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Zhang in 2019
Zhang Liangying (张靓颖)
October 11, 1984
Michael Feng Ke (冯柯)
(m. 2016; sep. 2018)
Jane Zhang (simplified Chinese: 张靓颖; traditional Chinese: 張靚穎; pinyin: Zhāng Liàngyǐng; born October 11, 1984) is a Chinese singer-songwriter. She is known for her signature whistle register and has been dubbed the "Dolphin Princess" (海豚公主). Zhang began performing as a teenager by singing in pubs to help earn money for her family. After signing with Huayi Brothers Media Corporation in 2005, Zhang released her first studio album, The One (2006). Her second album, Update, was released in 2007. Zhang's third studio album, Jane@Music, was released in 2009. Her fourth studio album, Believe in Jane, was released in 2010. In 2011, Zhang released her fifth studio album, Reform, which was certified double platinum by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI).
Life and career
Zhang began her singing career by winning third place at the Chinese singing contest, Super Girl, in 2005, and signed with Huayi Music the following year. Her 2006 debut studio album, The One, sold more than a million albums in China. Zhang's second studio album, Update, was released in 2007. Promoted by the success of her pop single "We said", Update became one of the best-selling albums of 2007 in China. In 2008 she released a song with Andrea Bocelli—"One World, One Dream", which was used for the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. After signing with Universal Music Group in 2009, Zhang released her fourth studio album, Believe in Jane (2010), which included the successful single "If This Is Love". Her fifth studio album, Reform (2011), sold 80,000 copies within a month in China and was certified double platinum by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI). Her live album, Listen To Jane Z Live, was released in 2012 and achieved No. 1 in the Chinese music charts. In 2014 she signed with Sony Music Entertainment and released her sixth studio album, The Seventh Sense (2014), which incorporated songs from R&B and pop genres. Zhang's English-language song "Dust My Shoulders Off" was released in 2016 and became the background music for Hulu in the US.
In 2014, Zhang was a jury member at the 38th Montreal World Film Festival. In November 2017 she was invited to perform at a Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. She was the first Asian singer to perform songs that made her top ten on the iTunes Instant List. In 2018 the World Tour Concert of "Jane's Secret" was held; the show ranked 45th in the US in single-event mobilization. In 2019 she released her first full English-language album Past Progressive simultaneously around the world.
Zhang received many awards, including nine Beijing Pop Music Awards for Best Female Singer, two China Gold Record Awards, and an MTV Europe Music Award. She has been included in the annual Forbes China celebrity lists from 2006 to 2013.[not verified in body] In 2016, Chengdu government documents announced her annual output value of 1.1 billion yuan.[not verified in body]
1984–2004: Early life
Zhāng Liàngyǐng, known popularly as Jane Zhang, was born in Chengdu, Sichuan, on October 11, 1984. She took the English name "Jane" when she was at school, stating in an interview that she had "always liked the novel Jane Eyre" and paid homage to the novel in an EP. Her father, Zhang Huaqing (张华清), was a long-distance truck driver whose work frequently took him away from home; her mother, Zhang Guiying (张桂英), was a department-store assistant during that time. Zhang noted in an interview that "her parents divorced early [though she] did not realize the secret until years later". At the age of 15, Zhang's father died and "her mother was laid off from her job", so Zhang sang at a public bar to help support the family, adding to the 100 yuan per month she received from her late father's family. She told an interviewer in 2007 that she "lived in a bar for 6 years."
2004–2009: Career beginnings, The One, Update and Jane@Music, and soundtracks
In July 2004 Zhang won the "Chinese College Student Singer Competition", organized by Warner Music. In 2005 she won third place in the Chinese singing contest Super Girl. Although she did not win the competition, her voice still won her a huge following. A number of recording companies began to contact Zhang. Zhang finally chose to sign with Huayi Brothers Company and Hurray Company. Among them, Huayi Brothers are responsible for Zhang's traditional recording productions and promotion, and Hurray Company is responsible for her digital music marketing and promotion. Zhang began preparations for her first EP, Jane, Love, and the production team invited American musicians Denise Rich and Toby Gad to create singles for her. This EP has three songs, which were released in China on January 12, 2006. The EP has sold more than 500,000 copies in China.
In October 2006 Zhang sang the theme song "Only for Love" for the Chinese film The Banquet, joining hands with composer Tan Dun and pianist Lang Lang. Her first studio album The One was released in October 2006. The album was produced by Americans Craig Williams and Reid Hyams.
In May 2008, Zhang was invited to perform in Tokyo. As part of Chinese President Hu Jintao's "warm spring" tour of Japan, Zhang performed at the residence of Japanese prime minister Yasuo Fukuda. China Daily commented that Zhang actively helped promote cultural understanding and friendship between the youth of both countries through her music.
Her trademark style is considered to be soft and heartbreaking love songs in songs prior to her third studio album, Jane@Music. Zhang has always been fascinated by live music and prefers singing live as opposed to recording in a studio. Jane@Music was released in January 2009 and includes more jazzy and faster songs. Subsequently, Zhang held a small concert at the Duo Music Exchange in Shibuya, Japan to promote the album. Zhang was invited to participate in The Oprah Winfrey Show to sing her album's title song "Celebrate" and "Impression of the West Lake" in front of an American audience.
2009–2015: Believe in Jane, Listen to Jane Z Live, The Seventh Sense and soundtracks
On November 2, 2009, Universal Music announced the signing of Zhang, at a press conference in Hong Kong. She stated she had no plans to further her career abroad and has focused on the Chinese market.
In February 2010, her fourth studio album Believe in Jane was released. On May 8, 2010, Zhang and Hong Kong singer Jacky Cheung, along with Somali rapper K'naan, original performer for the 2010 FIFA World Cup theme song, they are singing "Wavin' Flag" together at the Coca-Cola Pavilion at World Expo 2010 Shanghai. In August, she embarked on her first Believe in Jane Tour and travelled to Shanghai, Beijing, Tianjin, and Chengdu. In October 2010 she performed on Asia Song Festival in Seoul, South Korea.
On June 1, 2011, Zhang announced the release of her fifth studio album, Reform, stating that "more than 60 percent of the album ... can be labeled as typical Jane Zhang style". In China Daily, Han Bingbin and Qin Zhongwei wrote that the songs "cover a range of styles, from R&B to rock, hip-hop, and dance," that seven of the album's ten songs "were composed by US musicians" and that "a US postproduction team was involved to guarantee top quality". In addition, "Zhang wrote the lyrics for three songs, including one she composed herself". In the same year, she produced a single, "Summer of Love", for Chinese actor Yang Mi.
Listen to Jane Z Live is a live album recorded by Zhang in 2012 and produced by Jim Lee. At that time Zhang flew to Las Vegas to see Cirque du Soleil's The Beatles Love, which inspired her to release a live album that she rehearsed for in 11 days. Zhang's love for English songs also led to the original production, I Didn't Know, which showcased her wide vocal range.
In July 2014, Zhang announced she signed with Sony Music. Simultaneously, her sixth studio album The Seventh Sense was released. It took her two years to complete the 12-song album. The disc contains two English-language songs: "Get out of My Life" and "Unwind". She wrote the lyrics of "The Seventh Sense", the theme song and namesake of the new album, based on her experiences during the past nine years. This album is the first in the Chinese music industry to be explicitly related to Chinese fashion. Zhang collaborated with the fashion magazine Harper's Bazaar to hold a custom show of cross-border music and fashion and released the song "Bazaar".
2015–2019: Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, Past Progressive and Soundtracks
In the first half of 2015, Zhang participated in the Chinese music show I am a singer. She sang two English songs "Bang Bang" and "All of Me" on the show, which led to the spread of these two songs in China. John Legend, the singer of "All of Me" was invited to perform as a guest performer at the Bang the World Tour Chengdu concert. In the middle of the year, Paramount Pictures announced that Zhang sang the theme song "Fighting Shadows" with Big Sean for the American film Terminator Genisys. It was the first time that Zhang has recorded a song for an English-language film. On June 30, 2015, the song was released by Sony Music Entertainment in Asia while Def Jam Recordings released it in other parts of the world. In October 2015, Zhang and DJ Tiesto released Change Your World, the theme song of the 2015 Budweiser Storm Music Festival. Her 2015 Bang the World Tour was held to commemorate her singing career for a decade. The record company originally planned to record videos of the Beijing concert for the release of the DVD, but an accident occurred at the show: Zhang fell off from a two-meter round hollow of the elevator platform on the stage, which led to the tour's cancellation. Zhang was voted the Best World Act of the Asia region in the 2015 MTV Europe Music Awards. When she went to the award ceremony, she was told to stay backstage and accept the award there. Zhang and her team considered this treatment unfair and discriminatory, so they decided to officially pull out of the award's red carpet ceremony and all other EMA activities.
Zhang released "Dust My Shoulders Off", featuring Timbaland on October 14, 2016, as the lead single from her debut English-language studio album, Past Progressive. The single reached the top 10 on the US iTunes' songs chart. In November, Zhang released an English song "Battlefield" and its promotional music video for the Chinese-American co-production film The Great Wall. The song was composed by King Logan and PJ Morton and written by Josiah "JoJo" Martin and Zhang.
Zhang attended the annual Billboard Music Awards in Las Vegas on May 21, 2017. In October, she was invited to perform at the 2017 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. This show premiered her English album's second single "Work for It" and the passionate dynamic song "808", and a short verse from "Dust My Shoulders Off". As the show aired around the world, the single "808" made the Billboard Hot Dance/Electronic Songs TOP 50 Chart for several consecutive weeks, reaching 23rd place at its highest.
On October 1, 2018, the Hong Kong government held fireworks display at the Victoria Harbour to mark the 69th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. The fireworks show was supported by Zhang's song "My Dream", which has the theme of the "Chinese dream". With a "smiling face" and "love", Hong Kong people are encouraged to pursue their own dreams.
Past Progressive was released on April 27 to positive reviews. The album has a production cycle of up to five years. Zhang won the Best Female Singer Award at the Beijing Pop Music Awards by her performance on this album—the ninth time she won this award.
Zhang is known for her exceptional singing voice and technique. She performs in a variety of styles, including pop, R&B, rock, hip hop, dance. Her voice is clean and clear, with the ability to warble in the best Chinese folk style, and is expressive and almost stage-like in its changes of tone and key. Her performance of "Painted Heart"—the title track of the 2009 box office hit Painted Skin—showed off her folk techniques as well as her vocal range.
Zhang grew up listening to artists such as Teresa Teng, Mariah Carey, Celine Dion, Whitney Houston, Beyoncé, Rihanna, and P!nk, who have all influenced her music. Zhang did not draw her first musical inspirations from classical folk. When she was working the pub and club circuit, her repertoire was mostly English cover versions and she became adept at picking songs to win her audiences over. Her versatility has demonstrated itself in the years after the contest and she is often compared with her idol, Mariah Carey. Musically, Carey is her biggest inspiration and she credits Carey as an explorer and trendsetter in both singing style and harmonic designs.
Cosmopolitan Magazine in China recognized Zhang in their Women of the Year edition in 2008, noting that she was considered a strong female role model.
In 2015, Major League Baseball launched a baseball reality show in China and invited Zhang as an image ambassador. In 2019, Zhang was hired as ambassadors of the 31st Summer Universiade in 2021.
Zhang was invited by the China Health Education Center to make an anti-tobacco charity advertisement that appeals to people to say no to smoking in public spaces. She said that she hopes more people will realize the impact of secondhand smoke on their health. The charity ad was broadcast for the first time on China Central Television (CCTV) on World No Tobacco Day on May 31, 2013.
Zhang has publicly advocated for Children's rights. In 2010 she hosted some children from poor families and disaster-affected regions in a visit to the 2010 Shanghai Expo. In 2014, Zhang launched 'Blue Action' to raise funds for children on the autism spectrum.
In 2011 Zhang became a volunteer for WWF to protect the endangered narrow-ridged finless porpoise and has continually engaged the public regarding their protection. In 2012 she was hired by the World Wide Fund for Nature as the "Messenger of Protect the Narrow-ridged finless porpoise".[This quote needs a citation]
Zhang participated in the "One Woman" event of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) and released the charity-themed song "One Woman" in 2013, in celebration of International Women's Day.
Political appointments and appearances
Zhang was an ambassador of the United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) University Volunteer Program in 2007. She wrote the song "We are together" for this event, and sent out the volunteer advocacy of "Caring for Children, Starting from Me".
On April 6, 2013, Zhang attended the Young Leaders Roundtable of the Boao Forum for Asia (BFA), a platform for high-level leaders from government, business, and academic circles to discuss pressing global and regional issues. During the discussion, she called on parents to pay more attention to their children's mental health. She also attended the 2014 Hong Kong Youth Music Festival at Victoria Harbor in Hong Kong, a festival that aims to create a platform for Asian youth in support of cultural interaction.
In April 2006 Zhang attended the charity dinner at the BFA, performing "One Day When We Were Young" with former Australian Prime Minister Bob Hawke. In January 2007, she attended a dinner hosted at the Embassy of the United States, Beijing, held in honor of the first US public image ambassador, Michelle Kwan, where she gave a thank-you speech. In October, Zhang attended another dinner hosted by the Embassy to welcome the US government's public diplomacy special envoy, Cal Ripken Jr., where she again was chosen to give a thank-you speech. On July 11, 2009, she sang a song named "The Moon Represents My Heart" with Kuomintang (KMT) Chairman Wu Poh-Hsiung during a soiree to mark the fifth Cross-Straits Economic, Trade and Culture Forum in Changsha.
Awards and achievements
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Zhang has received many awards and honors,[according to whom?] including nine Beijing Pop Music Awards for Best Female Singer,[when?] two China Gold Record Awards,[when?] and an MTV Europe Music Award.[when?]
- The One (2006)
- Update (2007)
- Jane@Music (2009)
- Believe in Jane (2010)
- Reform (2011)
- The Seventh Sense (2014)
- Past Progressive (2019)
- Celebrate Tour (2009)
- Believe in Jane Tour (2010)
- Jane's Appearance Tour (2011–2012)
- Bang the World Tour (2015)
- Jane's Secret Tour (2018)
Zhang's personal life is the subject of constant media attention. In July 2015, Zhang publicized her 12-year relationship with Michael Feng, CEO of Show City Times, at the Hunan concert of 2015 Bang the World Tour by suddenly saying "[i]f you want to marry me, please come on stage". In October 2016, Zhang's mother Zhang Guiying suspected Feng of attempting to control her daughter's financials and posted a long open letter accusing him of cheating on her daughter and changing their company's shareholding structure without notifying her. In November 2016, Zhang married Feng in Italy. However, they divorced in April 2018.
Zhang is a feminist and has said that gender equality is an issue close to her heart. She has appealed to the world to fight against sexual discrimination.
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Zhang was born on October 11, 1984 to Zhang Huaqing, a truck driver, and Zhang Guiying, a shop assistant. Zhang’s father died when she was 15 and her mother was laid off from her job. So Zhang started looking for work to contribute to the household expenses and eventually got a singing gig at a local pub.
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- "组图：张靓颖新碟销量超双白金 被封"靓墩儿"". Sina Corp. Retrieved April 8, 2020.
庆功会上，张靓颖宣布她的专辑《改变》销量已经远超双白金……当天IFPI机构的高层领导也到场为她颁发认证。 [At the album's celebration, Zhang Liangying announced that her album "Reform" has sold far more than double platinum ...The senior leaders of the IFPI agency also presented her with certification on the same day.
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在随后接受采访时，张靓颖表示：“他们告诉我今天签了3500多张，还好我的名字比较简单，这是我上学的时候自己起的英文名字，因为我一直很喜欢小说《简·爱》，所以EP的名字也叫《简爱》。 [In a subsequent interview, Zhang Liangying said: "They told me that I signed more than 3,500 today. Fortunately, my name is relatively simple. This is my English name when I was in school, because I have always liked the novel 'Jane Eyre', so the EP’s name is also 'Jane Eyre'. ]
- "《娱乐现场》专访张靓颖：要强女孩的辛酸童年 ["Entertainment Scene" Interview of Zhang Liangying: Desire to Strengthen the Girl's Bitter Childhood]". Cina.com (in Chinese). Shanghai, CN: Sina Corp. September 2, 2007. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
直以来，张靓颖(听歌,blog)都给人个性独立难以亲近的印象。很多人认为这和她坎坷的童年经历不无关系 。这个总给人距离感的女孩，日前做客《娱乐现场(blog)》讲述了令她不堪回首的童年经历。/ 张靓颖的父亲是成都一家运输公司的司机、因为跑长途运输而长期在外，母亲是百货店的售货员。小时候的张靓颖一星期本来就难得见上几回父亲，加之长期住在外公外婆家的关系，尽管父母很早就离异，但后知后觉的张靓颖却等到好几年后才发现这个秘密。/ 离婚后，父亲又组建了新的家庭。张靓颖每个月会从父亲那里领取100元的生活费，即便按照当时的物价标准，100元也难以维持张靓颖母女的生活。在幼年张靓颖的记忆中，这样的生活起初还能勉强支撑下去，直到父母病倒双双入院的那天，张靓颖才真正感受到了什么叫做晴天霹雳。/ 张靓颖的父亲住院后很快就因为病情恶化，不到一个月时间就永远地离开了母女二人，小小年纪的张靓颖一下就懵了，因为她根本不知道什么叫死亡“……一开始的时候我都没有很难过的感觉，在急救中心的时候……去火葬场的时候就很难过……真正意识到死亡是一个什么概念，那是很久了……” / 父亲去世不久后，张靓颖的母亲接着又下岗了，全家唯一的经济来源就是父亲家每月给的100元抚养费。还在上中学的张靓颖于是开始考虑兼职赚钱，还陪着母亲一起到职业介绍所找工作“……我觉得每个月去我爸家拿钱很烦，那种感觉很不舒服……我特别不喜欢看谁的脸色……有个女孩想帮我，她说认识一个朋友管演出的，一个星期唱一两次最早是40块钱……”从此不过15岁、中学还没有毕业的张靓颖开始了6年的酒吧驻唱生活。[Zhang Liangying's father was a driver of a transportation company in Chengdu, and was away for a long time because it was long-distance transportation. His mother was a salesperson in a department store. As a child, Zhang Liangying rarely saw her father several times a week. In addition, she had a long-term relationship with her grandfather and grandmother, although her parents divorced early, Zhang Liangying did not realize the secret until years later. / After the divorce, her father formed a new family. Zhang Liangying received 100 yuan for living expenses from her father every month. Even with the price standards of that time, 100 yuan was insufficient to maintain [the] mother and daughter. In her childhood, Zhang Liangying remembered that life was barely supported at the beginning... / After Zhang Jingying's father was hospitalized, his condition deteriorated quickly, and he would leave the mother and daughter forever in less than a month. Zhang Liangying, yet at a young age, was stunned because she didn't know what it meant to die. "...[A]t the beginning, when I was there, I didn't feel sad... in the emergency center... I was sad when I went to the crematorium... I really realized what the concept of death [meant]..." / Shortly after her father died, Zhang Liangying's mother was laid off again. The only source of income for the family was the monthly support of 100 yuan from the father's family. Zhang Liangying, who was still in middle school, began to consider making money part-time, and accompanied her mother to an employment agency to find a job. "...I found it annoying to go to my dad's house every month to get money, and I felt very uncomfortable ...a girl wanted to help me. She said that she knew a friend who was in charge of [a] performance [venue]. [Thereafter, Zhang] sang once or twice a week for 40 yuan". [She says,] I have lived in a bar for 6 years.
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- "Theme Song by Kim Soo Kyun, Jane Zhang Lights Up 2014 YOG". All-China Women's Federation. n.d. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
- "MLB broadens appeal of baseball in China – China.org.cn". China Internet Information Center. n.d. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
- 陈子琰 (n.d.). "Program to promote Universiade 2021 launched in Beijing". China Daily. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
- "Jane Zhang Shoots Anti-Tobacco Charity Ad – All China Women's Federation". All-China Women's Federation. n.d. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
- Ray Waddell (n.d.). "Concerts key to World Peace One initiative". Reuters. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
- "Zhang Liangying and Madonna to Record Song for Peace". China Radio International. n.d. Archived from the original on November 3, 2007. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
- "Stars to host kid visits". Shanghai Daily. May 21, 2010. Retrieved September 25, 2019.
- "Charity Events Held Nationwide to Mark World Autism Awareness Day". All-China Women's Federation. n.d. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
- "Jane Zhang Sings to Promote Gender Equality – All China Women's Federation". All-China Women's Federation. n.d. Retrieved September 27, 2019.
- "Zhang Liangying served as the master of the UNICEF University Volunteer Project". Sina Corp. n.d. Retrieved October 1, 2019.
- "HK Holds Youth Music Festival along Victoria Harbor". All-China Women's Federation. n.d. Retrieved October 2, 2019.
- "张靓颖与霍克同台献技". Sina Corp. n.d. Retrieved October 13, 2018.
- "Mother of singer sues groom-to-be". China News Service. n.d. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
- "Pop Singer Jane Zhang Denies Mother's Accusation of Fiance – All China Women's Federation". All-China Women's Federation. n.d. Retrieved September 26, 2019.
- "JANE ZHANG LIANGYING'S ITALIAN WEDDING WITH FENG KE; BRIDESMAIDS STARRING LIU YIFEI, WANG LUODAN". Singapore La. November 8, 2016.
- "Jane Zhang files for divorce after 2 years of marriage". China Entertainment News. April 11, 2018.
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