Digital Cover: Welcome to the World of Lay Zhang
Introducing our Fall/Winter 2019 digital cover star at the helm of M-POP’s US debut.
Lay Zhang might not be a household name in the States, but he’s surely on his way there. As the East’s answer to the male pop archetype à la Justin Timberlake or Bieber, Zhang has already become one of Mandarin Pop’s most exciting artists to cross over to the US, where his album ‘Honey’ is currently charting. He’s an actor, too. The 27-year-old heartthrob has starred in over 10 films since he first started his career as a child star.
Being at the helm of M-Pop’s entrance into the US means that Zhang is accomplishing international recognition beyond that of his peers. While China might feel worlds away—it is exactly 12 hours ahead of New York—Zhang is helping to bridge the cultural, geographic, and artistic gap.
Enter the world of Lay Zhang.
What was it like for you to be a child star? Is there anything about working
at that age that you would change?
It was cool to be a child star. I got to experience a lot. So no, I wouldn’t change anything.
You produce and write a lot of music. Where did you learn these skill sets?
I taught myself by watching videos and from making music with my friends. I also did song camps with my producers; they’re my teachers.
我通过看视频自学，也通过和一起做音乐的朋友们交流来学习。同时我也会和很多 制作人们通过song camp进行交流学习，他们都是我的老师。
As a music producer, what kind of music do you like or you want to try?
I like M-POP! I’m open to any kind of music, and recently I really like hip-hop.
As one of the creators of M-POP, how would you explain it to Americans?
M-POP is Mix-Mandarin POP. My native language is Chinese, so I can mix Mandarin with any language, and use any musical style to produce a song. So, by using English and other musical styles, I think Americans can get familiar with M-POP pretty easily.
M-POP就是Mix-Mandarin POP，我的母语是中文，所以我做音乐时会将中文和其他 所有的语言融合，也会将任意的音乐风格混合。所以，当我将英语融合在歌曲中，并且使用多样的曲风时，我觉得可以让美国听众对M-POP更熟悉
What is the story of your latest work, Honey? Is there a theme or connection
amongst the songs?
Honey is my latest EP. It has “Honey,” “Bad,” “Amusement Park” and “和你” (“Honey” in Chinese). They all talk about love relationships. And they’re all M-POP.
HONEY是我的上一张EP。这张EP里有Honey，Bad, Amusement park以及和你四首歌。这些歌曲的共同点是都在围绕恋爱关系来诉说故事，而且它们都是M-POP！
Why do you think the US has been so receptive to your music?
I’m surprised! I’m glad to hear that. I think M-POP includes many different musical styles so a lot of people can vibe to it. I have to say thanks to the fans everywhere, they are really the ones that help me a lot.
这个消息很惊喜！我非常开心能听到这种评价。首先我觉得M-POP包容了很多不同 的音乐曲风所以大家都能跟着享受，找到自己的感觉。其次我也必须要感谢我的粉 丝们，是他们帮助了我。
How do you balance acting, writing, singing, producing, touring, and so on?
By working hard and always reminding myself of my goals and dreams!
Is it possible to have a personal life while working as hard as you do?
Not really, but I’m trying to give myself a break sometimes.
We know that you just finished your first solo tour, the “Grand Line” concerts. How does it feel to be done?
I feel excited and sad at the same time. I’m glad to see my fans come together with me to enjoy this wonderful tour. It feels great to perform the whole show. And I do feel sad because this first tour is over. Looking forward to the second one!
What projects are you working on that we can expect soon?
I just released a new song called “我不好” this month. And you may expect more in the future.
You’ve become so well known in China. What is something that you want people in the US to know about you?
My name is Lay Zhang, and I really like boxing!