The end of times a great beginning for Qu Wanting

Updated: 2012-12-24 09:52

By Chen Nan (China Daily)

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It's risky for a singer who has released only one album to have a concert at MasterCard Center, the venue that just hosted Elton John and his band. Adding to the drama, the Harbin-born and Vancouver-based singer-songwriter Qu Wan-ting staged her first concert on Friday - even though Dec 21 was the "end of days" according to Mesoamerican eschatological beliefs.

Qu's two-and-a-half-hour concert proves that her musical talent goes far beyond her hit song, You Exist in My Song, which made her one of the most popular newcomers on the country's music scene in 2012.

The end of times a great beginning for Qu Wanting

The concert opened with three of Qu's English songs from her debut album, Everything in the World, which clinched a platinum rating in the first week via a distribution deal between Universal Music China and Vancouver-based label Nettwerk in early 2012.

In a pair of tight black leggings and a golden tank T-shirt, the 29-year-old Qu looked skinny and shiny. Before she opened her mouth, she took off her high heels. Barefoot, she jumped and ran around the stage along with her band, which comprised one of her longtime friends, Zhang Xiahao, who is also Qu's Beijing concert producer.

The venue was not packed - around 70 percent of the seats were filled - but it's still exciting for a newcomer to have the audience singing along, especially the Chinese songs Admit and Today.

After singing Jar of Love, Star in You and Life Is Like a Song, she dedicated the song Shell to her strict mother, who sent her to study business in Vancouver at 16.

"I felt useless then because I had to follow my mother's arrangement to study business. I was rebellious and did things against her wishes," she nervously says onstage. "But now she is very supportive and she is sitting down in the crowd. Mom, I love you."

For her father, who Qu describes as a quiet type, she wrote the song Hide Away. "I know you are not good at saying 'I love you' but I know you love me," she says in the song.

The end of times a great beginning for Qu Wanting

Jennifer Lopez performs at Dance World Tour 

Qu realized early that her true passion was to become an influential recording artist.

She completed her degree in business, but also tried her hand at songwriting in both Chinese and English, and began performing in the Toronto area, especially Vancouver, where she caught the attention of Nettwerk Music Group, home of such stars as Sarah McLachlan and Dido.

She also sang I Only Care About You and Fix You, to pay tribute to her idols, the late Taiwan singer Teresa Teng and the British rock band Coldplay.

Joker Needs Laughter Too and Say the Words, which Qu wrote several years ago in English, were performed for the first time by Qu for a Chinese audience. Both songs will be recorded on her upcoming second album.

For Qu, Dec 21, 2012, was not the end of the world but a brand-new start, a chance to fly high.