Jay's Personality And His Chinese Style Songs
Introduction and Jay’ Early Career:
In this article I intend to discuss Jay Chou and his personality which intersects the topics of his race and ethnicity . Jay Chou is a pop singer in Taiwan. His works are very famous in East Asia. His main style of his music is partial to pop music and rap music. Many of Jay’s works are combined with traditional Chinese lyrics and songs to redefine Chinese-style songs.
Jay Chou was born in Taiwan, China, on January 18, 1979, originally from Quanzhou, Fujian Province, who is a Chinese pop singer and famous musician. Jay has been interested in music since he was young. Unlike other children, Jay Chou always liked to write his own songs alone. Jay grew up in a single-parent family. Jay’s father and his mother divorced when Jay was young. Therefore, Jay’s grandmother and mother became the two most important women in his life. His mother, an art teacher, gave all her hopes on her son since Jay was born. When Jay was in high school, his English teacher thought Jay had a learning disability: “he had a wooden expression on his face. I thought he was stupid. He can’t concentrate on his math and science classes, and even his English homework is really bad.’ But Jay’s mother, Ye huimei, noticed this quiet, shy child was sensitive to pop or classical music from an early age: “Jay was sensitive to music before he could walk.” Perhaps Jay’s childhood memory is too heavy, perhaps adult world is too dark, even if Jay becomes famous, he still appears very lonely. However, it is this loneliness gives his music with infinite imagination, and makes his music rhythm and melody become a powerful weapon to warm audiences’ hearts. When he presents himself with music, he also shocks the whole world. In 2000, through the recommendation of musician whose called Yang Junrong, Jay Chou began to sing his own created songs; on November 7, he released his first solo album “Jay’, he arranged all the lyrics and composition by himself in only 10 days, we can see that Jay Chou is very talented in composing lyrics and music. Then Jay Chou has received attention in the Chinese music world with this album and won three awards in Taiwan for Best Pop Music album, he won the Best producer and Best Composer of that year. The success of the album ‘Jay’ surprised Taiwan’s singers, at a time when people have not yet fully remembered the name of Jay Chou. After 2000, he became the most revolutionary singer-songwriter in Asian pop music, his total sales of albums in Asia exceeded 31 million copies. Jay is known as the ‘King of Asian Pop’, his music broke through the original single music theme form, and created the modern pop music “Chinese style”. In Jay’s later albums, there always has at least one song with Jay’s Chinese style.
Jay and his Chinese Style Songs:
From the perspective of the music system, pop music is developed on the basis of American popular music structures such as rock music, blues, jazz, Saul music and so on.
Pop music is just a kind of carrier, carrying any kind of ideology that exists in contemporary society. The style and form of Chinese pop music is mainly influenced by Europe and the United States. on this basis, it has gradually formed a local style belonging to China, in which a unique element of ‘Chinese style’ has been formed. This is a unique music style that can not be replaced in other countries, And Jay Chou has made a great contribution to the development of Chinese-style music.
According to that we have studied in class, we have noticed that race and ethnicity may affect the performance, composition and distribution of a musician. Jay Chou’s composing style is deeply influenced by traditional Chinese culture. Among the pop culture preferences of the post-1995 and post-2000 generation, Jay Chou made a great contribution for this part of people. For example, he localized R&B and Hip Hop. For today’s new generation of young people in China , the most significant and definite achievement of Jay Chou is his redesign and promotion of ‘Chinese style’. Before the appearance of jay Chou, the ‘Chinese style’ in popular culture was divided into its own forms, with no obvious style. Jay Chou has made ‘Chinese style’ as a pop culture style.
The reason why Jay Chou leads the trend of Chinese music is that the his song use the traditional culture and Chinese traditional elements, and express the traditional culture with modern consciousness. The Chinese style song is to add some Chinese classical allusions to the song as the creation background, and to adapt the modern music style to interpret the classical style. If we say Michael Jackson’s songs transcend race, then Jay Chou’s songs have laid the foundation for the Chinese nation, he has redefined the mainstream of Chinese pop music.
Jay Chou’s Chinese style songs are roughly divided into two categories, one with radical style and the other with gentle style. The radical leading style is Chinese Kung Fu, Jay intend to express Chinese heroic style, such as “龍拳”(Dragon Fist) and “雙截棍”(Nunchucks),
“霍元甲”(Fearless) and so on. In Jay Chou’s gentle songs, the theme of Chinese cultural charm is often just a carrier, the original intention of the song is to find this suitable carrier to express Jay’s sensitive and soft emotion, the representative songs include “東風破” (Dong-Feng-Po),
“菊花台”(Chrysanthemum platform), “青花瓷”(Blue and White porcelain),
“千里之外”(thousands of miles away) and so on.
Example of Jay’s Radical style Song——Dragon Fist:
“Dragon fist” tells the story of Chinese national disaster. The lyrics of “Dragon fist” in Dunhuang, the Great Wall, the Yellow River, the Mongolian plateau, Mount Taishan, these few of famous scenic spots the give audience an image of China. Dragon, as a symbol of the Chinese nation, the dragon said in a song as the hero’s.
Let’s take a look at some of the lyrics from dragon fist:
My right fist opens the heavens! Transform into the dragon!
把 山河重新移動 填平裂縫
Set the mountains and rivers in motion anew, fill in the chasms to level things out.
將 東方的日出 調整了時空
One day the rising star of the East will shake space and time.
回到洪荒 去支配 去操縱
Return to the primeval. Go conquer! Go take control!
我 右拳打開了天 化身為龍
My right fist opens the heavens! Transform into the dragon!
那 大地心臟洶湧 不安跳動
That great land’s heart is raging like a rushing torrent.
全 世界的表情 只剩下一種
The whole world is left with only one thought
Waiting for a hero… I am that dragon.
The song is played with harps and GuZheng (Chinese zither) and Chinese drums. By combining eastern Kung Fu culture with western rock and roll, Jay breaks out the stereotype of “Chinese style music” and gives a new impression of Chinese style music to the audience. The lyrics completely expresses the dragon is the god of China, reflecting a very strong sense of worship. The melody has a strong sense of rhythm, which makes people feel an impulse to fight for the honour of the whole nation.
Example of Jay’s Lyric style song——Blue and white porcelain:
“Blue and white porcelain” tells the story of a beautiful and poignant love like blue and white porcelain, this lyric song is one of the representative work of Jay Chou in Chinese style. The song begins with a beautiful encounter that triggers an ethereal love story. The song begins with a beautiful encounter that triggers an ethereal love story. What the lyrics show to the audience is a picture of misty rain in the south of the Yangtze river. In the background of misty rain in a small town in the south of the Yangtze river, there is a beautiful and elegant woman just like blue and white porcelain. She stand in the drizzle, like a bud in bud, describing the beauty of the heroine in this song and the hero’s love for her and miss. The lyric “天青色等煙雨而我在等妳 The perfect shade of blue awaits the right weather(misty and rainy day), like how I wait for you”is the most poetic lyric in the “Blue and white porcelain”. “The perfect shade of blue” is the most perfect colour in making blue and white porcelain. This colour can only be fired in misty and rainy day, so misty rain day is one of the decisive conditions for the make of “The perfect shade of blue”, indicating that “the perfect shade of blue” can be made until the season of misty rain, which means if “‘I” am the perfect shade of blue, then “you” just like “the misty rainy day” that precious to me. At the end of the story, the koi was painted on the bottom of the bowl, and the hero was thinking about the heroine when he was practicing calligraphy. The heroine left very quietly, becoming the permanent secret of the hero. ‘Blue and white porcelain’ uses traditional Chinese instruments such as the flute, Guqin and Guzheng, and using strumming, percussion and wind music as playing style to make the tune with Chinese national characteristics. “Blue and white porcelain”also reflects the combination of Chinese and western musical characteristics, combining the style of rock and roll with the Chinese style melody, so that the audience can feel the music style of ‘blue and white porcelain’ characteristics of the fusion of Chinese and western. Therefore, when audiences enjoy the Chinese tradition, they also can enjoy modern fashion style from “Blue and white porcelain”.
Jay Chou and Today’s Political Problems：
Relations between Taiwan and mainland China are strained, and some of its citizens want Taiwan to become an independent country rather than part of China. As a famous Taiwanese singer, Jay Chou’s political stance is often very appealing. On the political issue of Taiwan’s desire for independence, Jay Chou once called himself as Chinese instead of Taiwanese in an interview and called Taiwan as a province rather than a country. From jay’s Chinese musical works, the audience can feel his Chinese feelings, the influence of Chinese culture on his creation and so on. He put his understanding of Chinese culture into his songs and then sang them, expressing his feelings for his country. In this way, Chinese mainland fans love him and his works very much.
Pop music is a commodity with a high replacement rate. The average idol singer is popular for two to three years and soon dies. The reason why Jay’s songs have been popular among the public in the past ten years is that he always pays attention to the current life and social problems and put them into his music. He likes to try with different styles of music and he forms strong personal characteristics with his infinite imagination and creativity.
Jay Chou believes that China has its own style of music and should make good use of the valuable traditional Chinese culture to create Chinese own music: “I think many foreigners learn about Chinese Kung Fu through some movies and they think that’s good. Therefore, I think we should tell Chinese people not always to follow western popular cultures.” This is Jay’s promise and the essence of his songs. His songs of ‘Chinese style’ break the previous stereotype of ‘Chinese style”. Jay’s music enhance racial and ethnic identity and he combines Chinese traditional culture with western music to breaks down the boundaries between races.
- Ma, Yue. “A Brief Analysis of the Application of Chinese Style Creation Elements.” Folk Crafts, January 2019.
- “青花瓷: Qing Hua Ci: Blue and White Porcelain.” 青花瓷 |Qing Hua Ci| Blue and White Porcelain. Accessed December 1, 2019. http://jaychoulyrics.blogspot.com/2009/02/qing-hua-ci-blue-and-white-porcelain.html.
- “Blue and White Porcelain.” YouTube. Accessed November 9, 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8Mqw0b9ADs.
- Chou, Jay. “龙拳Dragon Fist.” YouTube. YouTube. Accessed December 1, 2019. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_byK6M95hTc.
- Liu, Yi. “The Chinese Style of Jay Chou’s Songs,” October 2015.
- He said Taiwan is Taiwan province. Accessed December 1, 2019. https://baijiahao.baidu.com/s?id=1614102131910669631&wfr=spider&for=pc.
- FennyFeifei. “04 龍拳: Long Quan: Dragon Fist.” 04 龍拳 | Long Quan | Dragon Fist, January 1, 1970. http://chineselyrics4you.blogspot.com/2008/10/04-long-quan-dragon-fist.html.
- Du, Nan. “A Brief Discussion on the Tragic Love in Jay Chou’s Lyrics.” YELLOW RIVER OF THE SONG. May 2011.