Faye Concerned About Her Former Teacher

Faye Wong (王菲) is concerned about her former teacher, Dai Sicong (戴思聪),aged 69, who, according to Hong Kong media reports, had a heart attack. Dai Sicong, a singing teacher to stars such as Faye, Andy Lau, Leon Lai, Aaron Kwok, and Daniel Chan, is known as the “Father of Hong Kong Stars.” Katie Chen (陈家瑛 Chen Jiaying), Faye’s manager, said, “Faye has asked me to find out how he is doing. I immediately called his wife, Wei-Wei (Tai Xin Wei), but my call didn’t get through to her at the hospital. I sent text messages, but they haven’t responded. Faye is really concerned about his condition. After all, he is her teacher!” (Source Sina.com 7.18.10)

Faye Wong (王菲) and Dai Sicong (戴思聪)

Update 17 July 2010: Dai Sicong (戴思聪) died at Ruttonjee Hospital in Hong Kong where he was hospitalized. His daughter said that death was due to “complications from acute coronary heart disease.”

Update 18 July 2010: At the end of 1991, Faye, unhappy with the direction that her career was taking, decided to study in the United States. But when she arrived in the U.S., she learned that she had missed the start date of the new term and could not enter the school. On New Year’s Day 1992, Faye called Dai Sicong from New York and asked him for advice on what to do next. Dai Sicong very firmly told Faye, “You have to come right back! If you stop your career in Hong Kong for as long as six months, people will forget who you are, and all your previous efforts will be in vain.” He analyzed the situation for her. Anita Mui had announced she would no longer accept music awards, which meant that the dominant force in pop music would be gone. This would be the perfect time to step into the void left by Anita. Faye left New York and flew back to Hong Kong. In her next album, Coming Home (Aug. 1992), Faye’s “Fragile Woman” was a blockbuster hit, and her career soared to unparalleled heights after that. (Source: Liao Shen Evening News, 7.19.10)

Update 18 July 2010: Photos added. Faye considered Dai Sicong one of the three most important men in her life.

Katie Confirms Faye’s 2010 Concerts

Katie Chen  (陈家瑛 Chen Jiaying) confirmed yesterday that preparations for Faye Wong’s (王菲) 2010 concerts are progressing. She said that the Shanghai concert is scheduled for November at the Pudong Expo Performing Arts Center, and the plan is for five performances. The Beijing concert will be held at the Wukesong Indoor Stadium. Katie said the concert details will be worked out after the Spring Festival. Re the reputed high cost of tickets, she said that ticket sales haven’t begun and that the price “has nothing to do with us. The price is set by the organizers.” (Source NetEase 2.9.10 and 022net 2.10.10)

More from Sweet Angel 2009

In this video, Faye Wong (王菲) and Li Yapeng (李亚鹏) deliver heartfelt thank you speeches. Faye’s is, as usual, compact and thoughtful; LYP’s is moving.

(Click here for more videos.)

Some observations from the video and the event in general:

  • Na Ying (那英) and Eason Chan (陈奕迅) performed at the event, and clips are included in the video.
  • Katie Chen (陈家瑛), Faye’s manager, won the vase that was painted by Tong Tong (竇靖童) and Li Yan (李嫣). She said, “Faye Wong’s daughters are like my granddaughters, and as a grandmother, I am very happy to have their work.”
  • Carina Lau (刘嘉玲) showed up in a striking yellow coat.
  • Carina’s husband, Tony Leung Chiu-Wai (梁朝偉), was a no-show.
  • Vicki Zhao (赵薇), too, was a no-show. (Na Ying, Carina, and Vicki are Faye’s closest friends.)
  • Chow Yun-Fat (周润发) and his wife, Chen Hui Lin (陈荟莲), after a lot of pre-event hype, failed to show. Rumors are rife re the reasons. In one of the articles, I read that he made remarks to the press that were “critical” of the fundraiser. Still, he donated valuable photographs for the auction.
  • Small S’s (小S, 徐熙娣, Xu Xi Di) kissing of Faye was probably the most sensational event of the evening.

Faye Comeback Concerts in October 2010?

According to China News Net (20 Nov. 2009), Hong Kong and Taiwan record company executives are claiming that Faye Wong (王菲) will be staging a series of comeback concerts in October 2010. She will receive 50 million yuan for performances in ten stadiums in cities such as Shanghai and Beijing. Katie Chen (陈家瑛), Faye’s agent, is reported to have confirmed this news. When asked for details about time and place, she replied, “It’s still under study.”

Update 22 Nov. 2009: Chengdu Daily’s Zhang Shihao (张世豪)reported today that the comeback will be staged in Shanghai and Beijing, with five performances in each. Their reporter spoke with Faye’s agent, Katie, who said, “Indeed, we are talking about it. It is proceeding smoothly.” When asked what form the return would take, she said, “It may be a concert.” She also said that the event will not be in October. The date has not been finalized.

1997 – Faye Signs with EMI

In this rare video, we see Faye Wong (王菲) at a pivotal moment in her career. Appearing with her is Katie Chen (陈家瑛 Chen Jiaying), her manager. It is 26 May 1997, and Faye has left Cinepoly to sign with EMI. Her first daughter, Tong (竇靖童, Dou Jingtong), was born on 3 Jan 1997. She signed for a reported 60 million Hong Kong dollars (7.7 US) to release 55 songs in 5 albums. With Cinepoly in June 1996, she had released Restless, considered her most important album. In Sep 1997, she would release her first EMI album, Faye Wong 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.

Zhang Ya Dong on Faye Wong’s Return

In recent days, China’s entertainment media has been focusing on Zhang Ya Dong’s (張亞東) comments about Faye Wong’s (王菲) return. In a recent interview, he said that he’s working with Na Ying (那英) on her new album. Before the Olympic Games, there were rumors that Na Ying and Faye would be developing an album together after the Olympics. It looks as though Na Ying is following through. About Faye’s absence in the project, Zhang simply said that she has decided to extend her rest for an undisclosed reason. If rumors of Faye’s miscarriage or abortion are true, then the reason is quite obvious: she needs time to recuperate. However, we should all remember Katie Chen’s (陈家瑛, Chen Jiaying) admonition that we be patient and not pressure Faye to return until she feels good and ready.

Apparently, the release of Zhang’s new album, which will feature a “new” song by Faye, is immiment. The song was recorded sometime in the past but never released. Next month (Nov 2008), Zhang is planning a live performance of the various artists in the album. He hopes that Faye will be able to participate, but he hasn’t received a firm commitment. Zhang, in the past, has consistently acknowledged Faye’s seminal contribution to his career and development. He realizes that Faye is unique and very special in China’s music industry, and he’s looking forward to working with her once again.

Background info: Faye, Zhang, and song writer Lin Xi (林夕) are referred to as the “iron triangle” because of the many benchmark hits that they produced together. Zhang and Faye are close, and he has played an important part in Faye’s career. Na Ying is one of Faye’s closest friends. They are more like sisters than friends. Katie is Faye’s long-time manager. She and Faye are careful to keep their relationship professional, but Katie is really like a mother to Faye.

The audio in the video below is current, but the video clips, I believe, are drawn from old sources. The Sina clip of Faye in the recording studio is obviously from the past.

[Added 11.2.08:] For an update to this story, click here.