The University of Iowa

Music Here and There

October 17th, 2013

By Siqi Wang for The Daily Iowan

What I have learned living in Iowa is that no matter where you live, geography does not affect your musical taste.

My older cousin Sizhao Wang, living in Xi’an, China, is an example of this. The 24 year-old has a bedroom full of posters of Usher. He has every CD, knows every song, and even took an airplane to see the live concert held in Beijing several years ago.

But being 8,000 miles away means he has to wait a couple months to buy the CD, he can’t go to a concert very often, and he can’t buy a celebrity magazine to read the gossip. Yet with all these obstacles, my cousin still loves Usher.

On the other hand, my best friend Shan Wan, who lives in Michigan, loves Jay Chou. Chou is a multi-talented Chinese celebrity who not only plays piano but also is a songwriter and movie actor/director.

Wan follows the latest gossip about him and listens to his recent albums online. She also watches his past live concerts on YouTube and follows him on Twitter and Facebook.

Even though Wan is currently living in the United States, she still can access to news about her favorite Chinese celebrity. 

As for me, even though I’m living in the United States now, I am still connected with the latest Chinese celebrities in music, movies, and TV shows.

This year, I came across Tian Yu on a website similar to Hulu Plus. Yu is a new celebrity who became famous from the television show “Kuai Le Nan Sheng” — meaning “Happy Boys” — which is the Chinese version of “American Idol.”

When I first watched Yu, I loved his charm and his facial expressions when he sang. Every Friday, I couldn’t wait to watch him on the show, but I was also nervous he might be voted off.

Eventually that day came, and I still remember how Yu cried that night. I was disappointed, but I knew the other contestants were better than him.

After watching Yu and hearing the stories from my friend and cousin, I realized without the Internet, we wouldn’t be able to keep up with celebrities and musicians from all around the world.

Music is my tool to stay in touch with China, and I think lots of international students feel the same way.