Huang Zitao

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Huang Zitao
Huang Zitao at Ports 1961 Shanghai.jpg
Huang Zitao at the Ports 1961 Opening Ceremony in Shanghai 2015
Background information
Born Huang Zitao
(1993-05-02) May 2, 1993 (age 25)
Qingdao, Shandong, China
Other names
  • Tao
  • Z.Tao
Ethnicity Han
Alma mater Qingdao Foreign Service Vocational School
Occupation
  • Singer
  • Songwriter
  • Rapper
  • Actor
  • Music producer
Years active 2012–present
Nationality Chinese
Genre(s)
Label(s)

Huang Zitao (Chinese: 黃子韜, born 2 May 1993), better known as Tao, is a Chinese rapper, singer-songwriter, model and actor. He is a former member of the South Korean-Chinese boy group EXO. In 2015, he made his solo debut with the mini-album T.A.O, under the new stage name Z.Tao.

Early life[edit]

Huang Zitao was born in Qingdao, Shandong, China on May 2, 1993. As a child, he undertook Wushu training and became a student athlete.[1] In late 2010 he was scouted by a representative from SM Entertainment at a talent show.

Music career[edit]

2011–2015: EXO and lawsuit against SM Entertainment[edit]

On December 27, 2011, Huang was formally introduced as the third member of EXO (with the stage name Tao).

In late 2013, Huang took part in filming for MBC's celebrity diving program Splash!, but withdrew due to reported injuries.

He featured in two songs from Zhou Mi's album Rewind, which he penned the rap lyrics to;[2] and appeared as a cast member of the Solomon Islands edition of the SBS reality television program Laws of the Jungle in 2014. He left the show early due to a foot injury on a coral reef during filming.

In June 2015, Huang set up a Chinese agency, 黄子韬Z.TAO Studio.[3] On August 24, he filed a lawsuit against SM Entertainment to terminate his contract.[4] Huang claimed the 10-year contract had unjust terms and said he lacks freedom due to the long contract period. [5] However, the Supreme Court dismissed Huang's appeal on March 15, 2018. The exclusive contract between SM Entertainment and Huang is still valid. [6]

2015–present: Solo career and mainstream popularity[edit]

On July 23, 2015, Huang made his solo debut with a digital EP titled T.A.O,[7] which sold 670,000 digital copies in its first week.[8] The album was followed up with a second EP, Z.TAO, which was released for free on August 19 with the title track "Crown".[9] The music video for "Crown" was presented in the style of a 7-minute short film, directed by Nick Lentz and featuring Jessica Gomes.[10] Huang performed the stunts and martial arts sequences for the action scenes in the music video.[11] Huang held his first solo performance at the Beijing Exhibition Center Theater on August 23, as part of a benefit concert for those affected by the Tianjin explosions.[12]

On October 15, Huang released the single "Reluctantly", a ballad composed by himself and Andros Rodriguez.[13] At the 2015 Migu Music Awards, Huang won the "Best Stage Performance" award and performed the single.[14] As part of an endorsement deal with the game I'm the Sovereign, Huang composed and released the single "I'm the Sovereign".[15] The song topped China's Billboard chart for the week of December 5, 2015.[16]

On January 12, 2016, Huang won the "Most Influential Male Singer" award at the 2016 Mobile Video Festival (Miopai Awards).[17] He was later invited to perform as a headliner for the SoYoung 2016 Live Concert Tour on January 29, which featured young rising musicians in China.[18]

Huang’s first album The Road was announced in March 2016. It was recorded partly in Los Angeles in collaboration with Nick Lentz.[19] The lead single "The Road" was released on April 22. On May 1, Huang commenced a concert tour for the album in Nanjing[20] and released a music video for the single "Hello, Hello", featuring Wiz Khalifa.[21] Another single, "Adore" was released the same month and sold over 30,000 copies, receiving the platinum certification.[22] The Road was released on August 22 was sold with 8888 pieces limited edition. After one minute of pre-sale opening, the sale profit reached 500k rmb; and the album reached number one on the sale charts.[23] At the end of 2016, Huang won the Most Influential Male Singer award at the Tencent Star Awards.[24]

In April 2017, Huang was named Promotional Ambassador for the 17th Top Chinese Music Awards, where he also won the "All-Round Artist" award.[25] He embarked on his first Asia Tour, Promise which kick-start in Beijing on April 30; and also released a single of the same name.[26]

In 2018, Huang joined the dance-oriented variety show, Street Dance of China. Also in 2018, it was announced that Huang would be the head producer and MC on the Chinese version of Produce 101. [27] [28]

Artistry and musical style[edit]

Following his departure from EXO and return to China, Huang stated that he made a decision to pursue his career in the ailing Chinese music industry, expressing a desire to continue as an artist with the goal of seeing C-Pop receive global recognition.[29][30] He is involved in songwriting and composition, drawing inspiration from his experiences.[31][32]

Although he is primarily a rapper, he has also performed Mandopop ballad songs. His music combines elements of hip hop, EDM, and Chinese musical instruments.[33] He cites Jay Chou as his musical inspiration, having listened to his music growing up.[34]

Acting career[edit]

Huang made his film debut in romance film You Are My Sunshine alongside Huang Xiaoming and Yang Mi. The film was released on May 1, 2015.[35]

In 2016, Huang starred in the action comedy Railroad Tigers directed by Ding Sheng, alongside Jackie Chan.[36]

In 2017, Huang starred in the martial arts film The Game Changer,[37] directed by Gao Xixi,[38] as well as the romantic thriller Edge of Innocence.[39] The same year, he played the monkey king in the web drama A Chinese Odyssey: Love You A Million Years, adapted from the film A Chinese Odyssey.[40] The series garnered over 5 billion views online during its run.[41] In September, Huang was cast in the music-themed youth drama The Brightest Star in the Sky, in which he also served as the music director.[42] In November, he was announced as one of the two leads in action drama Yan Shi Fan: New Youth alongside Jackson Yi.[43]

In 2018, Huang starred in The Negotiator, a spin-off of the 2016 hit drama The Interpreter.[44]

Endorsements[edit]

In June 2017, Huang collaborated with Jonathan Anderson, LOEWE's creative director, on the "FIRE OF YOUTH" campaign,[45] becoming the first Asian artist invited to collaborate with LOEWE.[46]

On September 2017, Huang was named Yves Saint Laurent's beauty ambassador and participated in the second season of YSL's web series Before the Light.[47][48]

In January 2018, Huang began promoting a China phone brand, Sugar Phone, and attended the press conference for Sugar Phone S11.[49]

Discography[edit]

Studio albums[edit]

Title Album Details Peak Chart Positions Sales Ref.
CHN
Billboard
V Chart

[50]

The Road
  • Released: Aug 22, 2016
  • Label: Huang Zitao Studio
  • Format: 2 CDs + DVD (Limited Edition), digital download
Track listing
  1. The Road
  2. Hello, Hello (feat. Wiz Khalifa)
  3. Black White (AB)
  4. Underground King
  5. Adore
  6. 十九歲 (19)
  7. Mystery Girl
  8. New Day
  9. T.A.O
  10. 皇冠 (Imperial Crown)
  11. One Heart
  12. 舍不得 (Reluctantly)
  13. Cinderella Girl
  14. 我是大主宰 (I'm the Sovereign)
  15. Feel Awake
  16. M.O.M
  17. Alone
  18. Yesterday
1
  • CHN: 8888 (Limited Edition)
  • CHN: 500 000+
  • TW: 5000 (Limited Edition)
[51]

[52]
[53]

"-" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.

Extended plays[edit]

Title Album Details Peak Chart Positions Sales
CHN
Billboard
V Chart

[50]

T.A.O
  • Released: July 23, 2015
  • Label: Huang Zitao Studio
  • Format: Digital download
Track listing
  1. T.A.O[54]
  2. One Heart
  3. Yesterday
Z.TAO
  • Released: August 19, 2015
  • Label: Huang Zitao Studio
  • Format: Digital download
Track listing
  1. 皇冠 (Imperial Crown)[56]
  2. Cinderella Girl
  3. Feel Awake
  4. Alone
Free
"-" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.

Single albums[edit]

Title Album Details Peak Chart Positions Sales Ref.
CHN
Billboard
V Chart

[50]

Adore
  • Released: June 5, 2016
  • Label: Huang Zitao Studio
Track listing
  1. Adore
1
  • CHN: 36,310+
[57]
"-" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.

Singles[edit]

Title Year Peak Chart Positions Album Ref.
CHN
Billboard
V Chart

[58]
CHN
CCTV Music Chart

CHN
Billboard
China

[59]
"T.A.O"[54] 2015 - - - T.A.O
"Yesterday" - 1 -
"皇冠 (Crown)" - - - Z.TAO
"M.O.M"[60] - - - Digital Single
"舍不得 (Reluctantly)" - - -
"Intro (Vox Up)" - - -
"The Road" 2016 2 - - The Road [61]
"Underground King"[62] - 1 -
"Hello Hello" (featuring Wiz Khalifa) 2 - - [63]
"Black White (AB)"[64] 2 - -
"New Day"[65] 2017 - - -
"Promise" 10 - 2 [66][67]
"Collateral Love"[68] - - 2 [69]
"揭穿 (Uncover)"[70] - - 2 [71]
"还来得及 (Time)"[72] 13 - 1 [73][74]
"Beggar"[75] 2018 14 - 1 [76]
"HATER"[77] - - 1 [78]
"Beggar (Daryl K Remix)" - - 1 Theme Song for EDC China 2018 [79]
"Misunderstand (误会)"
"-" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.

Soundtrack appearances[edit]

Title Year Peak Chart Positions Album Ref.
CHN
Billboard
V Chart

[80]
CHN
Baidu King Chart

[81]
CHN
Baidu Chart

[82]
CHN
Billboard
China

[59]
"第一课 (The First Lesson)"[83] 2015 - - - - First Lesson of School -
"我是大主宰 (I'm the Sovereign)" 1 - - - I'm the Sovereign [84][85]
"十九岁 (19)"[86] 2016 3 1 1 - Edge of Innocence OST [87][88][89]
"想成为你 (You)"[90] 2017 13 - - 1 The Foreigner OST [91][92]
"-" denotes releases that did not chart or were not released in that region.

As featured artist[edit]

Year Artist Album Title Credits
2014 Zhou Mi Rewind "Love Tonight" Rap Lyrics
"Rewind (Chinese Version)"

Songwriting[edit]

Year Song Album Lyrics Music
2014 "Rewind" (Chinese Version) Rewind Green tickY (with Zhou Mi, Zhou Weijie)
"Love Tonight" Green tickY (with Zhou Mi)
2015 "T.A.O" T.A.O Green tickY (with Chen Hongyu)
"One Heart" Green tickY
"Yesterday" Green tickY
"M.O.M" The Road Green tickY Green tickY
"皇冠 (Crown) Z.TAO Green tickY (with Osamu)
"Cinderella Girl" Green tickY Green tickY (with Palace Court)
"Alone" Green tickY Green tickY
“Intro (Vox Up)" Green tickY Green tickY
"舍不得 (Reluctantly)" The Road Green tickY Green tickY
"我是大主宰 (I'm the Sovereign)" Green tickY (with Wang Yunyun) Green tickY (with Palace Court)
2016 "The Road" Green tickY Green tickY
"Underground King" Green tickY Green tickY
"Hello, Hello" Green tickY (with DarylK, Kenn Miel, Wiz Khalifa)
"十九岁 (19)" Green tickY (with Wang Yunyun)
"Black White (AB)" Green tickY Green tickY
2017 "New Day" Green tickY Green tickY
"Promise" Green tickY Green tickY
"Collateral Love" Green tickY Green tickY
"揭穿 (Uncover)" Green tickY Green tickY
"還來得及 (Time)" Green tickY Green tickY
“想成为你 (You)" Green tickY (with Wang Yunyun) Green tickY
2018 "Beggar" Green tickY Green tickY
"HATER" Green tickY Green tickY

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year English title Chinese title Role Notes
2015 You Are My Sunshine 何以笙箫默 William
2016 Railroad Tigers 铁道飞虎 Dai Ha
2017 The Game Changer 游戏规则 Fang Jie
Edge of Innocence 夏天十九岁的肖像 Kang Qiao

Television series[edit]

Year English title Chinese title Role Notes
2015 Exo Next Door fictional version of himself
2017 A Chinese Odyssey: Love You A Million Years 大话西游之爱你一万年 Zhi Zunbao Web series
2018 The Negotiator 谈判官 Xie Xiaofei
The Brightest Star in the Sky 夜空中最闪亮的星 Zheng Boxu
TBA Yan Shi Fan: New Youth 艳势番之新青年 Chong Liming
The Files of Teenagers in the Concession 租界少年热血档案

Variety show[edit]

Year English title Chinese title Role Notes
2015-2016 Charming Daddy 闪亮的爸爸 Cast member [93]
2016 Law of The Jungle 我们的法则 [94]
Takes a Real Man 真正男子汉 [95]
2018 Street Dance of China 这就是街舞
Produce 101 创造101 Nation's producer Presenter

Music videos[edit]

Title Year
"Rewind" Zhou Mi (Feat. ZTao) (Chinese Version) 2014
"Do You Know" (Remake; Jo Sung-mo)
"T.A.O" 2015
"皇冠 (Imperial Crown)"
"捨不得 (Reluctantly)"
"我是大主宰 (I'm the Sovereign)"
"The Road" 2016
"Hello Hello" (feat. Wiz Khalifa)
"Black White (AB)"
"Beggar" 2018

Concerts and tours[edit]

Headliner[edit]

  • Z.Tao Mini Concert Tour (2015)[96]
  • Z.Tao The Road Concert (2016)[97]
  • Z.Tao Promise Concert Tour (2017)
  • Z.Tao 2018 IS GOØD Concert Tour (2018)

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2015 Migu Music Awards Best Stage Performance N/A Won [14]
2016 Mobile Video Festival Most Influential Male Singer N/A Won [17]
Tencent Video Star Awards N/A Won [98]
Weibo Night Awards Most Popular Singer N/A Won [99]
2017 The 5th V Chart Awards All Round Artist of the Year N/A Won [100]
17th Top Chinese Music Awards N/A Won [101]
Asian Music Gala Top 10 Songs "New Day" Won [102]

Music program awards[edit]

Global Chinese Music
Year Date Song
2016 May 21 "Underground King"

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