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album2002's first snowfall

Introduction – Who is Daolang?
(30 June 2011)

In early 2004 following the release of 2002 First Snow'  《2002年第一场雪》 album (right), his name resonated throughout China, a country of 1.3 billion people.  His music, mixing soft rock with ancient sound of Xinjiang where he is based, has successfully created spectacular results for Chinese Pop.  ‘Snow’, his 1st hit album saw an unprecedented sale of 2.7 million copies amidst reports that this bestseller was also extensively pirated 3 times more. 
 
Equally amazing was the fact that this album was released without the usual fanfare of publicity rounds, no packaging, no promotion whatsoever. What happened was the albums were placed at music shops to be played which eventually found its way to every nooks and corners of the streets be they beauty salons or garment shops until Beijing, the capital of China, too was overwhelmed by this husky, unpretentious voice singing his love songs. Suddenly he was much sought after by the media. Who is this Daolang 《刀郎》 ?  There was not even a picture of him on the album cover!


 
 Daolang, the singer, the songwriter, the music-maker, the producer
- how did he come this far?


Born on 22nd June 1971, in Chengdu’s Zizhong County 《资中县罗泉镇》, Sichuan Province, Daolang’s real name is Luo Lin 《罗林》, the 2nd child of a working class couple working in the theatre. He stands at 1.72 tall and sports a sideburn.  Coupled with the baseball cap that he always has on when on stage and his down-to-earth dressing, it has become his trademarks as a singer with that unique voice that melts countless hearts with the equally moving music and lyrics that he wrote himself.
 

4 years on and releasing 5 more albums later has further ascertained his success, yet this talented musician still prefer to keep a low profile and would rather spend the time driving his car traveling around to get inspiration for his music, when not at his home-studio or with his wife and 2 daughters now age 20 and 12. Probably because of the difficulties in reaching him, the media could hardly find news to report, resulting in those early days a number of adverse articles written just so to captialise on his name. To this, a self-assured Daolang would remark “each man is entitled to his opinion” , he would rather let his music do the talking. 
 
This writer was fortunate enough to meet up with him, a second time, last October (6th Oct 2007) where he made a 40 min appearance at Lijiang in Yunnan and found him belting his songs very much just like listening to his CDs. It’s an irony that this man had started out wanting only to be a musician, someone who works behind the scene, but he is blessed with a vocal prowess that all who heard him would agree is so distinctive that he has become a rare gem from China! 


Let’s take a look how he started his career as a musician in one of the rare interviews he gave in 2004 after his ‘snowfall’ hit:
 
"Actually I am like a servant in the world of music.  I left school at 17 without waiting for graduation and also left home to go instead  to the nearby city, Neijiang, ending  up learning to play the electronic keyboard .  Two years later, I toured Chengdu, Chongqing, Tibet and Xi'an for more than four years as a bar-hopping musician. “
 
While in Neijiang not yet into his twenties, he and a few same-minded friends formed a group ‘Shuo Shu Dao’ and although they could get along well, business however was no good with some days earning just 20 rmb a night. Eventually they decided to disband.
 
From 1991 to 1995 while still in Hainan, he was with another new group ‘Di Qiu Zhi Zi’ where his masterly skills in playing the electronic keyboard was well-known.   Unfortunately this group eventually disbanded too – unhappily, and it was made worse, already married with a baby daughter then, by problems his young family was facing.
 
“I met my present wife, Xiao Mei a Xinjiang lady, when I was in Hainan and followed her back to Xinjiang in 1995. She introduced me to Xinjiang music which gives me tremendous inspiration.” Moving to Xinjiang was the turning point. He was to meet a few people who matters in his music career, namely Zheng Jinbiao郑金标, Xinjiang Deweilong Audio & Video Co.'s owner 《新疆德威龙音像制品有限公司;  Li Songqiang《李松强》, , formerly bass guitarist-turn- personal manager, and his band’s members 《乐队人员》.
 

With support from Zhu Xiaomei, he soon set up ‘Xibei Music Studio’ to begin a life where music is to be central to everything he does.  In those early days, life was tough to begin with just writing commercial jingles for a living . His greatest wish after all is to write his own music.  An idea was conceived in 1998 when he was involved in a Radio programme whereby listeners called in to talk about their love affairs, and from it songs would be written, shortlisted and then to be produced in an album.  It was an arduous journey that took 2 years. They were cash-trapped in every way.  Finally in May 2000, the album ‘Xinjiang’s 1st Originals’ 《新疆原创第一击》was launched. It was to give him the hardest knock in his music career. It sold only 2000 copies!
 
“It set me thinking, nothing else, just thinking ‘what went wrong?’. I buried myself in a library for many days after this failure. Then I traveled to meet Uygur people….” He soon discovered the beauty of the local Dao Lang tribe’s culture in music and dance  (刀郎人). He felt re-charged. “I wrote three to four tunes a day, and over a year I have written more than 1,000.  Of the more than 3,000 tunes composed so far however, quite a number were useless. Nevertheless, writing them has provided me with much needed practice.”
 
   
He didn’t give up. Through collaboration as music director with Xinjiang Deweilong Music, he continued to be involved in producing a number of Xinjiang music CDs (right) which were distributed only within the region, and even managed to win some prizes for joint ventures with a local TV Broadcast station.

With his new-found source of music inspiration, he was determined to work on another album that he hoped could be treated as tourist souvenir promoting Xinjiang. He worked on it gingerly, leaving nothing to chances taking almost a year to complete it. 
 
“The songs on it, saved for one which I wrote and sang as well as another 3, were all oldies written by others and from which I re-arranged.  We were not financially well-off at that time, had no money to hire singers…”. Ever so self-conscious, he had to force himself to sing in a few tracks before sending to Beijing for trial recording. 
 
It turned out the people in Beijing who listened to his songs were impressed and told him so: "You have a wonderful voice, most beautiful! Why not use your own voice? “ 
 
Those time spent with the Dao Lang tribe had influenced him greatly. He could identify with the tribe’s singing style. Using it to merge with his Sichuan background, he found his vocal ability despite being untrained. Coupled with his keen knowledge in music and his inate ability to put his most intimate feelings through the words he wrote,  he touches many listeners’ hearts. The warmness in his voice especially moves many of his die-hard fans to tears.  (listen to 'Thank you', lyrics)
 
‘Songs from the Great Desert’ 《大漠情歌》 (left) was released quietly in 2002. He was nervous but good news awaited him and the people whom he worked with. With the failure of the earlier album still
fresh on their minds, this new development boosted their morale greatly! Much importance was placed on its success that without it there probably would not be another upcoming, bigger success. 
 
His next album  “Love Songs of the Western Region” 《西域情歌》, another oldies re-arrangement was released in August 2003 – and it became an instant hit! In it, he sang six out of the 12-tracks, so well-received especially 'Turpan’吐鲁番的葡萄熟了, that he began to make appearances on stage, now known as ‘Daolang’ and not as Luo Lin as before. He explained, “Using the name ‘Daolang’ is also to promote this remote city to my countrymen the beauty of this region, a place that has nutured me and given me tremendous opportunities. 
 
Greatest success of all were to come soon.....
 
 


On his present marital status…..
 
"I had a failed marriage before I met my present wife. I met her in Hainan at my most difficult time. We are now a family of four with a daughter from my ex-wife and another one with Xiaomei.”
 
"Xiaomei believes in me and is always encouraging me especially when I’m down. When I became popular, she advised me to be calm and to stay on even keel."
 
He would not elaborate on his first wife other than to reveal in an interview this much, "I hit my lowest point when my first wife wanted to divorce me. I loved her dearly, really! She told me to give her 8 days to think it over. Those 8 days were the hellish time in my life. I couldn’t eat and would toss and turn in bed sleeping no more than 2 hours each night. I drank and drank even up to a carton of beer and I would still be wide awake ….. and then I fell terribly sick.....All in, it took me a little over a year to gradually get over this heartache ......"

In the interview, Daolang mentioned a song he wrote which fans have yet to hear it: "...This is a song written many years ago, very heartbreaking. I don't wish others to see it, listen to it. This was a deep wound of the past. Personally I dont quite want to touch it, this song is called 'Mother of My Child' 《孩子她妈》  - 2004


 
 
Well Wishers 
 

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