Music Scene: 8 Mandopop artistes under 30 to watch

Australian singer Julia Wu (left) and Chinese singer Roy Wang.
Australian singer Julia Wu (left) and Chinese singer Roy Wang.PHOTOS: JULIA WU/FACEBOOK, ROY WANG/WEIBO

SINGAPORE - From graduating from school to searching for one's identity to enjoying one's youth, the 20-something talent of the Mandopop scene have been exploring themes relevant to young people today.

Here are eight new works by artistes under 30, available on music streaming platforms such as KKBox, Spotify and Apple Music.

1. Pop

TO YOUTH 2021

Ariel Tsai

For Taiwanese singer-songwriter Ariel Tsai's latest single, the 26-year-old returned to her alma mater, Taipei Municipal Nan-Hu Elementary School, and collaborated with its choir.

The result is a heart-warming graduation song reminiscing about the joys of school life. It is quite timely amid the Covid-19 pandemic, when graduating students might not be able to attend their own graduation ceremonies and bid a proper goodbye to their schoolmates.

2. Rap

MY RULES

Wang Yibo

Despite being only 23 years old, Wang Yibo has already tried his hand at acting, singing, hosting and professional motorcycle racing.

Last year (2020), he placed ninth on the Forbes China Celebrity 100 list, which ranks the influence of Chinese celebrities.

His single My Rules could well encapsulate his attitude to life: "Find your own value/Do not cater to others/Then your life will have meaning."

3. R&B

PARIS

Julia Wu

In Paris, Australian singer Julia Wu, 26, sings of wanting to let go of a painful relationship. Her detailed, confessional lyrics give a real punch to this otherwise loungey R&B song, showing raw vulnerability and a steely resolve to protect oneself from getting hurt again.

4. Pop

A STORY ONLY FOR THOSE WHO LEAVE HOME

Roy Wang

Expressing the sorrow, loneliness and fear of people who have left home, Chinese singer Roy Wang displays a maturity well beyond his age of 20. He also wrote the lyrics for the track.

His tender delivery serves as a balm for the pain felt by those forced to grow up and who long for a true home.

5. R&B

SHE & YOU

Z.Tao

Known for angsty, in-your-face numbers such as Hater (2018), Chinese rapper Z.Tao's She & You surprisingly uncovers the artiste's sense of insecurity and desire for romantic love.

On the title track, the 28-year-old sings "I can be so vulnerable", revealing a different side amid simple rhymes and instrumentation.

6. R&B

FEEL

Shou

With a bright summery vibe, Feel by Taiwanese singer-rapper Shou is all about going easy on oneself and having a good time.

In the music video, the 27-year-old is seen having a good time with his friends against a backdrop of sun and sea.

7. R&B

DEEP DOWN

Lexie Liu

Since the release of Chinese singer-rapper Lexie Liu's first album 2029 in 2018, her music has been growing in sophistication.

On Deep Down, the 22-year-old takes the listener on a dive into her inner world, presented as an adventure into a freezing cold sea. The sound is dream-like and the imagery vivid, with lyrics such as "My diamonds waste no time, no gimmicks".

8. Pop

HELLO! JOYCE CHU

Joyce Chu

Doe-eyed and honey-voiced, Malaysian singer Joyce Chu has played the cute card to great success. The 24-year-old's new EP comprises five self-composed tracks, from the playful Old Man Old Women to the eagerly optimistic Dream.

It is hard not to smile when listening to her sweet and unbridled positivity.