Chen Yinxi: the free life of a jazz singer – 陈胤希:唱着爵士的自由生活 – English

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Jasmine Chen was born in an artistic family from Liaoyang in Liaoning province. From a young age, she trained as a pianist, but she stopped playing the piano at 11. At 19, she went to England where she battled alone for five years, to pursue studies of music and piano. During this time, she discovered jazz, and enjoyed it more and more. So after graduating, she decided to return to China, and turn her passion of jazz singing into the focus of her life and work.

Text/LI Zixin, Editing/TANG Xuedan

Chen Yinxi has been back from England for nearly ten years now, all the while the living free life of a jazz musician in Shanghai. She most commonly performs at the Jazz Shanghai Club JZ Club on West Fuxing Road, which is also the place where she began her performing career as a singer. She has chosen to live nearby, saying she “also has a deep affection for these little streets, the old houses as well as the Paulownias. Over all these years I’ve watched the shops on the side of the road open and close, the people coming and going, meeting and parting, I’ve been here all along.”

她出生于辽宁辽阳的艺术之家,从小接受严格强压的钢琴演奏教育。原本要报考音乐学院附中的她,在11岁时停止了弹钢琴,过着和别的孩子一样的普通生活。19岁独自一人到英国闯荡五年,在最初几个月完成了语言课程之后,她又选择继续学习音乐和钢琴,并在利兹音乐学院取得古典音乐学士学位。在这期间,她偶然接触到爵士乐和爵士演唱,并且越来越喜爱,于是在毕业之后选择回国定居具有发展潜力的上海,并把爵士演唱这项爱好变成工作和生活的重心。

2008年陈胤希推出了自己的第一张专辑《爱情的颜色》 ,尝试把中国音乐元素 加入爵士乐之中,走出自己的特色之路。随着她现场演出的机会越来越多,影响力也不断扩大,她的音乐作品也越来越受到关注。

现在,她一方面准备自己的第二张专辑,将爵士bossa nova与中国音乐元素相融合 ;另一方面,她也在以各种新形式做爵士乐的推广。她在青海路的Wooden Box Cafe每两周举行“周末午后爵士系列SundayAfternoon Jazz”,以与观众互动的形式,向大家介绍爵士乐背后的故事;她也受邀到大学和各种文化机构演讲,向观众们普及爵士乐,爵士乐的精神与创新的思想。

From piano to jazz

Q:你从小就出生在一个艺术家庭,成长环境是怎样的?

A:我父母都是艺术工作者,舞蹈演员、影视演员。在我小的时候,他们想把我培养成为音乐方面的人才。那时我们家住在父母工作的艺术团大院,院子里其他的孩子们,也就是他们同事的孩子们,都学习乐器、舞蹈之类,我父母在斟酌之后,决定让当时四岁的我学习弹钢琴。

从那时开始,我就被带着从辽阳到沈阳,坐着几个小时的火车去上钢琴课,一周一次,当天往返,风雨无阻,就这样,坚持了七年。这七年当中,我过的并不快乐,我的大部分课余时间被练琴占用,虽然我是一个很有天赋的孩子,但父母的严格,有时候让我有一种逆反的心理,我讨厌练琴;而我父母也不快乐,他们的业余时间就是陪我练琴、去上课,每个月还要攒学钢琴的费用,压力可想而知,我现在完全可以理解他们当时的心情。

在持续了七年之后,我们决定放下这一切,停止了学习钢琴,之后我们都开心很多。

Q:火车要坐多久?

A:单程两个多小时,来回四个多小时,还要倒几班公车,当天往返。八十年代家里并不富裕,父母省吃俭用买了台钢琴,他们的压力蛮大的。

Q:十一岁不弹钢琴是和他们商量了的?

A:是的。我记得有一天,我妈把我叫过去坐在她旁边,问我还想继续学钢琴么?我想了一会儿,摇头说不想,我妈也没多说什么,就这样我的琴童生活结束了。之后读了普通初中、高中,高二之后就出国了。

Q:出国是还想再走音乐这条路?

A:当时并没考虑很多,出国的初衷是父母想让我接受更好的教育。去到英国之后,我又重新选择学习音乐。因为小时候的钢琴基础比较好,所以考音乐学院的时候比较顺利。

Q:十八九岁一个人去英国,思想应该发生很大变化吧?

A:我是一个人上的飞机,在首都机场过安检之后,才觉得好像回不去了,因为年纪小,所以不会想太多,自然没有什么压力。当时父母给先给我报了在Exeter的语言国际学校,并寄宿在英国当地人家里。

与当地人接触的过程中感受到文化的差异,就从每天的早餐说起,我并不习惯吃冷牛奶配谷物,因为我们中国人喜欢吃热的,最开始几周我的肚子一直不舒服,后来习惯就好了,其实现在我觉得吃这些挺健康的。

还有酒吧文化,英国的很多酒吧从中午开始营业,不仅有酒还有美食,可想而知酒吧在他们生活中的重要性,没出国之前我一直以为酒吧是坏孩子去的地方,来到英国后,发现每天四点多放学后老师和学生一起去酒吧喝啤酒,聊天、看体育电视,其乐融融;而且,英国的老师特别没有架子,与学生打成一片,亦师亦友,这是我之前在中国看不到的。

Q:你在利兹读的是什么专业?

A:古典音乐本科,主修古典钢琴演奏,大一和大二副修唱歌。我对唱歌这件事从小就很迷恋,所以在大学里有选修的机会让我很开心,碰巧教我唱歌的老师是教爵士演唱的,说明我和爵士乐很有缘份啊,在那之前我对爵士乐这种音乐类型一点儿概念也没有!

Q:在英国读书时有没有去打工?

A:有,在利物浦读预科课程那年,为了赚些零花钱,我就在一家酒吧餐厅做传菜员,小时工,拿的是英国当时的基础工资,一小时3.75镑。工作内容是把菜从一楼厨房端到二楼餐厅,交给服务生。当时一周工作三天,每天5小时,一天下来衣服都被汗水打湿了,非常疲惫。

我记得当时一楼到二楼的楼梯中间有一个拐角,比较资深的传菜工告诉我拐弯前一定要喊一声:“I’m around!”,因为上下楼的飞快传菜的人是看不到彼此的,为了避免撞车一定要喊一声。两个月后的一天,我走在街上正准备拐弯的时候差点喊出“I’m around!”,当时把我吓坏了,立即让我想起电影《摩登时代》里,查理卓别林见到齿轮形状的钮扣就很想去拧的条件反射。

差不多三个月之后,我辞去了传菜的工作,因为我在利物浦市中心有St.John’s Centre商城中找到了弹钢琴的工作。那是商城里面的一个顶楼咖啡厅,中间放着一家黑色三角钢琴,我每周在那里弹三个下午,每次弹三个小时,工资是7.5镑一小时,比我传菜的工资涨了一倍,我当时很满足,在那里弹了6个月,直到我搬去利兹。

上海十年

Q:然后你是怎么决定回上海发展的?

A:2004年我刚拿到利兹音乐学院的古典音乐学士学位,来上海过暑假,然后准备回英国学校继续读古典音乐硕士学位。那是我第一次来上海,我完全被她的魅力所吸引。那时很多人从世界各地涌入上海,在这里创业和生活,同时也给这里增添了好多活力,与安稳平缓的英国生活相比,这里有无数的意外和惊喜,对于我这个刚刚走出校园的人来说,是一个很大的冲击。

在那个暑假,我经朋友介绍认识了JZ Club的创始人任宇清,我毛遂自荐去他那里唱歌。那时这家店还在汾阳路一个不起眼的地方,客人不多,但是却有一群对音乐充满热情的国内外爵士乐手,那里就是这些人的聚集地。在短短的三个月里,我爱上了上海,爱上了我演唱的舞台,于是我做了一个人生中最重要的决定:放弃继续攻读古典音乐硕士学位的计划,转而学习爵士演唱并回国定居上海。

所以一年之后的2005年,我回来了。

Q:你也说服了家里人?

A:是的,我当时跟父母说想回国唱爵士,他们刚开始不理解也不同意,后来我妈在我住在上海的暑假期间来“考察”,看我每天的生活和演出,最后她还是抱着支持的态度同意了我的决定,这个对我来说很重要。

Q:你妈妈会觉得你靠唱歌能养活自己吗?一般父母都会这么想。

A:额…她也没有说很多。但是我当时自信满满的,我觉得我可以养活自己。

Q:实际上你是靠什么养活自己呢?

A:我刚回来的前两个月,爸妈给我经济上的支持,包括租房和生活费。两个月之后,我完全经济独立了,收入来自于演出,其实当时我赚的并不多,但我觉得自己二十几年所有费用都是由父母来支付的,既然踏入社会就应该靠自己,就算赚的少也可以节省着花钱。刚来上海的前些年,各种现场爵士乐场所我基本都唱遍了,除了为了生存,那是一种积累,演出经验的积累、人生阅历的积累、人脉的积累,我感恩我有这么多机会。

Q:都是唱jazz吗?

A:恩,最开始以唱英文爵士经典为主,因为我在英国就是从这些经典开始学起的。在第三、四年的时候开始琢磨,总这样唱没有突破,在西方的爵士乐世界里,已然有那么多优秀的歌手,不需要再有一个来自中国的歌手用他们的语言唱着他们的歌。

正巧,和我当时一起玩音乐的是来自纽约的钢琴手Steve Sweeting,他对中国的音乐特别感兴趣,所以我们俩就在一起尝试融合中西的音乐,并定期在莫干山路“双城手工艺馆”举办小型音乐专场。因为我父母是民族舞蹈演员,我从小就听很多民歌,于是我和Steve把很多民歌元素融合到爵士音乐里面,除了民歌元素,我还找到很多被人遗忘的中文歌曲进行改编。在2007到2009年期间,我们在“双城”办了二十多场音乐专场,并收获了很好的反馈,慢慢的我找到了自己的方向。

Q:你觉得你刚回来的时候中国听众能不能够理解你想表达的东西?

A:中国听众认为爵士乐很神秘,同时又很新鲜,因为它来自于西方,是人们了解甚少的音乐类型。我想尽可能的把我的想法通过音乐表达出来,即使是对爵士乐不了解的人也能感受得到,这也包括所用的语言,现场的交流和表达;当然,音乐本身是应该具备这种魔力的,无论是什么音乐类型,好的音乐永远不需要太多解释,这也是我一直追求的。

Q:你说过,在爵士酒吧演出时,有时候观众会很吵,你会觉得困扰吗?

A:是的,这让我非常不舒服。其实酒吧和现场音乐酒吧是有区别的,特别是以音乐演艺为主的酒吧,因为人们是为了听音乐而来的,台上的音乐人也是为了音乐而演的,所以音乐就是很重要的一件事。在国外,在爵士俱乐部看演出跟在音乐厅类似,观众很尊重音乐,唯一一点不同的是,如果必要,观众可以小声说话,但不是聊天,他们尽量压低声音为了不影响其他人。有时候我演出时,如果有些观众太过分,我会告诉他们住嘴。

这是一种看演出的习惯,也是尊重别人的礼貌,我每次做讲座的时候都会说到这一点,希望大家有这个意识之后会使演出环境发生改变。

Q:对你来说,无数个夜晚从酒吧离开,走在上海的小马路上,你一般在想些什么?

A:哈哈,画面感都出来了,我就是觉得,人生嘛,生活嘛,在结束舞台上聚光灯下的绚丽之后,一切又恢复平静和平凡了,我自己是觉得挺开心的。对复兴路五原路等等这些小马路也特别有感情,老房子加梧桐树 。这么多年,看着路边的店开开关关的,人们来来去去,分分合合,我还一直在这里。

缓慢生长最好

Q:2008年经济危机对你的歌唱事业影响大吗?

C:对我的歌唱事业没有什么影响,我还是照旧做音乐,但是对经济收入有一些影响。因为经济危机发生时,很多公司及场所削尖娱乐活动开支,很多商业活动就减少了。

Q:经济危机之后的那几年是不是也是你开始出第一张专辑、开始走正式的发展道路的时候?

A:2008年出的那张专辑是自己的一个尝试,后来我开始有机会在更大的舞台,比如上海东方艺术中心、上海音乐厅演出,也开始跟一些举足轻重的人和团体合作了,比如格莱美奖获得者Jeff Peterson,巴西吉他大师Filo Machado,上海爱乐乐团、上海民族乐团、上海轻音乐团,这些都归功于前几年的积累吧。

2010年到2012年,我去国外演出比较多,包括两次澳大利亚之行,荷兰、丹麦、巴西、马来西亚、台湾等地。大概从2010年左右,越来越多的人开始关注我的音乐,网上音乐的点击率不断增长,对《爱情的颜色》这张专辑才渐渐有反响。到现在,听那个专辑的人越来越多,但那个只是代表我07到08年的一个状态,时隔这么多年了,我准备录一张新专辑,来代表我现在的状态。

Q:你是怎样让国外的音乐活动主办方注意到你的?

A:每次情况都不一样。比如澳大利亚的演出是澳洲音乐制作人John Huie的推荐,我们私下是好朋友,我也为他的专辑《上海爵士2》录制了四首歌曲,这张专辑08年在新加坡发行。巴西的演出是由我的朋友前巴西驻上海领事Marcos推荐,当时他对我为巴西歌曲填中文歌词很支持,就把我介绍给巴西吉他大师Filo Machado,我们在上海和巴西做了三场音乐会 。

Q:你对爵士偏流行化去走的路线,像王若琳那样的,有公司参与策划包装的方式是不是能接受?

A:王若琳是个成功的案例,她让爵士乐被大家关注。就我个人而言,走这种路线可能并不适合自己,因为我有自己的想法,有时候很难向主流妥协,除非有音乐公司和我的想法相近。

Q:你现在做的第二张专辑主要做的是什么,能够透露一下么?

A:风格为爵士Bossa Nova,主题以夜晚为主,有我这几年写的原创,和填的此作品。

Q:这是独立出版,独立制作吗?

A:对。

Q:发行推广方面是准备怎么做?

A:会计划做全国巡演,以及网上推广和下载。其实我在虾米音乐、豆瓣等网站上都有小站,希望大家多多聆听和下载。

Q:电视的真人秀音乐节目你会参加么?

C:不会,这类节目可能不适合我 。

Q:你是不是有点清高呢?

A:做爵士乐的好像都有点清高吧,哈哈,我开玩笑。我觉得一步一步地去建设自己的领地更真实些。

Q:你接受一种缓慢的生长。

A:对,这是我这几年的经验得来。事物的成长是需要时间的,一夜爆红也可能一夜贬值。



Source : China 30s

Article Revisions:

Changes:

March 20, 2015 @ 15:23:34Current Revision
Content
<p>Jasmine Chen was born in an artistic family from Liaoyang in Liaoning province. From a young age, she trained as a pianist, but she stopped playing the piano at 11. At 19, she went to England where she battled alone for five years, to pursue studies of music and piano. During this time, she discovered jazz, and enjoyed it more and more. So after graduating, she decided to return to China, and turn her passion of jazz singing into the focus of her life and work.</p>  <p>Jasmine Chen was born in an artistic family from Liaoyang in Liaoning province. From a young age, she was trained as a pianist, but she stopped playing the piano at 11. At age 19, she went to England where she battled alone for five years, to pursue studies of music and piano. During this time, she discovered jazz and fell in love with it. After graduating, she decided to return back to China, and turn her passion for jazz singing into the focus of her life and work.</p>
<p>Text/LI Zixin, Editing/TANG Xuedan</p> <p>Text/LI Zixin, Editing/TANG Xuedan</p>
<p>Chen Yinxi has been back from England for nearly ten years now, all the while the living free life of a jazz musician in Shanghai. She most commonly performs at the Jazz Shanghai Club JZ Club on West Fuxing Road, which is also the place where she began her performing career as a singer. She has chosen to live nearby, saying she "also has a deep affection for these little streets, the old houses as well as the Paulownias. Over all these years I've watched the shops on the side of the road open and close, the people coming and going, meeting and parting, I've been here all along."</p>  <p>Jasmine's been back from England for the past decade, living the free life of a jazz musician in Shanghai. She most commonly performs at the Shanghai Jazz Club, JZ Club, on West Fuxing Road, which is also the place where she began her performing career as a singer. She has chosen to live nearby, saying she has a deep affection for these little streets and the old houses with Chinese parasol trees. For so many years Ive watched the shops on the side of the road open and close, the people coming and going, meeting and parting - Ive been here all along.</p>
<p>她出生于辽宁辽阳的艺术之家,从小接受严格强压的钢琴演奏教育。原本要报考音乐学院附中的她,在11岁时停止了弹钢琴,过着和别的孩子一样的普通生活。19岁独自一人到英国闯荡五年,在最初几个月完成了语言课程之后,她又选择继续学习音乐和钢琴,并在利兹音乐学院取得古典音乐学士学位。在这期间,她偶然接触到爵士乐和爵士演唱,并且越来越喜爱,于是在毕业之后选择回国定居具有发展潜力的上海,并把爵士演唱这项爱好变成工作和生活的重心。</p>  
<p>2008年陈胤希推出了自己的第一张专辑《爱情的颜色》 ,尝试把中国音乐元素 加入爵士乐之中,走出自己的特色之路。随着她现场演出的机会越来越多,影响力也不断扩大,她的音乐作品也越来越受到关注。</p>  
<p>现在,她一方面准备自己的第二张专辑,将爵士bossa nova与中国音乐元素相融合 ;另一方面,她也在以各种新形式做爵士乐的推广。她在青海路的Wooden Box Cafe每两周举行“周末午后爵士系列SundayAfternoon Jazz”,以与观众互动的形式,向大家介绍爵士乐背后的故事;她也受邀到大学和各种文化机构演讲,向观众们普及爵士乐,爵士乐的精神与创新的思想。</p>  
  <p>She was born in an artistic family from Liaoyang in Liaoning province, and from a young age, she had a strict education in as a pianist. She originally wanted to apply for the conservatory, but at 11, she stopped playing the piano, and led a normal life, like other children. At 19, she went to England on her own to battle for five years, and after completing a language course in the early months, she decided to continue her studies in music and piano, and take a Bachelor degree in classical music at the Leeds College of Music. During that time, she occasionally attended and performed jazz, and increasingly enjoyed it. So after graduating, she decided to settle in Shanghai, and turn this hobby into her life goal and profession. </p>
  <p>In 2008, her first record 'the colour of love' came out. In it, she mixes Chinese influence with the jazz tradition in her own unique way. Following this, she got more and more opportunities to perform live, her influence increased, even as her musical productions got increasing attention.</p>
  <p>Right now, she's focusing on preparing a second record, blending bossa nova, jazz and elements from the Chinese tradition. On the other hand, she's also experimenting with many ways to promote jazz. She runs a fortnightly 'Sunday Afternoon Jazz' session at the Wooden Box Cafe on Qinghai road, where she interacts with the audience to share the stories between jazz pieces. She's also been invited to universities and cultural institutions to help popularise jazz among the audience and share the spirit of innovation characteristic of jazz. </p>
<p>From piano to jazz</p> <p>From piano to jazz</p>
<p><strong>Q:你从小就出生在一个艺术家庭,成长环境是怎样的?< /strong></p>  
<p>A:我父母都是艺术工作者,舞蹈演员、影视演员。在我小的时候,他们想把我培养成为音乐方面的人才。那时我们家住在父母工作的艺术团大院,院子里其他的孩子们,也就是他们同事的孩子们,都学习乐器、舞蹈之类,我父母在斟酌之后,决定让当时四岁的我学习弹钢琴。</p>  
<p>从那时开始,我就被带着从辽阳到沈阳,坐着几个小时的火车去上钢琴课,一周一次,当天往返,风雨无阻,就这样,坚持了七年。这七年当中,我过的并不快乐,我的大部分课余时间被练琴占用,虽然我是一个很有天赋的孩子,但父母的严格,有时候让我有一种逆反的心理,我讨厌练琴;而我父母也不快乐,他们的业余时间就是陪我练琴、去上课,每个月还要攒学钢琴的费用,压力可想而知,我现在完全可以理解他们当时的心情。</p>  
<p>在持续了七年之后,我们决定放下这一切,停止了学习钢琴,之后我们都开心很多。</p>  
<p><strong>Q:火车要坐多久?< /strong></p>  
<p>A:单程两个多小时,来回四个多小时,还要倒几班公车,当天往返。八十年代家里并不富裕,父母省吃俭用买了台钢琴,他们的压力蛮大的。</p>  
<p><strong>Q:十一岁不弹钢琴是和他们商量了的?< /strong></p>  
<p>A:是的。我记得有一天,我妈把我叫过去坐在她旁边,问我还想继续学钢琴么?我想了一会儿,摇头说不想,我妈也没多说什么,就这样我的琴童生活结束了。之后读了普通初中、高中,高二之后就出国了。</p>  
<p><strong>Q:出国是还想再走音乐这条路?< /strong></p>  
<p>A:当时并没考虑很多,出国的初衷是父母想让我接受更好的教育。去到英国之后,我又重新选择学习音乐。因为小时候的钢琴基础比较好,所以考音乐学院的时候比较顺利。</p>  
<p><strong>Q:十八九岁一个人去英国,思想应该发生很大变化吧?< /strong></p>  
<p>A:我是一个人上的飞机,在首都机场过安检之后,才觉得好像回不去了,因为年纪小,所以不会想太多,自然没有什么压力。当时父母给先给我报了在Exeter的语言国际学校,并寄宿在英国当地人家里。</p>  
<p>与当地人接触的过程中感受到文化的差异,就从每天的早餐说起,我并不习惯吃冷牛奶配谷物,因为我们中国人喜欢吃热的,最开始几周我的肚子一直不舒服,后来习惯就好了,其实现在我觉得吃这些挺健康的。</p>  
<p>还有酒吧文化,英国的很多酒吧从中午开始营业,不仅有酒还有美食,可想而知酒吧在他们生活中的重要性,没出国之前我一直以为酒吧是坏孩子去的地方,来到英国后,发现每天四点多放学后老师和学生一起去酒吧喝啤酒,聊天、看体育电视,其乐融融;而且,英国的老师特别没有架子,与学生打成一片,亦师亦友,这是我之前在中国看不到的。</p>  
<p><strong>Q:你在利兹读的是什么专业?< /strong></p>  
<p>A:古典音乐本科,主修古典钢琴演奏,大一和大二副修唱歌。我对唱歌这件事从小就很迷恋,所以在大学里有选修的机会让我很开心,碰巧教我唱歌的老师是教爵士演唱的,说明我和爵士乐很有缘份啊,在那之前我对爵士乐这种音乐类型一点儿概念也没有!</p>  
<p><strong>Q:在英国读书时有没有去打工?< /strong></p>  
<p>A:有,在利物浦读预科课程那年,为了赚些零花钱,我就在一家酒吧餐厅做传菜员,小时工,拿的是英国当时的基础工资,一小时3.75镑。工作内容是把菜从一楼厨房端到二楼餐厅,交给服务生。当时一周工作三天,每天5小时,一天下来衣服都被汗水打湿了,非常疲惫。</p>  
<p>我记得当时一楼到二楼的楼梯中间有一个拐角,比较资深的传菜工告诉我拐弯前一定要喊一声:“I’m around!”,因为上下楼的飞快传菜的人是看不到彼此的,为了避免撞车一定要喊一声。两个月后的一天,我走在街上正准备拐弯的时候差点喊出“I’m around!”,当时把我吓坏了,立即让我想起电影《摩登时代》里,查理卓别林见到齿轮形状的钮扣就很想去拧的条件反射。</p>  
<p>差不多三个月之后,我辞去了传菜的工作,因为我在利物浦市中心有St.John’s Centre商城中找到了弹钢琴的工作。那是商城里面的一个顶楼咖啡厅,中间放着一家黑色三角钢琴,我每周在那里弹三个下午,每次弹三个小时,工资是7.5镑一小时,比我传菜的工资涨了一倍,我当时很满足,在那里弹了6个月,直到我搬去利兹。</p>  
  <p>Q: You were born in a family which is full of art, so what kind of environment did you grow up in?</p>
  <p>A: Both my parents are artist, dancer and actors. When I was pretty young, they wanted me to be a musician. My family lived in an art troupe where my parents worked, other kids there, which were the children of my parents’ colleages. They all learns some musical instruments or dancing etc, after a long time of thinking, my parents decided to let me learn piano. I was just 4 at that time.</p>
  <p>From that time, I was taken from Liaoyang to Shenyang, spends hours and hours on the trains for the piano course, once a week. Traveling back and forth everyday no matter what happens. I have never gave up for 7 years. During these 7 years, I was not quite happy, because all of my spare time was wasted on this. Although I had great talent, the strictness of my parents sometimes let me have some kind of negative mentality. I hate practicing pianos, the same as my parents. All their extra time was used to accompany me to practice as well as take me to the piano course. They have to pay for it too! You could how much pressure they had. Now I can fully understand their thoughts at that time.</p>
  <p>After seven years, we decided to terminate all of these things. After quitting the piano course, we became much happier then.</p>
  <p>Q: How long was the train-ride?</p>
  <p>A: It was two hours one-way, a four-hour round trip, including several bus transfers all within the same day. My family was not particularly rich back in 1980s, so they struggled a lot to save up for my piano. They were under great pressure.</p>
  <p>Q: Did you talk to your parents when you decided to quit the piano when you were eleven?</p>
  <p>A: Yeah. I remember one day, my mum called me to sit beside her, asking me whether I wanted to study the piano anymore. I thought for a moment, and I said no. My mum didn’t say anything. And my life of learning the piano ended as such. After that, I went to an ordinary high school. I went abroad when I was a sophomore.</p>
  <p>Q: Did you go abroad for music?</p>
  <p>A : We didn’t consider much. The reason why my parents sent me abroad was letting me recieve a better education. I chose to learn music again after landing in England. For I had a good piano basis, I managed to enter a college for music rather easily.</p>
  <p>Q: You mind must have changed a lot since you went to England alone, right?</p>
  <p>A: I went to England along, after the security check in the airport, I feel there’s no turning back. I didn’t have a lot of pressure, since I was too naïve.  My parents made me go to a language school in Exeter, and I home-stayed in a native British family.</p>
  <p>I felt a huge culture shock. I was not used to have cereals for breakfast, because we Chinese love hot food. I had a stomachache during the first few weeks. It’s actually okay if I get used to it.</p>
  <p>Also the nightlife culture kind of surprised me, not only wine but also awesome food. I was always thinking bars were for the bad guys, but I found out it’s not true. Students and teachers joined together in the bar after school. Teachers there were very sociable and I can easily make friends with them. I’ve never seen such things in China.</p>
  <p>Q: What did you learn in Leeds?</p>
  <p>A: Classical music, my major was classical piano performing and my optional class is vocal. I was pretty fascinated by singing, so that the opportunity to learn the vocal brings me a lot of fun. It happened that my vocal teacher is a jazz specialist. Maybe I was destined to learn Jazz, though I didn’t have any concept of Jazz music.</p>
  <p><strong>Q: did you have a small job when you were in England?</strong></p>
  <p>A: Yea, I did. When I was in the preparatory course in Liverpool, in order to earn some pocket money, i was worked in a restaurant bar doing waitress only for giving the food in hours, and I took the base salary at that time in England about 3.75 pound for an hour. The work for me to do was to took the food from the kitchen in the first to the second floor which is the restaurant, then gave it to the waiter. At that time, i worked three days in a week, 5 hours a day, at the end of the day,my clothe was full of my sweat, very tired.</p>
  <p>I remembered that the way from the first floor to the second floor, there is a corner. Some old workers told me i need to say:’i am around!.’ Cause the workers who were doing this job they all do quickly passing the food, so they wont see you if you didn't say that. Two months later, i was walking on the street at a corner, i almost said ‘i am around!’, i was so terrified of my behaviors. It let me think of the &lt;modern time&gt;, Charlie Chaplin saw a gear shape of buttons, he really wanted to twist. That was conditioned reflex.</p>
  <p>After nearly three months later, i quit my job because i find a job in At.John’s Centre to play the piano. It is at the top of the floor- a coffee shop, in the middle there is a black piano. I worked for three afternoons in a week, every time i played 3 hours, my salary in 7.5 pound per hour. It was doubled than the salary i took before. I was satisfy about that. I played for 6 months until i went to Leeds.</p>
  <p>Ten years in Shanghai</p>
  <p>Q: Why did you decide to return to Shanghai?</p>
  <p>A: I just received a bachelor's degree in Leeds college of music of classical music in 2004. And back to Shanghai during the summer holiday, then prepared back to England to do the things. That was the first time in Shanghai, i was totally attracted by the beautiful views. At that moment, there were so many people from all of the world came into Shanghai, they started a business and lived here, meanwhile it also add a lots vitality.Compared with Britain's  life, there are various surprises. For me who was just finished her school it was a shock.</p>
  <p>In that summer holiday, i know a friend from JZ club’s originator called Yuqing Ren. I recommend myself to sing there. The store was at an unremarkable place in Fenyang Road. There wasn't many consumers, but there were lots of impassion jazz musicians who came from all of the world. In the three months, i fell in love with Shanghai, and my stage where i song. So i made an important decision is that to give up the plan that i made before, learning jazz singing in Shanghai.</p>
  <p>So after one year, 2005, I came back.</p>
  <p>Q: So you also persuaded your family??</p>
  <p>A: Yea, I told to my parents that i wanted to back to China to learn jazz. At the first time, they didn't understood and disagree. But when i was in Shanghai, my mum came to see my performance and my life in Shanghai, she finally said yes for my decision. That was really impotent to me.</p>
  <p>Q: Can your mum think that you can feed yourself by singing for living? Almost all parents would think that.</p>
  <p>A: Emm..She didn't say that too much. But i was very confident and i think i can feed myself.</p>
  <p>Q:In fact, what do you really do to feed yourself??</p>
  <p>A: In the first two months, my family give me the support from economics, include the rent and living costs. After two months, i totally independent in the income which is from the performance that i did. Actually i didn't earn too much, but i think in these 20 years, all of the costs were using my parents money. Since i am going to society, i should do it by myself, even if saving the money and then earn less. In the recent years that i just came to Shanghai, all the places i almost song. In addition to survive, it is a kind of accumulation, the accumulation of life experiences, the accumulation of contacts, I feel I have so many chances in my life.</p>
  <p>Q: All Jazz?</p>
  <p>A: Em. Firstly I perform the Jazz classics, because I learned that in Leeds. But I start thinking, I won’t have any break through if I keep on doing this. There are already plenty of jazz singers in the western world. They don’t need such a Chinese singer to sing their songs in their languages.</p>
  <p>Steve Sweeting, the pianist whom I played music with showed great interest in Chinese music. So that we attempted to mix two different styles. We held some personal concerts in Shanghai. I heard a lot of Chinese folks because my parents were folk dancers. So I and Steve put a lot of folk elements into jazz music. Except for the folk elements, we found a lot of Chinese music to recreate. We held like 20 concerts in the city and have wonderful feed back.</p>
  <p>Q: Do you think Chinese audience could understand your music?</p>
  <p>A: They consider it mysterious, but interesting as well. Chinese people barely know western music at that time. I tried my best to express my music, so that those who don’t know jazz could also feel it. Including language, communications and performing. Absolutely, music itself has this magical power, no matter what kind of music it is. That magical power is what I’m searching for.</p>
  <p>Q: You mentioned that sometimes the audience was a little bit too noisy when you play in a bar. Would you mind it?</p>
  <p>A: Yes. It makes me extremely uncomfortable. Actually there were great differences between ordinary bars and concert bars. In concert bars, people were coming for the music, and the performers perform simply for the music. So the music is always the key thing. When I was in Britain, the jazz club and concert hall are pretty the same. Audience shows great respect to the music, the only difference is audience could murmur in jazz club if necessary. They tried their best to not to interrupt others. But sometimes when they were too distractive then I will tell them to shut up.</p>
  <p>It is a habit, but it also about respect, respecting others. Every time I give a lecture, I would tell this to the audience. Hopefully they will accept this idea.</p>
  <p>Q: Tell me, all these nights you're walking through the streets of Shanghai after singing in the bar, what do you think about? </p>
  <p>A: Haha, all the images disappear, I just think about life, existence. After the gorgeous spotlights turn off, all the rest is calm and ordinary, and I feel very happy. I'm also very fond of Fuxing Lu, Wuyuan Lu, all these little roads, with old houses and plan trees. Over the years, I've watched the shops open and close, the people come and go, and I've been there all along. </p>
  <p>Growing slowly is best</p>
  <p>Q: Did the 2008 GFC have a strong influence on your musical career? </p>
  <p>A: It didn't influence my musical career at all, I still sing as usual, but it did have impact on my income. Because of the crisis, many entertainment venues reduced their expenses, and activity reduced. </p>
  <p>Q: Isn't it during these few years following the GFC that your first record came out, and you've started to go your own artistic road? </p>
  <p>A: This album which came out in 2008 is one of my attempts, and then I got opportunities to perform on larger stages, including the Shanghai Oriental Art centre and the Shanghai Concert Hall, and I started to work with more important people and groups, such as Grammy Award winner Jeff Peterson, the great Brazilian guitarist Filo Machado, the Shanghai philharmonic orchestra, the Shanghai national orchestra, the Shanghai chamber music group, this is just a result of the work over the previous years. </p>
  <p>From 2010 to 2012, I’ve gone overseas to perform quite often, including twice in Australia, Holland, Denmark, Brazil, Malaysia, Taiwan and other places. From about 2010, more and more people have started to pay attention to my music, and the click rate on my music online was growing and growing, only then did my album 'The Colour of Love' start getting some interest. Now, more and more people are listening to this album, but it only reflects a short period in my artistic creation, from 2007 to 2008. So many years have passed, and I’m ready to record a new album, to reflect my current situation. </p>
  <p>Q: How do you mange to get noticed by music producers and event organisers overseas? </p>
  <p>A: Circumstances differ. For instance, my tour to Australia happened through recommendations of producer John Huie, we’re good personal friends, and I recorded four songs for his album ‘Shanghai Jazz 2′, which he released in Singapore in 2008. My tour to Brazil happened through recommendation of my friend Marcos, the former Brazilian consul in Shanghai. At the time, he was very supportive of me inserting Chinese lyrics to Brazilian songs, he introduced me to the great Brazilian guitarist Filo Machado, and we did three concerts together in Shanghai and Brazil. </p>
  <p>Q: You've followed the path of more popular jazz, like Wang Ruolin, Do you think it's acceptable for companies to be involved in the way you present your music? </p>
  <p>A: Wang Ruolin is a success story, she got everyone's attention on jazz. As for me, I'm not sure this route would suit me, because I have my own views of things, and I sometimes find it hard to mainstream, unless there's an alignment of view between myself and a record company. </p>
  <p>Q: You're now working on your second album - what are the main characteristics? Can you tell us a bit more about it? </p>
  <p>A: It's a Bossa Nova Style, and the theme is nightlife. The album is full of pieces I've written over the past few years. </p>
  <p>Q: Is this an independent production? </p>
<p><strong>上海十年< /strong></p> <p>A: It is. </p>
<p><strong>Q:然后你是怎么决定回上海发展的?< /strong></p>  
<p>A:2004年我刚拿到利兹音乐学院的古典音乐学士学位,来上海过暑假,然后准备回英国学校继续读古典音乐硕士学位。那是我第一次来上海,我完全被她的魅力所吸引。那时很多人从世界各地涌入上海,在这里创业和生活,同时也给这里增添了好多活力,与安稳平缓的英国生活相比,这里有无数的意外和惊喜,对于我这个刚刚走出校园的人来说,是一个很大的冲击。</p>  
<p>在那个暑假,我经朋友介绍认识了JZ Club的创始人任宇清,我毛遂自荐去他那里唱歌。那时这家店还在汾阳路一个不起眼的地方,客人不多,但是却有一群对音乐充满热情的国内外爵士乐手,那里就是这些人的聚集地。在短短的三个月里,我爱上了上海,爱上了我演唱的舞台,于是我做了一个人生中最重要的决定:放弃继续攻读古典音乐硕士学位的计划,转而学习爵士演唱并回国定居上海。</p>  
<p>所以一年之后的2005年,我回来了。</p>  
<p><strong>Q:你也说服了家里人?< /strong></p>  
<p>A:是的,我当时跟父母说想回国唱爵士,他们刚开始不理解也不同意,后来我妈在我住在上海的暑假期间来“考察”,看我每天的生活和演出,最后她还是抱着支持的态度同意了我的决定,这个对我来说很重要。</p>  
<p><strong>Q:你妈妈会觉得你靠唱歌能养活自己吗?一般父母都会这么想。< /strong></p>  
<p>A:额…她也没有说很多。但是我当时自信满满的,我觉得我可以养活自己。</p>  
<p><strong>Q:实际上你是靠什么养活自己呢?< /strong></p>  
<p>A:我刚回来的前两个月,爸妈给我经济上的支持,包括租房和生活费。两个月之后,我完全经济独立了,收入来自于演出,其实当时我赚的并不多,但我觉得自己二十几年所有费用都是由父母来支付的,既然踏入社会就应该靠自己,就算赚的少也可以节省着花钱。刚来上海的前些年,各种现场爵士乐场所我基本都唱遍了,除了为了生存,那是一种积累,演出经验的积累、人生阅历的积累、人脉的积累,我感恩我有这么多机会。</p>  
<p><strong>Q:都是唱jazz吗?< /strong></p>  
<p>A:恩,最开始以唱英文爵士经典为主,因为我在英国就是从这些经典开始学起的。在第三、四年的时候开始琢磨,总这样唱没有突破,在西方的爵士乐世界里,已然有那么多优秀的歌手,不需要再有一个来自中国的歌手用他们的语言唱着他们的歌。</p>  
<p>正巧,和我当时一起玩音乐的是来自纽约的钢琴手Steve Sweeting,他对中国的音乐特别感兴趣,所以我们俩就在一起尝试融合中西的音乐,并定期在莫干山路“双城手工艺馆”举办小型音乐专场。因为我父母是民族舞蹈演员,我从小就听很多民歌,于是我和Steve把很多民歌元素融合到爵士音乐里面,除了民歌元素,我还找到很多被人遗忘的中文歌曲进行改编。在2007到2009年期间,我们在“双城”办了二十多场音乐专场,并收获了很好的反馈,慢慢的我找到了自己的方向。</p>  
<p><strong>Q:你觉得你刚回来的时候中国听众能不能够理解你想表达的东西?< /strong></p>  
<p>A:中国听众认为爵士乐很神秘,同时又很新鲜,因为它来自于西方,是人们了解甚少的音乐类型。我想尽可能的把我的想法通过音乐表达出来,即使是对爵士乐不了解的人也能感受得到,这也包括所用的语言,现场的交流和表达;当然,音乐本身是应该具备这种魔力的,无论是什么音乐类型,好的音乐永远不需要太多解释,这也是我一直追求的。</p>  
<p><strong>Q:你说过,在爵士酒吧演出时,有时候观众会很吵,你会觉得困扰吗?< /strong></p>  
<p>A:是的,这让我非常不舒服。其实酒吧和现场音乐酒吧是有区别的,特别是以音乐演艺为主的酒吧,因为人们是为了听音乐而来的,台上的音乐人也是为了音乐而演的,所以音乐就是很重要的一件事。在国外,在爵士俱乐部看演出跟在音乐厅类似,观众很尊重音乐,唯一一点不同的是,如果必要,观众可以小声说话,但不是聊天,他们尽量压低声音为了不影响其他人。有时候我演出时,如果有些观众太过分,我会告诉他们住嘴。</p>  
<p>这是一种看演出的习惯,也是尊重别人的礼貌,我每次做讲座的时候都会说到这一点,希望大家有这个意识之后会使演出环境发生改变。</p>  
<p><strong>Q:对你来说,无数个夜晚从酒吧离开,走在上海的小马路上,你一般在想些什么?< /strong></p>  
<p>A:哈哈,画面感都出来了,我就是觉得,人生嘛,生活嘛,在结束舞台上聚光灯下的绚丽之后,一切又恢复平静和平凡了,我自己是觉得挺开心的。对复兴路五原路等等这些小马路也特别有感情,老房子加梧桐树 。这么多年,看着路边的店开开关关的,人们来来去去,分分合合,我还一直在这里。</p>  
<p><strong>缓慢生长最好< /strong></p>  
<p><strong>Q:2008年经济危机对你的歌唱事业影响大吗?< /strong></p>  
<p>C:对我的歌唱事业没有什么影响,我还是照旧做音乐,但是对经济收入有一些影响。因为经济危机发生时,很多公司及场所削尖娱乐活动开支,很多商业活动就减少了。</p>  
<p><strong>Q:经济危机之后的那几年是不是也是你开始出第一张专辑、开始走正式的发展道路的时候?< /strong></p>  
<p>A:2008年出的那张专辑是自己的一个尝试,后来我开始有机会在更大的舞台,比如上海东方艺术中心、上海音乐厅演出,也开始跟一些举足轻重的人和团体合作了,比如格莱美奖获得者Jeff Peterson,巴西吉他大师Filo Machado,上海爱乐乐团、上海民族乐团、上海轻音乐团,这些都归功于前几年的积累吧。</p>  
<p>2010年到2012年,我去国外演出比较多,包括两次澳大利亚之行,荷兰、丹麦、巴西、马来西亚、台湾等地。大概从2010年左右,越来越多的人开始关注我的音乐,网上音乐的点击率不断增长,对《爱情的颜色》这张专辑才渐渐有反响。到现在,听那个专辑的人越来越多,但那个只是代表我07到08年的一个状态,时隔这么多年了,我准备录一张新专辑,来代表我现在的状态。</p>  
<p><strong>Q:你是怎样让国外的音乐活动主办方注意到你的?< /strong></p>  
<p>A:每次情况都不一样。比如澳大利亚的演出是澳洲音乐制作人John Huie的推荐,我们私下是好朋友,我也为他的专辑《上海爵士2》录制了四首歌曲,这张专辑08年在新加坡发行。巴西的演出是由我的朋友前巴西驻上海领事Marcos推荐,当时他对我为巴西歌曲填中文歌词很支持,就把我介绍给巴西吉他大师Filo Machado,我们在上海和巴西做了三场音乐会 。</p>  
<p><strong>Q:你对爵士偏流行化去走的路线,像王若琳那样的,有公司参与策划包装的方式是不是能接受?< /strong></p>  
<p>A:王若琳是个成功的案例,她让爵士乐被大家关注。就我个人而言,走这种路线可能并不适合自己,因为我有自己的想法,有时候很难向主流妥协,除非有音乐公司和我的想法相近。</p>  
<p><strong>Q:你现在做的第二张专辑主要做的是什么,能够透露一下么?< /strong></p>  
<p>A:风格为爵士Bossa Nova,主题以夜晚为主,有我这几年写的原创,和填的此作品。</p>  
<p><strong>Q:这是独立出版,独立制作吗?< /strong></p>  
<p>A:对。</p>  
<p><strong>Q:发行推广方面是准备怎么做?< /strong></p>  
<p>A:会计划做全国巡演,以及网上推广和下载。其实我在虾米音乐、豆瓣等网站上都有小站,希望大家多多聆听和下载。</p>  
<p><strong>Q:电视的真人秀音乐节目你会参加么?< /strong></p>  
<p>C:不会,这类节目可能不适合我 。</p>  
<p><strong>Q:你是不是有点清高呢?< /strong></p>  
<p>A:做爵士乐的好像都有点清高吧,哈哈,我开玩笑。我觉得一步一步地去建设自己的领地更真实些。</p>  
<p><strong>Q:你接受一种缓慢的生长。< /strong></p>  
<p>A:对,这是我这几年的经验得来。事物的成长是需要时间的,一夜爆红也可能一夜贬值。</p>  
  <p>Q: What are your plans for release and promotion? </p>
  <p>A: I'm organising a national tour, as well as online promotion and download opportunities. In fact, I have stations on xiami, Douban and other online music platforms, and I hope many people will come listen and download the album. </p>
  <p>Q: Would you join a TV music program?</p>
  <p>A: No, that kind of program would not suit me. </p>
  <p>Q: You're a bit aloof, aren't you?</p>
  <p>A: All jazz musicians are, haha - I'm joking. I think it's more solid to grow your own territory step by step. </p>
  <p>Q: Are you willing to accept growing slowly? </p>
  <p>A: Yes, this has been my experience in the past few years. It takes time for things to grow, and what suddenly baloons one night, might burst on the next. </p>

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About julien.leyre

French-Australian writer, educator, sinophile. Any question? Contact julien@marcopoloproject.org