it, says the classical beauty.

Zya came to fame in 2005 with her album My Way 9+1. Its most popular track was Xin Zui, which translates as "Drunk Heart". It was written for a TV series in 2004 and has been downloaded as a ringtone more than 30 million times. It was in the top 10 for two years and featured in thousands of karaoke bars across China.

The song was so popular that Zya, who had moved to Canada in 1997 and took singing lessons from Celine Dion's teacher, returned to China and set up home in Beijing, a decision she has not regretted.

"I am patriotic. I love Beijing. It changes so fast," said the singer, who was brought up largely by her grandmother - a Peking Opera performer - after her parents divorced. She has a sister who is an office worker in Beijing.

The singer produced a second album in 2006, simply called Zya, also featuring all her own songs. However, this collection was less traditional, had Western influences and was less self-centered.

As a result, it proved less popular, admitted Zya, who studied at Shandong Art School, majoring in vocal music, and then at Shanghai Theatre Academy, where she majored in acting. "It was too radical for some fans," she said.

Zya also learned to play the piano and the jinghu, a two-stringed bowed instrument used traditionally in Peking Opera.

To help pay her way in the early days of her career, the 170-centimeter performer worked as a model at car shows and for magazines and was paid to sing at parties.

She performed some concerts on TV in 2010 and in September of that year signed a new contract with the label Advocating Entertainment and released her first single, Have Fun.

Zya lists the popular and influential Taiwanese singer Deng Lijun (also known as Teresa Teng), as her biggest inspiration.

She has regularly sung at music festivals and is planning a concert at Beijing Exhibition Center later this year if she can find enough sponsors.

Despite having found popular success, Zya says she isn't so happy now. She remains single, having spent her 20s constantly working. She admits to being on the lookout for Mr Right.

"I am still looking for someone. He has to be spiritual and share the same goals as me," said the avowed Christian. "I want to be relaxed and happy.

"Before I focused on work and didn't focus enough on my personal life. I spent 10 to 15 hours a day promoting my music and touring. I am not so happy now. I am hoping for the next step, waiting for another break. I want a better quality of life, places to go, people around me."

If her new single takes off, all that could be just around the corner. "Wo men ai ni, Zya. (We love you, Zya)" might then be the next catchphrase.