---------------------------------------------------- Faye was born in Beijing on the 8th of August in 1969. Her father was a mining engineer, and her mother sang in a Chinese revolutionary-music troupe. Together with her elder brother, they were a regular small family living in Beijing. Faye was bought by her neighbor "Da Ma" because both of her parents worked outside the town. Da Ma has been Faye's nanny for a few years. That was the happiest moment in her life. She recalled "Da Ma was very kind to me and I always loved to play with her, I just remember I was so happy and I always carried smiles."
Faye discovered that she love to sing since she was very young, but she never thought about pursuing music for her career. Having the zodiac sign as Leo, she enjoys being on stage and singing in front of audiences. She has performed at her school's major events and even in local radio station. However, her talent was not complimented by her mother. Her mom did not want Faye to concentrate so much in singing, and she always refused Faye to join any singing events. In her belief, singing was not a profitable career. and it is a difficult life being a singer in Beijing. One might think Faye's mom was very conservative, but her mom has suffered enough in her singing career and she did not want Faye to follow her footsteps.
Nevertheless, her enthusiasm for music has never been weaken by her mom's strong obstruction. She secretly went to join singing clubs and performance, she was quite a rebellious teenage who wanted to do what she wanted. At home, she listened to her idol Teresa Teng's songs. She is amazed by Teresa's sweet ballads and she always listened to the radio hoping she could hear Teresa's songs. To Faye, Teresa had a huge impact on her life. She taught her to love music and to touch people with music. (When Teresa died in 1995, Faye recorded a memorial album with re-edition of Teresa's songs called "Faye mei-mei voice," for which Faye ranked this album her 2nd favorite.)
Faye's special talent has then discovered by her father's friend, who introduced her to a singing teacher in Hong Kong. Faye received an opportunity to sign her first contract with a record company, Cinepoly. Faye's musical life then began. Her mom didn't seem to reject too much on this deal, probably because she thought Hong Kong has much more opportunities then in Beijing. So here she came from her hometown Beijing to a totally different place, Hongkong in 1987. She remembered that it was a horrible time in her life. After she came to Hong Kong, she lost all her friends, all the familiar faces were gone. She didn't know Cantonese, and being a girl from mainland China, she felt she was an outsider and she tried so hard to understand people in Hong Kong. "I harbored the usual expectation of Hong Kong as a glamorous and exciting place, but I was trapped with boredom and loneness."
Faye was completely under her company's control. She was told how to dress, how to talk, how to sing and how to deal with the media. The company gave her a stage name, Shirley Wong, and a parcel of songs. Her first CD, Shirley Wong Ching Man, was released in November 1989, and two more followed over the next 12 months. All three were big sellers. However, Faye was not satisfied with the result. She felt she has lost her own personality. She looked at the mirror and saw the reflection of a puppet. She did not like the way she was moulded.
She needed to change(especially her look!), therefore, she decided to stop her singing career and leave for New York to refresh herself. Although she intended to study music there, the real goal of the pilgrimage abroad was to learn something about herself. "I wandered around, visited museums and sat at cafes," she recalled. "There were so many strange, confident-looking people. They didn't care what other people thought of them. I felt I was originally like that too, independent and a little rebellious. But in Hong Kong I lost myself. I was shaped by others and became like a machine, a dress hanger. I had no personality and no sense of direction."
After half a year living in New York, Faye decided to return Hong Kong and continue her career. With the confidence she gained, she regenerated her own style and a new direction of life. She released a big selling album "Coming Home" included a hit song "A woman who easily got hurt," which made her become a superstar. People seemed to love her new image and teenagers were crazy for her. She releasing many albums with high quality. Her popularity expand across the border of Hong Kong and reached Taiwan and other parts of Asia. Her big hit Mandarine song "I am willing" proved her as an evocative singer who could master a wide musical range.
However, fame brought by singing Canton-pop songs did not win her. Faye quest for a higher achievement. She wanted to put herself into making better music. She started with listening to songs by foreign artists. She tested and improve her skill by adding the ingredient of other singers and generated her own style. Her influences included the Cranberries, Tori Amos, and Couteau Twins. Although the media labeled her as a copycat of other singers, Faye believed it was a stage to learn and explore music. Her albums proved she was right, "Wandering Thought" and "Didar" were awarded the best album of the year. Faye introduced new elements of music into this small undeveloped Hong Kong music industry and became the revolutionist of Canton-pop. Faye returned to her real name "Wong Fei" in Wandering Thought, which has a cover with only black Chinese characters and a white background. Faye demonstrated that she is endowed with her talent, not only her appearance.
With the skill she learned from listening to others, Faye is able to create her own music. She released a self-composed alternative album called "Impatient" in 1996. Faye composed 7 songs arranged by her ex-husband, Dou Wei, and her brother in law, Zhang Ya Dong, collaborated with two songs composed by Couteau Twins special for Faye. Faye was the only singer who was dare enough to release such a non-commercial type of album. Faye was the first time satisfied with her music even though Impatient was not the public's favorite.
In 1997, Faye married Dou Wei, and gave birth to Dou Jing Tong who shared the names of both parents. The beloved Beijing-born Jing Tong is full of joy and energy. She is a very independent and lovely child just like her her mom. Faye's mom took care of her and little Ching Tong at the hospital in Beijing. Looking at her own daughter, she remembered how she was raised and felt grateful for her mom even though she did not agree with her mom for many aspects. (Unfortunately, Faye's mom died in 1998 while Tong was only one. Faye felt tremendous pain and regretted that she was not with her when she exhaled the last breath in her life. Her mom's death gave her new insight of life, and made her to love Tong even more.)
After return to Hong Kong from Beijing. Faye signed a contract with the new record company EMI which promised to give Faye more freedom and support of making her own music. Faye released the long waited album "Wong Fei" in 1997, and "Sing and Play" in 1998, followed by her second world tour "Sing and Play Scenic Tour." All tickets of the concerts in this tour series were sold out at an unexpectedly speed. Faye once again used her voice to touch every audience in the concert.
In 1999, bad news happened to Faye, her marriage with Dou Wei had come to the end. However, Dou Wei's betrayal of love had not affected Faye's marriage with music. Without the help of Dou Wei, Faye bloomed the flower of paradise with her faith to music. With the help of her all time partner Zhang Ya Dong, She released her 3rd album "Only Love Strangers." Faye showed that she can only do better without Dou's help. His existence to her is not such a big deal.
Year 2000 is a year of retrospection. The end of love, the beginning of love, the memory of departed, and the love to the beloved. Faye released a sophisticated album "Fable" with five compositions of hers creating a story of love. They included "The Cambrian Period," "New Tenant," "Chanel," "Asura," and "Flower of paradise." This album is debated as the best album of the year and even the best of Faye's. Without any shadow of other singers' songs. Faye created her own music with a strong but fluid voice. Undoubtedly Faye has succeeded in being the pop Diva of Asia and her over-whelming popularity has reached every corner in the world.
The story of Faye Wong might be a fairy tale came true, but what made her successful was not her princess-looking face, but her insistence on being herself and following the direction of making good music. She has become a soaring star in the sky which sheds light on everyone's heart. Her songs will always be remembered and her story will always be told.
Reference: TIME International Magazine October 14, 1996 Volume 148, No. 16 (Asia Edition)
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