|Hang Tianqi [China Daily]|
Among the many fans who watched Celine Dion's June 2 performance at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas was a musician who enjoys the same level of fame back in her home of China.
Hang Tianqi, a veteran in the Chinese music scene who has released more than 20 full-length albums throughout her career, flew all the way to Las Vegas from Shanghai just to catch the performance.
"There were thousands of audiences of all ages and from different cultures watching the singer performing her biggest hits. Her voice is powerful and she hit every note perfectly. I was really inspired by the performance," said Hang, who is preparing to make a comeback to the music scene after a long absence.
Hang says that she plans to release three new singles and embark on a five-city tour across the country to commemorate her 30-year-long career. The first single I Still Love You, which was released on June 26, features a collaboration between Hang and the China Philharmonic Orchestra.
"I decided to return as a singer because I still love singing," said Hang.
"I am in a very comfortable phase in my life (right now) and when I recorded the song, I noticed that my way of singing has changed. It's very smooth and it's like telling a story."
During her absence from the music scene, Hang has been conducting vocal training for young students at her music school in Shanghai.
"I still have shows from time to time so I never feel too far away from the stage. My role as a teacher also keeps me updated about the latest trends in the music scene. In fact, I even find inspiration from my young students," she says.
Born into an intellectual family, Hang was introduced to music by her father, an electronic engineer who played the vinyl at home and made her an electronic organ. She recalls how her father loves listening to classical music, especially Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's creations, because of his study experience in the Soviet Union.
Recalling the milestones in her illustrious career, Hang says that she will never forget the day she applied to the CCTV National Young Singers Competition.
"Before the CCTV National Young Singers Competition, I had never participated in any singing competition because I didn't believe that art could be judged," she says.
Hang, who was then a 22-year-old vocal student of the Beijing-based Capital Normal University, chose to compete in the pop music category as she wanted to challenge herself - she grew up learning traditional Chinese folk songs and classical music.
But she almost failed to submit her application as she arrived late at the office. Thankfully, a familiar face helped her out.
"Just when I was about to leave, a staff member called out my name. I realized that she was a senior student in my university and we had met a couple of times on campus. She helped me file the application form and gave me the chance to do the first round of audition," Hang recalls.
Hang went on to beat thousands of others in the competition to secure a spot in the final where she performed two pop songs, My Beloved Hometown and Yellow Earth of the High Plateau, both of which feature folk music styles native to northwestern China. She eventually finished second in the competition.
With her wide vocal range and expressive singing style, Hang rose to fame as a household name and became a solo singer in a song and dance troupe of the Air Force of the People's Liberation Army.
"All of a sudden, people recognized me when I walked on street and I had the opportunity to release my solo albums," recalls Hang. "It was overwhelming and exciting for a young singer."
While she had a passion for pop songs, such as those by Taiwan singer Teresa Teng (1953-1995), Hang only sang them in private because her teachers considered such music frivolous compared to classical music.
In 1989, she made her debut performance at CCTV's Spring Festival gala, one of the most-watched television shows in the country. Such was her magnetism that she went on to perform at the gala for nine consecutive years.
In 1990, she performed the song Black Hair in the Air for the 11th Asian Games. The song later became one of Hang's most popular hits.
"My schedule was hectic. Unlike today's singers, who have many team members to take care of them, I traveled alone to perform at cities across the country. The good thing was that I managed to build long-lasting friendships with other singers who shared stages with me then," Hang recalls.
Hang slowed the pace of her career in the 2000s after getting married and giving birth to her children.
"I am lucky because I've witnessed the golden era of original Chinese music in the 1990s, which gave birth to lots of timeless songs," Hang says.
"Today, the music industry has totally changed. I am now ready to meet some new fans during my tour."
|Despite her absence from the music scene since the 2000s, Hang Tianqi says she never feels too far away from the stage. [China Daily]|
(Source: China Daily)