William Wei

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William Wei
William Wei in Hong Kong 20121226.jpg
Background information
Chinese name 韋禮安 (traditional)
Pinyin Wéi Lǐ'ān (Mandarin)
Pe̍h-ōe-jī Uî Lé-an (Hokkien)
Birth name Wei Li-an
Born (1987-03-05) 5 March 1987 (age 30)
Taichung City, Taiwan
Other name(s) Wei, Weibird (韋鳥)
Genre(s) Mandopop
Instrument(s) Vocals, guitar
Label(s) Linfair Records
Years active 2006-present
Website www.weibird.com
William Wei
Traditional Chinese
Simplified Chinese

William Wei Li-an (Chinese: 韋禮安; pinyin: Wéi lǐ-ān; born 5 March 1987) is a Taiwanese Mandopop and folk-rock[1] singer-songwriter. He gained media attention as the winner of the first season of the reality television singing competition Happy Sunday in 2007.[2]

After signing a contract with Linfair Records, Wei released his debut EP Slowly Wait in 2009.[3] The following year, Wei released his eponymous debut album William Wei.[4] He received 4 nominations at the 22nd Golden Melody Awards and subsequently won Best New Artist.[5]

Wei released his second studio album Someone Is Waiting in 2012[6] and his third studio album Journey Into The Night in 2014.[7] The latter received 2 nominations at the 26th Golden Melody Awards and the lead single "Wolves" ("狼") won him the Best Composer award.[8]

On 12 September 2015, Wei held his concert, "Free That Girl", at the Taipei Arena for the very first time.[9]

Life and career[edit]

1987-2005: Early life[edit]

Wei grew up in Taichung, Taiwan. His parents, Wei Chin-long (韋金龍) and Chen Yu-mei (陳玉美), were both professors in the foreign languages departments of National Chung Hsing University and National Chung Cheng University respectively.[10]

Wei's grandfather was a songwriter and both of his parents were previously choir members.[11] Wei grew under their influences and has developed great sensitivity toward music.[11] However, Wei did not pick up any music instruments when he was a child as he felt it would be tiring. Instead, Wei enjoyed drawing and wanted to become a comic artist when he grew up.[12]

During his high school, Wei's father bought him his first guitar and he developed a passion for the instrument.[11] He began learning the basic chords on his own and practiced it whenever he was free. Wei was inspired to start writing his own songs after watching a songwriting showcase by his school music club.[11] He started composing songs and posted his works onto StreetVoice, a music-publishing platform for independent songwriters.[13] His songs were very well received by the Netizens and Wei became one of the most popular songwriters on StreetVoice.[14] Although most of Wei's works were notably Folk Pop, he also experimented with different music genres such as Bossa Nova, R&B, Soul Jazz and Disco.[13]

2006-08: Happy Sunday[edit]

Wei was accepted into the one of the top universities in Taiwan, National Taiwan University and pursued a major in Foreign Languages. In 2006, Wei decided to sign up for a school singing competition for fun and he performed Black Humor (黑色幽默) by Jay Chou. He won the competition unexpectedly and was selected to represent his school in the reality television singing competition, Happy Sunday.[2]

In the competition, Wei consistently impressed the judges with his good performances. He covered songs from many singers including David Tao, Stefanie Sun, Wang Leehom. Wei ultimately won the competition and was crowned the first winner of Happy Sunday.[2]

However, Wei did a shocking decision by turning down the prize contract from the partnering music label.[15] He decided to put his budding music career on hiatus and continues his study. Wei felt that he was not ready to become a singer and he did not want to be bonded by a contract.[15] In addition, he was uncomfortable with the sudden fame and wanted to take a break after the intense singing competition.[15] Wei returned to his student life and continued publishing his songs on StreetVoice. Wei’s works dominated the music charts on StreetVoice and many of his works remained in the top ten positions for more than two years.[14] He started writing songs for singers such as FanFan,[16] Angela Zhang[17] and Rene Liu.[18]

2009-10: Slowly Wait, William Wei, The Fleeing of a Two-Legged Bookcase[edit]

In 2009, Wei decided to sign a record deal with Linfair Records. Wei released his first EP on 13 March 2009, titled Slowly Wait (慢慢等).[3] It consists of two tracks ‘Slowly Wait’ (慢慢等) and Good Weather (好天氣).[3] Both songs were fan favourites from StreetVoice. He began promoting his EP by touring 14 live houses in Taiwan.[19] Wei also launched WeiTV, a parody channel on Youtube, to promote his first EP.[20]

Subsequently, Wei released his first self-titled debut studio album (韋禮安同名創作專輯) on 4 June 2010.[4] The album was a commercial success and was the seventh best selling album on the major online bookstore (博客來) in 2010. A ‘Night’ edition of the album was released on 17 August 2010 and was limited to 5,000 copies worldwide. The second hit, Because of Love (因為愛), charted 13th on the overall KKBOX digital music chart in 2010.[21]

Wei’s first debut album received positive reviews from the critics. It was selected as one of the top 10 mandarin albums in 2010 by the Chinese Musicians’ Association and Hit FM.[22][23]

Wei received nominations 4 different categories in the prestigious 22nd Golden Melody Awards.[24] The album was nominated for Best Mandarin Album and lead single, ‘Have or Have Not’ (有沒有) earned Wei a nomination for Best Composer.[24] Wei was also nominated for Best Mandarin Male Singer and eventually won Best New Artist.[24][25]

Wei held his first nationwide concert tour, The Fleeing of a Two-Legged Bookcase (兩腳書櫥的逃亡), on 18 September 2010 at the Taipei International Convention Center to a crowd of 3000. He covered songs from his debut album and some of his all-time favourite songs by other artistes. The concert was recorded for live release. The Fleeing of a Two-Legged Bookcase was later held in Taichung on 25 September 2010.[26]

2011: Military service[edit]

Wei was conscripted for mandatory military service in late 2010.[27] He served as the ambassador for the anti-drug campaign during his military service.[27] During this period, Wei continued to write songs in preparation for his second studio album. Wei completed his 13-month military service and was discharged on 25 December 2011.[27]

2012-13: The Bird That Saved The World, Someone Is Waiting and Through My Lenses[edit]

Linfair Records invested over NT 1 billion in filming a movie specifically for Wei, titled The Bird That Saved The World (什麼鳥日子).[28] The filming was completed within a tight schedule of sixteen days back in 2010.[14] The movie was released on 6 April 2012 in Taiwan.[28] An accompanying soundtrack was released earlier on 12 January 2012 in support of the movie.[29]

Following the success of his first album, Wei’s second album Someone Is Waiting was released on 3 August 2012.[6] The album received rave reviews from critics and fans. Both Chinese Musicians’ Association and Hit FM have shortlisted the album as one of the top 10 best albums in 2012.[30][31] “Still” (還是會), one of the songs in Someone Is Waiting, won the Best Soundtrack of the Year award in the KKBOX Music Award.[32] “Still” charted at 10th on the overall KKBOX digital music chart in 2012.[33]

Wei held his second concert tour Through My Lenses concert at Hong Kong and Taipei.[34] Both concert were fully sold-out.

2014: Journey Into The Night[edit]

Wei released his third studio album, Journey Into The Night, on 25 March 2014.[7] Unlike the previous two albums, Journey Into The Night leaned towards a darker artistic direction.[35] Inspired by Ang Lee’s movie Life of Pi, Wei faced his worst fears in his third album and experimented with metal rock, hip-hop, 2-step, electronic and rock.[35] Wei also distinctively changed his public image to appear more mature and masculine. In the music video of lead single ‘Wolves’, Wei shed his boy-next-door image and transformed into a bloodthirsty werewolf.[35] In promotion of the album, a three-dimensional art installation titled ‘Bird and Wolf’ was exhibited at the Huashan 1914 Creative Park.[35] Wei also embarked on By Your Side (在你身邊) concert promotional tour, and visited Kaohsuing, Taichung, Taipei, Kuala Lumpur and Beijing.[35]

The album was a commercial success and was the fifth best selling album on the major online bookstore (博客來) in 2014.[36] It was also the seventh most streamed album on music streaming platform KKBOX.[37] The third single, ‘By Your Side’ (在你身邊) was ranked 5th on the overall KKBOX digital music chart in 2014.[37]

Journey Into The Night received generally positive reviews, with critics praising Wei for expanding and integrating more styles into his base of folk and alternative rock.[38] The album received 2 nominations at the 26th Golden Melody Awards.[8] Wei was nominated for Best Mandarin Male Singer and ‘Wolves’ earned Wei the Best Composer Award.[8]

In October 2014, Wei filmed his second movie, The Grand Song (侗族大歌).[39] The filming took place at the villages in Guizhou.[39]

Wei was invited by theatre director Edward Lam to perform the theme song of theatre play What Is Sex? (紅樓夢).[40] Wei performed ‘May Have Been’, the theme song of the play, at the very last scene.[40] ‘What Is Sex?’ ran at Taiwan National Theater and Concert Hall from 26 to 28 December 2015.[40]

2015-present: Free That Girl and It All Started From An Intro[edit]

Wei returned to perform in ‘What Is Sex?’ at Hong Kong Cultural Centre Grand Theatre from 19 to 20 July 2015.[41]

On 12 September 2015, Wei held his third concert, Free That Girl, at the Taipei Arena.[9] In promotion of the concert, Wei released a promotional single titled "Girl" (女孩) on 28 May 2015. Wei also enlisted help from various female artistes including Hong Shi from Taiwanese girl group Popu Lady,[42] Waa Wei[43] and Lala Hsu to promote the concert. Free That Girl performed to a crowd more than 10,000.[44] It was scheduled to be held in Hong Kong on 18 June 2016.[45]

In October 2015, Wei returned to tour with theatre play "What Is Sex?" in China. In two months, he performed at 7 cities: Shenzhen, Chengdu, Wuhan, Shanghai, Beijing, Zhuhai and Guangzhou.[46]

Wei’s rising popularity has won him endorsement deals and opportunities to sing for soundtracks of television drama series.[46] In a span of two years, Wei released nine digital singles, including the hit song, "Don't Say" (別說沒愛過).[47] At the 2015 overall KKBOX digital music chart, "Girl" was ranked at 9th and "Don't Say" was ranked at 11th.[48]

Wei held his Free That Girl concert in Hong Kong on 18 June 2016. Wei’s fourth album 'It All Started From An Intro' was scheduled for release on 16 August 2016.[47]

Wei released his fourth studio album, It All Started From An Intro, on 16 August 2016.[49] In this album, Wei continues to experiment with different music genres such as Argentine Tango, Electronic Dance Music, Pop, R&B, Fingerstyle guitar etc.[50] At the 12th KKBOX Music Award, Wei was one of the ten recipients honoured with the 'Artist of the Year' award.[51] The award is given to the top ten performing artists on KKBOX based on total music streaming volume.[51]

Wei lent his voice to the role of Brainy Smurf in the 2017 animated Sony Pictures film Smurfs: The Lost Village.[52]

Discography[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Director Role Notes
2012 The Bird Who Saved The Day (什麼鳥日子) 鄒奕笙, 邱柏翰 Himself
2012 I Love My Job 陳立謙 Himself and Kai Wen (凱文) Short film
2016 The Grand Song (侗族大歌) 丑丑 Qian Shu (千樹)
2017 Smurfs: The Lost Village Kelly Asbury Brainy Smurf Taiwanese release, voice

Theater[edit]

Title Year Director Role
2014 What Is Sex? (紅樓夢) Edward Lam Narrator

Radio[edit]

In July 2015, Wei became a celebrity DJ on a Beijing radio station. His radio program ran every Monday, from 10 to 11pm. From 28 February, Wei's radio program was lengthened to 2 hours and runs on every Sunday, 9-11pm.

Title Radio Station Year
Sanlitun Entertainment (娛樂三里屯) YouRadio Beijing FM101.8 (都市之聲) 2015–present

Concerts[edit]

  • The Fleeing of a Two-Legged Bookcase 兩腳書櫥的逃亡 (2010)[26]
  • Through My Lenses 印象派 (2012)[34]
  • Free That Girl 放開那女孩 (2015–17)[9]

Endorsements[edit]

Wei has been a spokesperson for many popular brands including Lipton,[53] Microsoft Office 365[54] and Cotton USA.[55] In many of his endorsements, Wei specially wrote songs for the brands such as 'Playing Games' (玩遊戲) for Microsoft Office 365[54] and 'Mirror of Sanctity' (崑崙鏡) for ARPG mobile game 'Xuan-Yuan Sword: Mirror of Sanctity'.[56]

Wei was also the ambassador for World Vision Taiwan on numerous occasions. In 2013, Wei was first appointed as the ambassador for World Vision Taiwan's "Love Loaf" campaign and travelled to Armenia to bring awareness about combating poverty and improving the lives of children and their families.[57] In 2014, he continued his ambassadorial role and visited Bosnia and Herzegovina.[58] Subsequently, Claire Kuo joined Wei and visited Zambia in 2015 to raise awareness about issues such as water scarcity, malnutrition and diseases.[59]

Name Year Note Ref
Angelia & Pets - Kido Bag 2012 [60]
Vitalon - 御茶園 With Puff Kuo [61]
World Vision Taiwan 2013 Travelled to Armenia [57]
KKBOX With Yoga Lin and Lala Hsu [62]
Cotton USA 2014 [55]
World Vision Taiwan Travelled to Bosnia and Herzegovina [58]
World Vision Taiwan 2015 Travelled to Zambia with Claire Kuo [59]
Microsoft Office 365 [54]
Xuan-Yuan Sword: Mirror of Sanctity [56]
Lipton 2016 [53]
Cotton USA With Cindy Yen [63]
Quaker Oats Soy Milk
Pringles 2017

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref
2011 22nd Golden Melody Awards Best Album in Mandarin William Wei Nominated [64]
Best Mandarin Male Singer William Wei Nominated
Best Composer "Have or Have Not" Nominated
Best New Artist William Wei Won [65]
2015 26th Golden Melody Awards Best Mandarin Male Singer Journey Into The Night Nominated [8]
Best Composer "Wolves" Won

References[edit]

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External links[edit]