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Pu Shu returns to the spotlight

Updated: 2012-10-19 10:07
By Chen Nan (China Daily)

Pu Shu returns to the spotlight

Singer-songwriter Pu Shu will perform in a concert in Shanghai after 10 years away from the spotlight. Provided to China Daily

After a 10-year hiatus, singer-songwriter Pu Shu recently announced that he will be performing in a concert with Taiwan singer-songwriter Desert Zhang in Shanghai on Oct 27.

The immediate question from his fans and members of the media is: What has he been up to in the last decade?

"I kept myself away from music intentionally because I didn't know what I could do with it," says the 39-year-old Pu, who looks different because he has cut his long hair. "Then I was sick, physically and mentally. I felt like I was in a narrow cave."

With just two albums released, I Went to 2000 in 1999 and Born like A Summer Flower in 2003, Pu was considered one of the most talented singer-songwriters in the Chinese mainland.

His hits like Where Have All the Flowers Gone and Birch Forest were played almost everywhere throughout the 2000s and sung widely by college students.

He withdrew from the spotlight after releasing his second album - a rare move as most pop stars who have released a couple of albums would strive to attract more exposure. Pu quietly slipped away while his songs continue to influence and linger in the heads of his fans.

At a recent interview, he admits that he hated releasing albums and performing onstage under the arrangement of his record company. He was also reluctant to take interviews and show his inner world to the public.

Back then, he used to chain-smoke between interviews because of his nervousness. He was often struck speechless when a question was posed, only to squeeze an insignificant answer like "I have nothing to say" to reporters.

Though he had performed at a few outdoor music festivals during the past 10 years, he considers the upcoming concert as a formal return.

"I did nothing during the past few years because I thought I would never get used to the music industry. Singing onstage was a torture for me. I even avoided phone calls from my agent," he recalls.

He had a similar experience during high school because of his shy and introverted personality. He says time is the best medicine, but the process is terribly hard.

His family gave him lots of support during the past 10 years, tolerating his bad temper and leaving him alone to have his own space. He spent his time reading and journaling his random thoughts, which he says provided inspirations for his new album.

Then, one day in 2009, he picked up his guitar again and found that he couldn't stop plucking the strings.

"I played guitar for a long time that day and I felt very happy. That feeling was so great," he says. "I realized that I still love music and it is my life."

Since then, he has considered returning to the music industry. But it took him a few years before he appeared in public because after being absent for such a long time, he didn't know where to start.

Pu Shu returns to the spotlight

He tried to form a band to play live house music. He rehearsed for hours every day and gradually, he regained his confidence and felt ready to perform on stage.

Although the upcoming joint concert, titled Tree and Flower, with Zhang was arranged by Pu's record company, he says he looks forward to sharing the stage with the talented Zhang, who has her own unique style. The concert will move to Beijing in December.

Having adopted regular living habits in the last decade - going to bed at 10 pm and getting up at 5 am to jog - Pu jokes that if the concert does not end by 10 pm, he might fall asleep on stage.