Music reflects his life

Updated: 2013-05-10 00:20

By Chen Nan (China Daily)

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He was so poor then that he had to sleep in parks. To survive, he performed on streets and wrote songs for other singers. He went into depression while producing his second album That Day.

"People often asked me, 'how did you write those songs, which sounded in despair?'" says Xu in neat short hair. He shares that his songs were a result of solitude, sleepless nights and even starvation. "I am a very sentimental and emotional person."

Perhaps thanks to his sensitive nature, he has managed to last this long in the cruel music industry.

His music career has now spanned nearly 30 years since he picked up guitar at 16. He has released five albums, obtained numerous rock music awards, and written some of the most memorable songs in China's music scene since the 1990s.

Ever since his award-winning album in 2003, Walking in Time, his fans noticed a change in his music. Replacing the desperate lyrics and impetuous rock beats are warmth, peace and contentment.

In 2005, Xu held his first concert in Beijing. Facing more than 10,000 fans, Xu says it felt like a dream.

"It's been such a long wait for this moment. When it really happened, I just had no time to react," he says.

Now, as one of the best-known rock musicians in the country, Xu has a strong fan base. His music and his life situation have also changed.

Nowadays, a typical day for Xu starts with reading books of Chinese calligraphy, followed by a simple lunch, working out in the gym, rehearsing with his band in the studio in the afternoon and ending with watching talk shows by songwriter Gao Xiaosong or having dinner with friends.

"I also quit smoking eight months ago and put on some weight," Xu laughs.

He says the age of 40 marked a new starting point for his life. He used to listen to rock music only, but has since started listening to various genres, such as jazz and traditional Chinese music.

He also likes Chinese painting and calligraphy, from which he gains inspiration.

"I never suffered from middle-age crisis. I am curious about everything and I believe life in the future will be interesting."


Your favorite virtue?

I am a man full of weaknesses. I am still improving myself.

What you appreciate the most in your friends?

Sharing ideas.

If you could talk to a late master of your field, who would he/she be?

Guqin master Guan Pinghu.

Your heroes in real life?

Too many. Sting, Paul McCartney, Wu Guanzhong, Li Shutong.

The natural talent you'd like to be gifted with?

I want to be a good pianist like Bei Bei, the keyboardist of the band.

If there is one thing you want to change about yourself, what would it be?

I want to be a happier person. I am a pessimist.

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