Over the past few months, Xue Zhiqian has amused audiences by *cracking jokes on variety shows and posting dry humor on Sina Weibo. The 33-year-old singer has made a strong comeback as a comedian. But he insists that his only dream is to sing.
Xue makes no bones about his *aspiration to be popular. He believes that only in this way can he make more people listen to his songs. Whenever he talks about music, Xue’s cheeky *grin disappears, and his tone turns *solemn. “No matter what, music has always been in the top-drawer of my life,” Xue declared on the talk show Go Fridge! (《拜托了冰箱》).
Xue claims that he creates music purely out of love, not for money. Last year, he released an EP called Gentleman (《绅士》), featuring three songs he wrote. According to Sohu Entertainment, Xue spent 19 months on the three singles. For the title track alone, he tried five different versions, *tweaking the sound mixing. But during an interview with CCTV, Xue told his fans they didn’t need to purchase the album: He would be satisfied so long as some of them listened to the songs online.
On July 17, Xue is going to hold a free concert in Beijing. Being back on stage is likely a dream come true for Xue, but it has been a long time since he has had to prove his chops as a singer. Xue first experienced fame in 2005 when he participated in Dragon TV’s singing competition My Show (《我型我秀》). But just like many reality TV stars, Xue then gradually disappeared from the public eye. Over the next decade, he wrote and released dozens of songs. Only one, his debut single Snow With All My Heart (《认真的雪》), made a splash.
In recent years, some washed-up singers have returned to sing on programs such as I Am a Singer (《我是歌手》), including Li Jian, Huang Qishan and Julia Pang (彭佳慧). Their *sophisticated singing skills have allowed them to endure.
Xue, meanwhile, has built up a large fanbase. But his popularity is largely a credit to his *self-deprecating humor. As he prepares to return to the stage, audiences may find themselves wondering: Will his singing abilities live up to his skills as a *wisecracker?