Ai Jing

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Ai Jing
A long-haired East Asian woman in a black dress
Ai Jing in 2007
Background information
Born (1969-09-10) September 10, 1969 (age 47)
Origin People's Republic of China
Genres Rock, pop
Instruments Singing, guitar
Years active 1992–present

Ai Jing (Chinese: 艾敬; pinyin: Ài Jìng; born 10 September 1969 in Shenyang, Liaoning[1][2]) is a mainland Chinese singer and painter. China's Northeast News called her "China's most talented female folk rock singer."[3]

Ai was born into a musical family: her father played several instruments, and her mother was a Pingju singer.[2][4] She attended the Shenyang Special School of Art,[5] joined the Oriental Song and Dance Troupe (Chinese: 东方歌舞团; pinyin: dōngfāng gēwǔ tuán) in Beijing at age 18, and first gained widespread attention with her 1992 song "My 1997" (Chinese: 我的1997; pinyin: wǒde yījiǔjiǔqī). A semi-autobiographical ballad[4] that has been compared to Cui Jian's "Nothing to My Name" in terms of its social impact,[6] the song tells about her love for a man living in Hong Kong, and how she eagerly awaits the 1997 handover of Hong Kong to China so she can visit him.[5] After "My 1997", she performed throughout East and Southeast Asia for several years. The music video for her 1993 "Wandering Swallow" (Chinese: 流浪的燕子; pinyin: liúlàng de yànzi) won the Chunlan Cup MTV Convention.[4]

Nimrod Baranovitch describes Ai as one of China's first "independent, free, active, dynamic, perhaps even rebellious" female pop stars".[7] She is also known for having written and produced much of her own music, in a time when few Chinese artists were doing so.[7][8] Much of her music defied stylistic rules and incorporated Western folk and rock styles.[9] But after her early albums, Baranovitch claims, Ai's popularity decreased as her themes became more "personal and nonconformist",[10] and she faced "antagonism" from men within the music industry because she did not sexually objectify herself and because her introduction of new musical styles challenged the male-dominated industry.[10]

Ai moved to New York in 1997, and since then has mostly lived in the United States, although she recorded her 2003 album Is it a Dream? (是不是梦) in the United Kingdom.[8] In the late 1990s Ai switched her focus to painting, and had her first professional exhibition in 2008.[4] She has also acted in three[2] films: Five Girls and a Rope (五个女子和一根绳子; 1991), Beijing Bastards (北京杂种; 1993), and From the Queen to the Chief Executive (等候董建华发落; 2000).[5]


Year Original title English translation Notes
1992 我的一九九七 My 1997
1995 艳粉街的故事 Story of Yanfen Street
1996 追月 Chasing the Moon
1999 Made in China (n/a)
2003 是不是梦 Is it a Dream?
2006 艾在旅途 Ai on the Road compilation album
2007 我的1997和2007 My 1997 and 2007 compilation album


  1. ^ "年表 (Biography)". Ai Jing's homepage. 18 October 2004. Retrieved 13 October 2009. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b c ""流浪的燕子"回家了 ("Wandering Swallow" Ai Jing has come home)". 东北新闻网 (Northeast News Online). 27 September 2003. Retrieved 16 October 2009. 
  3. ^ ""流浪的燕子"回家了 ("Wandering Swallow" Ai Jing has come home)". 东北新闻网 (Northeast News Online). 27 September 2003. Retrieved 16 October 2009. "中国最具才华的民谣女诗人"
    "民谣" literally translates to "folk rock" or "folk ballad" and refers to a style of music (more completely called 城市民谣, "urban folk rock") that started in the 1990s.
  4. ^ a b c d "Singer Ai Jing". China Radio International. 29 October 2008. Retrieved 13 October 2009. 
  5. ^ a b c Ren Hai (2005). "Ai Jing". In Edward L. Davis. Encyclopedia of contemporary Chinese culture. Routledge. p. 12. ISBN 978-0-203-64506-2. 
  6. ^ a b Baranovitch, Nimrod (2003). China's new voices: popular music, ethnicity, gender, and politics, 1978-1997. University of California Press. p. 164–5. ISBN 978-0-520-23450-5. 
  7. ^ a b "Brief Introduction of Ai Jing". 艺术个案 (Art Case). 8 May 2007. Retrieved 13 October 2009. 
  8. ^ Baranovitch 2003, 165–6.
  9. ^ a b Baranovitch 2003, p. 169.

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