Rocker to break new ground

Updated: 2012-08-20 17:53

By Chen Nan (China Daily)

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Rocker to break new ground

Singer-songwriter Wang Feng is making history with his concert.[Zou Hong/China Daily] 

Beijing Workers' Stadium, an iconic concert venue with a capacity of about 60,000, has never had a male singer from the Chinese mainland perform on its stage since it was built in 1959. Rock singer-songwriter Wang Feng will break the record by holding his concert, Existence, there on Sept 1.

"I hope my concert at Beijing Workers' Stadium will be a new starting point for Chinese rock music," says Wang.

A fan of Wang has listed some statistics of his idol online recently: In Wang's decade-long music career, the 41-year-old has released nine studio albums, 130 songs which were all written and composed by himself, 18 songs which have won Song of the Year at Chinese music awards, 10 best albums of the year, 29 citations as the best male singer from Chinese mainland, 13 concerts across the country, and performance at 120 outdoor music festivals across China.

During the past three years, Wang has sold-out concerts in Beijing every year at major venues like Mastercard Center and Beijing Workers' Gymnasium. The consistent success is very rare for a Chinese rock musician. Most of them have longer gaps between releasing albums and holding concerts.

Wang calls himself a rock survivor of the country, now that many rock musicians have stopped writing songs or are semi-retired because of the sluggish market demand or personal reasons.

Wang writes songs regardless of demand because to him, songwriting is as natural as breathing. Whenever he feels happy, sad or misunderstood, he expresses his emotions through songwriting.

In the upcoming concert, he will not sing his hits such as Flying Higher, Blooming Life and In the Spring - songs that normally trigger the audiences to sing along. Instead, he will deliver songs he rarely performs on stage.

"Those songs are ignored and overshadowed by the popular songs. The audiences might not be so familiar with those songs but I want to take the risk," he says.

A Beijing native, Wang has expressed his love for the city by writing songs like Good Night Beijing, Beijing Beijing and Chang'an Avenue. Holding a concert at the iconic Beijing Workers' Stadium has also been a longtime dream for Wang.

"The venue has hosted many singers from Hong Kong and Taiwan. As a Beijing rocker, I want to be the first one to sing there, which, I hope, gives confidence to mainland rock singers and bands," he says.Rocker to break new ground

At each of his concert, he sports black leather jacket with black trousers, boots, and hair blown very high.

Wang's musician father put him through violin lessons when he was a child. Although he didn't like the instrument at first, he studied and graduated from China Music Conservatory, which made him believe in the greatness of music.

At 17, he started to listen to songs by Michael Jackson, the Beatles, Taiwan singer Luo Ta-yu, and mainland singer Cui Jian - all of them influenced his music career. In 1994, he and his friends formed a rock band, No 43 Baojia Street, which, like many indie rock bands, experienced poverty and cold treatment.

His talent finally got recognized by Warner Music China in 1999. But, to sign up with Warner Music, he had to leave his band. It was a tough decision to make and Wang felt guilty for "betraying" his group, right up till today.

In the past decade, he has enjoyed fame and criticism. To prove himself, he pushes himself to write songs and stay updated to keep up with the new generation.

"I am fully aware of the fact that a singer-songwriter can never stay at the peak of his career forever. But what I want is for my songs to be heard and sung by many people from different generations," he says. "I want to be a driver in making rock music as widely accepted as pop music."

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