What’s Stalling Faye Wong’s Return?

I’m sure this question has been on the minds of millions of Faye Wong (王菲) fans throughout the world for the last four years. Since her last No Faye, No Live! concert in Guangzhou on 10 January 2005, the release of the concert album in November 2004, and her To Love (將愛 Jiang Ai) album in November 2003, we have been waiting for a new album or concert performance.

Will 2009 be the year when Faye returns?

I’m not an insider like Katie Chen (陈家瑛 Chen Jiaying), Carina Lau (刘嘉玲 Liu Jia Ling), Vicki Zhao (赵薇 Zhao Wei), or Ma Jia (马葭) so I can’t answer this question with any kind of authority, but like most of you, I’ve been following her career very closely and have a number of thoughts on what may be keeping Faye from returning to her performing career.


(Photo source: 7_70)

There are a number of clues that might, together, provide an explanation:

Clue 1. Faye isn’t motivated by money. She never has been and probably never will. Thus, multimillion dollar offers may not have the appeal that it does for most people.

Clue 2. She’s not staying away because of the children, Tong Tong (竇靖童 Dou Jingtong) and Li Yan (李嫣), as many believe. Yes, she loves them and enjoys caring for them, but in the past, she resumed her career almost immediately after Tong Tong’s birth.

Clue 3. Since Coming Home in August 1992, every album has been different in the sense that, in each, Faye pushes the envelope, experimenting and trying new things. The point is that her discography since 1992 is a continuous progression, development, or growth. In her last album, Jiang Ai, Faye served as co-producer, with Zhang Ya Dong (張亞東), of the entire album. She also composed and wrote three of the songs, the title track “To Love,” “Leave Nothing” (不留), and “Sunshine Dearest” (陽寶), and she composed the music for “April Snow” (四月雪).

Clue 4. She’s not resting, as many seem to believe. Faye has tremendous energy and strength, and the reason for her absence from the limelight isn’t physical.

Clue 5. She’s not being restrained or held back by her husband, Li Yapeng (李亚鹏), as some believe. In fact, LYP is her biggest fan and would want nothing better than to see and hear Faye perform once again. However, to his credit, he’s leaving the decision solely in her hands.

Clue 6. Faye hasn’t lost her voice as some speculate. Her voice and talents are part of her DNA, and she can’t lose what’s a natural part of her. Also, her 18 May 2008 earthquake relief live performance with Faith Yang ( 杨乃文, Yang Nai Wen), Eason Chan (陈奕迅, Chen Yi Xun, ), and Aniu (阿牛) in “Wishing We Last Forever” demonstrated to the world that her voice is as beautiful as ever.

Clue 7. She hasn’t lost her looks. All one has to do is look at her recent photos and videos. She is absolutely gorgeous!

Clue 8. Faye isn’t restless, and this is a major reason, I think, for her reluctance to reignite her career. In the past, her creative juices flowed when she was restless or impatient. It’s almost as though she’s driven by an inner force that only she can feel — a force that can be released only through creative expression in music.

Clue 9. She hasn’t seen or heard anything in the current music scene to spark her creative energies. There’s no modern day equivalent of Teresa Teng (鄧麗君 Deng Lijun) or Cocteau Twins to inspire her. And her former collaborators, Zhang and Lin Xi (林夕), as well as C. Y. Kong, Dou Wei (竇唯), and Nic Tse (谢霆锋 Xie Tingfeng), haven’t been working with her to create new material.

Clue 10. Faye has never said that she’s retired or retiring from her career. And this is perhaps the most important clue. She’s leaving the door open simply because she may want to step into the recording studio when the spirit moves her. There’s no timetable. It’s just a matter of waiting for the right moment to strike, when her adrenaline and restlessness kicks in.

A Likely Scenario for Faye’s Return

So, given these clues, what’s a likely scenario for her return? My guess is that either or both Zhang and Lin Xi will have to make the first move by presenting Faye with new songs or concepts that could be exciting for her. It’ll have to be sufficiently different, new, and edgy, and it’ll have to be something that fits Faye and represents, for her, growth.

These two have collaborated extensively with Faye in the past, and, together, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. I’d also toss C. Y. Kong, Dou Wei, and Nic into the mix. Faye brings out the genius in each of these guys, and, together, they could create the kind of music that would stir the restlessness or anxiety within Faye that seeks creative expression in music.

In this scenario, Faye would play many different roles, as she has in the past, when she felt in sync with her collaborators, and these roles will include bouncing off her partners and adding her own touches, including original compositions or lyrics or both.

These individuals, including Faye, intuitively realize that, alone, each can’t grow. It’s only in collaboration that they can transcend the limits of their own talents and create music that’ll take them and the entire industry to a whole new level.

So, how do we get this ball rolling? I’d say that someone has to take the initiative, the first step. And from where I’m sitting, the most likely candidate for this task is Katie. She has the personality, the power, and the talent to bring people together. She needs to make this happen by contacting the individuals and asking them to work with Faye to take up where she left off in 2005.

The goal would definitely not be to do an oldies-but-goodies rehash of past hits. Instead, it would be to continue the growth that stopped in 2005, to take the next step into a new and different sound that is purely Faye Wong.


12 Responses

  1. well, i feel that she wants a normal life… and this whole marriage thing with LYP can provide Faye and her children a normal life… like you said, she isn’t restless anymore. The whole thing with her popularity is scaring her. Just see how reporters swarm her~ even when she has already moved out of the lime light… it’s very scary actually [for her whole family]… If everyone would be cool and let her do her things, let her live normally~ then she might just come back. She sing because she want to make music, not because she wants to be popular~ Like that’s why she don’t like to attend award shows coz it’s like some big popularity contest.

    even though i said we should let her live normally~ but i am too much of a fan to treat her like just another normal person~ :(

    Faye come back, we promise we won’t stalk you~

  2. Well,

    What i believe is that when zhang Ya Dong, Dou Wei Lin Xi and Faye Wong are collobrating again, their music is the best. no one can beat these 3 together composition.
    Even FayeWong,LinXi and Zhang Yadong together still it was a class below without Dou Wei. Thats the facts.
    Remember when Dou Wei around, the compose song are easily fell in love or fell in love with first listening.

    I still remember songs like dou hou zi ji,kao yan, wu chang,fuzhao. It was easily to fell in love.

    Secondly only Faye Wong can bring out the alternative side or creativity side of CYKong, so many have try the songs write by CYKOng but all were just normal compare to what CYKong write for Faye….it was a total unique…..

  3. is it really possible to know which of her emotions haven’t changed regarding her love of the business and priorities at home?

    it’s natural in many cases for a person to lose love for, interest in, desire for doing what was once very much a staple in his or her life.

    if Faye chose not to come back i wouldn’t speculate the reasons as to why. i would just respect her decision not to do so.

  4. I agree with both of the above. She just wants to lead a normal life! Remember she said if she decided not to sing one day, she hope that everyone will just forget her? She only wants to make music and does not want to be idolised.

    It is hard for her and fans like us. As much as we like her to lead a life which she wanted, we can’t bear not seeing her and living without her music. Looking at how the reporters are stalking her, I feel for her. I really hope she can lead the peaceful life which she craved for.

    That is why I said she has given us prime moment of her life. Perhaps the last thing which we can do for her is to leave her alone and lead her life which she wanted.

    I also love the combination of Zhang Ya Dong, Dou Wei, Lin Xi and her. The music which they created then was very good ! Nic’s music is just so so. However, if they were to release an album like that do you think the media will leave them alone? I don’t think Dou Wei can stand media near him considering what he went thorugh.

    Maybe media should really concentrade on things that matter most and stop all these gossip rumours thingy to earn money!

  5. i believe there are still chances for dou wei to compose songs for faye should Li Ya Peng dont feel hurt. Its time for Dou Wei to make a come back. I believe Dou jing Tong will play a big part for their parents to be toghether or maybe work together. they have their creativity in their mind. It will be such a waste if it is not being use.

  6. Raymond, I agree. There is a chance, and with Tong Tong interested in music, the possibility of them working together is quite good. Otherwise, as you say, it’s a waste. I hope LYP won’t object.

    Photosophize, I agree with most of your points, especially the ones about musical collaborations. But I don’t understand what you mean by “leave her alone.” Do you mean we should totally ignore Faye? As though she never existed? Never mention her and her works? Also, you and others claim that she “just wants to lead a normal life.” Again, I don’t understand what you mean by “normal.” Do you mean we should treat her as though she were like everyone else? An interesting idea, but I don’t think it’s possible. Faye has never been just like everyone else, and she never will be. In fact, I don’t understand why you would want her to stop being her unique self.

    Grady, good point, but Faye hasn’t decided “not to come back.” LYP and others close to her have made this very clear. Also, you say you wouldn’t “speculate,” but aren’t you doing exactly that when you imply that she might have lost interest in her career?

    Anonymous (2.5.09), I agree with everything you say!

    Froggie, I agree: “She sing because she want to make music, not because she wants to be popular~ Like that’s why she don’t like to attend award shows coz it’s like some big popularity contest.” But I disagree that she wants a normal life. Her life has been and is anything but normal. Just look at her lifestyle: clothing, homes, cars, husband, friends, travels, entertainment, schools for her children, social projects, pastimes, colleagues, etc. And all of these were chosen by Faye — not forced on her. These choices make her different, and they define who she is — an amazing, extraordinary human being.

  7. Announcement: I received a long reply to the Feb 10 comment in which I responded to a number of writers. I posted the reply, but after a few minutes, I decided to delete it. The decision is not based on whether or not the writer agrees with my point of view. Disagreement is fine. In fact, I encourage it. Long-time visitors to this blog are well aware that I post nearly everything that’s submitted. To date, I’ve rejected only two posts. One was an anonymous one-line spam, and this is the 2nd.

    I decided to reject the comment simply because it crossed the line into a personal attack. The question I asked myself is, Would I approve this post if it were aimed at someone other than myself? My answer was a quick no.

    However, I’d like to extend an invitation to the writer of the rejected post to resubmit a comment that doesn’t descend into a personal attack. In other words, it’s perfectly OK to argue against an idea with arguments and evidence of your own, but it’s not OK to attack the person you disagree with.


  8. feifan, my use of the word “speculate” was referring specifically to her reasons for not coming back if she chose not to. i’m not implying that she’s not coming back… i’m saying there is a chance that she may not and i don’t have any clear cut ideas in my head regarding her reasons to make any upcoming decisions regarding her career.

    i’m just saying “things can change”.

    hope that clears things up.

  9. Grady, thanks for the clarification! I agree — things can change. I posted this article to stimulate discussion on possible reasons for the delay in Faye’s return. These are all speculations, of course, since Faye is the only person who has the answers. However, as Faye fans, I think many or most have thoughts on this question. As you say, those thoughts may not be clear. Still, if you or anyone has an idea, I think we’d all like to hear it. There is nothing wrong with speculating. It’s the human condition. We’re curious. We want to know. We question things that we don’t understand. We speculate on possibilities if the answers aren’t available. As Faye fans, we’re not only intensely interested in all phases of Faye’s life but I think we have more knowledge of her than the average person so our guesses are usually more interesting and viable.

  10. First of all, i dont see any future or current singer would be good as her. Remember she is only female who can compose and sing and does not need to learn any dance or good stage performance. Does not need to do so much publicity.All she need to show is her voice to show her magic.

    I do hope she will be the one in the record book forever and i dont see anyone can replace her. However what i see now s that music scenario had gone wild now these day. All depends on publicity and all are not really belongs to this line.

    I still wonder how Joey Yung and the rest can make it this far. No offence to Sammi Cheng or Meriam Yung still i saw some quality in them.

    What i see if we imagine Faye Wong continue to release her albums and focus on the music scene and release 2 albums every year from 1996, no one will ever beat her in the coming few century but she creates some space for other to have a chance to beat and create new history. I believe by that time, she might beat her belove Teresa Teng as the most succesful female singer in mandarin market. Imagine only 1 album starts 2001 to 2008,in the spam of 8 years.

    Even right now, youngster dont seems to support singer at this age and without stage performance.
    Even i think they might feel ashame if they support because the current market style and current environment. thats the worst.

  11. If there’s are 3 songs compose by Faye, 2 with collaboration from Dou Wei and ZYD, 2 from CYKong,
    2 from Anthony Wong, and it be a wow for me. Hehe…maybe pick 2 young or new talent composer. No harm as we know faye will of course choose the best, Just like how Tanya was in the limelight when she compose 2 songs for Faye. …my gosh i am in heaven.

  12. Raymond, I like this plan! An album with 11 songs from her top collaborators and some new talent. Only Faye can help to build careers for composers, lyricists, arrangers, producers, musicians, make-up artists, managers, and MV producers. Man, I can taste it already! Delicious. I can see Sony going all out on this one. Fabulous promotions, personal appearances, and then a concert tour! With Faye’s firm hand on all phases of the album production and follow-up appearances and performances, the next album is going to be mindblowing!

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