The first time I listened to Xiao Juan’s song was when I was chatting with one of my old friends. We were high school classmates and have known each other for many years. He said that I would like her songs when I was complaining that there wasn’t any nice singer in contemporary China. He was right, and I did like her voice. But I didn’t really listen to her after the conversation. When I visit China last Summer, I was living with a Chinese couple who just got married and started their new life. The husband said that I would like Xiao Juan’s songs too. They gave me a CD with the selections that they thought I would like. I brought the gift with me and the voice on that CD was the best gift among all the stuff and experience I brought back with me after the Summer. I like Xiao Juan’s voice. While I need the rock music to cheer me up on the road, I also need Xiao Juan’s calm and clean voice to purify my anxious and busy mind from time to time.
Xiao Juan used to singing at the night clubs where artistis and literati like to hang out when they get a chance. She got famous before the industry found her. Actually she is still trying to stay away from the mass production and the music industry. Unlike many artists, Xiao Juan thinks it is great when people want to pirate her songs because she believes being pirated means that people love her voice and music. For her, industry only feeds people, but funs who find a singer through a different channel means they really like the singer and that’s the value of being an artist. She is happy that she can be appreciated by a community that really enjoys her voice by choices. Many people exchange the copies of her songs with their friends. Xiao Juan likes the songs written in 1970s and 1980s Taiwan as well as the songs written by American singwriters in the 1960s and 1970s. The people who like her songs are mostly literati, who love to share their new explorations that are outside of the chaotic media industry in China. Many foreign folk songs are Xiao Juan’s favorites. She loves people and the world, you will say, if you listen to her interpretations of the songs that have been familiar to many people from different places and generations.
You might think it’s too quiet, but living in China, people often need to look for a voice that can be this peaceful and clean. I cannot find a clip that shows my favorite songs of Xiao Juan, but I did find this song that can give you a little bit sense about her style.