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Monday, June 21, 2021

Chinese American Artist Expressing through Pop Music > CULTURS — lifestyle media for cross-cultural identity

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Wang Leehom is one of the best-known Chinese American pop musicians. and a good example of the cultural fluidity of oriental and western pop music. He is one of “The 100 Most Inspiring Asian Americans of All Time” listed by Goldsea.

Chinese American

Born and raised in  Rochester, New York, Wang did not learn Chinese before entering university. However, at the age of 19, when he returned to Taiwan, he took part in the singing contest and won the championship, so he embarked on a series of multicultural journeys.

Wang Leehom at the 2018 Golden Lotus Awards (Macau International Movie & Television Festival) for Best Actor

Wang systematically practiced various kinds of orchestra and widely accumulated musical knowledge. He started to learn violin with his brother at the age of 6, and then go on to practice piano. Later, Wang studied and get honorary doctoral degrees from both Williams College and Berklee College of Music. Therefore, he has mastered many kinds of musical instruments and has been exposed to various music styles. This will greatly help him later to master the integration of Eastern and Western music elements.

Pop Musician

In 2000, Wang re-recorded “Descendants of the Dragon“, In addition to expressing his longing for Chinese culture, he also expressed diaspora and loss of new immigrants. From the perspective of overseas Chinese, he thought about the issue of cultural inheritance. Through pop music, he spread the Dragon Culture (Chinese Culture) after the return to the global Chinese community.

Wang Leehom playing the piano at 2007 Heroes of Earth concert in Las Vegas.

Chinese Culture with Wang Leehom

Many of Wang’s works combine traditional Chinese elements with modern Western music styles, such as “Hero of Earth“, “Descendants of Dragen” and so on. He added the experiment of himself or that of his parents.

In addition to the pop music market in local Chinese area, Wang also exported his works to overseas Chinese communities. In these communities, the soundscape constructed by Chinese pop music constantly constructs floating Chinese identity.

Popularization and Globalization of Chinese Culture

The globalization of Chinese culture has been brought back to our hometown, enriching the Chinese culture in China. Moreover, Chinese culture has spilled over to the locals, extending to the global Chinese community like a rhizome, becoming the global Chinese culture.

There are diverse ways to spread Chinese culture. The popular music of Wang represents one of them that is more conducive for young people. In his works, traditional Chinese culture can be very fashionable and dynamic, which is meet the taste of young people.

Besides, Wang’s works have also attracted public attention to a special group of people: the Chinese Americans. They grew up in a foreign environment and don’t know much about the Chinese. However, they are still very interested in the culture of their hometown. Therefore, they can interpret Chinese culture from another angle. They blend Chinese culture with the Western culture they are familiar with. Among them, Wang is one of the most influential representatives. All in all, the exchange and collision of Chinese and Western cultures will bring vitality to traditional Chinese culture.

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