Alright, so with <Crying Sand>, this song has a long history dating all the way back to 1990， when it was first sang by Huang Ying Ying. To date, the song has been sang and covered over 20 times, and it's no surprise why. The song has a very special atmosphere to it, combining a comforting fusion of clear eastern tradition with a melody that has a certain hook to it, reeling you in always for another listen, and another, and another...
Let's see how these four artists fare with the classic, shall we?
Unfortunately, the goddess of love songs isn't really topping my list with her rendition of <Crying Sand>, but it probably has something to do with the dated arrangement and the impromptu setting in which it was performed. Nevertheless, a good effort on Fish's part.
Gao Sheng Mei
Younger generations would probably be puzzling at her name, but back in her heyday, Gao Sheng Mei was rivalling the likes of Leehom himself, after bagging the first ever Golden Melody Award for Best Female Mandarin Singer alongside Leehom in 1997. Her rendition of <Crying Sand> was among the songs within the album garnering her critical acclaim and the Golden Melody Award itself, and it's easy to see why. Her vocals bring with them a classy sense of elegance and nostalgia; despite them obviously not being what is popular in this decade, her rendition of the song is still emotional and very much moving in its' performance.
Being her usual amazing and versatile self, Hebe's rendition of <Crying Sand> is among one of the most recent, her having performed it in a medley during this year's Golden Melody Awards show. But not only is it recent in terms of when she performed it, her performance of it was breathtaking as it was outstanding, as she performed an version of it with a very independent folk feel to it, topping things off with the breathy caress of her lilting vocals. This one gets top marks for innovation and creativity!
But my absolute hands-down favourite version of <Crying Sand> just has to be the one The Voice of China contestant Rose Liu performed a few weeks back. Her oh-so-sweet vocals are tinged with her characteristic huskiness as she completely makes the song her own, kneading it until it submits to her will. Every nuance, every word, and every emotion that exists within this song-the longing, the loss and the beauty of agony is captured so perfectly in her vocals that it is hard to even imagine that there is a person whose voice in that moment in time sounds even more perfectly angelic than Rose's.
Although I was unable to find a youtube version for this song (it was unfortunately taken down by someone who was obviously jealous of Rose's beautiful voice) , I really would recommend that you check out the video of her performance on qq. It is definitely worth that extra click.
So who did it best? I think the answer's clear for all to see!
I've always loved listening to covers; especially in the Taiwanese music scene with its' emphasis on indie music and acoustic, relaxing music, it's allowed me to gain a new appreciation for listening to artists perform in a much quieter and low-key setting, performing songs that they love for us, or performing popular songs which might not be their own, but might reveal to us a whole new side of their personality, or a new versatility that we can't find in their music! Here in the first post of this blog series, are three covers which I've enjoyed listening to in the past week or so. Enjoy!
WILLIAM WEI: 慢慢等Waiting Slowly
I guess you can't really call this one a cover, but more like an acoustic performance of Will's own song 慢慢等(Waiting Slowly) which he performs here in lieu of his performance in Beijing in end September. His voice as always, brings comfort and a quiet confidence and warmth that lingers after the last notes are sung and the twang from the guitar chords have faded into thin air.
Second, we have Sharon Kwan's cover of the hit song <听见下雨的声音>(The sound of rain) which was picked for her by fans to perform! Unlike Queen Wei's version, cool, crisp and refreshing, Sharon's take brings with it from the first note a twist of warmth-a smile in her voice, and an honesty which transcends through the song to the ears of all listeners. Also getting a grunge-rock feel from her version, which is refreshing in its' own right!
A very interesting and impressive song choice that we don't see done very often by the new generation of singers; Kimberley Chen performs a One Take of Whitney Houston's <I Have Nothing>. It's a little rough around the edges, but she never fails to impress with her jaw-dropping range which she showcases through an amazing key change and use of improvisation. Makes you want to brush up on your karaoke skills doesn't it? Me too...
I've been following Rose Liu's music for a while, and have always been a fan of her vocals, so intensely pure and sweet but yet with a touch of huskiness that adds an entirely new dimension to each and every note she sings.
But it was only when I saw her performance on The Voice china as a contestant that she truly impressed me. Taking a golden classic and integrating her own modern take as she performed <飄洋過海來看你>(Crossing the seas to see you) won the hearts of the judges and the audience alike, myself included! Long after the song was over, I kept thinking about it, replaying not the notes in my head, but the beautiful timbre of her voice as she tiptoed gently in the verses, a weary traveller with a heart full of love, and following her into the chorus where her husky sentimentality reached its' peak; enveloping the hearts of audiences everywhere.
In the music industry as I see it, it's been harder and harder to find new talent whose appeal can lie purely in their voice, there's always lots of other things included in the 'package', an eclectic bundle of songwriting, multiple instrument playing, dancing- an endless list of skills which act as a filler for any flaws they might have. And of course I can understand that. Nobody's so perfect that they can rely purely on their voice to touch the hears of listeners completely, but Rose certainly is as close as it gets. After being in the business for five years, she shows a maturity in her voice and an elegance in her stage persona that I hope will be able to help her now and in her future career as a singer. This is one artist that is going to go far-this single performance is just the beginning. Go Rose!
All of us have been in that tough spot where things aren't going as planned, and this is a song which I feels really reflects the human mindset within that condition. With lyrics by Xiao Han and a melody written by Tanya Chua, this song captures perfectly a situation where you've got to let go of a person that you love in order for them to truly be free and find happiness, be it with you, or someone who you know will be much better for them than yourself. It's a painful choice to make, but amidst the bittersweet heartbreak that this song offers, threaded throughout skilfully is this feeling of comfort, safety, like the ray of hope at the end of the tunnel. So no matter how tough the going gets, you've just got to know that happiness IS coming. A truly beautiful song, which Jia Jia really does well in. Usually Tanya writes really beautiful songs for others, but I generally get the feeling that it would be better sung by Tanya herself, which really defeats the purpose of giving them that song in the first place.
But Jia Jia really owns this song, and even gives it a different flavour from what I would expect from Tanya's version, removing the sultry grit of Tanya's timbre and replacing it with her husky, yet girlish vocals. So really, this song is a feat in all aspects; and I really do recommend it to those of you who are maybe feeling a little down in the dumps, or just looking for some good relaxing music!
A place where you can get quick updates on your favourite Asian Artists! If you have any updates as well feel free to share them with me!
** If there are any particular lyrics/pinyin from artists that you would like up here don't hesitate to just comment on any of the posts!