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What Jane Wants
    2008-12-04 13:45:13     China Daily

Singer Jane Zhang rehearses for her December 6, Beijing concert on December 3, 2008. [Photo: yule.baidu.com]

It's hard to believe a 24-year-old woman football fan could be so serious and rational. But 2005 Supergirl Zhang Liangying, better known as Jane Zhang, seems to be.

Not only can she talk about the recent league games in Italy, Spain and England in an expert way she also voted for Messi as this year's World Footballer of The Year. "Though I love Kaka more, because the Argentinian is playing better than Kaka this year," she says.

Her comment sounds more like one from a soccer journalist than an ordinary young woman fan.

"Jane knows what she wants," says Wa Wa, the veteran lyricist, who produced Zhang's about-to-be-released new album.

"She has independent ideas about her albums and concerts. When she was working on the new album, she set out to make a breakthrough in her career.

"Jane is one of the few hard-working singers I have met. She has talent, but still makes a great effort in her music. She definitely stands out among the singers of her generation."

To end this year on a high note, Jane will give concerts at Beijing's Capital Gymnasium on Saturday and Shanghai Grand Stage on December 13, before releasing her new album, released by H. Brothers Music.

The performance style featured in her coming gigs and the kind of the songs on the new album reveals what Jane wants. "I have always been fascinated by live music, so I prefer singing live to the recording studio," she says.

"In the studio, the equipment can help you change the tune and any slight mistakes to make your voice sound perfect but in live concerts, every breath is live.

"The new album includes more jazzy and faster songs, which are best for a live concert. I think this is my future direction."

Wa Wa was first impressed by Jane's flexible vocal range a few years ago when she heard her sing an English song at a pop music award ceremony.

"What a good voice, I thought. Then somebody told me she was a Supergirl contestant. But I just felt somehow her singing was not touching my heart," she says.

"She was not a fixed image in my mind and I don't care about her previous albums. In my mind, every new album is a new start for a singer.

"So we just wanted to create a totally new Jane Zhang," says the lyricist, who wrote many popular songs for such star singers as Alan Tam, Jacky Cheung, Beyond and David Tao.

"A new Jane" is definitely what Zhang wants.

Of the 2005 Supergirls top three, Li Yuchun was known for her cool, boy-like manner, and Zhou Bichang for her black-frame glasses and innocent high-school persona. But Jane was more sophisticated and carried an aura of sadness, partly because she once sang in nightclubs to pay for her school fees.

It was the strategy of the Supergirls producers to "fix" its singers' images but Jane wants to break free from any previous stereotypes.

"Most of my previous songs are soft and even heartbreaking love songs and that has been considered my trademark style," she says.

"But actually in real life, I am not a depressed and hurt girl.

"I am young, open-minded, love smiling, lovely but not Kawaii, and I have not experienced many dramas or tragedies in my life.

"It's really awkward and hard for me to sing those songs. When I sang them, I was not quite myself.

"About love, I am frank and straightforward and would not fall into emotional entanglements," she adds. "So I gave myself to Wa Wa and showed her the real Jane Zhang."

Wa Wa enjoyed working with Jane because "she's smart and gets to the point very fast."

Thus, instead of a heartbroken Jane, the new songs will show a normal 24-year-old who enjoys living and is wild about love.

Jane says she has grown up both mentally and musically since her 2005 success.

"Three years ago, when I heard rumors about me, I would be irrationally furious," she says. "I would pound the table and stand up in anger.

"Now, I don't care what people say but focus on my music. The rumors are always there - I can do nothing about them. What I can do is to do good albums and concerts."

Now Jane is looking forward to her gigs in Beijing and Shanghai and says all her confidence comes from her music and her reliable band.

"All these musicians have a wealth of live concert experience and I collaborated with some of them at last year's Chengdu concert," continues Jane.

"One of my ambitions is to have my own band in future."

By Chen Jie



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