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Pop producer finds peace with her piano

WITH more than 10 years' experience as a pop music producer and magazine editor, Yan Yue has suddenly started to expand her career, appearing on stage and exploring the album market, making her mark as a composer and pianist.

On Sunday Yan and her band appeared at the JZ Club on Fuxing Road W. The busy night in Shanghai suddenly seemed calm as her piano soothed the stresses of outside life. The one-and-a-half-hour show astonished everyone there.

It was just the second time Yan had given a live concert - the first was in Beijing last month.

At the end of April, her combination work "Moon" was released. "Moon" is an album that comes with a novel and illustrations. The music album contains four of Yan's works, "Sea," "Dunhuang," "Sad Song," and "She." The famous Chinese author Li Jie, well-known under her pen name Annie Baby, wrote the novel. The illustrations were the photography of Hansey Xuejian Li, the chief editor of the magazine "Alice" and an art designer and photographer. The photographs show the changes in light and texture of a sky over 24 hours.

"Moon" is praised as one of the most original concepts and cooperations of literature and music in 2009.

"I think it will also open a new era for the album industry. The meaning of 'Moon' is historic," Yan tells Shanghai Daily. "The old album industry is dying because of piracy and free MP3 downloading. We need new directions to save the album world and encourage the creation of original music."

For this venture 24-year-old artist Hansey connected the musician Yan and the writer Annie. Hansey gave some unreleased music by Yan to Annie. A story was born and, inspired by Yan's music, Annie finished the novel in two months.

"I was surprised and some sentences in the novel really touched me. To date I have never actually met Annie and haven't even talked to her on the phone. But when I read the novel I found so many similar emotional feelings in my music. It's really an amazing experience for both of us. Writing a novel and composing music are two different ways of expressing some emotions," says Yan.

"Moon" has been a major success - more than 100,000 copies were sold within two months.

Many of Yan's close friends have been surprised by her musical talent. Yan is now the deputy general manager and brand director of the monthly magazine "Surface" in Beijing.

Yan began studying music when she was very young and in college she majored in music and fashion design.

Yan used to work as a producer at Warner Music and Modern Sky and looked after planning and marketing, participating in the production of more than 60 music albums for many well-known Chinese local singers and groups - like Pu Shu, Milk&Coffee, New Pants, the Dada and Guo Jingming.

The music styles Yan has been involved with spread over pop, electronic, rock and even world music.

But Yan's own musical compositions are mainly for the piano with some other instruments like bass and guitar accompanying. Only a few have vocals.

"I think my music is pure and it will not be very popular compared to other pop music. But I make music for myself, for peaceful moods," says Yan. "So I mostly choose the piano as the main instrument for my music and describe my life stories though the music."

The song "She" became first known to the public via the Internet. It's a song to farewell the music magazine "Music Heaven" for which Yan worked as the chief editor for many years before it closed in 2006.

"At first I just wanted to express my mood at the time and share it with my friends who were working with me there. It's a peaceful piano work," says Yan.

Yan is planning to release more of her music and is searching for new styles.


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