Singer goes back to the future with new album

2020-12-19 12:01:30

Singer-songwriter Xie Tianxiao will tour nationwide with his new album Drawing Near. [Photo provided to China Daily] When rock singer-songwriter Xie Tianxiao launched his first album in 1999, he soon won popular acclaim as titles like "King of Live" and the "New Godfather of Chinese Rock 'n' Roll" were bestowed by appreciative fans. The album, Cold-Blooded Animal, saw him experiment by creating rock music infused with guzheng (a traditional Chinese plucked instrument). The grunge music and Xie's guzheng fusion carried the band to rock festivals in Japan and the United States as well as developing a firm fan base in China. Xie is now celebrating his 20th anniversary with a new album, Drawing Near, which features new renditions of 10 songs from his career over the past two decades, including songs from his debut album in 1999. On Dec 8, Xie's 48th birthday, he appeared in Beijing to announce a tour in support of the new album. He will perform in 10 Chinese cities, including Tianjn, Wuhan, Hubei province, and Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, until January 2021. The first show kicked off on Dec 8 in a live house venue in Beijing. Unlike his previous shows, which had dazzling lights, a grand stage set and rapid-fire guitar riffs, Xie latest tour has a real sense of intimacy and simplicity. He sings while playing an acoustic guitar. Between the songs, he recalls stories about his songwriting and his career. "I still keep the manuscript of a song I wrote over 20 years ago," says Xie, referring to A Secret Forever, which was from his debut album in 1999. "When I wrote the song, I lived in a small room near the Old Summer Palace. I couldn't make ends meet as a rocker but I never stopped writing songs. I lived there for only a month. I had to move out because I was too loud playing music and my neighbors kept on complaining." "When we discussed the idea of marking the 20th anniversary, I wanted to bring the songs I wrote over 20 years ago back to their original sounds. I wrote many songs at home alone with my guitar. They started with simple melodies," adds Xie, who announced he joined Sony Music in May this year. According to Zhang Yu, producer of Xie's new album, though the songs are not new, the arrangements are fresh for the fans. Zhang worked with Xie five years ago when Xie toured nationwide with concerts featuring symphony orchestras. The experience of combining the sounds of symphony orchestras with rock music inspired the two to create an album. "Xie is keen on experimenting with new sounds so we rearranged about 20 songs of Xie and selected 10 songs, which were featured in the album," says Zhang."The process of recording involved lots of improvised performances, which enabled the old songs to gain new lives." Born in Zibo, Shandong province, Xie learned to paint as a child. After falling love with rock music, he came to Beijing in 1991 and formed his band, Cold-Blooded Animal in 1997. His reputation for being volcanic on stage came from early influences during the years that he, together with his band Cold Blooded Animals, developed during his career in the US from 2001 to 2003. So far, Xie has released six albums, including Guzheng Reggae, released in 2009, which was dedicated to his idol Bob Marley, and Illusion in 2013.