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April 21, 2010

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Home » Metro » Entertainment and Culture

That's amazing, Auntie Sweetie

SHANGHAI'S own Susan Boyle sells chicken's feet - and sings like a bird.

The market crooner who has become an Internet sensation is coy about her identity, preferring to be just known as Auntie Sweetie.

However, she is hard to miss as she bears a striking resemblance to the late eccentric Hong Kong billionaire Nina Wong, right down to the pigtails.

Add a Hello Kitty pinafore and you have the package that is Auntie Sweetie, a 50-year-old who originally hails from east China's Anhui Province.

Auntie Sweetie is a hot item among Netizens after the release of a video clip featuring her singing in front of a bucket of chicken's feet - and a captive audience - at the food market in Zhoupu Town.

In the video, two young customers try to bargain over prices. She wouldn't budge on cost but promised a song.

When she sang, a big crowd that had gathered stood agape and applauded. She was good - damned good.

Her rendition of Christian hymn "Amazing Grace" has attracted 70,000 hits and counting on, one of the country's most popular video-sharing Websites.

Auntie Sweetie is being compared to Boyle, the plain 48-year-old who shot to stardom after singing "I Dreamed a Dream" on television show "Britain's Got Talent," and is all geared up for the second phase of a national singing contest.

Although not knowing a single English word, Auntie Sweetie knows her songs off by heart and gives them soul.

"I'm a Christian and I've learnt many English hymns from church choirs," Auntie Sweetie told this reporter as a necklace featuring a silver cross shone on her chest.

By learning Chinese meanings via the Internet and listening to English songs, she now has at least a dozen hymns in her repertoire.

"I'm now learning a new song called 'You Raise Me Up' by Westlife for the singing contest," she said.

She won through to the second stage in her Anhui hometown last week and left Shanghai for the regional final yesterday afternoon.

"I don't feel any pressure at all," she said. "I sing to entertain people and that makes me happy. Winning is not important ... just being happy and bringing joy."

Auntie Sweetie said the sudden fame surprised her.

The popularity is not only the result of her wonderful voice but also her optimism despite a hard life.

"I came to Shanghai 10 years ago and started to dabble in all kinds of businesses but unfortunately they all failed," she said.

"But thank God I was born with such a nice voice to make up for my poor business mind.

"I sang when life was tough and I'm still singing when life is getting better."

Auntie Sweetie said her dream would be to sing before millions of fans for free.

The ambition was sparked when she was a child and performed for huge crowds of migrant construction workers in her hometown.

She revealed that she had a dual short-term goal.

"I hope I can receive some professional training to improve my singing," she said. "And I'm looking for a band to back me."

Prospective teachers or musicians should leave a message on her blog (


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