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.

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(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.

Deb at Faye’s ‘98 HK Concert!

Deb, on 10 December 2008, said:

It [the stills below] was during the song “Bored” which I think was the 3rd song of the night [New Year’s Eve/Day 1998/1999 concert at HK Coliseum], so if you go to that song, when Faye [Wong (王菲)] walks around the perimeter of the stage (it is actually a travellator that moves around during her “Dream Person” and “Dream Walk” songs). But from memory, the editing of “Bored” doesn’t give a clear view of us shaking hands with Faye but you see her take our teddies back to centre stage and puts them down.

I was completely shocked when I saw myself on the DVD, could not believe my luck and would have to be my biggest claim to fame!

To be honest, I was so excited and had so much adrenalin at the time that it was all a big blur! So the video helps me remember what actually happened! I remember more about the moments leading to it, my friend and I looking at each other saying “oh my god, she’s coming over, should we go? will we get into trouble? should we wait?!?!” In a split second my legs decided to make a run for it and I think I actually left my friend up in our aisle seats (very convenient) and she had to catch up to me! The security guard was still sitting down in the aisle on the bottom step just enjoying the show and I actually leapt over him to get to the fencing – he was more surprised to see me than Faye!

It really was a moment of sheer spontaneity! I’m very happy that I didn’t let that opportunity pass me by!
deb_friend01deb_friend04a[Click here to see the earlier article, “#10 at Faye’s ‘98 HK Concert!,” which includes a video and a photo of Deb and Faye.]

#10 at Faye’s ’98 HK Concert!

In our most recent survey, “Been to a Live Faye Concert?,” participant #10 (update Dec 8: #10 is Deb!) provided the following responses (see below) to questions 3 and 4. In the 12-second video clip, extracted from the “Opening” of the Faye HK Scenic Tour 98-99 video, we see her giving a teddy bear to Faye Wong (王菲)! The guard is on the left in the photo — too late to stop her. What a moment! Captured forever, with Faye, in what has to be one of Faye’s greatest concert videos, held on New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day 1998-99.

3. Please list the concerts you attended, with the locations and dates if you remember them.
*10: Hong Kong 1998/1999 Concert Series – 30th & 31st Dec (I am featured on the VCD/DVD intro since it was filmed on NYE! you see me handing a teddy bear to Faye) Sydney 2000 – it was some time in Sept during my uni “study” break… needless to say, there was not much studying. I’m from Perth so I secretly flew over to Sydney and went to the concert with a friend.

4. Which Faye concert was your favorite? Why?
*10: I suppose it has to be the 31st Dec 1998 concert in HK. I saw the 30th Dec concert with my mum, in the 5th row, but it really wasn’t that much fun being with mum who’s not a fan. But on the 31st, I went with another fayenatic and we went nuts. We knew what the concert format was and knew when Faye would walk around the edge of the stage, so we took a punt at racing down there to shake her hand, it wasn’t the “official” shaking hands time of the concert because it was right at the start of the night, so we completely surprised the security guard and he couldn’t stop us! It was freaking awesome, a dream come true!! You’ll see me in the intro segment of the VCD/DVD, and you might get a glimpse of my friend and I giving Faye the teddy bear and kookaburra (the aussie laughing bird).

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Click here to see the survey — view the results and, if you wish, participate in the survey. I will update the results as I receive the reports.

Faye and LYP on Her Return

nov27_231On November 27, Faye Wong (王菲) left Beijing’s Capital Airport at 09:00am. She landed at  Chengdu’s Shuangliu Airport at noon for a brief stopover and, five hours later, arrived at Lhasa’s Gonggar Airport. At Capital Airport, a reporter, a middle-aged man, asked when she will reappear in a concert, and Faye Wong’s answer was, “For the time being, I have no such intention.

In Chengdu, Faye met up with her husband, Li Yapeng (李亚鹏), who flew in from Guangzhou, where he was shooting a film. Together, they flew to Lhasa. (Source Qingdao News 28 Nov 2008.)

200811292351309d077On the 29th, in Guangzhou, after his return from Lhasa, LYP was asked by the media when Wang Fei would resurface. He smiled and said, “You should ask her. Why do you ask me?” However he said afterward, “Actually, I’m also anxiously awaiting her return. As her fan, I’m also anticipating the time when she resurfaces.” A reporter asked whether Faye sang for him at home. He replied, “She sings at home for her daughters.” (Source Netease/Ent163 29 Nov 2008.)

Both Faye’s and LYP’s answers leave the door wide open for Faye’s eventual return. Faye’s “for the time being” is an exceptionally strong indicator that she has not retired and is definitely considering a return. The question is not if but when, and only Faye really knows the answer. She’ll return when she’s ready. And for fayenatics, that’s good enough. But we hope it’ll be sooner rather than later.

Survey: Been to a Live Faye Concert?

Click here to participate in this survey about attending a live Faye Wong (王菲) concert. This survey is for everyone — not just for those who’ve been lucky enough to have seen Faye perform live at one or more of her concerts. I’ll post the results as I receive them. Please use the comments feature for this article to post ideas that weren’t addressed in the survey or to expand on your statements in the survey. Thanks!

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LATEST SURVEY RESULTS (/ = 1 vote)
1. Have you ever attended a live Faye Wong concert?
YES: 10//
NO: ///

2. If yes, how many Faye concerts have you attended?
1: ///
2-3: 5
4-5: ////
6+:
0: ///

3. Please list the concerts you attended, with the locations and dates if you remember them. (Write “NA” if you didn’t attend any.)
*2: 2004-06-02 singapore concert
*3: faye wong concert location-singapore year-1998-99?
*4: Kuala Lumpur Malaysia 1998? Kuala Lumpur Malaysia 2004?
*5: 1) Singapore 2) Hong Kong twice 3) Kuala Lumpur
*6: Singapore – 1989? Singapore – 2004 2 shows
*7: Concert In Kuala Lumpur 2004
*8: 1) Kuala Lumpur Malaysia 1999 & 2004, 2 shows; 2) Singapore 2004; 3) Taiwan 2004
*10: Hong Kong 1998/1999 Concert Series – 30th & 31st Dec (I am featured on the VCD/DVD intro since it was filmed on NYE! you see me handing a teddy bear to Faye) Sydney 2000 – it was some time in Sept during my uni “study” break… needless to say, there was not much studying. I’m from Perth so I secretly flew over to Sydney and went to the concert with a friend.
*11: 1999 – Singapore 2004 – Singapore
*12: June 2004 Singapore concert 13th & 14th Feb 1999 Singapore concerts 1999 Kuala Lumpur Malaysia concerts
*14: singapore feb 14th 1999/2000 I WOULD FLY TO ANYWHERE NOW FOR HER CONCERT!!! ( im currently in US)

4. Which Faye concert was your favorite? Why? (Write “NA” if you didn’t attend any.)
*2: 2004 singapore concert, because first time watching a concert.
*3: loved all of them
*5: Hong Kong
*6: All – very mesmirising
*7: Concert in Kuala Lumpur 2004, since that was the only concert I attended.
*8: Kuala Lumpur Malaysia 2004
*10: I suppose it has to be the 31st Dec 1998 concert in HK. I saw the 30th Dec concert with my mum, in the 5th row, but it really wasn’t that much fun being with mum who’s not a fan. But on the 31st, I went with another fayenatic and we went nuts. We knew what the concert format was and knew when Faye would walk around the edge of the stage, so we took a punt at racing down there to shake her hand, it wasn’t the “official” shaking hands time of the concert because it was right at the start of the night, so we completely surprised the security guard and he couldn’t stop us! It was freaking awesome, a dream come true!! You’ll see me in the intro segment of the VCD/DVD, and you might get a glimpse of my friend and I giving Faye the teddy bear and kookaburra (the aussie laughing bird).
*11: Both
*12: Faye 1999 Singapore concerts
*14: i think the best (from dvds) is still her first one. her voice is crystal clear, she has the fresh artist feel and her liberal indie-ness is still burning! i wish i was there, dammit!

5. If Faye held a live concert in a major Asian city in 2009, would you attend?
Definitely yes: 5////
Yes: ///
Not sure: ///
No:
Definitely not:

Faye and Zhang’s Dec 20 Concert

Netease (21 Nov 2008) reports a strong likelihood that Faye Wong (王菲) will appear in Zhang Ya Dong’s (张亚东) December 20 concert in Beijing’s Olympic Sports Center (奥体中心). Other stars mentioned in connection with the event are Hackberry (朴树), Li Yuchun (李宇春), Sandy Lam (林忆莲), Anthony Wong (黄耀明), and Joey Yung (容祖儿). More than likely, she will participate as a spectator, sitting in the audience. However, the hope is that she will actually perform on stage. If this report is credible, I believe we’re seeing the first steps in Faye’s eventual return to the stage. However, it’s too early to tell if this report is accurate.

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Faye Wong at Antipiracy Concert 2003

On 15 Nov 2003, Faye Wong (王菲) performed live before 60 thousand fans at the Asia Superstar Anti-Piracy Rally Concert at Shanghai Stadium. Fifteen other stars participated in the event, sponsored by Sony Music, including Wang Lee Hom (王力宏), Jolin Tsai (蔡依林), and Jay Chou (周杰倫). In this video, Faye sings “To Love” (將愛) and “I’m Willing” (我愿意).

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(Source: Tudou)