In 2014, “Good Meimei’s Private Song – One” <Shuo Shi Yi Jiu> made many old and classical songs glow again. In 2017, “Good Meimei’s Private Song – two> was activated again, and invited 10 singers from the period of Chinese music circles’ great prosperity to sing together. Why would Good Meimei like to do private songs? How did the idea came up?
On April 13th, The 2018 Small Antler · China Music Business Expo was held in Renaissance Hotel, Beijing, China. Under the panel of the topic “Why would we like to do Good Meimei’s Private Song Project”, two singers from Good Meimei Band – Hao Qin and Xiaohou Zhang, and Tao Xi, who is the agent of Good Meimei and Chenli, CEO of Youcishan Culture Media, have shared the story of doing Private Songs.
Good Meimei, well-known music group, was founded by Xiaohou Zhang in 2010. He was the first independent musician who held the concert in stadium in 2015. From 2012 to 2017, he issued 5 albums, 1 EP, and tens of songs. From 2013 to 2018, he has held tens of concerts in live house, theaters and stadiums.
In 2014, Good Meimei was awarded the Best Band of the year from MusicRadio Chinese TOP ranking list, and the song <only one in Beijing> (Yi Ge Ren De Bei Jing) won the Best Mainland Lyrics Award. In 2015, they were awarded Music Star of the year from Tencent Entertainment White Book(Teng Xun Yu Le Bai Pi Shu). In 2016, Good Meimei won the Best Group and Band of the Year Award from the Sixteenth Top Chinese Music Awards annual festival; they also won the Most Popular Band Award from the Second Cool Music Asian Festival. In the same year, they won the Best Internet Social Musician Award from Asian All Music.
Good Meimei used to sing and write theme songs for many famous movies, TV series, and dramas, such as <Forever Young> (Zhi Zi Hua Kai), <Detective Chinatown> (Tang Ren Jie Tan An), <Little Door Gods> (Xiao Men Shen), <Everything is Alright> (Yi Qie Dou Hao), <Yesterday Once More> (Shui De Qing Chun Bu Mi Mang), and <The Grand Mansion Gate> (Da Zhai Men).
Tao Xi, the agent of Good Meimei Band and Li Chen, and CEO of Youcishan Culture Media, has tens of years of fashion and FMCG(fast moving consumer goods) brands promotion and planning experience. In 2013, he and Good Meimei Band founded Chunsheng studio and entered music industry officially. In 2015, he built the impression for Good Meimei as the first independent musician who held the concert in Beijing Workers’ Stadium. Then Good Meimei started the national tour <Free As Air> (Zi Zai Ru Feng). In 2016, he supervised Li Chen’s original album <Xiao Meng Da Ban>. The album was sold up to 157 million total amount in the first two weeks. It set the scores for independent musician albums sale.
Host: Thank you for coming to the exposition. Please use three words to describe your 2017.
Tao Xi: 2017 is the idea of arranging, summarizing, and starting again to us. Arranging is also the process of summarizing. While this is our fifth year in music industry, we have all the process as a review in last year. This review has decided what we should do for next step, including Good Meimei and Li Chen’s future development direction, studio and new company’s connection.
Xiaohou Zhang: 2017 is the year of accumulating and summarizing to me, but it was a little boring. It should be wrapped up in last year. Unfortunately, we didn’t follow our project because of force majeure. So we moved the ending to this year. We think that we should relax ourselves unless we have done all the things. We should have a goal as the next step. Things have been changed and summarized all the time from last year. We rethink and shape ourselves this year.
Hao Qin: Nothing significant happened last year. 2017 was peaceful to us but a little boring. So we think our next project more than before, and what else we could do in music industry.
Host: “Good Meimei’s Private Song – One” has made many old and classical songs glow. The project was activated again last year. So why would you choose this time to activate again?
Xiaohou Zhang: We used to go to bars to sing songs. Half of them were wrote by ourselves, and half of them were cover. As more and more songs were published by us, we would sing our original music for this year’s tour. Cover music is one of the best way to express for us. We used to listen lots of old music, especially classical music, so the Private Song Project came out this year.
We used to find some classical singers to perform unfamiliar songs. It sounds like unachievable, because we were looking for ten Chinese classical singers to sing with us.
Hao Qin: It is like the concert in Worker’s Stadium last year. I thought we only talk about it at first, but it came true. We were looking for original singers for “Good Meimei’s Private Song – Two” album. It was a really difficult process, but we finished half of them
Host: Could you talk about both difficult and interesting things for this project, Tao?
Tao Xi: In the Private Song Project, it is all the songs that Good Meimeis love to listen. So we think about those two points when we chose.
Firstly, fans are almost young people, even some college students. It is a big percentage. So when the album came out, most fans would think the songs are original, but they would know the songs are cover later. Then they would look for original version of those songs.
Secondly, we heard some interesting feedback. While some young people listen to those classical music, their elders would be curious and ask why they are listening the songs from their age. In our society, it is impossible to listen the songs that from same age as our parents. So cover music would be interesting to them, they could listen old music but in new version.
This year, we hope Private Song – Two would be improved when it is activated, so we have the idea of singing together with classical and original singers. I could remember that we listed nearly twenty singers and discussed the possibility of singing together. We realized that it is difficult to sing together, such as different keys. If we sing ten songs all together, we have to keep the original thing but have some new ideas in music.
But if we could achieve it, people would think that it is young musicians’ dreams – to sing with their favorite singers. Now, we started and had the first step. It has been one year until today, so we have experienced a long process.
But I think it was not bad. When we contact our partner singers, the feedback was really surprising, because they think the idea of the Private Song – Two album was really cool. The singers responded quickly with enthusiasm. So 80% – 90% has been done for this album. The only thing left to do is carry out the production. Everyone communicated to each other during the meeting in recording studio room. It brought some new knowledges and experiences to us in music industry.
Host: Could you share some interesting stories about the album?
Xiaohou Zhang: Most of the female singers were from 80s and 90s. Chinese music center was in Taiwan at that age. So the album was done in one of Taiwan’s recording studios.many classical music was recorded there.
Hao Qin: We were surprised by each room.
Xiaohou Zhang: We have met many predecessors when we first arrived there. They encouraged and chatted with us. When I heard the music that we used to listen when we were young, I felt like the studio has become the epitome of music industry. It is same as the forum today, people in the same industry come together and communicate.
Hao Qin: We went to one record store, and there was a black tape record was played in front of the store. It has the signature of Yueyun Pan and Mao San. You can’t imagine how difficult to find a record such as that to talk about music from that age. I was worried about the communication with those famous singers at first, but I found out that all of them were really nice and friendly.
Host: I have a question for Tao. There are some variety shows which sing cover music long time ago. So people emphasize that it is important to sing original songs. Did you think about how to balance the relationship between original songs and cover music? What’s the difference between the cover music in Private Song album and other cover music in industry?
Tao Xi: Cover version is only a way to produce. It doesn’t mean we don’t have the original things. We have picked the most classical songs from Chinese music industry. Besides technology and feelings, the influence from the whole music industry is strong. Original music means new things and creation, but we should also keep classical ideas.
Host: There are many ways to express the feelings for young people, and they have different lifestyles. Some of them also feel anxious. Is there any conflict exist? Does is have some influence to your writing? Or does it motivate you more?
Xiaohou Zhang: People didn’t experience a lot at this age. We are full filled with hesitate and uncertainty. We hope to be perfect, but sometimes we can’t do it. We used to doubt and deny ourselves when we were young. We are also unsure about the future, so even if we wrote lots of songs at that time, we still feel lost. I believe that not all the people start contacting music with original songs. Maybe they sang their favorite songs in KTV and realized that they like music more and more. This is a process of accumulation. Writing music is like the process of drawing for artist, photography for photographer. When you have music ability, you will have your own to express yourself.
I always say that I feel like I went back to sophomore year in high school when I heard Jay Chou’s music. Music has the function of recording, record our lifestyles and changes. Music would bring us to the past, and we will remember what happened and what we felt at that time.
However, the Private Song – Two Project makes us forget the feeling of hesitate and anxious, because we have cooperated with 10 famous singers. They would tell us about their youth, what they have experienced when they were students, and what they are going to experience in the future. Even many people sing the song <We Are Different> (Wo Men Bu Yi Yang), we are all the same. It doesn’t matter how famous you are, you used to have unforgettable experience and story about youth, same as me, as my friends. So I can understand their state of emotions. The beliefs would tell us to choose the correct way when we are entangled. I feel that I would learn and improve myself more when I cooperate with these ten singers.
Host: We are impressed about a live show which you talked about your creation process from last year. From one hand, creation is private, personal. From the other hand, creation has become a story and even chemical reaction when you show your personal emotion. Why did you have the idea of live show? Didn’t you worry about the risk?
Tao Xi: I can still remember that we were related to hit a wall at first half of creation process. We got the inspiration of new music from writing letters to each other. And we have talked about how to make the audience feel the change of music.
In 2016, many brands have developed dramatically. Some of them have contacted us for business, but we didn’t cooperate with them. It’s not about doubting the channel of live show, but we think that the most important thing is to express what we want for music. I always say that selling products for half an hour during live, it’s not what I want.
The idea of holding the live show was based on what young people like and acknowledge. Live show made audience know our real life of creation and writing. Everyone would know the value and process of one song. I used to say that the audience would like to pay for music in this society. It’s not the time for free music. As a musician, it is a good chance to educate our audience.
We want the audience know one piece of music would need many musicians’ efforts, even it only have a few minutes. That’s a really important reason that we had the live show.
The second reason is that we want to show our creation process is diversified. The creation of this album is different from before. We used to send our lyrics to producer, and they would send back their arrangements. But this time, many musician sit together and communicate with each other to find inspiration. Through live show, the audience could give their suggestions and take part in our creation process.
The third reason is that we want to give the audience more options and pay more attention to our writing process. The audience used to pay for one album and listen to it. Now, we hope they could pay two to three months before they could actually listen to it. So the audience would pay more attention to our creation process and live show.
Otherwise, consumers would pay attention to the progress. It’s a new style of creation, interaction, and marketing for both audience and musicians. Music products if different from other merchandise. The value of music is subjective. Sometimes music would influence one person and his decision. We want to explore if consumers have more options and initiatives. The results was amazing, even exceed our estimates. We want to play an important role in music industry and lead the industry more more quickly.
Host: Musician Marketing is mentioned by many industries. I know the whole team has tried many different ways. Is there any new experience you would like to share with us.
Tao Xi: I always want some new possibilities from 2013, when I started producing music. Because of internet, all the old rules was broken. So we never stop making new rules in the past few years. We have to be imaginable, and operate based on music. Then we can choose the mode of marketing. We have new ideas and actions each year, but music is always the central thing to talk about.
Xiaohou Zhang: Besides music, how to be a good man is more important for a musician. Life is also important. I don’t want to say that music is all of my life. What I expect is my life is full filled with music and happiness. That’s the living status and desirable life of a musician. You can have your own life, freedom, and music to express your thoughts.
Both of us like to use social media, so many people said we are a “marketing” company. Tao is more like our partner and improved us a lot. To us, Good Meimei is a brand, it’s not two people. Hao and I have something in common and we trust each other. Only we appreciate each other and Tao, we could continue doing this brand. Let’s give the marketing part to professional people. Musicians only need to be themselves and enjoy music.
Translated by Katrina Zhang
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