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First a musical, then an album for singer

By Chen Nan | China Daily | Updated: 2018-08-25 10:07
Actress-singer Lou Yixiao. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Chinese actress-singer Lou Yixiao recently released her debut album, Loura, in Beijing.

The release follows her role as the lead in the Chinese language production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's hit musical Tell Me On A Sunday.

The album, released by Warner Music China, features 10 songs, including love ballads and electronic music and punk-rock pieces, and is seen as a return to Lou's roots as a singer.

Lou wrote the lyrics for four songs and composed music for the album.

One of the songs by Lou, called Mirage, was inspired by a woman's image on a cup. The image reminded Lou, 29, of Medusa and Mona Lisa, and she wrote the lyrics for the song in an hour.

Lou, who was born in Dalian, Liaoning province, graduated from the Shanghai Theatre Academy.

Speaking of her time there, she says: "I can still remember the time when I applied for the acting major at the Shanghai Theatre Academy. But I was also drawn to the musicals major, even though I had no idea about musicals at that time."

One of the teachers then told her that the musicals major offered a more comprehensive education. So, Lou, who started learning piano and singing in children's choirs, went for it.

"During my years at university, I immersed myself in musicals, an art form which combines acting, dancing and singing.

"But, after I graduated, I faced the challenge of finding a job since the musicals market in China was pretty small then," says Lou, adding that some of her classmates moved to other cities to seek jobs while others just moved on to other fields.

Luckily, Lou, in her second year at university, had starred in a TV drama, iPartment.

And the romantic comedy enabled her to build a fan base, and gained her acting opportunities in TV dramas and movies.

However, she has never stopped seeking an opportunity to do musicals. And the Webber musical offered her the perfect opportunity.

The one-woman show is a co-production between China and the United Kingdom, which has director Paul Warwick Griffin and musical supervisor Fiz Shapur working with Chinese director Ma Yue and music director Zhao Jijun.

In the new adaptation, a modern Chinese woman moves from the countryside to Shanghai, a change from the original story where the woman moves from London to New York.

Besides Lou, Chinese singers Tan Weiwei, Xu Lidong and Li Weiling have also played the lead part in the show.

Speaking about her performance, Lou says: "I am the only one onstage singing more than 20 songs, accompanied by a six-member live band.

I stopped all other jobs to focus on practicing for the role.

"It was challenging but also rewarding because I am confident about my voice as a singer."

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