Emil Chau

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b. c.1960, China. Justifiably ranked as China’s top singer-songwriter, since the mid-80s Chau has produced over 20 number 1 albums in the world’s most populous market. Capable of singing in Mandarin…
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Artist Biography by

b. c.1960, China. Justifiably ranked as China’s top singer-songwriter, since the mid-80s Chau has produced over 20 number 1 albums in the world’s most populous market. Capable of singing in Mandarin Chinese, English or Cantonese, each of these releases has been a million-seller worldwide. His concerts regularly break attendance records at performances throughout the Asian continent, from Hong Kong and Singapore to Taiwan and his native China. A shower of awards have accompanied his every move, and it is doubtful whether any other music artist is as readily recognizable throughout Asia. His nickname, Killer Of Heavenly Kings, arose from an article in a Hong Kong magazine. At the time his second Cantonese album, You Stand By Me, was selling exponentially in that territory, displacing the leading popular music artists who had become known as the ‘four heavenly kings’. Much of this success can be put down to Chau’s prolific ability to write songs - his albums contain music almost exclusively written, played and sung by himself, helping to break the grip pop singers have long held on the Chinese market. He began singing in the school choir, before listening to western records by the Beatles (‘for me the definition of popular music’) and Simon And Garfunkel - artists who would become his primary influences alongside domestic singers such as Cui Jian. In particular the basic, unaccompanied guitar sound of Paul Simon’s work is still reflected in Chau’s live shows, where he eschews the more melodramatic properties of Chinese stage presentation in favour of a simple and intimate recital of his work.