Recognise the person in the photo? Yep, that’s me in my first book which was released in 1991. At risk of sounding cocky, I was not totally clueless when it came to branding and packaging. I was dressed this way for almost every photoshoot. You might want to know where or from whom I got my inspiration and I’ll be revealing it in this blog posting.
Surprised? Those born after 1990 may not know him and this MV may look a little silly by today’s standards, but Wang Jie was a sensation in the late 80s, charming millions of fans throughout the Chinese-speaking world. Exuding with melancholy, his unique voice and music resonated with many broken hearts. I guess it was from Wang Jie’s sad songs that I developed my own brand of “cynical romance” that drove most of my writings back then. Of course, I also acquired a collection of jeans and denim jackets which I only had the opportunity to wear when I travelled to Northern Thailand during the cool season.
But compared to Wang Jie, I must have had a very sheltered life. A single parent, he had to bring his daughter everywhere he went. Working as a stuntman, he had enough titanium plates in his body to trigger off airport metal detectors. Perhaps that’s why he always had this look of pain on his face. Frankly, I wasn’t ready to write about pain as I certainly didn’t know pain like he did.
Success came early for Wang Jie, but hard work took its toll, he sank into depression, his life became a mess and he left the music scene. True to the spirit of someone I would call a hero, he made a comeback at the turn of the millennium. Modest success prompted him to “invade” the mainland Chinese market and results were so encouraging that he continued to perform all over China until he recently announced his retirement.
Just one year my senior at age 50, Wang Jie is no longer capable of amassing the kind of following he had in the 1980s. Even though I was inspired by his style, I got nowhere close to his level of success. You just can’t compare writing with pop music. The latter creates a much quicker and stronger impact. Being so visual, it can obtain synergy from TV, radio and movies. But with new media, I’m hoping to find a way to make my writings as visual as movies and pop music.
Sadly, both singers and writers grow old. For singers, growing old is a painful thing. The voice is affected. Wang Jie’s voice is not what it used to be. More makeup is also needed on stage. The advantage writers have, is that unlike our voices, our writing often improves with age.
Let’s see how my comeback is going to turn out.
© Chan Joon Yee