From painter to singer: It takes just a little application

By Xu Lin ( China Daily ) Updated: 2016-12-10 10:10:21

From painter to singer: It takes just a little application

Liu Shitao, painter and decorator. [Photo provided to China Daily]

By day Liu Shitao, 42, works as a painter and decorator and by night he is something else again. Once he is home and after having changed from his tatty work garb he does a makeover on his own life, and suddenly Liu the foreman has become Liu the top-notch singer.

All he need do to attain that status is retire to the bedroom of his rented Beijing home, close the door, put on a set of earphones and switch on his mobile phone.

Staring at the screen he begins to sing to his heart's content, with the backing of WeSing, a popular mobile karaoke app developed by the Chinese internet giant Tencent.

"I love this app," Liu says. "It has so enriched my leisure life. I sing pop songs and folk songs and listen to others sing."

He started using the app last winter after seeing a friend singing with it.

Because of his busy work schedule he has little time to practice, he says, and he is delighted if someone presses the "like" button on the app in response to one of his performances.

Liu has roommates, and he says this inhibits him in his singing to some extent, and he envies those who live alone.

He is a migrant worker, and like many of them, he married at an early age, in his case when he was 19. He then moved to Beijing to work as a painter and decorator, and as the bread winner for his wife and two daughters has had to scrimp and save, particularly to give his children a good education.

He has always liked singing, he says, and the free mobile karaoke app has given him the chance to turn it into a hobby.

"I never used to have money to go to a karaoke bar, but as it became cheaper it turned out I had no time for it. I would also love to travel but I can't afford it right now, and in any case it is just not the time."

His elder daughter will finish her postgraduate studies in two years, and he is looking forward to that day because his delight in her success will have another dimension: anticipation of having the burden of family responsibility lifted and being able to spend time and money on realizing his own dream.

He is saving money to open a small soundproof karaoke room in his hometown of Hengshui city in Hebei province that will be fitted with stereo equipment, a projector and microphones.

"By then, I will be able to sing karaoke every night in the same way that I can watch TV," he says.

Given a choice between a mobile karaoke app and a karaoke bar he prefers the latter, he says, because of the stereo system's rich sounds, and having at least four or five people in a karaoke room adds atmosphere, he says. However, in a city as big as Beijing he feels it is difficult to bring friends together, and in those circumstances the mobile karaoke app is an ideal solution.

He keenly recalls an incident 10 years ago when he and other workers finished decorating a karaoke bar. They sneaked into one of the rooms and sang karaoke for about three hours and enjoyed it tremendously, he says, and he drew praise from his workmates for his singing.

"Several of my classmates who like singing also use the app, and during the Spring Festival we are going to have a class reunion and are going to meet in a karaoke bar."

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