06
Feb
10

Joanna Wang -the savior of the Chinese pop scene

Having lived in Asia for several years (China, Taiwan, Korea) sometimes I like to check out the CD stores in Chinatown -there’s one artist recently who I first came across called Joanna Wang…

After decades of ‘Canto-pop’ and ‘Mando-pop’ from Hongkong and Taiwan dominating the Chinese music industry, Joanna Wang is a refreshing change and in my mind virtually the savior of the Chinese pop scene…

Why? Because she’s different, honest and original (She has a great jazzy voice -not unlike Sarah Blasko, with a kind of jazz-cabaret indie style of songwriting). Her style markedly contrasts with the conservative pop blandness of 90% of the pop divas, boy bands and girl bands. It doesn’t surprise me the Asian public seek this kind of refreshing change.

Mind you I listen to a few Asian pop idols -I’m a fan of Jay Chou, just because he’s a great songwriter. And I became a fan of Coco Lee after hearing the “Hidden Dragon Crouching Tiger” soundtrack -I’d no idea how well she could sing. However, not all the songs on her albums are of the same songwriting and production caliber as a song accompanied by Yoyo Ma.

Generally speaking the Chinese and Koreans have loved their pop idols. The Chinese have a saying to describe the top pop stars – The Four Great Heavenly Kings of pop. They love their pop songs, their love ballads, their sexy dance tracks etc… Other genres have always suffered -from what I hear the indie rock scene makes virtually no money, has virtually no media support and are pretty much unknown by the mainstream population except a few eager students. But perhaps with online avenues of promotion and distribution things are changing.

My impression is there isn’t enough support in the industry by passionate supporters who are not so focused on making money but rather seeking to support some great indie and alternative bands. The feeling is the desire and knack to make it in the pop world is the prime motivator of labels, where as in the West, boy bands and divas may dominate but there’s still a lively support for indie music and many indie musicians seem to make a good living from their art.

Joanna Wang is fortunate in that her father is a prominent music producer and she grew up in the states with different influences.

But I suppose Asia is more “karaoke dominated”  -they’re more inclined to sing a balled rather than pick up a guitar -though that’s a very broad generalization.

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