About Ayi Jihu
In years to come people will look back and see that Ayi Jihu was one of China’s important artists. In the music game timing is everything. Bad timing has seen many great artists not reach their full potential and great timing has seen average artist reach great heights.
The timing for Ayi Jihu, China and the world is right now perfect. Born in a tiny village in Sichuan China called Leibo, Ayi Jihu has risen to become one of China’s most talked about artists both in Asia and in the West.
With China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Korea producing K-Pop and Canto Pop artist by the bucketful every year and most of them coming from big cities or being mixed, how did a young Sichuanese rural Chinese girl from village not many Chinese have heard of rise to the lofty heights of being compared to the likes of Western Icons like Madonna, Shakira and even Missy Eliot in her style of dance, music and mostly in her application of the genre that has proved the most elusive to Asians on a worldwide scale – R&B and Hip Hop? The answer to that question lies in three parts: Beauty, talent and timing.
Ayi Jihu is quite simply an extremely talented, beautiful and sexy woman on a mission and this has never hurt an artist trying to succeed. She is also uniquely talented in that she is one of the few ‘true born’ genuine Chinese artists who can communicate her music and dance to the West. When Ayi is dancing and singing she does not look (like so many Canto pop artists) like she is trying, she looks like she just is, and even to Western eyes and ears there is nothing but awe and pleasure when they watch her. Most importantly, the timing is right. China is emerging as the new global power house. It now has millions of well off middle class people and a whole new generation of young women and men with money and opportunity that were never there before. They are hungry for their own international star and identity. Someone who can mix it with the best of the West and still be truly Chinese. Perfect timing for an Ayi Jihu.
Ayi Jihu is curvy, Street R&B and real, most Canto pop artists are very white, skinny and pop R&B. Ayi Jihu’s lyrics and productions are provocative, risk taking, most Chinese artists don’t even go there. Ayi Jihu’s performance and dancing style is raunchy, sexy, street and urban. Most Chinese artists are gimmicky, copy cat and very pop. Even though the timing for Ayi is now, that does not make it easy, she is not flying with the wind, she is flying somewhat against it.
Testament to how spot on her timing was is the fact that barely halfway through the production of her album with little more than a MySpace page to verify her existence Ayi Jihu was requested to perform at the Sands in Macau (one of the world’s largest Casinos). She was not only requested to perform at the Sands but was one of the first artists asked to perform her own music in her own style in a casino that before only used singers and entertainers who would sing the songs of others. It was not easy for her either, at first many did not take to her style or understand her, but with persistence and determination she won them over one by one until she was not only liked, but adored. This was the birth of Ayi Jihu to the Chinese public and she has never looked back from there.
Her debut album ‘Try Me’ is now completed and is already doing great business on ITunes in advance of its release in late 2009. She has shot two television shows. She has performed in front of over 1.6 million people worldwide. Her fan base is huge and growing all the time and if you Google her name in Chinese the results are staggering. Sought after by Clubs and venues all over the world she is constantly gigging and developing her craft. Ayi Jihu is learning and applying her talent the hard way. She has never been afraid to play the large arena or the small urban clubs in the UK and Europe as well as Hong Kong and China. This girl was born to sing and dance.
In doing so Ayi Jihu has become not only one of China’s most talked about rising stars, but Macau’s most famous international artist. Her online Diva Diaries blog TV show is fast becoming very popular and she has interviewed and hosted international stars like FatMan Scoop, Ayi Jihu is one of the world’s worst kept secrets, everyone seems to know off her without knowing her.
So what does the future hold for this Chinese diva? If you ask Ayi she will tell you she wants to show the world what Chinese people can really do if they try and believe. She is proud that she is Chinese. She loves R&B and hip hop with a passion and feels her first album is just the beginning of what she calls ‘the Chinese expression of R&B’, and that her 2nd album in progress (Chilli Power) will go even further. She has a long way to go. As a nation she feels the Chinese need to ‘come out of the closet’ and really express themselves more. Her first album is about real freedom and although she knows she may experience some censorship and (maybe) lack of understanding by some in the Chinese community in the beginning she is determined to stick to her guns and do things the true RnB and Hip Hop way. ‘I am prepared to take the longer route to success and keep things true’ she says, ‘Even though I have had many tempting offers to just become a Canto Pop artist like the others out there, I will stick to what I know and what I believe in’.
Ayi Jihu is not just about the music and the bling either. These are her words:
It is my dream and goal to bring my culture and people closer together with the outside world and help the peoples of the world understand, appreciate China and all it has to offer in a realistic way.
I believe I have been blessed to be in the unique position at the right time to help the new emerging generation of Chinese understand and integrate into this ever changing world which up to now they have not really been a part of.
I believe that although the people of the world are on one level familiar with my culture it is in a superficial way and I believe that it is only through true understanding and experience that East and West can grow stronger together. I hope to play my part, however small or large in bringing that experience in a true way to both East and West.
I am Yi one of the 55 Chinese Minorities. I come from a bloodline of leaders (Jihu) and my people although Chinese have a completely different language and culture. Many people do not even know that China is made up of many, many different peoples, cultures and lifestyles, they just see us all as one thing ‘Chinese’ which is good in some ways because we are one, but that one is made up of many little parts and this is the kind of thing I want to share with the world, through my music, dance and celebrity.
As Ayi Jihu continues to grow in fame in Asia she is also growing in fame around the world. The future looks bright for this young, beautiful and talented girl from Leibo China. Ayi Jihu could indeed prove to be one of this decade’s most important and influential Chinese artists.