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Jane Zhang (simplified Chinese: 张靓颖; traditional Chinese: 張靚穎; pinyin: Zhāng Liàngyǐng; born October 11, 1984), is a Chinese singer-songwriter. Known for her signature whistle register, she was dubbed the "Dolphin Princess". Zhang debuted her singing career by winning the third place at the Chinese singing contest Super Girl in 2005.[1] The next year she signed with the Huayi Music. Her 2006 debut studio album, The One , sold more than one million albums in China.[2] Zhang's second studio album, Update, was released in 2007. Buoyed by the success of pop single "We said", Update became one of the best-selling album of 2007 in China. In 2008, she released a song with Andrea Bocelli titled "One World, One Dream", the song for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.[3] After signing with Universal Music Group in 2009, Zhang released her fourth studio album, Believe In Jane (2010), yielded the successful single "If This Is Love". Her fifth studio album, Reform (2011), sold eighty thousand copies within one month in China. which was ultimately certified Double platinum by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). Her live album, Listen To Jane Z Live, was released in 2012 and achieved number one in the Chinese music charts. In 2014, she signed with the Sony Music Entertainment and released her sixth studio album, The Seventh Sense (2014), incorporated songs of genres such as r&b and pop. Zhang's English song, "Dust My Shoulders Off", was released in 2016. The song became background music of HULU in the US. In 2014, Zhang became one of the juries at the 38th Montreal World Film Festival.[4] In November 2017, she was invited to perform at Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. She was the first Asian singer to perform songs that made her top ten on the iTunes Instant List. In 2018, the World Tour Concert of "Jane's Secret" was held and the show ranked 45th in the United States in single-event mobilization. In 2019, she released her first full English album Past Progressive at the same time all over the world.

Jane Zhang
张靓颖.jpg
Born
Zhang Liangying

(1984-10-11) October 11, 1984 (age 35)
Occupation
  • Singer
  • songwriter
  • record producer
Years active2005–present
AwardsFull list
Musical career
Genres
InstrumentsVocals
Labels
Signature
Jane的签名.svg

Jane Zhang has received many awards, including nine Beijing Pop Music Awards for Best Female Singer, two China Gold Record Awards, and an MTV Europe Music Award, and has been included in the annual Forbes China celebrity lists from 2006–2013. In 2016, Chengdu government documents announced her annual output value of 1.1 billion yuan.

Life and careerEdit

1984−2004: Early lifeEdit

Jane Zhang was born in Chengdu, Sichuan, the hometown of Chinese giant pandas. Her English name "Jane Zhang" was taken for herself when she was at school. At that time, the heroine of her favorite novel Jane Eyre was called Jane.[5] Her father, Zhang Huaqing, is a driver in a transport company. Her mother, Zhang Guiying, is a shop assistant in a department store.[6] At the age of 15, Jane's father died of illness and her mother was laid off. So, Zhang sang at the bar in her spare time to support the family.[7]

2004−2009: Career beginnings, The One, Update and Jane@Music and SoundtracksEdit

 
Zhang performing with Gavin Christopher in 2007.

In July 2004, Jane Zhang won the championship of the "Chinese College Student Singer Competition" organized by Warner Music.[9]

In 2005, she won third place in the Chinese singing contest Super Girl.[10] Although she didn't ultimately claim victory, her impressive voice still won her a huge following once the show ended. After the end of the show, a number of record companies began to contact Zhang.[11] After experiencing a series of choices, Zhang finally signed Huayi Brothers Company and Hurray Company. Among them, Huayi Brothers Company is responsible for Zhang's traditional record production and promotion, and Hurray Company is responsible for Jane's digital music marketing and promotion.[12] Later, Jane began preparations for her first EP, Jane, Love, and the production team invited American musicians Denise Rich and Toby Gad to create singles for Zhang. This EP has a total of 3 songs, which were released in China on January 12, 2006. The EP has sold more than 500,000 copies in China.[13]

In October 2006, Zhang sang the theme song "Only for Love" for the Chinese film The Banquet, joining hands with composer Tan Dun and pianist Lang Lang.[14] Her first studio album The One was released in October, 2006 .[15] The album was produced by American record producer Craig Williams and Reid Hyams.[2][16]

Zhang doesn't like to be classified, her sound is elegant, she prefer to be dynamic. So, her second studio album, Update, an up-graded step from her first album, "The One", released in 2007 that sounded more like a mixture of R&B and jazz than the Chinese pop that many expected from her.[17]

In May, 2008, Zhang was invited to perform in Tokyo. As part of Chinese President Hu Jintao's "warm spring" tour of Japan, Zhang staged a rare performance at Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda's official residence. China Daily commented that Zhang has been actively helping promote cultural understanding and friendship between the youth of both countries through her music.[14]

Most of Zhang previous songs are soft and even heartbreaking love songs and that has been considered her trademark style. But actually in real life, she isn't a depressed and hurt girl. Zhang wants to break free from any previous stereotypes. Zhang has always been fascinated by live music, so she prefer singing live to the recording studio. Her third studio album, Jane@Music, was created in these contexts and was released in January 2009. It includes more jazzy and faster songs.[18] Subsequently, Zhang held a small concert at the Duo Music Exchange in Shibuya, Japan to promote the music on her album.[19] In addition, Zhang was also invited to participate in the American TV show The Oprah Winfrey Show, which gave her the opportunity to sing her album's title song "Celebrate" in front of the American audience, as well as the song, "Impression of the West Lake", that showed her voice.[20]

2009–2015: Believe in Jane, Listen to Jane Z Live, The Seventh Sense and SoundtracksEdit

 
Zhang attends the Coca-Cola 125th Anniversary Celebration in 2010.

On November 2, 2009, Universal Music has formally announced the signing of Zhang, at a press conference in Hong Kong.[21] Though she has signed a contract with Universal Music, Zhang said she has no plans to further her career abroad, she still put her focus on the Chinese market.[22]

In February 2010, her fourth studio album Believe in Jane was released.[23] On May 8, 2010, Jane Zhang and Hong Kong singer Jacky Cheung, along with Somali rapper K'Naan, original performer for 2010 FIFA World Cup theme song, they are sang "Wavin' Flag" together at the Coca-Cola Pavilion at World Expo 2010 Shanghai.[24] In August, she embarked on her first concert tour Believe in Jane Tour, reaching Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, and Chengdu. In October 2010, she performed on Asia Song Festival in Seoul, South Korea.[25]

In 2011, Zhang announced that her fifth studio album called, Reform. more than 60 percent of this album, which was released on June 1, can be labeled as typical Jane Zhang style. The songs cover a range of styles, from R&B to rock, hip pop and dance. Seven of the 10 songs on the album were composed by US musicians and a US postproduction team was involved to guarantee quality. In addition, Zhang wrote the lyrics for three songs, including one she composed herself.[26] This Year, Zhang also produced a single "Summer of Love" for Chinese actor Yang Mi.[27]

Listen to Jane Z Live is a live album recorded by Zhang in 2012. Through it she rediscovered her joy of singing and the pleasure of expressing her own ideas. This album working with Taiwan producer Jim Lee. At that time, Zhang flew to Las Vegas to see Cirque du Soleil's The Beatles Love. After watching the show, she got the inspiration and decided to release a live album. It's a live recording, she didn't have a second chance. So, Zhang rehearsed for the recording 11 days beforehand. Zhang's love for English songs also led to an original production, I Didn't Know, which shows her wide vocal range.[28]

In July 2014, Zhang announced she has signed with Sony Music. Simultaneously, Her sixth studio albumThe Seventh Sense was released. It took her two years to complete the 12-song album. The disc contains two English songs, Get out of My life and Unwind. She wroted the lyrics of The Seventh Sense, the theme song and namesake of the new album, based on my experiences during the past nine years.[29] this album is the first music album to express fashion in the Chinese music industry. Zhang collaborated with the fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar to hold a custom show of cross-border music and fashion, and released the song "Bazzar".[30]

2015–2019: Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, Past Progressive and SoundtracksEdit

 
Zhang performing on the Jane's Secret Tour in 2018.

In the first half of 2015, Zhang participated in the Chinese music show I am a singer. She sang two English songs "Bang Bang" and "All of Me" on the show, which led to the spread of these two songs in China. The original singer John Legend of "All of Me" was invited to perform as a guest performer at the Bang the World Tour Chengdu concert.[32] In the middle of the year, Paramount Pictures announced that Zhang sang the theme song "Fighting Shadows" with Big Sean for the American film Terminator Genisys. It's the first time that Zhang has recorded a song for an English-language film.[33] On June 30, 2015, this song released by Sony Music Entertainment in Asia while Def Jam Recordings released it in other parts of the world.[34] Hereafter, Change Your World, the theme song of the 2015 Budweiser Storm Music Festival, created by DJ Tiesto together with Jane Zhang was released in October.[35] This year, her 2015 Bang the World Tour was held to commemorate her singing career for a decade. The record company originally planned to record videos of the Beijing concert for the release of the DVD, but an accident occurred at the show, Zhang suddenly fell off from a two-meter round hollow of the elevator platform on the stage, which led to the cancellation of the plan.[36] Furthermore, Zhang was voted the Best World Act of the Asia region in 2015 MTV Europe Music Awards. When she went to the award ceremony, she was told to stay backstage and accept the award there. Zhang and her team considers this treatment which was seriously unfair and discriminative, so they decided to officially pull out of the award's Red carpet ceremony and all other activities of EMA.[37]

Zhang released "Dust My Shoulders Off", featuring Timbaland on October 14, 2016, as the lead single from her debut English studio album, Past Progressive. This single reached the top 10 on the US iTunes' songs chart. PopCrush believes that breaking into the American market in a big way is still an all-but-impossible feat for any Asian act, but to see Jane riding high on the iTunes charts Top 10 is an absolute unexpected delight.[11] In November, Zhang released an English song "Battlefield" and its promotional music video for Chinese-American co-production film The Great Wall. The song was composed by King Logan and PJ Morton and written by Josiah "JoJo" Martin and Zhang.[38]

Zhang attended the annual Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas, US on May 21, 2017.[39] In October, Zhang was invited to perform at the 2017 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. This show first exposed her English album's second single "Work for It" and the passionate dynamic song "808", and a short paragraph of song "Dust My Shoulders Off".[40] As the show aired around the world, the single "808" hit the Billboard Hot Dance/Electronic Songs TOP 50 Chart for several consecutive weeks, the highest 23rd.[41]

On October 1, 2018, Hong Kong was held fireworks display at the Victoria Harbour to mark the 69th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. The fireworks show was supported by Zhang's song, "My Dream". this song has the theme the "Chinese dream". The message is that everyone has dreams in their hearts. With a "smiling face" and "love", Hong Kong people are encouraged to pursue their own dreams.[42]

Past Progressive was released on April 27 to positive reviews. The album has a production cycle of up to five years.[43] Zhang won the Best Female Singer Award at the Beijing Pop Music Awards by her performance on this album, which is the ninth time she won this award.[44]

ArtistryEdit

Musical styleEdit

I’ve been performing professionally and learning at the same time throughout my singing career. Every stage of my evolution was driven by my passion to sing, and to pursue new things I discover in music. I never characterized myself as a specific style singer, I am a strong believer in trying new and exciting things. Every style of music has its charm, my biggest enjoyment of music is for the music itself. I’ve tried many styles of music, but from time to time, I have a stronger preference for one style over the others. I would like ballads in one period and EDM or operas or folk songs in the next. I’ve tried integrating different styles of music into my concerts from very early on, I enjoy bringing different styles of singing and energy to my audience.

— Zhang on her music style in a Harper's Bazaar interview.[45]

Zhang is Known for her impeccable singing technique and incredible voice.[45] She can perform a variety of musical styles, including pop, R&B, rock, hip pop, dance, etc. Her voice is clean and clear, with the ability to warble in the best Chinese folk style, but it's also expressive and almost stage-like in its changes of tone and key. her performance of "Painted Heart", the title track of the 2009 box office hit Painted Skin, showed off her folk techniques as well as her vocal range.[23]

One of the hardest lessons for Zhang was to reconcile the sexuality in her voice with her image on stage. Over the years, she has argued with designers over stage costumes that she thought were too sexy although even this resistance has faded. She says sexiness is just a performance on stage, it has no real relation to her inner self.[23] Zhang can dress traditional Chinese dress qipao, demurely singing the love songs of the 1980s.

InfluencesEdit

Teresa Teng (left) and Mariah Carey (right) both heavily influenced Zhang and her music.
Mariah Carey welcomes Zhang to Universal Music.

Zhang grew up listening to artists such as Teresa Teng,[46] Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Rihanna, and Pink,[47] who have all influenced her music. Zhang didn't draw her first musical inspirations from classical folk. When she was working the pub and club circuit, her repertoire was mostly English cover versions and she became adept at picking songs to win her audiences over. Her versatility has come to the fore in the years after the contest and she often summons up an enormous voice from within a petite frame, tempting comparison with her idol, Mariah Carey.[23] Musically, Mariah Carey is her biggest inspiration. She credits Mariah Carey was an explorer and trend setter in both singing style and harmonic designs.[45]

Zhang is impressed with Whitney Houston's music.Zhang says Whitney Houston's voice will never be lost with the wind, and she will always be remembered.[48]

Public imageEdit

Zhang performing song "The Diva Dance" in Shanghai Mercedes-Benz Arena in 2018.

Zhang's personal life is the subject of constant media attention. In July 2015, Zhang made her 12-year relationship with Michael Feng, CEO of Show City Times, public at the Hunan concert of 2015 Bang the World Tour. "If you want to marry me, please come on stage." Zhang suddenly said on the stage.[49] In October 2016, Zhang's mother Zhang Guiying posted a long open letter accusing Zhang's fiancé Feng of cheating on her daughter and changing their company's shareholding structure without notifying her. She believed the man was trying to control her daughter's financial empire rather than really loving her.[50]

Jane was ranked 43rd on the 2011 Forbes China Celebrities List. She is the number one female singer in mainland China.[51]

The Women of the Year by Cosmopolitan Magazine in China recognized Zhang in 2008 and she was considered a strong female role model.[52]

Other venturesEdit

TechnologyEdit

Zhang is a technology and social media enthusiast. She attended the 2014 GSMA Mobile Asia Expo taking place to share how her career and success had been influenced by social media.[53]

MoviesEdit

On May 15, 2014, Zhang attended the "China Night" of the 67th Cannes Film Festival at Cannes in France.[54] This year, Zhang was invited to join the jury of the 38th Montreal World Film Festival.[55]

SportsEdit

On August 16, 2014, Zhang sang the theme Song "Light up the Future" during the opening ceremony of 2014 Youth Olympic Games.[56]

In 2015, Major League Baseball launched a baseball reality show in China and invited Zhang as an image ambassador.[57] In 2019, Zhang was hired as ambassadors of the 31st Summer Universiade in 2021.[58]

PhilanthropyEdit

Zhang was invited by China Health Education Center to make an anti-tobacco charity advertisement that appeals to people to say no to smoking in public spaces. She said that she hopes more people will realize the impact of secondhand smoke on their health. The charity ad was broadcast for the first time on China Central Television (CCTV) on World No Tobacco Day on May 31, 2013.[59]

In February 2007, Zhang has been invited by World Peace One(WP1) to join a hundred world-renowned singers and bands to record a song called "Give Your Love".[60][61]

In 2010, Jane Zhang was hosted some children from poor families and disaster-affected regions in a visit to the 2010 Shanghai Expo.[62]

In 2011, Jane Zhang became a volunteer for WWF to protect the Narrow-ridged finless porpoise. She has been continually engaged in the public welfare of protecting the Narrow-ridged finless porpoise. In 2012, she was officially hired by the World Wide Fund for Nature as the "Messenger of Protect the Narrow-ridged finless porpoise".

PoliticsEdit

Zhang has publicly advocated for Children's rights. She is the ambassador of the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) University Volunteer Program in 2007. Zhang created the song "We are together" for this event, and sent out the volunteer advocacy of "Caring for Children, Starting from Me".[63] On April 6, 2013, Zhang attended the Young Leaders Roundtable of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), a platform for high-level leaders from government, business and academic circles to discuss pressing global and regional issues. During the discussion, Zhang has called on parents to pay more attention to their children's mental health. In 2014, Zhang launched 'Blue Action' to raise funds for children on the autism spectrum.[64] She also attended the 2014 Hong Kong Youth Music Festival at the Victoria harbor of Hong Kong. the festival aims to cement a platform for Asia youths and to culture interaction in Asia and spreading the optimism.[65]

Zhang is a feminist. She said that gender equality is an issue that is close to her heart and she appeal to the world to fight sexual discrimination. so, she participated in "One Woman" event of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and released the charity-themed song "One Woman" in 2013, in celebration of International Women's Day.[66]

In April 2006, Zhang attended the charity dinner at the Boao Forum for Asia. She performed "One Day When We Were Young" with former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke.[67]

In January 2007, Zhang attended a dinner hosted at the Embassy of the United States, Beijing. The dinner was held to welcome the visit of the first US public image ambassador, Michelle Kwan. Zhang came to the stage to give a thank-you speech. In October, Jane Zhang once again attended a dinner hosted by the Embassy of the United States, Beijing. The dinner was to welcome the US government's public diplomacy special envoy, Cal Ripken Jr., Zhang came to the stage to give a thank-you speech.

On July 11, 2009, Zhang sangs a song named "The Moon Represents My Heart" with Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Wu Poh-hsiung during a soiree to mark the fifth Cross-Straits Economic, Trade and Culture Forum in Changsha.[68]

Awards and achievementsEdit

Zhang has received many awards and honors, including 9 Beijing Pop Music Awards for Best Female Singer, 2 China Gold Record Awards, and an MTV Europe Music Award.

DiscographyEdit

FilmographyEdit

ToursEdit

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Goldkorn, Jeremy (2005-08-24). "The final week of TV sensation Super Voice Girls". Danwei.org. Retrieved 2007-07-29.
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  3. ^ "揭秘热门奥运歌曲:谭盾的《拥抱爱的梦想》". sina news. Retrieved 2018-10-07.
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  44. ^ 徐, 子茗. "2019华人歌曲音乐盛典在澳门举行". China Daily. Retrieved 2019-10-09.
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  57. ^ "MLB broadens appeal of baseball in China - China.org.cn". China Internet Information Center. Retrieved 2019-09-25.
  58. ^ 陈子琰. "Program to promote Universiade 2021 launched in Beijing". China Daily. Retrieved 2019-09-25.
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  60. ^ Ray Waddell. "Concerts key to World Peace One initiative". Reuters. Retrieved 2019-09-26.
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  62. ^ "Stars to host kid visits". Shanghai Daily. 2010-05-21. Retrieved 2019-09-25.
  63. ^ "Zhang Liangying served as the master of the UNICEF University Volunteer Project". Sina Corp. Retrieved 2019-10-01.
  64. ^ "Charity Events Held Nationwide to Mark World Autism Awareness Day". All-China Women's Federation. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
  65. ^ "HK Holds Youth Music Festival along Victoria Harbor". All-China Women's Federation. Retrieved 2019-10-02.
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  67. ^ "张靓颖与霍克同台献技". Sina Corp. Retrieved 2018-10-13.
  68. ^ "KMT Chairman Wu sings during 5th Cross-Straits Forum". Global Times. Retrieved 2019-10-03.

External linksEdit