xi's moments

Voice of gold

China Daily Asia | Updated: 2019-02-01 14:18

[Photo provided to China Daily]

A leading light in the Chinese music industry, 28-year-old singer-songwriter Huo Zun (aka Henry Huo) rose to fame in 2014 after winning the first season of TV competition Sing My Song with his tune "Rolled-Up Beaded Curtain". On the eve of the release of his second solo album, CDLP caught up with the rising star

You're about to release your second album. What is the theme and how long have you worked on it?

This new album includes so many things – basically my thoughts about music. There will be at least 10 songs on it. I started working on the album two years ago.

The previous album, my first, was released three years ago. In those three years, I've been both performing and composing, and certainly my understanding of music has changed in that time. I have met many new friends in the music field and our team has also become more familiar with each other.

Besides traditional Chinese style, what other aspects of your music would you like to highlight for your audience?

If the timing is good, I think I could add rap music elements to my songs. I personally like rap music, but it's actually not something I'm good at – so I wouldn't dare to just try. I can't predict what kind of music I will create in the future, though. I will add it in at the appropriate time and keep on learning.

What do you think of the younger Chinese generation's taste in music?

Their taste is indeed improving. As the internet has developed, they have access to so many kinds of music. Nowadays, many young people have their own standards, instead of just following trends. And the standards are improving, too. For example, many listeners, even though they aren't professionals, comment about composing and instruments, which seldom happened in the past.

Copyright protection is a major issue in China today. What do you think about it?

For all the producers, copyrights are extremely important, as we put our energy and effort into our music. I'm really happy that many music brands are more conscious about copyright protection. Some shows tell me and pay me when they use my songs. It's more about respect for the music, for all of us, instead of the money. Compared to the US and Japan, China still has a long way to go, but it's at least on the right track.

When you sit down to compose a new song, where does your inspiration come from?

Composing is a part of my life. It's my job and it's really natural for me. Over the years, I have been using my feelings and thoughts to create music. As a producer, I pay attention to rhythm, which I see as the nature of music. Rhythm can be touching. A movie, a book or a fantasy can serve as the inspiration. A new song can even be completed after the lyrics are added. Actually, my main means of composing is on the piano, which was also my friend accompanying me as I grew up. Inspiration sometimes just pops up randomly when I play the piano. This happens all the time.

Your parents, Huo Feng and Zhong Xiaoping, are both famous singers. In what ways do you think they have influenced you?

I have inherited a love of music from them. My parents are now off-stage, but they never expected me to work on music just like them. I think music is in my DNA and it fills my home all the time. Growing up in this atmosphere, I think music naturally became my friend.

What are you like in your personal life? Who are your favourite singers?

I'm just an ordinary person. Singers portray the ideal beauty on stage. I'm not that perfect in life; I'm a real flesh-and-blood person. There is an art side and a life side as well. As far as my favourite singers, Chang Shilei has influenced me a lot, Yuan Yawei [aka Tia Ray] is really talented, and He Jiale.

What are your hobbies?

I like watching animation, playing basketball and exercising. I sometimes buy garage kits and spend an afternoon putting them together. Drinking tea and photography also take up my leisure time.

Describe yourself with three words.

Integrity, genuine, aesthetic.

From what you've learned in your singing career so far, what do you think is the key to success?

Before and after entering show business, up to now, I still like myself. I didn't change into someone I hate, and my passion and love for music haven't changed. I think virtue is at the root of being a singer. To have a lasting career as a singer, talent is important – but as I see it, virtue is even more critical.

You have worked with famed lyricist Fang Wenshan aka Vincent Fang, who also works in a traditional Chinese style. Can you talk about the collaboration?

I really value this opportunity. Mr Fang is a lyricist who has influenced the whole Chinese music industry and I truly respect him. Even now, I feel this collaboration is so surreal. We share many similarities about the aesthetic standards of music. He's a knowledgeable lyricist and has great passion for traditional Chinese culture. I have learned a lot from him

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