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Overseas sound waves crescendo

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2024-01-26 06:22

American singer-songwriter Galen Crew returns to China with a show in Beijing on Jan 10. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Foreign musicians are finding their flow on Chinese streaming platforms, Chen Nan reports.

When American singer-songwriter Galen Crew returned to the stage for the encore during his show in Beijing on Jan 10, which was the final performance of his Troubadour Tour, the crowd started singing Beijing Welcomes You, a song released in 2008 to mark the 100-day countdown of that year's Beijing Olympic Games.

"I was so moved, and it nearly brought me to tears. There was so much love between us in the room. It was truly an unforgettable moment," says Crew.

The singer-songwriter released his first song, Sleepyhead, from his 2016 album, Acoustic Daydreams, on Chinese music-streaming platforms, including NetEase Cloud Music — one of China's leading streaming services, which has about 800 million registered users.

Since then, he has gained a large fan base in China, touring the country twice in 2016 and once in 2019. So far, he has released over 80 songs on NetEase Cloud Music. Sleepyhead has racked up over 60,000 comments on NetEase Cloud Music, and his channel on that platform has about 290,000 followers.

"Chinese music streaming platforms have given me a chance to connect with an audience I might not have reached otherwise. I spend hours each week responding to fan comments and interacting with them. These platforms have allowed me to have quite a unique international connection with them, which feels really special," says Crew, who started putting more effort into expanding his Chinese fan base around 2016, when he realized that fans in China were embracing his music more than anyone else around the world.

"Many Chinese fans have told me that my music has a healing effect on them and that it brings them a sense of calm or peace. The number of fans that say this exact thing is very striking to me, because my name, Galen, actually means 'healer' or 'calm'. And I don't think most of them are aware of that. The heartfelt messages I receive from fans give me motivation to continue creating, with the hope of impacting more lives in a genuine way," he adds.

The singer-songwriter actually wrote a song while in China on his first tour, called Fragrance, and filmed a music video for it in Shanghai and Guangzhou, Guangdong province.

He also says that another interesting fact is that his music is currently not very popular in his home country. So, the way that Chinese listeners celebrate it has been a great reminder that it's a big world out there. He also wrote a song, I Know Your Name, by working with a friend who speaks Chinese. His friend wrote the lyrics in Chinese, which led Crew to write his first song in another language.

"This is something I often tell other independent artists in America, who only think of success in terms of how it's defined in the US: be open-minded and think globally. Having your music become popular in a different country than the one you're from is a beautiful thing," he says.

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