Music star Zhou Bichang is set to visit seven Chinese universities in May and June as part of her latest project. Chen Nan reports.
Zhou Bichang says that while the way of consuming music has changed today with more people listening to music online rather than buying physical records, she still likes CDs. (PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
With chart-topping hits, sold out concerts and more than 20 million followers on her Sina Weibo account, Zhou Bichang is never far from the headlines.
However, after releasing her ninth studio album, Not Typical and touring the nation last year, she decided to take a vacation and go to London to study electronic music production.
"It's a great experience to go back to school and to live in a city which is foreign to me. I can still recall how cold I felt when I waited for a bus. The courses were mostly about technology. But I was not bored at all as I like researching music," says Zhou, who was in London from February to April.
Zhou's trip to London also inspired her to launch a new project after returning to Beijing - Bibi Zhou Live Talk On Campus - which will take her to seven Chinese universities in May and June.
For university students, it’s very exciting to keep an open heart and figure out what they want to do
Zhou Bichang, singer
The first stop was Xi'an Jiaotong University on May 13, which will be followed by universities in Guangzhou, Chengdu, Nanjing, Shanghai, Harbin, and Beijing.
Zhou held interactions with students as well as perform live shows.
And her documentary, which recorded her Not Typical Tour last year, was screened during the event.
Speaking about her latest venture, Zhou says: "I have never done projects of that kind, and I am very excited. I want to share my stories, such as my years as a university student, my experience of pursuing dreams, and my views about what the young students are interested in."
Separately, in March, Zhou also completed the recording of songs for her next album. And she will now perform some of the songs in Chengdu and Shanghai.
(PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
Zhou who was born in Changsha in Hunan province to a music-loving family, moved to Shenzhen with her family when she was 6. Then she studied music at the Xinghai Conservatory of Music in Guangzhou, graduating in 2007.
The world first learned about Zhou 12 years ago, when she was a 19-year-old music school student, auditioning for a Chinese singing competition on a TV show called Super Girl.
There, she won the second place in the competition with her expressive singing, especially her distinctive interpretation of R&B songs.
Speaking about her early days, Zhou, who has also expanded her career into acting and designing, says: "When I was a student, I was very shy and one of my favorite things after classes was to go to concerts, which enabled me to learn different music styles.
"For university students, it's very exciting to keep an open heart and figure out what they want to do."
One of the topics Zhou will address in her latest venture is travel.
Traveling alone has become a habit for Zhou in the past few years, which has resulted in a new hobby - photography.
(PHOTO PROVIDED TO CHINA DAILY)
In 2016, she held her first photo exhibition at Beijing's Enjoy Museum of Art in the 798 Art Zone.
The exhibition titled Wander featured Zhou's pictures taken during her travels over the past three years, and covered the Tibet autonomous region, Finland, France, New York and Iceland.
But despite her love for photography, Zhou is not too fond of social media platforms like Sina Weibo and WeChat.
Speaking about the obsession with social media, she says: "Often when I am in a car wait for the traffic lights to change, I see people crossing the road watching their smartphones. Some people share their lives on social media rather than meeting, which is pathetic."
She also says that while the way of consuming music has changed today with more people listening to music online rather than buying physical records, she still likes CDs.
"When you hold a CD in your hand, you see the cover image, which is like an introduction to the music. Then you listen to the music, and read the lyrics in print. It feels totally different from listening to music online."
Speaking about her new project, she says: "I hope that my talk will inspire the students and offer them some new ideas about music and their dreams."
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