Wanting Qu is a huge star in Asia.
To give you an idea, the Chinese-Canadian singer-songwriter’s first album sold over 10 million copies during its first week of release in 2012. Her next album debuted at number one in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau, Singapore, and Malaysia. Her face has been on the cover of several Asian magazines and her image is plastered on giant billboards.
In her adopted hometown of Vancouver, however, she maintains a relatively low profile.
Qu is the subject of a CBC documentary premiering Saturday (July 26) at 7 p.m. Wanting: Dream Girl follows the 30-year-old on her first North American tour, which took place in February and March of this year.
The 45-minute film, directed by CBC music producer Michael Juk, opens with some background information on Qu. Her parents sent her to Canada alone at the age of 16 to finish her schooling. While Qu didn’t set out to be a performer, a bad breakup in her early 20s initiated her song writing. The already skilled pianist began composing songs in English and Chinese and sharing her music online.
An encounter with Terry McBride, the CEO and cofounder of Vancouver-based Nettwerk Music Group, in 2005 led to an exchange of business cards. Qu explains in the documentary that after submitting her EP to McBride four years later, she was signed to the label.
Aboard her bright pink tour bus en route from Vancouver to Los Angeles, Qu discusses a range of topics including song-writing inspiration, the importance of her fans, touring with her band members, and even online bullying.
The interviews are interspered with clips of live performances, which were recorded on stage in Vancouver, as well as interviews with McBride and Qu’s professional management team.
Wanting: Dream Girl isn’t just about Qu, however. The film repeatedly drives home the point that it is tremendously difficult for singers to find success performing in two languages in more than one market. Of course, Celine Dion comes to mind, whose albums in French are just as successful as her English ones. Colombian singer Shakira and Puerto Rican performer Ricky Martin are also popular in two language markets.
Qu is determined to bridge the gap between China and North America. Based on this documentary, it appears that she’s already on her way.
Following the premiere of Wanting: Dream Girl on CBC Television, the documentary will be available online.