Reunion with a difference

Chinese singer-songwriter Ye Bei releases her new album, In Love While Floating, after a nine-year hiatus. [Photo provided to China Daily] 

In 1994, Ye Bei, a freshman from the China Conservatory of Music, planned to work her way through college. The Beijing native, who was born to a pianist mother and an engineer father, then played the piano in hotel lobbies and also sang at pubs.

One day, she was approached at a pub by Gao Xiaosong, the songwriter of the pop hit, My Desk Mate, which was then sweeping the country.

“I was impressed by her voice. Though there was no customers in the pub that day, she still sang seriously,” says Gao, a dropout from Tsinghua University, who later went on to become the chairman of the Alibaba Music Group, a music company under China’s internet giant, Alibaba.

Ye says she remembers him as having thin, messy hair and pimples.

About a month after the meeting, Gao invited Ye to record some demos, which later became some of the biggest hits in the country. The songs included No Regrets For Our Youth, Flying White Dress and Rain After B Minor.

The life-changing cooperation with Gao also introduced Ye to some of the biggest names of the country’s music scene, including Lao Lang, Xiao Ke and Pu Shu.

These people, including Ye, are known as the pioneers of the golden days of China’s “campus folk music” in the 1990s.

China’s campus folk music is characterized as being driven by acoustic guitar and piano with lyrics about campus romances, university life and youth.

Now, decades later, on a chilly autumn night, these people meet again to celebrate Ye’s latest album, In Love While Floating, at Blue Note Beijing.

The show sold out quickly and audiences embarked on a journey through time, not just because of the pop hits she performed that night, but also thanks to the musician friends who share the stage with her.

“It’s good to have them with me after 20 years. They’ve witnessed my growth and I am so lucky that we can still sing together,” says Ye, a day after the concert.

In Love While Floating is Ye’s fifth full-length album, which sees her return after a nine-year hiatus. This is her first album, where all the songs-10 of them-are written and coproduced by her.



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