Wanting Qu live at CMJ
- By Aimee Kuvadia -
- Oct 19, 2012
Wanting Qu captivated in her CMJ Music Marathon performance this week at The Living Room – a music venue on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. But it’s likely not many noticed. Audience members, with smartphones and iPads in hand, were so occupied inputting her performance into the memories of their hard drives that they altogether skipped inputting it into their own physical memories. People who were actually at the show to indulge in Wanting’s soothing, Dido-esque voice and melodious piano playing had to have been distracted by people taking pictures who were there just to say they were there on their Twitter and Facebook.
The artist herself noticed the technology daze consuming her audience.
“Save your battery and memory for the actual set,” she said amused during sound check.
Wanting was born in Harbin, China but moved to Canada in 2000 as an international student. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business management, after which she told her mother, “I’m going to do music.” She continued her education at The Art Institute of Vancouver.
“That’s when I realized I’m so happy to do music and I want to continue,” she said.
Her first name, “Wanting,” means “graceful” in Chinese. Her last name, “Qu,” means “melody.” And coincidentally, her full name is also the most accurate way to describe her music, which is inspired by experiences she’s had.
“Emotions are the trigger for me when I write something,” she explained. “I write from the love I have for family, friends. I write from love for the world.”
Wanting began her late-night set with ‘Drenched,’ a love song that was featured on the soundtrack of a Hong Kong hit film and her debut album ‘Everything in the World'. It caused her to explode on the Chinese charts and earned her a following in both the Eastern and Western hemispheres. She continued with ‘Hideaway', a song inspired by her father. It was then that her vocal talent and ability to play the piano were on full display. Singing, “I know you’ll never be too far away, because I’m your baby, and you’re my hideaway,” she aroused the very sentiment that daughters or fathers with daughters experience when apart from one another.
She eventually abandoned the piano for an acoustic guitar, which she strummed away on effortlessly and gorgeously. With it, she played ‘Jar of Love’ and ‘Anxiety,’ both songs that confront the challenges of being in love.
“Here it is. Turn your cameras on,” she warned before continuing on to ‘You Exist in My Song', one of her most well-known hits in Chinese. Though concertgoers failed to completely lower their cameras, they did allow themselves to briefly get lost in Wanting’s entrancing vocals reminiscent of Sarah McLachlan. Everyone in the packed room was swaying side to side, holding the hand of his or her significant other, singing along with the lyrics and ignoring for one second the burning compulsion to tweet this moment that could not be accurately described by any combination of words.
She concluded her performance with a song not on her album. It adhered to her theme of love, but in a comical way. She paid tribute to everyone in her life that has been important to her, including her parents, friends, ex-boyfriends and even her pet cat.
“I hope you feel the love,” she said. “It’s not my typical song, but it’s coming from the heart.”
She wasn’t lying. Not just this song, but also her entire performance, was heartfelt. It’s too bad people’s camera phones couldn’t capture this warm feeling.
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