William Wei: From Taiwanese Indie to the World
Taiwanese singer/songwriter William Wei epitomizes the evolution of Asian indie music
Taiwanese singer/songwriter William Wei epitomizes the evolution of Asian indie music. Starting from extremely humble origins, Wei began his career by personally composing all of his sounds on his debut album. However, his talent quickly caught the attention of industry professionals and fans alike, and his career took off from that point. Recently, he joined Taiwan acts Salamander and Asian Queen of Pop Jolin Tsai at the 2013 MIDEM festival and "Taiwan Music Night" concert at Paris' Le Trianon this January.
Just how exactly did Wei become such a hit? Wei's folk pop sounds always had a wide appeal. He expressed joy in creating melodies that "people can enjoy." However, Wei also believes the Internet played a significant role in his career. He began by posting songs he composed and performed on StreetVoice, a social media site similar to Myspace. Attracted by his talent, record companies scouted him and signed him on. As a member of the "E-generation", Wei explains, "The Internet has helped us musicians so much." Internet granted him the exposure needed to kickstart his career. Even after exposure, the 26-year old continues to maintain close relationships with fans on media sites.
Wei's popularity is not local to Taiwan. Like many artists, he concedes that the Taiwanese market is "relatively small". However, he also believes that as native-Chinese speakers, they hold a significant advantage and can reach a broad audience. "When writing songs, artists should just focus on good melodies, lyrics, and material that can move people," he explains. For Wei, artists do not need to localize themselves or cater to Chinese audiences. He believes that if the music is done right, fans will appear.
Moving forward, Wei believes he has reached a certain "safety net" in the Chinese pop culture. He hopes to explore other styles and break into international markets. Aside from the Asian market, Wei has also considered reaching an English-speaking audience and has been writing English singles since his career started. Again, using the power of the Internet, Wei hopes to collaborate with other Western artists, such as Jason Mraz, John Mayer, and his favorite artist, Sting, in the future. As a member representing Taiwanese music at MIDEM festival, perhaps Wei's dreams are closer than he thinks.
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