Huang Zitao

  (Redirected from Tao (entertainer))

Huang Zitao (Chinese: 黃子韜; pinyin: Huáng Zǐtāo; born May 2, 1993), also known as Tao, is a Chinese singer-songwriter, rapper, actor and model. After leaving the South Korean-Chinese boy band Exo, he made his solo debut in China 2015 with the mini-album TAO, under the new stage name Z.Tao. Huang made his acting debut in the romantic movie You Are My Sunshine and later received recognition for his leading roles in Negotiator and The Brightest Star in the Sky.

Huang Zitao
黃子韬
Huang Zitao at Ports 1961 Shanghai.jpg
Z.Tao at the Ports 1961 Opening Ceremony in Shanghai 2015
Born
Huang Zitao

(1993-05-02) May 2, 1993 (age 26)
Qingdao, Shandong, China
NationalityChinese
Other namesTao, Z.Tao
Alma materQingdao Foreign Service Vocational School
Occupation
  • Singer-songwriter
  • rapper
  • record producer
  • actor
Years active2012–present
Musical career
OriginSeoul, South Korea
Genres
InstrumentsVocals
Labels
Associated acts
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese
Korean name
Hangul

Huang ranked 25th on Forbes China Celebrity 100 list in 2017,[1] and 35th in 2019.[2]

Early lifeEdit

Huang Zitao was born in Qingdao, Shandong, China on May 2, 1993.[3] As a child, he undertook Wushu training and became a student athlete.[4] In late 2010 he was scouted by a representative from SM Entertainment at a talent show.[5]

Music careerEdit

2011–2015: Exo and lawsuit against SM EntertainmentEdit

 
Huang Zitao (Z.TAO) at the Fashion Kode 2014

On December 27, 2011, Huang was formally introduced as the third member of Exo (with the stage name Tao).[6]

In late 2013, Huang took part in filming for MBC's celebrity diving program Splash!, but withdrew due to injuries,[7] and the show was cancelled due to injuries to multiple other contestants.[8]

He featured in two songs from Zhou Mi's album Rewind, which he penned the rap lyrics to;[9] and appeared as a cast member of the Solomon Islands edition of the SBS reality television program Laws of the Jungle in 2014.[10] He left the show early due to a foot injury on a coral reef during filming.

In June 2015, Huang set up a Chinese agency, 黄子韬Z.TAO Studio.[11] On August 24, he filed a lawsuit against SM Entertainment to terminate his contract.[12] Huang claimed the 10-year contract had unjust terms and said he lacks freedom due to the long contract period.[13] However, the Supreme Court dismissed Huang's appeal on March 15, 2018. The exclusive contract between SM Entertainment and Huang is still valid.[14]

In China, SM Entertainment filed a lawsuit against Huang regarding his solo activities. Chinese courts ruled that Huang was entitled to use his name and image for solo activities in China, and dismissed the lawsuit.[15]

2015–present: Solo career and mainstream popularityEdit

On July 23, 2015, Huang made his solo debut with a digital EP titled TAO,[16] which sold 670,000 digital copies in its first week.[17] The album was followed up with a second EP, Z.TAO, which was released for free on August 19 with the title track "Crown".[18] The music video for "Crown" was presented in the style of a 7-minute short film, directed by Nick Lentz and featuring Jessica Gomes.[19] Huang performed the stunts and martial arts sequences for the action scenes in the music video.[20] Huang held his first solo concert Z.TAO Mini Concert at the Beijing Exhibition Center Theater on August 23, as part of a benefit concert for those affected by the Tianjin explosions.[21][22]

 
Huang Zitao (Z.TAO) at IS BLUE Concert in Shanghai, June 15, 2019

On October 15, Huang released the single "Reluctantly", a ballad composed by himself and Andros Rodriguez.[23] At the 2015 Migu Music Awards, Huang won the "Best Stage Performance" award and performed the single.[24] As part of an endorsement deal with the game I'm the Sovereign, Huang composed and released the single "I'm the Sovereign".[25] The song topped China's Billboard chart for the week of December 5, 2015.[26]

On January 12, 2016, Huang won the "Most Influential Male Singer" award at the 2016 Mobile Video Festival (Miopai Awards).[27] He was later invited to perform as a headliner for the SoYoung 2016 Live Concert Tour on January 29, which featured young rising musicians in China.[28]

Huang's first album The Road was announced in March 2016. It was recorded partly in Los Angeles in collaboration with Nick Lentz.[29] The lead single "The Road" was released on April 22.[30] On May 1, Huang commenced a concert tour Z.Tao The Road Concert for the album in Nanjing[31] and released a music video for the single "Hello, Hello", featuring Wiz Khalifa.[32] Another single, "Adore" was released the same month and sold over 30,000 copies, receiving the platinum certification.[33] The Road was released on August 22 was sold with 8888 pieces limited edition. After one minute of pre-sale opening, the sale profit reached 500k rmb; and the album reached number one on the sale charts.[34] At the end of 2016, Huang won the Most Influential Male Singer award at the Tencent Star Awards.[35]

In April 2017, Huang was named Promotional Ambassador for the 17th Top Chinese Music Awards, where he also won the "All-Round Artist" award.[36] He embarked on his first Asia Tour, Z.Tao Promise Concert Tour which kick-start in Beijing on April 30; and also released a single of the same name.[37][38]

In 2018, Huang joined the dance-oriented variety show, Street Dance of China.[39] It was also announced that Huang would be the head producer and MC on the Chinese version of Produce 101.[40] The same year, Huang embarked on his fourth concert tour, Z.Tao 2018 IS GOØD Concert Tour.[41]

Artistry and musical styleEdit

Following his departure from EXO and return to China, Huang stated that he made a decision to pursue his career in the ailing Chinese music industry, expressing a desire to continue as an artist with the goal of seeing C-Pop receive global recognition.[42][43] He is involved in songwriting and composition, drawing inspiration from his experiences.[44][45]

Although he is primarily a rapper, he has also performed Mandopop ballad songs. His music combines elements of hip hop, EDM, and Chinese musical instruments.[46] He cites Jay Chou as his musical inspiration, having listened to his music growing up.[47]

Acting careerEdit

Huang made his film debut in romance film You Are My Sunshine alongside Huang Xiaoming and Yang Mi. The film was released on May 1, 2015.[48]

In 2016, Huang starred in the action comedy Railroad Tigers directed by Ding Sheng, alongside Jackie Chan.[49]

In 2017, Huang starred in the martial arts film The Game Changer,[50] directed by Gao Xixi,[51] as well as the romantic thriller Edge of Innocence.[52] The same year, he played the monkey king in the web drama A Chinese Odyssey: Love You A Million Years, adapted from the film A Chinese Odyssey.[53] The series garnered over 5 billion views online during its run.[54] In November, he was announced as one of the two leads in action drama Forward Forever alongside Jackson Yi.[55][56]

In 2018, Huang starred in Negotiator, a spin-off of the 2016 hit drama The Interpreter.[57] The same year, he was cast in the youth period drama The Files of Teenagers in the Concession.[58]

In 2019, he acted as a chinese pop star in the music romance youth drama The Brightest Star in the Sky.[59]

Other activitiesEdit

Endorsements and Brand AmbassadorshipEdit

 
Huang Zitao (Z.TAO) at IS BLUE Concert in Shanghai, June 15, 2019

In June 2017, Huang collaborated with Jonathan Anderson, LOEWE's creative director, on the "FIRE OF YOUTH" campaign,[60] becoming the first Asian artist invited to collaborate with LOEWE.[61]

In July 2017, Hanhoo appointed Huang as their Brand Ambassador.[62] The brand later partially sponsored The Brightest Star in the Sky, a hit drama of Huang with product placement in the drama.[63]

In September 2017, Huang was named Yves Saint Laurent's beauty ambassador and participated in the second season of YSL's web series Before the Light.[64][65]

Shenwu3, a turn-based MMORPG game by Duoyi Network which is the 4th biggest game company in China, has announced Huang as their brand ambassador.[66] They collaborated further and Huang released a song called "Silently(默默)" under the branding of Shenwu3 in July 2018.[67]

In January 2018, Huang began promoting a China phone brand, Sugar Phone, and attended the press conference for Sugar Phone S11.[68] In April 2018, Sugar Phone supported Huang's IS GOØD Concert Tour as the main sponsor.[69]

Huang has also been appointed as brand ambassador for YSL Eyewars in January 2018.[70]

Jif Jaf Kraft,[71] Tencent Weishi Application[72] and Xiao Zhu home rental application[73] have also appointed Huang as their first brand ambassadors respectively in first half of 2018. In second half of the year, Huang has endorsed KFC,[74] EVISU,[75] Tuborg,[76] Skechers[77] and Baidu mobile application[78] as their brand ambassador.

In September 2018, Huang worked on the Chinese version of Stay Open, a promotional song for Tuborg originally released by Diplo and .[79]

Sephora launched their first ad campaign in China with Huang as their brand ambassador in September 2018.[80]

In August 2019, Huang also endorsed Hershey's[81] and Nescafe Dolce Gusto[82] as their brand ambassador. Kappa headlined Huang as their brand ambassador for the campaign "I make my own trend" in the same month.[83]

Lacoste appointed Huang as the company's first brand brand ambassador for Asia Pacific region and launched "Crocodile Inside" campaign in September 2019.[84]

BusinessesEdit

In July 17, 2018, Huang established his own agency called L.TAO Entertainment.[85] Apart from managing Huang's own work, L.TAO has also signed other artists including Xu Yiyang, a former trainee of SM Entertainment.[86]

Huang has expanded his business further by opening a restaurant called "Hao Shi"[87] and an architecture and design company called L.TAO Architecture and Design[88] in June 2019.

Z.TAO's ManEdit

Z.TAO's Man, a comic and 2D animation character that represents many elements of Huang, was launched in April 2019. Z.TAO's Man is a superhero character whose power is CPOP, the music genre Huang has been promoting and pursuing since the beginning of his solo debut.[89] Huang has collaborated with SunMei Group which is a hospitality business group that owns Thank U hotel chain to create Z.TAO's Man.[90]

Its weekly episodes are released on Sina Weibo's comic platform and a 2D animation is set to release.

DiscographyEdit

  • The Road (2016)

SongwritingEdit

Year Song Album Lyrics Music
2014 "Rewind" (Chinese Version) Rewind  Y (with Zhou Mi, Zhou Weijie)
"Love Tonight"  Y (with Zhou Mi)
2015 "T.A.O" T.A.O  Y (with Chen Hongyu)
"One Heart"  Y
"Yesterday"  Y
"M.O.M" The Road  Y  Y
"Crown (皇冠)" Z.TAO  Y (with Osamu)
"Cinderella Girl"  Y  Y (with Palace Court)
"Feel Awake"
"Alone"  Y  Y
"Intro (Vox Up)" N/A  Y  Y
"Reluctantly (舍不得)" The Road  Y  Y
"I'm the Sovereign(我是大主宰)"  Y (with Wang Yunyun)  Y (with Palace Court)
2016 "The Road"  Y  Y
"Underground King"  Y  Y
"Hello, Hello"  Y (with Daryl K, Kenn Miel, Wiz Khalifa)
"Adore"  Y (with Daryl K, Andie Sandoval)  Y (with DarylK, Andie Sandoval, Calvin C)
"Mystery Girl"  Y  Y
"19(十九岁)"  Y (with Wang Yunyun)
"Black White (AB)"  Y  Y
2017 "New Day"  Y  Y
"Promise" N/A  Y  Y
"Collateral Love"  Y  Y
"Uncover(揭穿)"  Y  Y
"Still in Time(還來得及)"  Y  Y
"You(想成为你)"  Y (with Wang Yunyun)  Y
2018 "Beggar"  Y  Y
"HATER"  Y  Y
"Misunderstand"  Y  Y
"Silently(默默)"  Y
"Stay Open"  Y  Y
"KOC"  Y  Y
"Break Up (分手不分離)"  Y  Y
2019 "Single (单身)"  Y  Y
"Once Beautiful (好不好)"  Y  Y
"NPNG (不劳不获)" Art is Blue  Y (with GAI)  Y (with GAI)
"One (你也会像我一样)"  Y  Y
"Fault (错)" Music is Blue  Y  Y
"AI"  Y  Y
"The Legendary Man (带风的少年)"
"The Best of Us (最好的我们)"  Y  Y

FilmographyEdit

FilmEdit

Year English title Chinese title Role Notes
2015 You Are My Sunshine 何以笙箫默 William
2016 Railroad Tigers 铁道飞虎 Da Hai
2017 The Game Changer 游戏规则 Fang Jie
Edge of Innocence 夏天十九岁的肖像 Kang Qiao

Television seriesEdit

Year English title Chinese title Role Notes
2015 Exo Next Door N/A fictional version of himself
2017 A Chinese Odyssey: Love You A Million Years 大话西游之爱你一万年 Zhi Zunbao Web series
2018 Negotiator 谈判官 Xie Xiaofei
2019 The Brightest Star in the Sky 夜空中最闪亮的星 Zheng Boxu
Hot Blooded Youth 租界少年热血档案 Wu Qian
2020 Forward Forever 热血同行 Chong Liming

Variety showEdit

Year English title Chinese title Role Notes
2015–2016 Charming Daddy 闪亮的爸爸 Cast member [91]
2016 Law of The Jungle 我们的法则
Takes a Real Man 真正男子汉 [92]
2018 Street Dance of China 这就是街舞
Produce 101 创造101 Presenter
2019 The Protectors 小小的追球 Cast member [93]

Music videosEdit

Title Year
"Rewind" Zhou Mi (Feat. ZTao) (Chinese Version) 2014
"Do You Know" (Remake; Jo Sung-mo)
"T.A.O" 2015
"Crown (皇冠)"
"Reluctantly (舍不得)"
"I'm the Sovereign(我是大主宰)"
"The Road" 2016
"Hello Hello" (feat. Wiz Khalifa)
"Black White (AB)"
"Beggar" 2018
"Stay Open" (with Diplo&M∅)
"AI" 2019

Concerts and toursEdit

HeadlinerEdit

  • Z.Tao Mini Concert Tour (2015)
  • Z.Tao The Road Concert (2016)
  • Z.Tao Promise Concert Tour (2017)
  • Z.Tao 2018 IS GOØD Concert Tour (2018)
  • Z.Tao 2019 IS BLUE Concert (2019)[94]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2015 Migu Music Awards Best Stage Performance N/A Won [24]
2016 Mobile Video Festival Most Influential Male Singer N/A Won [27]
Tencent Video Star Awards N/A Won [95]
Weibo Night Awards Most Popular Singer N/A Won [96]
2017 The 5th V Chart Awards All Round Artist of the Year N/A Won [97]
17th Top Chinese Music Awards N/A Won [98]
Asian Music Gala Top 10 Songs "New Day" Won [99]
2018 Baidu Baike All-Round Artist of the Year N/A Won
2019 China Music Awards Asian Influential Power Male Singer N/A Won [100]
Versatile Artist Of The Year N/A Won
Golden Bud - The Fourth Network Film And Television Festival Best Actor The Brightest Star in the Sky, Hot Blooded Youth Nominated [101]

Music program awardsEdit

Global Chinese Music
Year Date Song
2016 May 21 "Underground King"

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