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Romantic and down to earth, Wang sings out

JOANNA Ruolin Wang a talented 20-year-old is now the most shining rising star in today's Chinese pop music. But she is an enigma too, as Nie Xin discovers.

The Taiwanese singer-songwriter Joanna Ruolin Wang will make her debut at Shanghai Grand Theater this month. This talented 20-year-old is now the most shining rising star in today's Chinese pop music with two successful albums "Start From Here" (2008) and "Joanna & Wang Ruo-Lin" (2009).

As well as songs from her albums, Wang will perform some classic English pop, including Madonna's "Material Girl" and Don McLean's "Vincent."

Educated in the United States, Wang is famous for her romantic English songs touched by jazz piano, soul, blues, and folk styles. Her first album "Start From Here" made her one of the best-selling female singers in Taiwan and she has also become known as a major and talented singer-songwriter °?- not just by her audiences but by her fellow musicians. She is regarded as highly as Lisa Ono and Norah Jones in China with her sexy, powerful voice and her mature understanding of music.

But the independent girl can get annoyed with the demands of her album company. A few days ago she said, "I am embarrassed to be a pop singer," and the words were misinterpreted in the press as: "To be a pop singer is a shame."

Wang gave her own explanation in a telephone interview and revealed her true straightforward personality.

"I want to make my own music. Actually I haven't shown my best music to the public yet. I said 'embarrassed' because I feel uncomfortable with my arranged hair, clothing style and music," she says.

Wang wants to make her music completely unrestricted and not limited to any one style.

"I have said that if I could choose I would prefer rock music. But actually I mean the independent spirits of rock," she says.

In her second album released in this year "Joanna & Wang Ruo-Lin," Wang took part in the production side with her father, Wang Zhiping, who is a famous music producer in Taiwan.

In the new album, Wang was more mature and bolder as she presented different attitudes and ideas.

"I am also more confident about concerts, as I now have more songs to sing to my fans," Wang says.

Along with this album, next to the slickly, commercially packaged CD, Wang included a simpler-packaged EP, "The Adult Storybook," which features the 10 English-language songs she likes most.

Wang used to focus on making music in the studio and had little interest in live performances until she gave a concert in Hong Kong in March.

"Since then I've changed my mind. The effect of a live concert is perfect and I started to like this feeling. I am really looking forward to the feedback from my fans in Shanghai," Wang says.

The concert in Shanghai will continue the mode of the concert in Hong Kong and will use "The Adult Storybook" as a theme with the stage full of the childhood fun.

The repertoire will be adjusted a little to satisfy the Shanghai audience but Wang is keeping the details a secret to give her fans a surprise.

Many might be surprised by the talent and very mature attitude of this young girl, but Wang actually lives a casual life. When she creates music, she just stays at home and all she needs is a guitar.

"Most of the time, I stay at home and write songs. It's a very relaxing life style," she says.

In her leisure time, Wang plays online computer games to kill the time. "But this has nothing to do with creating music. It has been a hobby since I was young," Wang says.

Wang is satisfied with her current lifestyle except for her very busy schedule. She has the same dreams that anyone her age has.

"I am looking forward to college life, where I can freely choose my major courses, meet friends from all over the world, and enjoy the peaceful fresh campus air," she says. She hopes to take a break after her concert tour and go to college.

"Perhaps I will choose mathematics as my major at university," Wang says.

Date: June 28, 7:30pm

Venue: Shanghai Grand Theater, 300 People's Ave

Tickets: 280-1,280 yuan


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