Fourteen years ago, Chris Lee (李宇春) debuted on the popular singing competition show Super Girl in 2005, where her unisex look drew her an incredible amount of both admiration and hate. Now, her newest album Wow sold for more than 27 million RMB on QQ music. So how did Chris Lee stayed in the center of China’s music scene for so long?
High-Quality Innovative Live Performances
In 2010, Lee incorporated magic tricks into her concert. In 2012, she performed popping in a spacesuit. In 2016, Lee covered the ACG song “Regular Disco” originally performed by a Vocaloid singer. In 2017, she performed “Ximen Youth” with a 300-person dance group. In 2019, she cosplayed as Mulan and performed sword dancing on stage.
She is also very involved in art and technology. In 2018, she collaborated with 10 Chinese contemporary artists on the art project “Pop Laboratory-Food Market,” exploring the relationship between people’s everyday life and pop culture. She also joined forces with Intel’s AI division to produce music video “Happy Ever After.”
Never Shy of Her Opinions
Chris Lee’s 2017 album Liú Xíng talked about her loneliness after becoming famous, missing her hometown, questioning what it means to be fully alive, and criticizing the transient and mindless nature of pop culture. The album resonated with a lot of young adults leaving home alone to pursue career opportunities far away and living their life chasing good grades good job but doesn’t feel fulfilled.
She used to feel like an animal in a glass cage watched by millions of people, but now she sounds more like she’s encouraging her audiences to think with her. In her newest album, Wow, she explored many philosophical questions. Does love have anything to do with looks, money, and jobs? Do we have to choose between being fake and socially acceptable or true to ourselves and crazy? Do we have to be exceptional to be a worthy person? Is an ordinary life a good life?
Chris Lee stands for something greater than herself. For many, she’s a physical manifestation of healthy women unafraid to speak their minds and unconstrained by sexual stereotypes. She put intense effort into making sure her lyrics, her music, her fashion, and stage presence all align with her true self. Her fans remain incredibly loyal to her all these years because they feel like they are following a real person, not just a carefully planned public image. However, impressive her achievement was, the best is yet to come for this Chinese superstar.
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