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Rise and fall of a British singer in China’s volatile red song campaign (2)

(Global Times)

09:22, May 10, 2013

Inglis rejected some people's labeling of him as a performing monkey.

"The number of foreigners in China is still relatively low, and what we do on a stage can be a selling point for a TV show," Inglis said, adding that his family and friends fully support his career decisions.

His mother-in-law actually collects articles related to his work, so he always tracks down a copy of published stories to make her happy.

"Most people in the audience find my performance funny, but not in a negative way. They just find a foreigner singing their old-generation songs interesting," he said. "And the organizers may think it looks good to put me on stage to show that even a foreigner is interested in the red culture."

The organizers of China's Red Song Competition in Jiangxi echoed his words.

"Every year we have foreigners register to participate in the competition," a staff member working on this year's competition told the Global Times. "Last year we had one foreign candidate enter the top 100. The audience responded very positively to their performances. They liked them and find foreigners singing Chinese red songs quite amusing."

The staff member said in a phone interview that the show is also popular among expats.

Plan B

Despite his success, fame does not always last forever. Singers of red songs tend to gradually lose their market, and foreigners, especially those who, like Inglis, are not professional singers, have to have a back-up plan.

After living in China for almost a decade, he is more practical than idealistic about his favorite songs.

"Singing red songs is becoming less fun over time, especially when I do a big performance. For what they consider better effect, they tell me that I should sing this and not that, the same thing with my costumes," Inglis said.

Directly after Chongqing's red song campaign ended, Inglis didn't experience a huge decrease in clients, as most of his work came out of Jiangxi, which still holds a strong tradition of singing red songs.

However, after the scandal involving Bo hit the news last year, local authorities became cautious about being associated with red songs.

"I was asked to join a campaign in one district of Shanghai using my title as Red Song Talent in March 2012 shortly after appearing on China's Got Talent," Inglis said. "There was an ad campaign saying that the Red Song Talent will tell you to do this and that."

But later, the event was canceled because local officials were worried about using red songs in their campaign.

Right now, he is preparing to apply for a permanent resident permit in China and is waiting for his wife to come back from Macao after finishing her doctoral degree.

"I will continue to sing red songs, but probably not in public performances," Inglis said.

【1】 【2】

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Email|Print|Comments(Editor:LiXiang、Ye Xin)

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