Late in life songwriter changes his tune

Updated: 2012-04-06 11:13

By Chen Nan (China Daily)

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Late in life songwriter changes his tune

Gao Xiaosong is sailing on a remarkable second wind. Provided to China Daily

Most songwriters in China are a paradox - the songs they have written are better known than they are.

But Gao Xiaosong is an exception. The songwriter and music producer, who started his career in the early 1990s, didn't overshadow his own name with his music.

Gao is at a stage in life when many of his peers live off past glories. But the 43-year-old is sailing on a remarkable second wind.

His The Youth Around Here concert gathers established singers, including Liu Huan, Lao Lang, Zheng Jun and Ye Pei, who have performed Gao's works during the past decades. Such singers as Sa Dingding, Li Yuchun and Tan Weiwei, who will collaborate with Gao for the first time, will perform Gao's new songs.

Unlike many songwriters, who write for a particular singer, Gao usually writes an album and then invites singers he considers right for the songs.

"The concert is about good timing," Gao says.

"I've reinvented myself as a songwriter, especially after turning 40, and have written new songs in recent years. There have been many new voices popping up in the past few years, and some of them are suitable for my new songs."

Gao has also remade his old songs to align with more mature content, such as tunes from the 1994 album Collegiate Ballads 1 and 1996's Youth of No Regrets, which were landmark works of original Chinese music.

Gao staged a 1996 concert that drew more than 10,000 fans. It was the first in the country at which a songwriter showcased his works. Gao says he was exhilarated to watch such vocalists as Na Ying and Lao Lang sing his works with audiences.

"Na Ying said, 'Thank God and thank life' at the end," he recalls.

"I feel the same. I believe God has held my hand and helped me write those songs still remembered."

Gao says he feels calm about his first concert in 16 years.

"Fame is like a beauty," he says.

"You'll feel excited when you first see her. But as time goes by, you get used to her. I don't want to prove anything with this concert. It just feels right to do."

Gao's works have a gentle tone and a sense of leisure and freshness. Most songs are about youth.

"Gao was in the right place at the right time when pop came along," says Lao Lang, who rose to fame after singing Gao's My Desk Mate in 1995.

Lao and Gao became good friends, and Gao wrote most of Lao's albums, which were hits.

"I believe audiences who love my songs shared my experiences," Gao says.

Late in life songwriter changes his tune

"We were young, restless and impulsive. We have dreams and dare to stay true to ourselves."

Gao has expanded his career beyond music. He's a judge of the Super Girl Singing Competition and China's Got Talent, director of the China Music Award and an online talk show host.

"Whenever I think I've touched and comforted many people's hearts with my songs, I feel I've achieved something," he says.

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