Zhang Liangying (simplified Chinese: 张靓颖; traditional Chinese: 張靚穎; pinyin: Zhāng Liàngyǐng;or Zhang Jinying; born October 11, 1984, in Chengdu, Sichuan), also known as Jane Zhang, is a Chinese pop singer. She rose to prominence after her third-place performance in the 2005 season of the Super Girl contest, a national all-female singing competition in the People's Republic of China. Throughout the competition, she sang in English, Spanish and Cantonese in addition to Mandarin Chinese. She is particularly known for her signature whistle register which earned her a nickname, "The Dolphin Princess".
Zhang's debut album was titled The One and was produced by American Producer Craig Williams; along with American Executive Producer Reid Hyams on The One. Her next album, Update, broke away from the Chinese pop scene by combining elements of R&B and jazz. After the release of The one, Zhang participated in a World Peace One concert that was designed to increase awareness and activism for world peace, and to raise funds for humanitarian relief.
Her father was an engine attendant for a transportation company in Chengdu, and her mother was an office assistant. During her childhood, she performed at her parents' workplace on several occasions. However, her parents divorced when she was 13; two years later, Zhang's father died. This forced her to work outside of school; she started to sing at a local public house, where her uncle played the accompaniments.
While performing at the pub, Zhang was exposed to a wide variety of music genres, and developed a taste for American country singers in addition to Western pop singers, such as Mariah Carey and Christina Aguilera. Because she was unable to afford her own music players, Zhang frequently borrowed walkmans and headphones from her classmates, and skipped lunches to save enough money for cassettes. After graduating from college, she studied at Sichuan University's Foreign Language Department where she was majoring in English; she dropped out soon after to compete in the 2005 Super Girl competition.
2005: Super Girl competition
Zhang auditioned for the 2005 Super Girl contest, the Chinese equivalent of the Idol franchise, but only for female contestants. She auditioned in Chengdu, and after progressing through the preliminary rounds, she entered the national competition with Li Yuchun and He Jie.
Throughout the series, she had established a fan base whose members called themselves "Liang Fen" (凉粉), a phrase that combined the Chinese pronunciation of her name and the English word "fan." Zhang demonstrated her ability to sing in foreign languages, with performances of "I Still Believe", "What's Up", "Beautiful", and "Don't Cry for Me Argentina." Despite high praise from some critics she was not the most popular contestant among young supporters. Her final number of votes by text messaging was 1.3 million. Consequently, she placed third behind Li Yuchun and Bibi Zhou, whose creative eccentricity and tomboyish appearances triumphed over "the old, introverted, [and] pretty-girl" image.
Performances in Super Girl competition
|May 26, 2005||Preliminary Round||Contigo En La Distancia||Christina Aguilera|
|Each Time When I Miss You (每一次想你)||Coco Lee|
|June 4, 2005||Round I |
|I Turn to You||Christina Aguilera|
|June 10, 2005||Round II |
|Any Man of Mine||Shania Twain|
|June 17, 2005||Round III |
|The Best||Tina Turner|
|June 24, 2005||Round IV |
|Country Love (乡恋)||Guyi Li (李谷一)|
|Passionate Desert (热情的沙漠)||Feifei Auyeung (欧阳菲菲)|
|July 1, 2005||Chengdu Final||I Still Believe||Brenda K. Starr |
|Writing A Song (写一首歌)||Shunza|
|July 15, 2005||National Round I |
|Long Live Journey (漫步人生路)||Teresa Teng|
|You're the Most Precious (with Li Yuchun) (你最珍贵)||Jacky Cheung and Francesca Gao (张学友、高慧君)|
|July 22, 2005||National Round II |
|Remember Me||Beverley Knight|
|How Can You Let Me Be Upset (你怎么舍得我难过)||Victor Wong|
|July 29, 2005||National Round III |
|Vision of Love||Mariah Carey|
|Jambalaya (On the Bayou)||Hank Williams|
|Liu Yanghe (浏阳河)||Hunan Folk Song|
|August 5, 2005||National Round IV |
|Don't Cry for Me, Argentina||Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice|
|Your Appearance (你的样子)||Lo Ta-yu|
|Bella ciao (啊朋友再见)||Unknown|
|August 12, 2005||National Round V |
|Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now||Starship|
|Such a Big Tree (好大一棵树)||Tian Zhen|
|Sincere Heroes (真心英雄)||Jackie Chan|
|August 19, 2005||National Round VI |
|The Fisherman's Song of Ussuri River (乌苏里船歌)||Nanai traditional song|
|Lovin' You||Minnie Riperton|
|Old Straw Hat (Japanese: 人間の証明のテーマ; Chinese: 草帽歌)||Joe Yamanaka (Japanese: ジョー山中; Chinese: 山中玖易)|
|Make the World Full of Love (让世界充满爱)||Wei Wei etc.|
|Small Town Story (小城故事)||Teresa Teng|
|August 26, 2005||National Final||Gathering Areca (采槟榔)|
|What's Up||4 Non Blondes|
|My Beloved Country and I (我和我的祖国)||Guyi Li|
2006: The One
After the competition ended, Zhang was invited to visit Sichuan University, her alma mater, during its orientation week celebration in early September. She performed her own rendition of Shania Twain's "Any Man of Mine" there. On September 26, 2005, she became the first Super Girl contestant to hold a personal music show for her fans. Numerous celebrities attended the show, including Huang Jianxiang, a host on CCTV's football shows, Phoenix TV host Zeng Zimo, and Taiwanese singer Sky Wu. Zhang also signed a contract with CCTV to play the supporting role in The Song of the Movie, a stage music show produced by Taiwan pop musician Jonathan Lee. Harlem Yu and Yuan Quan also starred in the musical, which opened in Beijing in December 2005 and later in Hong Kong.
On January 9, 2006, her first EP, Jane·Love (simplified Chinese: Jane·爱; traditional Chinese: Jane·愛) was released. The EP, which cost 2 million yuan to produce, contains six tracks in total: 3 songs and 3 instrumentals. In China alone, over 210,000 copies of the EP have been sold. On Forbes' China Celebrity 100 list, Zhang was placed 55th.
Her debut album, The One, was released on October 11, 2006, her 22nd birthday. During the production of the album, Zhang visited the United States to collaborate with music producers Craig Williams and Reid Hyams, the latter of whom had worked with Celine Dion and R. Kelly. The One contains ten songs, three of which are in English; the three English songs were produced by Williams.
She has also sung many popular theme songs for various films and series, including "Only for Love" (simplified Chinese: 我用所有报答爱; traditional Chinese: 我用所有報答愛) for the film The Banquet and "Unparalled in the World" (simplified Chinese: 天下无双; traditional Chinese: 天下無雙) for the TV series The Return of the Condor Heroes. The popularity of both songs was reflected on numerous Chinese music charts. "Only for Love", which was a collaboration with Chinese pianist Lang Lang, was nominated for Best Original Film Song at the 2007 Hong Kong Film Awards.
In February 2007, she was invited by World Peace One (WP1) to join a hundred world-renowned singers and bands to record a song called "Give Your Love". This was aimed to bring attention to all cultures of the globe. This project aims to promote awareness of the poverty of third-world countries. Zhang was the only Asian female singer who received an invitation to participate and it was reported that Craig Williams recommended Zhang to the organiser of the event.
Zhang performed her first North American concert on March 31, 2007, in Pasadena, California. Famous Japanese musician Kitarō and Gavin Christopher also attended the concert, in which Gavin Christopher and Zhang sang I'll Be There together. On April 8, 2007, she was awarded the Best Singer Award in the 2007 Music Chart Awards ceremony was held in Beijing Exhibition Centre Theater.
Her July 28, 2007 concert in Beijing also set a record for the most expensive VIP seating for a mainland Chinese artist. She performed live versions of hit songs from The One, new songs from her second album Update, which was released in August 2007, as well as Richard Marx's signature ballad "Right Here Waiting" and Beyoncé Knowles's "Listen" from the award-winning Broadway musical Dreamgirls.
On August 2, 2007, her second album, Update was released. When asked about the album's name, Zhang explained that the album is an upgraded step from The One. The songs broke away from the Chinese pop scene by combining elements of R&B and jazz. One of her tracks, "We Are Together" (simplified Chinese: 我们在一起; traditional Chinese: 我們在一起), was produced for a project by the United Nations Children's Fund.
Zhang was invited, along with 130 other renowned Chinese performers such as Elva Hsiao, Joey Yung, Alan Tam, Wang Feng, Eason Chan, Hacken Lee and Jackie Chan to record "We Are Ready" in July 2007 for the countdown to the 2008 Summer Olympics. It was released on August 2. "We Are Ready" was composed by Peter Kam and Keith Chan, at the request of the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad (BOCOG), for the celebration of the one-year countdown to the start of the 2008 Olympics. On August 8, the artists who recorded the song gathered at Tiananmen Square, and performed the song live for the first time. In addition, Zhang, along with Wang Leehom, Stefanie Sun, and Wang Feng, recorded the theme song of the 2008 Beijing Olympics torch relay, "Light the Passion, Share the Dream" (simplified Chinese: 点燃激情，传递梦想; traditional Chinese: 點燃激情 傳遞夢想).
Jane also performed the theme song, Huà Xīn (畫心; Painted Heart), for the movie Painted Skin (畫皮).
On December 8, 2007, Zhang performed a live concert in her hometown, Chengdu. She performed most hit songs from her two albums, The One and Update, together with songs from her newly released EP, Dear Jane.
Additionally, she also sang a promotional tourism song for Chengdu, titled "I Love This City".
Jane@Music, Zhang's third album, was released in January 2009. She also accompanied Taiwan-based artist Wang Leehom in a duet in Wang's album Heart Beat.
Zhang made her American television singing debut on The Oprah Winfrey Show on May 11, 2009.
2010: Believe in Jane
Believe in Jane, Zhang's fourth album, was released in February 2010. She also performed at the first annual New York China Film Festival, where she was awarded most popular Chinese singer. She further represented China in the 7th Asia Song Festival held in Korea and hosted her first fanmeet in Singapore in September 2010. In August, she begun her Believe in Jane tour with concerts in Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Tianjin. Jane further performed "I Believe" and "The Only" at ice-skating couple Shen Xue and Zhao Hongbo's wedding. The latter was accompanied by an ice skating performance by the couple.
As a brand ambassador of Coca-Cola in China, she also collaborates with K'naan and Jacky Cheung in the Chinese version of Wavin' Flag for Coca-Cola's 2010 World Cup promotional tour at the 2010 Shanghai Expo on May 8, 2010. In October Zhang represented China and performed at the 7th Asia Song Festival, organised by Korea Foundation for International Culture Exchange, at the Seoul Olympic Stadium.
2016: Dust My Shoulders Off
Jane Zhang released the song "Dust My Shoulders Off" in 2016. An excerpt from the song was used in a television commercial for the Hulu video streaming service.
On July 4, 2015, Jane Zhang announced that her boyfriend was Feng Ke (冯轲, also known as Michael Feng), the CEO of Show City Times, her management company. On October 8, 2016, they announced that their wedding and married in Italy on November 9, Zhang's mother opposes this marriage.
|Year||Single||Peak positions ( Weeks on chart )|
|Chinese Music Chart||Global Chinese Music Chart||9+2 Music Pioneer Chart||98.8 FM Malaysia Chart|
|2006||"光芒"||1 (7)||3 (5)||6 (7)||–|
|"梦想"||3 (4)||10 (6)||–||–|
|"我们说好的"||1 (13)||5 (7)||4 (9)||–|
|"Dream Party"||1 (7)||3 (7)||–||–|
|"我走以后"||–||10 (2)||19 (1)||–|
|2008||"Dear Jane"||–||–||7 (4)||–|
|"围城"||1 (2)||4 (3)||–||–|
|2009||"那不会是爱吧"||1 (12)||7 (4)||1 (7)||14 (4)|
|"孩子的眼睛"||1 (10)||7 (5)||12 (5)||–|
|"I Didn't Know"||?||?||?||?|
|2015||"Change Your World" (with Tiësto)||?||?||?||?|
|Total #1 singles||6||–||1||–|
Awards and nominations
|2007||Hong Kong TVB8 Awards||Top 10 Gold Songs||"我們說好的" (What We Agreed) from Update||Nominated|
|"這該死的愛" (This Damned Thing Called Love) from The One||Won|
|Most Popular Female Artist (China)||Jane Zhang||Won|
|2009||Hong Kong Film Awards||Best Original Film Song||"畫心"(Painted Heart) from the film Painted Skin||Won|
|2010||Asia Song Festival||Best Asian Artist||Jane Zhang||Won|
|2011||Mnet Asian Music Awards||Best Asian Artist||Jane Zhang||Won|
|2011||MTV Europe Music Awards||Worldwide Act.||Jane Zhang||Nominated|
|Chinese Song Chart-Beijing Pop Music Awards||Best Female Artist(China)||Jane Zhang||Won|
|2013||Top Chinese Music Awards||Best Female Artist||Jane Zhang||Won|
|Most Popular Female Artist||Jane Zhang||Won|
|2013||MTV Europe Music Awards||Worldwide Act.||Jane Zhang||Nominated|
|2015||MTV Europe Music Awards||Worldwide Act.||Jane Zhang||Won|