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Top 5 favourite 'modern' voices, so far?

While listening to Jam Hsiao (萧敬腾), who in my view has one the most powerful male vocals I have ever heard within the Chinese music industry, excluding those who are trained in the classical forms, it got me thinking about my favourite vocalists and why they really pulled at my heart strings. Why 5? Because I could pick many vocalists that have great voice but I'm going to attempt to cut it down. You will also notice my use of 'modern', this is simply because I adore both modern and classical chinese music, such as Song Zuying and Peng Liyuan, which I will comment on in another entry..In addition to this, as a treat, I will later post 5 top vocalists of the past, for example Zhou Xuan, Bai Guang and Yao Li, singers that your parents would have listened to thanks to your grandparents.. Why? Well, I believe they should not die out, but be respected and of course, there are songs from that era that are fabulous.. Anyway, they are not placed in order as I couldn't possibly do that, for the main reason that it would be very difficult for me to do.

So here we go, to start this off I'll chose Nicholas Teo (张栋梁).

This man has been blessed, yes blessed with a voice that could melt anything...especially me. I really can not do this man justice, for not only has he got the most 'heart throb' smile, but his vocals sound sweet and innocent - so sweet it makes you drool. Nicholas' ballads are something else as you can hear the emotions within his voice and though it isn't as powerful as other singers, there's a lot of feeling behind them that will make you weep. To name a few ballads that are killers for me, they are Heart which is merely heartbreaking especially if you watch the MV for this song too, another is Mistakes After Mistakes (错了再错) which shows Nicholas pushing is voice more than usual, which I like, and for some reason will get you smiling while being hit by the emotions in the song. Tears From Polaris (北极星的眼泪) is also a gem of Nicholas' that sums up his talents as a ballad singer.

However, though I adore Nicholas Teo I have seen a pattern with him, he doesn't seem to push himself vocally as you would like to and seems very 'safe'; sticking to know what will melt many hearts. I think that if he attempted some different techniques he could really make a bigger impact on his listeners. Also, more up tempo songs, I have seen this with a number of Chinese singers that they do like their slow song but sometimes they aren't for the time. When feeling happy people wish to listen to content and faster songs, this is where Nicholas lacks as the majority of his songs a slow. I'm not saying I dislike this, it its just as one of my favourite singers, I would like to see him with more fast songs. For an example, on his best album Prince Nicholas there are only 3 songs that could count as upbeat, 3 out of 11 songs that are upbeat is something I do not tend to like... Please Nicholas, in your next album, which you will release soon, please add the happiness and up the tempo, you are a sexy guy..show it!

The next vocalist has to be Jane Zhang (张靓颖).

Now I know that this rising star is not to everyone's taste, I have to say her vocals are the most impressive out of the more younger singers and seems to be a favourite for Directors to use for their OSTs. This Sichuan songstress proves herself worthy of stepping into the lime light as she churns out beautiful ballads and quite modern upbeat tracks. Not only has Jane got one of the most belting vocals among the younger female singers but has got the rare ability, one that I adore, the whistle register. For those who do not know what this is, try to think of Mariah Carey and Minnie Riperton, it means they can go higher than any other singers (having a far wider octave range) and for this they have named Jane the Dolphin Princess, which is frankly well deserved. Since rising from the singing contest Jane has had obvious problems with her whistle register technique, she knew how to use it but clearly the trouble lied with controlling it. Controlling it, you wonder. Yes, it is a hard technique to perfect and in her rednition of Minnie Riperton's "Loving You", which she did very well, I felt that at the end of every usage of the whistle register she lost control of it and simply...went flat so it sounded terrible.

On there other hand, this little star had clearly been working on the vocals and on the track in which Jane duets with Leehom Wang she shows the issues with control were no more, whatever happened in between this period I am so grateful. This gave me the hope that Jane would use it more often, something that would bump her up in my favourites and when I heard of a possible full length album, instead of the usual EPs we get from her, I was excited as they mentioned some tracks had her push herself using the whistle register.

However....when hearing the album, I was very disappointed, the only form of whistle register is so weak that it is somewhat over powered by the melody and the other track that was supposed to have her use the high pitched octaves?.. There was nothing.. It left me sitting there listening to another 'safe' album by Jane, how can she impress the listeners without showing off this talent she has..Jane, do not hide it! Hopefully the next album Jane will work with people who know what they're doing and get her to use the gift she has.

Now to the one and only Jolin Tsai (蔡依林).

Jolin never allows her fans any rest, with each album getting better and better always impressing her fans with the knew techniques she has learnt; dance-wise. For example, Dancing Diva - Classical Chinese and Hiphop dance styles that created Jolin as a 'sex' symbol. Agent J - A similar hiphop/rnb style dance with an addition of seduction through the ribbon dancing and also, pole dancing, creating Jolin as every guys dream girl; yes, the leather was the icing on the cake. Now what has she put before us? The greatest challenge for Jolin yet, a more ballet and contemporary dance style; as seen in her new track Real Man...yes, this girl dances the hardest styles in approx. 5 or 6 inch heels. You have to give her credit. When watching the Real Man MV I was strapped to my chair when she exploded into dance with her standing split and beautifully performed half barrel-role..in heels! - not an easy thing, I can tell you. Not only is this girl one of my favourite female artists, but the rising Queen of the Chinese (mandarin) music industry. The ballads this girl sings are like no other, the only singer to have made me cry when listening to the ballads, the Music Movie Jolin made for Agent J had me in tears...this girl has it all going on.

Though, no diamond is perfect, which pains me to even think this about my Jolin. Since MAGIC was released she has been having the same format for every album; 3 or 4 ballads, 1 cute song and the rest upbeat. Though every look is different and the beats immense, we need variation with the albums and hopefully her move to Warner Music will show this with Butterfly Jolin.

Now for the belter himself Jam Hsiao (萧敬腾).

Urgh, this man is a god. The voice Jam has is awesome and the most impressive vocals, when he wants to make an impact he does as I have not heard a male vocalist yet being able to match the power behind his lungs; other than those classicaly trained of course. His debut, and only, album is a must have, though Jam's sound tends to lean to rock, which is quite strange as when you see him on shows Jame is the most cutest thing to watch...he is shy, quiet and modest. Jam's voice is made for rock and power ballads, which is what the self titled album contains; all of them, I have to say, are brilliant. Every track you are swept away by the power of the voice and his techniques from soft, loud to even the use of falcetto (using the higher octaves).

However, there is something I do not understand about Jam... it seems like he wishes to continue to prove something to his listeners over and over again, pushing himself so far in his songs to the point where it sounds he is shouting a little...when in fact, it's his singing voice. Also, I think branching into a different genre, or even style. Trying a simple pop ballad would suit his voice well and an upbeat 'pop' influenced song would complement his onstage persona of being the 'quiet' one.

Lastly, I have chosen A Duo (阿朵).

Why chose such a vixen as this to be as one of my favourite vocalists? Well, those who are not family with A Duo, she could be described as possibly the Pamela Anderson of the Chinese music business...I'm not saying that she runs around with rock stars and makes sex tapes.. A Duo is provokative and incredibly sexy, possibly border line glamour model to boot; not to mention having a rather bigger chest than any other chinese star thanks to plastic surgery. Secondly this girl hasn't got the skinny physique one would believe a star would have. No, A Duo has a figure and one she is not modest to flaut, if you watch the MV for her album track Treasure you will see that she has something called a belly..at times moments of a 'muffin' top when bend over. This makes this girl very real and all the more attractive, though recently A Duo's weight as dropped slightly, but still keeping the venus like physique. However, it is not just about the appearance, as this girl as a powerful voice..granted not the most powerful, but she gives other artists run for their money. A Duo's upbeat songs are incredibly sexy that will make you get up and dance no matter what, while the melody is not like mainstream 'rnb/hiphop/pop' would be like..which i admire. On the other hand, the ballads this girl brings out are a must listen to. They impact you and also when she wants to show that she deserves credit as a great singer, the voice speaks for itself as she gives belting flourishes.

However, this sex symbol sometimes takes things to the extreme and possibly comes off trying to be Western instead of using her sexuality subtly..though there is nothing wrong with her flaunting; it can get a little old sometimes. Also, I'm not entirely sure about the army-esque theme of one of her tracks on Treasure, it does not seem to fit to her image...seeming, out of place perhaps?.. Nonetheless, keep doing what you are doing as I have no doubt all those guys are just dying to drop to her knees and beg A Duo's attention.




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