Mainland Chinese singers head to Taiwan for success

As Taiwanese singers cross the Taiwan Strait over to mainland China in order to increase their album sales, mainland singers are coming over to Taiwan at the same time to release new albums of their own. For the sake of hopefully breaking out in the hugely popular center of the Mandopop world over in Taiwan, record labels are packaging mainland artists with a heavy dose of Taiwanese flavor in order to play down their mainland roots.

Mainland artists who are relatively well-known by Taiwanese music audiences previously included Faye Wong 王菲, Na Ying 那英, and Sun Nan 孫楠, and now include more recent artists such as Anson Hu 胡彥斌, Della Ding 丁噹, Xian Zi 弦子, Zhou Bi Chang 周筆暢, Jeno Liu 劉力揚, Yuan Quan 袁泉, and Chen Hao 陳好. While some artists are easily recognizable as mainland artists, other artists have spent a lot of energy blending into the local Taiwanese populace with the effort and strategies of their music labels.

Zhou Bi Chang: album used a Taiwan-based team

First of all, the production of Zhou Bi Chang's music heavily depended on the resources of a Taiwan-based team. For creating the lyrics to her songs, the singer sought out popular Taiwanese artists Sandee Chan 陳珊妮, Mavis Fan 范曉萱, and Mayday 五月天. When Della Ding went international, she had producers from South Korea, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. While Xian Zi is originally from Guangxi and currently resides in Beijing, it was a Taiwan-based group that flew the singer over to Beijing. Shanghai resident Anson Hu's music already have a heavily urban influence, with many of his songs created by Taiwanese lyricists. Jeno Liu went a different direction and used her experience from studying in England to expand her Britpop horizons.

Anson Hu: fashion sense heavily Taiwanese-influenced

Without exception, a majority of mainland artists that go to Taiwan inherit the country's fashion sense along the way. Before Anson went to Taiwan for his latest "Unemployment Song" album, he went to Taiwan last April for over half a month and shot an MV and did a photo shoot with the help of Mayday and Show Luo 羅志祥's hair stylist. And when Anson was growing up in Shanghai, his father was a clothing designer, so there wasn't a huge gap between his mainland and his Taiwanese lifestyle.

Della Ding: friends make fun of her for having Taiwanese accent

Prior to releasing their albums, Zhou Bi Chang and Jeno Liu, who got their starts from mainland talent show competition Super Girls, were first building names for themselves on the music stage and through filming MVs. Della Ding went even further with her music label arranging housing accommodations in Taipei following the release of her album, where she lived for the greater part of over half a year. By completely immersing herself in Taiwanese life during that time, when Della returned back to her native Hangzhou, her friends poked fun at her by saying "How come you have a Taiwanese accent?"

It doesn’t matter if a Taiwanese team is dispatched to the mainland, or if mainland artists are invited to go to Taiwan in advance. Either way increases production costs, yet music labels confess that when they are producing for mainland artists, it’s difficult for these artists to break the ten thousand album sales mark. So why do mainland artists still go?

Taiwan: the center of Mandopop for developing their music reputation

"Since Taiwan is the popular center of the Mandopop world, artists head over to Taiwan for a shot to make it big in the Mandopop music industry." This is the typical response that a majority of music labels offer. Although the Taiwan’s music market is seeing a decline and album sales have dipped with the rise of music markets in neighboring countries, a strong musical showing in Taiwan’s prestigious music market is seen as a mark of approval and a sign of acceptance to all Chinese language-speaking regions. This explains why singers from Singapore and Malaysia are interested in heading to Taiwan for greater fame, and why mainland artists are more than happy to assimilate themselves in Taiwan.

Furthermore, songs from mainland artists have opportunities for huge sales, such as the unexpected success of Anson Hu’s “Karaoke Men (男人 KTV)” as the catalyst to the rise of his popularity. The song ended up being requested at karaoke establishments over 2.5 million times and having staying power in the top 10 most played karaoke song for 104 weeks. Before that, Na Ying relied on a Taiwanese producer to write her song “Conquer 征服” without having to go to Taiwan and still had a huge popular hit on her hands. Furthermore, mainland artists don’t have to go through the paperwork that Taiwanese artists do in performing in mainland China, which can help the music labels reap profits immediately. This reason is why music companies are more than happy to sign up mainland artists and have them come over to Taiwan to develop their music.

Source: UDN

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