Better late than never

By Chen Nan ( China Daily ) Updated: 2017-07-22 10:12:32


Ding was introduced to music by her father, who let Ding learn to play the erhu at 7 years old.

At 10, Ding was admitted to study at the primary school affiliated to the Shanghai Conservatory of Music and she was expected to become an erhu player for a national orchestra when she grew up.

However, like many of her peers, Ding listened to Western pop music when she was a teenager, and it was Tori Amos' Little Earthquakes and Rickie Lee Jones' Pop Pop that made Ding decide to become a singer-songwriter.

"Writing songs to me is a very private and emotional process, which I enjoy very much," she says.

She also notes that what makes the music special is the singer-songwriter's personal style.

"I don't want to follow any trend, though I am fully aware that some of the music types are easy to sell and can become popular overnight. It would be very boring if all the songs you hear have the similar beats," she says.

For example, one of her best-known songs, Girl and Quartet, was born out of an image in Ding's mind, in which she saw a girl standing onstage, just like Ding herself, with two violinists, a violist and a cellist playing behind her.

The song was released in 1999 on Ding's second album, Begin, and its combination of pop and classical music gained Ding critical and commercial success.

The album also had a song, called Winter is Coming, which portrays Ding spending winter alone in Beijing and hearing her father has been diagnosed with cancer.

"Melody always comes first to me. I don't want to tell stories with my lyrics. What I aim to do is create an atmosphere via music," Ding says.

After releasing Untied, she says she can now finally move on to her next album. She will perform at some outdoor music festivals in China and will tour nationally from 2017 to 2018 in support of this new album.

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