Zhang Liangying is still going strong

Updated: 2011-10-21 08:07

By Chen Nan (China Daily)

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In the six years since winning the nation's top TV singing contest, Super Girl, Zhang Liangying, 27, has been putting her experience and professionalism to the fullest use.

She has released albums with 15 No 1 hit singles; performed with international stars such as U2, Madonna and Green Day; has been named one of China's best female artists; and made her US television singing debut on The Oprah Show.

She has also been doing her bit to nurture other young talents by encouraging participants at various talent shows. Recently, the Chengdu native opened her own music studio to help wannabe stars realize their dreams.

Despite all these achievements, Zhang says she still feels the same passion when performing on stage, and adds that is where she finds her inner peace.

Zhang Liangying is still going strong

"I have been obsessed with the stage ever since I started singing at 13," she says. "Although I have a bigger stage and more people listening to my singing today, I want to keep myself simple behind the glamour and remain excited about going up on stage."

She cuts a quiet figure in her simple black-and-white gown and pair of high heels, in a hotel room in downtown Beijing. She talks slowly, pondering each question carefully.

She is currently busy preparing for her upcoming concert, My Look, at the Beijing Mastercard Center, the former Wukesong Arena, where a number of international stars including Beyonce, The Eagles and The Cranberries, have performed.

Zhang likes to pay close attention to the details - be it the stage settings or her costumes. She likes going with a live band to give full expression to her wide vocal range.

On the stage of the 2005 Super Girl competition, an American Idol knockoff with an estimated TV audience of more than 400 million, Zhang impressed with her renditions of Don't Cry for Me Argentina and I Still Believe.

She earned the nickname "Dolphin Princess" after singing such Mariah Carey hits as Hero.

For the upcoming concert, Zhang will perform 30 songs selected from her past five studio albums and two Extended Play (EP) records.

But this is not Zhang's first solo showing at the Mastercard Center. Her 2010 concert, I Believe, at the same venue, drew more than 15,000 people.

Over the past five years, the singer has held nearly 20 sold-out concerts across the world, including the United States, Japan and Singapore.

But the one Zhang cherishes most is the 2009 concert, I Love This City, at her hometown of Chengdu, Sichuan province.

"It was the first time I was in my hometown after the Super Girl contest. All the people I knew came to see me, which was every encouraging and warm," she recalls. That concert was held at an outdoor park in Chengdu, which packed more than 35,000 people.

Singing at local pubs from the age of 15, Zhang has been exposed to a wide range of music genres. She studied at Sichuan University's foreign language department, which has helped her sing in English and other foreign languages such as Spanish.

Although she was a pub star for a long time, to be a professional singer is another thing, she says.

"I want to sing on the stage forever."