Wanting’s initial rise to fame in China began after director Pang Ho Cheung heard Wanting’s song “Drenched,” which reportedly inspired the script for his 2012 film Love in the Buff. He put that one and “You Exist in My Song” on the soundtrack. “That movie definitely helped to drive awareness, mainly in Hong Kong,” says Wanting, “but then Malaysia, Taiwan, and Singapore get influenced by Hong Kong films, too.”
Those songs were also on her full-length debut, Everything in the World, all written by Wanting, except for a few Mandarin co-writes. The album was certified six-times platinum in China (120,000 units sold ) and received 15 best new artist awards across Asia. The Mandarin-language single “You Exist in My Song” racked up more than 100 million views online, and was No. 1 on radio in China for eight consecutive weeks, according to Nettwerk.
For the follow-up album, McBride suggested Wanting meet with Nettwerk producer Ron Aniello (Bruce Springsteen, Barenaked Ladies) when she was in Los Angeles performing last year. “I really wanted her to find a great musical muse who would challenge her on every level, and pull from her the best performance possible,” says McBride. “Ron was exactly that and more.”
“Even these Mandarin songs I wrote, and my style, speak from the heart in very direct, emotional lyrics.”
Wanting got straight down to business at their first meeting, playing him some of her new songs. Says Wanting of “STHU,” the only collaboration on Say The Words, “I said, ‘There’s one song I’m in the middle of writing, and I want to finish it with you,’ because he showed me some of his stuff and I thought that song would fit his style very much. So we demoed that song together in one day.”
When McBride later asked her who she wanted to produce the album, nudging her in Aniello’s direction, she was game and headed to L.A. for the next four months. Of the 13 songs, “Love Ocean” and “When It’s Lonely” are in Mandarin, while “Us Under the Sunshine” is in both languages.
“Mandarin is my first language, and I have no problem singing it,” says Wanting. “When I write the lyrics, the language and the culture of China make it hard for me to express English and the English culture. Chinese [people] tend to like lyrics that are very vague and poetic, but because I’m the singer-songwriter, even these Mandarin songs I wrote, and my style, speak from the heart in very direct, emotional lyrics.
“I think people, slowly, are becoming very fond of this style of writing because it actually hits them really fast, rather than [having to] listen to it 10 times and trying to figure out what the message is behind it.”
Publisher: Nettwerk One Music
Discography: Wanting (EP, 2010), Everything in the World (2012), Say The Words (2013)
SOCAN member since 2008