- May 17, 1976
- Rochester, New York, USA
Bio: Lee-Hom Wang (Chinese: 王力宏; pinyin: Wáng Ĺhóng; born May 17, 1976; also referred to as, Wang Leehom, or just Leehom) is a four-time Golden Melody Award-winning American singer-songwriter and actor who has achieved highly recognized success in Taiwan, Mainland China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Thailand and the rest of Southeast… More
Bio: Lee-Hom Wang (Chinese: 王力宏; pinyin: Wáng Ĺhóng; born May 17, 1976; also referred to as, Wang Leehom, or just Leehom) is a four-time Golden Melody Award-winning American singer-songwriter and actor who has achieved highly recognized success in Taiwan, Mainland China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Singapore, Japan, Thailand and the rest of Southeast Asia. One of his most notable contributions to Mandopop was the introduction of "chinked-out" music, a genre heavily influenced by traditional Chinese music. Wang is managed by and records albums with Sony BMG. As of 1995, the beginning of his musical career, Wang has contributed in over 25 albums, topping to nearly 13,000,000 sales. In addition to his album sales, he also set a new attendance record at the Taipei Arena for his Heroes of Earth 2006 Concert on March 2006 as the concert had broken over six national records. Wang also participated in several films, his role in Ang Lee's Lust, Caution gaining the most attention. Recently, Wang was listed among "The 80 Most Inspiring Asian Americans of All Time" by Goldsea Asian American Daily.
Alexander Lee-Hom Wang was born in Rochester, New York on May 17, 1976. He attended Jefferson Road Elementary School, Pittsford Middle School, then later Pittsford Sutherland High School in the town of Pittsford. Known for its excellence in education, the Pittsford School District cradled Wang as a youngster, making him a well rounded person. Wang graduated from Sutherland High School with a perfect 1600 SAT score. After graduation, he studied at Williams College and graduated with honors majoring in Music & Asian Studies. He furthered his studies by attending a semester at Berklee College of Music in the Professional Music program, with voice as his principal instrument.
In 1995 he was signed to a professional recording contract while visiting his grandparents in Taiwan. Since then, Wang has become one of the new songwriters and musicians revolutionizing the Chinese-language music industry. He is active in all areas of music production, from composing to producing, to music arrangement, to lyric writing, to directing his own music videos.
Although he did not begin learning Mandarin Chinese until he was 18, Wang is now fluent in Chinese in both speaking and writing and has written many Chinese lyrics for his songs. Wang plays over 10 musical instruments. In his albums and live concerts, Wang can be heard playing piano, drums, guitar, bass, violin, vibraphone, erhu, xun, and more.
An experienced musical background enables Wang to pull from a variety of musical styles and continuously reinvent his own sound, that is distinctly Chinese and international at the same time. His 2005 release, Shangri-La (心中的日月) drew heavily from R&B, dance pop, and the musics of Chinese ethnic minorities of Tibet, Mongolia, and Yunnan. In 2006, Heroes of Earth (蓋世英雄) centered around R&B, hip hop, rap, and with a strong emphasis on Beijing opera and its predecessor Kunqu.
In 1995, during a summer trip to Taiwan, Wang's music talent was discovered. His debut album Love Rival Beethoven (情敵貝多芬) was released by BMG Music in the winter of 1995.
He was asked to leave his college study to pursue a full time singing career in Taiwan. Wang insisted to stay on to finish school, and at the same time, he was able to convince Decca Records to include some of his own writings in his next album. One of his writings became the title song or zhuda (Chinese: 主打; pinyin: zhǔ dǎ) for his second album If You Heard My Song (如果你聽見我的歌). Wang continued his study at Williams College, and released Missing You (好想你) during winter break of 1996 and White Paper (白紙) during summer of 1997. His music breakthrough did not come until a year later when Revolution (公轉自轉) was released after his graduation from Williams.
After graduating from Williams College, Wang was able to devote full time to his music career. He signed with Sony BMG Taiwan and released his fifth album, Revolution (公轉自轉) on August 21, 1998. The album became a huge success and won him numerous notable awards including Best Producer of the Year and Best Male Vocalist of the 10th Golden Melody Awards in 1999. He was just 22, making him the youngest person ever to win the award in either of the two categories.
His sixth album Impossible to Miss You (不可能錯過你) was released 10 months later. It was just as successful as his previous album. Although he was nominated again for Best Male Vocalist at the 11th Golden Melody Awards and ever since thereafter, he did not win the award this time. However, the interesting style of music Wang had incorporated in this album had attracted many new fans. Since his release of Revolution, each album Wang produced conveyed different styles of music and sounds, attracted numerous fans from different regions in Southeast Asia.
Although raised in New York, Wang always felt the deep root in his Chinese heritage. He started to incorporate Chinese sounds into his music. In 2000, the year of the Dragon in the Chinese lunar calendar, Wang remade a popular Chinese song "Descendants of the Dragon" (龍的傳人) to include in his seventh album Forever's First Day (永遠的第一天). The song raised the pride of the young Chinese generation, soon became a must-sing song in all of his concerts.
His eighth album, The One and Only (唯一) marked the height of his star career. "The One and Only" (唯一) became his signature song. The song has won him over 7 different prestigious awards and being on the ringback tone number one download charts for over a year.
Having established himself as one of the most important, influential, and prolific artists in Chinese music, never repeating himself, Wang continues to invent and experiment with new sounds and voices.
His ninth album, Unbelievable (不可思議) marked another mile stone in his career. Not only did the album heavily stressed mainstream R&B and hip hop, it also sold more than 1,300,000 copies in Asia and won him Best Producer of the Year again for the 15th Golden Melody Awards in 2004. The first title song (zhuda) of the album, "You're Not Here" (你不在) was ranked #1 in several music charts and stayed for well over 10 weeks. Before the release of Unbelievable, Wang began his first world concert tour titled "Unbelievable". The concert tour received rave reviews from fans and critiques in all regions in Asia.
In his tenth album, released on the last day of 2004, Shangri-La (心中的日月), Wang incorporated the often unheard music of Chinese aboriginal music into mainstream hip hop and coined this style "chinked-out". He experimented with the tribal sounds of China, Tibet, and Mongolia, traveled to remote villages, carrying 15 kg of equipment while fighting bouts of altitude and food sickness.
Within ten days of its release, Shangri-La sold past an outstanding 40,000 copies, an excellent start as the first album to be sold in Taiwan of 2005. In within a month, the album sold past 300,000 copies.
Continuing the "chinked-out spirit" by infusing elements of Beijing opera and Kunqu into the songs, Heroes of Earth (蓋世英雄) was released on December 30, 2005. Heroes of Earth, which he collaborated with Jin, again won him Best Male Vocalist in the 17th Golden Melody Awards in 2006.
Heroes of Earth broke the record of impressively selling more than 1,000,000 copies ten days after the release. The album stayed at first place in the G-Music Charts for 6 weeks.Ultimately, the album stayed in the charts for a total of 23 weeks and became third for the most sold album in Taiwan of 2006.
Wang's Heroes of Earth concert toured cities in Taipei, Shanghai, Hong Kong , Singapore and Kuala Lumpur. Breaking over six national records, the concert set a new attendance record at the Taipei Arena, and a sold out concert in the 80,000 seat Shanghai Arena.
Recently, Wang released his much anticipated 12th album, Change Me (改變自己). The album was released on Friday, July 13, completely disregarding the superstition generally attached to Friday the 13th. Through this album, Leehom promotes the issue of global warming and eco-awareness. Thus the packaging of the CD uses recycled paper and contains no plastic. Wang believes that little changes in each person can affect the world. The CD also comes with a pair of reusable metal chopsticks in a pouch. This is also to promote eco-awareness.
Wang's first promotional single album for the new album, "Falling Leaf Returns to Roots" (落葉歸根) gave its world premiere at Hito Radio on June 20, 2007. The music style is very different from Wang's previous singles. Wang had said that the inspiration behind the song was due to the influence of his portrayal of Kuang Yumin in the new film, Lust, Caution. The song accompanies melodic violin and piano solos. In addition, Leehom collaborated with Selina Ren, a member of the famous Taiwan girl group S.H.E in " You're a song in my heart" (你是我心内的一首歌) where he approached singing in Taiwanese for the first time.
Since 1995, Wang has released ten full-length Mandarin studio albums and two Japanese albums, not including Wang's other compositions in soundtracks or the appearances in other studio albums of different artists.
There is no certified ranking in Wang's amazing vocal ability. From his Broadway background, his vocal ability ranges from the bass-baritone to the tenor range. Songs like "Love Mistaken" (愛錯) and "The First Morning" (第一個清晨) clearly shows this ability. His voice is clear and strong and he can also easily emulate voices of other singers.
Although Wang is an R&B artist, he has no stable music style. When he first debuted, he sang old school pop and acoustic R&B ballads. Starting from Revolution (公轉自轉), Wang began to test out R&B pop music, but quickly jumped to a quirky style of dance pop for Impossible to Miss You (不可能錯過你). Starting from Forever's First Day (永遠的第一天), Wang began composing rock songs with heavy electric guitar melodies and less emphasis on dance pop. Nonetheless, Wang still concentrated in light R&B music. The One and Only (唯一) became Wang's only fully produced rock album.
Unbelievable (不可思議) began a new road of music for Wang. Aside from the usual R&B grove, Wang contributed hip hop and rap that was not clearly emphasized in his past albums. "Not Your Average Thug" was a newly composed R&B style with huge American influence. "Can You Feel My World" was a different style of R&B, and the song contained huge uses of the piano and violin as the accompaniment. Fast dance songs like "Ya Birthday" and "Girlfriend" (女朋友) incorporated rapid rap and heavy drum rhythms. "Girlfriend" included a heavily emphasised chinese flute and a music style that is influenced by Indi-pop.
Shangri-La (心中的日月) was the first chapter of Wang's new style, chinked-out. Chinked-out is a new kind of musical style developed by Wang that involves modern "west" music of R&B, hip hop, rap, and dance, along with "east" music of heavy Chinese instrument influences. Wang's first released chinked-out song, "The Heart's Sun and Moon" (心中的日月), involved R&B and instruments of the Tibetans, more notably the koudi, tuhu, and ijac. "Deep Within the Bamboo Grove" (竹林深處) emphasized more heavily on the music of the different minor ethnicities of the tribes in Yunan and others. "Astrology" (星座) mainly used the Chinese flute as the main accompaniment.
" Then, I coined the term chinked-out. Derived from the historically derogatory racial slur chink, used to out-down Chinese people, chinked-out repossesses the word, turns its negative connotations upside-down, and uses them as material to fuel the new sound of this music. The term describes an effort to create a sound that is international, and at the same time, Chinese. In this album, I decided to implement some of China's most precious and untapped resources, the musics [sic] of its shaoshu minzu [少數民族], or ethnic minorities, concentrating on the regions of Yunnan, Shangri-La, Tibet, Xinjiang, and Mongolia. This is not one of those world music CDs. It's an R&B/hip hop album that creates a new vibe the whole world can identify as being Chinese."
The next chapter of chinked-out was Heroes of Earth (蓋世英雄). Instead of ethnic minority music, Wang focused on Peking Opera and Kunqu. Wang's first promotional song, "Heroes of Earth" (蓋世英雄) involved Peking opera singing and dance rap. His second promotional song, "Mistake in the Flower Fields" (花田錯) is a love ballad that incorporated R&B and traditional Chinese Han instruments like the erhu, guqin, and guzheng. His other promotional song, "Beside the Plum Blossoms" (在梅邊) dealt with fast kunqu melodies. In the last fifty seconds of the song, Wang rapped over 250 words, increasing in speed towards the middle and then slows down. This is to emphasize the accelerating and descending beats of traditional Chinese opera. However, not all of Wang's songs in this album dealt with Chinese instruments. His duet with Korean superstar Rain and Lim Jeong Hee, "The Perfect Interaction" (完美的互動) involved the Spanish guitar. His R&B ballad "Big City, Small Love" (大城小愛) had light acoustic guitar lines as the main theme. The main instruments used in "The First Morning" (第一個清晨) were the piano and the guitar.
Nonetheless, Wang is still very notable for his modern love ballads like "Forever Love" and "Kiss Goodbye", both which are deeply sung with piano and string instrument accompaniments.
A new song, "Dramas of the East" (戲出東方), was released as the theme song for a TV program in mainland China, 非常有戲 (Fei Chang You Xi), on April 6, 2007. The song included Beijing opera with rap and pop rock, previewing Wang's new turn in his music.
Wang has just completed his Heroes of Earth World Tour (蓋世英雄 巡迴演唱會), his third world tour to date.
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