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Slater Rhea (Chinese: 帅德; pinyin: Shuài Dé; literally: "Handsome Virtue") is an American singer, songwriter and TV personality on national TV in China.[1][2] Rhea is a regular performer on Chinese music and entertainment programs, having made appearances on China Central Television, China Education Television, Jiangsu TV, Beijing TV, Inner Mongolia TV, Yunnan TV, Anhui TV, as well as other local and provincial stations across China.[3][4] Rhea performs in Chinese (primarily Mandarin, but also in Shaanxi dialect),[5] Mongolian, and English.[3][6] While he rose to prominence in China for singing traditional Chinese folk tunes, he also writes and sings Chinese pop and educational music and performs a variety of English-language material including American jazz standards and rock-and-roll.[3][6]

Slater Rhea
帅德
SlaterRheaSinger.jpg
Born
Slater David Rhea

Alexandria, Louisiana, United States
EducationJohns Hopkins University
Nanjing University
University of Oklahoma
OccupationSinger, TV Personality

Rhea has been referred to in Chinese and international media as a cultural ambassador and "musical diplomat"[3][2] because of his background in international relations and dream to improve U.S.-China relations through his music and performances.[7] Rhea additionally credits former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, whom he met and sang for in 2016, as an inspiration to pursue a career in cultural diplomacy.[6]

Rhea lives in Beijing and, in addition to his entertainment career, holds a position as lecturer in English and International Studies at Beijing Foreign Studies University.[2]

Childhood and educationEdit

Rhea was born and raised in Alexandria, Louisiana, where he was first singled out to sing solos in his Catholic church choir[2][8][9] and learned piano and violin in local music programs.[6][10] He was enrolled in the Boy Scouts of America from grade one and earned the rank of Eagle Scout at age 13.[11][12] As a Scout, Rhea was heavily involved in the local Attakapas Council and Order of the Arrow Ouxouiga Lodge, of which he was the final 'Lodge Chief'[13][14] and Vigil Honor member.[12]

He graduated from the Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts[15][16] in Natchitoches, Louisiana before attending the University of Oklahoma as a National Merit Scholar,[2][6] where he earned dual bachelor's degrees in Chinese Language and Literature and Asian Studies.[17] He attended the Johns Hopkins University-Nanjing University Center for Chinese and American Studies in Nanjing, China, where he studied, wrote and defended a 100-page thesis in Mandarin[6][17] and earned dual master's degrees in China Studies and International Politics[6][2] from Johns Hopkins University and Nanjing University while first performing on Nanjing-based Jiangsu TV.[6]

Connection to Xi'an, Shaanxi folk songs, and biangbiang noodlesEdit

 
Rhea writes and explains a "biang" character on Xi'an TV.

Rhea has a close connection with the ancient Chinese capital of Xi'an (and Shaanxi Province) and its culture, having first visited the city and established connections there in 2010.[18] Rhea often sings North Shaanxi folk songs, which he first heard and fell in love with on his first visit to China. His connection to Xi'an and Shaanxi Province is often discussed in his TV appearances,[19] including his love of Shaanxi's distinctive cuisine, including roujiamo ("Chinese hamburger"), liangpi (cold noodles), yangrou paomo (lamb stew with bits of crumbled flatbread), fried persimmon cakes, and, most prominently, biangbiang noodles (Shaanxi's famous 'thick-as-a-belt' handmade noodles).[18][19]

The "biang" in biangbiang noodles is known for being one of the most complex Chinese characters;[20] and Rhea made front page news in Shaanxi province's Chinese Business View when he first wrote the character on CCTV.[21] Show hosts and guests often "test" Rhea's ability to write it, and as a result, Rhea has since been associated with the character in Chinese media. For instance, CCTV host Zhu Jun demonstrated to him how Shaanxi people crouch down to eat the noodles (a folk custom in Shaanxi);[22] in other cases, Rhea has taught other TV personalities, for instance Hong Kong singer Leo Ku, to write the character while reciting a mnemonic poem for remembering the character's 43 strokes.[22]

DiscographyEdit

AlbumsEdit

SinglesEdit

  • 2019: 中国姑娘
  • 2019: 天籁之爱 (with 阿鲁阿卓)
  • 2019: 敖包相会 (with 阿木古楞)

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Big in China: US singer unknown at home but a hit in the East | Daily Mail Online". Mail Online. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Oklahoma singer gains national attention in China". Mail Online. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  3. ^ a b c d "Slater Rhea to perform Tuesday, give Q&A session and perform at LSMSA Wednesday | Natchitoches Times". www.natchitochestimes.com. Retrieved 2018-03-27.
  4. ^ 李潇. "Online contest for young singers kicks off in Beijing - China.org.cn". www.china.org.cn. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  5. ^ 华商网. "美国小伙表演陕西元素_华商网". ehsb.hsw.cn. Retrieved 2018-02-11.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h "Big in Beijing – Alexandria native wows Chinese audiences". thetowntalk.com. Retrieved 2018-03-15.
  7. ^ 李虹睿. "New US 'musical diplomat' wows crowds in China - Chinadaily.com.cn". www.chinadaily.com.cn. Retrieved 2019-08-03.
  8. ^ Jardon, Cynthia (October 31, 1998). "Saint Cecilia Concert features choir of 200 children". The Alexandria Daily Town Talk.
  9. ^ Story, Alice B. (November 10, 1995). "Organ shows power of music". The Alexandria Daily Town Talk.
  10. ^ Meeks, Michael (June 26, 1994). "Reading is fun". The Alexandria Daily Town Talk.
  11. ^ "Rhea receives rank of Eagle". The Town Talk. November 5, 2000.
  12. ^ a b "Scouter shares strategies for earning respect - Scouting magazine". Scouting magazine. 2012-04-16. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  13. ^ Miller, Robin (March 1, 2004). "Camp Attakapas: Boy Scouts to celebrate 50 years of Scouting at camp". The Town Talk.
  14. ^ "Order of the Arrow chief to speak in Cenla". The Town Talk. January 6, 2003.
  15. ^ "Slater Rhea to perform, visit campus Feb. 27-28". Louisiana School for Math, Science and the Arts. 2018-02-22. Retrieved 2018-03-27.
  16. ^ "Milestones: National Merit Scholar". The Town Talk. June 12, 2005.
  17. ^ a b "University of Oklahoma Distinguished Alumnus Profile: Slater Rhea". Modern Languages, Literatures and Linguistics. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  18. ^ a b ""额是西安滴"!美国小伙今晚央视写biang字|帅德|biang-西安新闻_华商网新闻". news.hsw.cn. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  19. ^ a b "美国小伙帅德央视《中华情》讲述他的陕西情缘 - 陕西宣传网". www.sxxc.gov.cn. Retrieved 2018-02-06.
  20. ^ Beck, Stewart Lee (2014-02-28). "The Hardest Chinese Character". China Simplified. Retrieved 2018-02-13.
  21. ^ "Chinese Business View Front Page Screenshot, October 15, 2017".
  22. ^ a b "美国歌手帅德登上《我要上春晚》". 北方网:enorth.com.cn.

External linksEdit