Faye and Dou Wei 14 Feb 1997

Here’s a fascinating upload to YouTube by texasdaveodell on Valentine’s Day 2008. The video was shot on Valentine’s Day 1997, in the Nianhua Club in Beijing, when Faye Wong  (王菲) and Dou Wei (竇唯) were still together. Here’s texasdaveodell’s description of the action: “Camera goes to Dou Wei playing bass, Gao Yang on drums, then Dave with Peter Liang, then Wang Fei with Su Yang in striped jacked. This was shot one carefree night at Nianhua in 1997, towards the end you see Cobra’s lead singer Xiao Nan alongside the lead from Catcher in the rye. This was an amazing place where the greats of underground Chinese music would meet and hang out without the crazy crowds.”

See related article: Rare Video – Faye Wong at a Small Club in 1997

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_by_7_70a

(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.

Rumor – Faye’s 40 Days Pregnant

This rumor is so prevalent that it’s tough to ignore — Faye Wong’s (王菲) been pregnant for the last 40 days. According to sources such as Sina.com, her pregnancy is in response to Li Yapeng’s (李亚鹏) desire for a son. They have two daughters, Tong Tong (竇靖童 Dou Jingtong) and Li Yan (李嫣). Tong Tong’s father is Dou Wei (竇唯), Faye’s ex. Faye will be 39 in a few days, and if this rumor is true, pundits fear a difficult pregnancy.

Other news – Carina Lau (刘嘉玲 Liu Jia Ling) flew to Beijing on Wednesday, July 30, to celebrate Faye’s birthday with Faye and other close friends, including Na Ying (那英) and Hu Jun (胡军), on the 31st. Faye’s actual birthday is on Aug. 8.

Update 8.5.08: According to CQnews.net (8.6.08), Faye’s manager, Katie Chen  (陈家瑛 Chen Jiaying), confirmed reports of the pregnancy on Aug 5. (BTW, time discrepancies between this blog and China sources are a result of differing time zones.) Re questions about China’s one-child policy, the response, according to at least one report, is that Faye is a Hong Kong national.

Update 8.6.08: Katie’s confirmation at 3PM on Aug 5. (Source Jun-Jun’s blog in China Economic Net)

Intimate Peek into Faye and LYP’s Home

Here’s a fascinating peek into Faye Wong (王菲) and Li Yapeng’s (李亚鹏) home. Click here for the video, which was made on 28 July 2008. The interviewer is Charles Zhang (张朝阳), Sohu CEO. The video opens with a Sohu.com crew driving into what appears to be a secure and exclusive neighborhood. The surrounding area is green with open fields, trees, and each residence seems to have a huge yard.

When the crew arrives, LYP and some men are in the process of moving a sofa into the house. The crew pulls up, and the leader directs one of the cameramen to help the movers. The camera follows the four men as they move into what appears to be a study. The crew follows, and once the move is complete, LYP leads them into the living room where the interview is to take place.

When the camera first enters, you can’t help but sense that it’s searching for any signs of Faye. In one shot, it lingers on a stairway that appears to lead to the upper story bedrooms. But there’s no sign of Faye.

In the bottom set of photos, in the lower right corner, is a photo of the abode that Faye shared with Dou Wei (竇唯) when they were first starting their romance in the mid-90s.

In the interview, LYP admits that, in terms of fame, Faye’s status is much higher than his and that, in comparison, he’s not famous at all. But he says that this difference is not a problem in their marriage.

(Update 7/28: The source for the additional information about the interview and interviewer is China Business News.)