Vincent Fang (lyricist)

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For the Hong Kong entrepreneur, please refer to Vincent Fang (entrepreneur).
Vincent Fang
Vincent Fang 20110417.jpg
Chinese name 方文山
Pinyin Fāng Wénshān (Mandarin)
Origin Taiwan Republic of China (Taiwan)
Born (1969-01-26) 26 January 1969 (age 46)
Occupation Lyricist
Genre(s) Mandopop
Label(s) JVR Music
This is a Chinese name; the family name is Fang.

Vincent Fang (Chinese: 方文山; pinyin: Fāng Wénshān) was born on 26 January 1969 in Hualien, Taiwan. He is a Taiwanese multi-Golden Melody Award nominated lyricist, best known for his collaboration with singer-songwriter Jay Chou. Fang won Best Lyricist at the 19th Golden Melody Awards for "青花瓷" (Blue and White Porcelain) sung by Jay Chou from On the Run.[1]

In 1997, he sent samples of his lyrics to record companies, hoping to find a new career that complemented his passion for writing. Record company owner Jacky Wu was impressed with his work and hired Fang to work with Chou, who had just started his songwriting career. In 2000, Chou released his first album (titled Jay) and since then produced albums in which Fang contributes the majority of the lyrics. Chou’s fame grew rapidly across Asia, pulling Fang into the limelight as well.

Fang's lyrics are noted for covering a wide of issues from family to war, beyond what is normally discussed in love ballads.[2] He is known for using a writing style similar to traditional Chinese poetry, making frequent references to Chinese history and folklore, esp. in Chinese style music (中國風), a fusion genre made popular in the 2000s (decade) by Jay Chou, fusing modern rock and contemporary R&B together with traditional Chinese music. He calls his style of lyrical poetry "Su Yan Rhyme Poetry 素顏韻腳詩", which has become a new poetry form in modern Chinese musical literature.

Early life[edit]

Vincent Fang's signature

Born in 1969, Vincent Fang grew up in Taiwan and was raised in what he calls a "blue collar family".[3] He is a Hakka with ancestry from Yudu, Jiangxi.[4] In his youth, he gave very little effort in school and received poor grades. After graduating from high school, at the age of 20 he served his mandatory military service in the Republic of China Army. When he was off-duty, he spent his free time reading and watching movies, which triggered an interest in language and words.[5]

After completing his military service in 1991, he worked over 20 odd jobs over the following 7 years, including newspaper deliveryman, electronics repairman, factory worker, security alarm serviceman, and truck driver.[6] Despite taking these jobs and having no formal post-secondary training in linguistics, he was determined to shift into a writing career. In 1992, he decided that his dream job would be a movie scriptwriter, which he complemented by taking several relevant night courses. After a year, he was no closer to his goal. He planned an alternate path to enter the film business: establish his stature in the entertainment industry by first entering music field as a lyricist, then transit into script writing.[5]

Music career[edit]

Entry into the music business[edit]

Over 2 years starting in 1995, he wrote more than 100 lyrics, hoping to use this collection to impress potential employers. To contact record producers, he searched the CD liner notes of popular Chinese singers for mailing addresses and sent his entire lyrics collection to them. Of more than 100 mails sent, only a single person replied: Jacky Wu, an influential television show host in Taiwan who was looking for new talent to join his record company. In 1997, at the age of 28, Fang signed the official contract to work as a lyricist. Wu arranged Fang to work with Jay Chou,[7] a newly hired composer who just graduated from secondary school. Together they wrote songs for popular Chinese artists but neither acquired much fame. Fang’s talent was recognized after Chou began a successful singer-songwriter career that was partially attributable to Fang’s lyrics.[2]

Collaboration with Jay Chou[edit]

In 1998, Fang and Chou began to work together, initially using Fang’s collection of 100 lyrics. For their first song, Chou composed a tune for Fang’s "You are happier than before" which was placed in an album by Wu, their mentor.[3][5][8] After several initial songs, it became habitual for Chou to conceptualize the song and write the melody first, subsequently to be filled by Fang’s text.[8] When singers requested songs from them, Fang would personally deliver the demo tape to the interested parties. Over a two-year period, their work was incorporated into various albums of hit singers and bands, such as Landy Wen, Valen Hsu, Leo Ku, S.B.D.W, and Jacky Wu. He also stars in Jay Chou's MTV "coral sea" 珊瑚海 where he played the protagonist of the story.

In 2000, Chou began his singing career with his debut CD Jay. Since then, Fang has been responsible for more than half of the lyrics in all Chou's albums. Despite Chou’s reputation as a "mumble rapper",[9][10] the audience’s appreciation for Fang’s lyrics is not compromised.[2]

Awards[edit]

Fang's lyrics have twice won Taiwan's Golden Melody Awards; he was nominated for 8 years straight.[5] Fang has won more than a dozen awards in Asia for his lyrical compositions.

Other activities[edit]

Additionally, Fang has authored four books[2] and established his own publishing company Chinapublishing (華人版圖) in March 2002.[7] He is currently involved in the fashion label Story.[11]

Literary Works[edit]

  • 《吳宗憲的深情往事》 (Jacky Wu's deep feelings and past)
  • 《半島鐵盒》 (The iron box of the peninsular)
  • 《演好你自己的偶像劇》 (Acting your roles in idol drama)
  • 《關於方文山的素顏韻腳詩》 (About Vincent Fang's Su Yan Rhyme Poetry)
  • 《中國風—歌詞裡的文字遊戲》 (China Wind Musical style - the literary and poetry games in the lyrics)
  • 《青花瓷—隱藏在釉色裡的文字秘密》 (The song "Blue and White Porcelain" - the hidden literary meanings in the glaze)

References[edit]

  1. ^ (Chinese) GIO, Taiwan 19th Golden Melody Awards winners list 16 October 2008. Retrieved 2011-06-06
  2. ^ a b c d "Vincent Fang, Jay Chou's Twin Star". CRIEnglish.com. 2009-05-08. Retrieved 2010-07-12. 
  3. ^ a b "Vincent Fang: exemplary success of a youth in the grass-roots 方文山:草根青年的成功标本" (INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT) (in Chinese). NetEase www.163.com. 2006-04-20. Retrieved 2007-05-28. 
  4. ^ "方文山自曝癖好:收集门牌". 
  5. ^ a b c d "Southern weekend: he is Vincent Fang who writes lyrics 南方周末:他是写歌词的方文山啊" (INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT) (in Chinese). sina.com. 2006-08-16. Retrieved 2007-05-29. 
  6. ^ "Interview transcript of Vincent Fang by TOM: I cannot sing well / It is impossible to release an album 方文山TOM访谈实录:我唱歌不好听 不可能发片" (INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT) (in Chinese). tom.com. 2005-03-23. Retrieved 2007-05-28. 
  7. ^ a b "Jay Chou cannot be without Vincent Fang—They are closely connected 周杰倫不能沒有方文山 他們緊緊相連" (in Chinese). tom.com. 2004-08-10. Retrieved 2007-05-27. 
  8. ^ a b "Lyrics-music partners (part 1) Jay Chou Vincent Fang 詞曲黃金拍檔(上)周杰倫 方文山寫出創作4部曲" (INTERVIEW) (in Chinese). showbiz.chinatimes.com. 2006-09-27. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  9. ^ "Jay Chou does not pronounce clearly, resulting in a request for a clearer version of "Dragon Fist" 周杰伦咬字不清被退货《龙拳》要出清晰版" (in Chinese). people.com.cn. 2003-12-26. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  10. ^ "Vincent Fang discusses music 方文山畅聊音乐 透露周杰伦唱歌故意咬字不清" (in Chinese). music.tom.com. 2007-03-15. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 
  11. ^ "Yahoo奇摩". Yahoo奇摩. 

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