Wu in 1940
|Chinese name||吳鶯音 (traditional)|
|Chinese name||吴莺音 (simplified)|
|Pinyin||wu2 ying1 yin1 (Mandarin)|
|Jyutping||ng4 ang 1 jam1 (Cantonese)|
|Died||December 17, 2009 (aged 87)
Los Angeles, California
Wu Yingyin (born Wu Jianqiu 吳劍秋; 1922 – December 17, 2009), also romanized as Woo Ing-ing, was a Chinese singer. She came to prominence in the 1940s and became known as one of the seven great singing stars of the era. She continued to record and perform for many decades until the 2000s.
Wu was born in Ningbo to an intellectual family with her father a chemical engineer and mother a gynaecologist. She grew up in Shanghai and enjoyed singing to radio tunes at an early age. She originally wanted to go to the Shanghai Academy of Music, but her parents opposed the idea as they had wanted her to study medicine and criticized her for lacking ambition. When she was 15 or 16, in order to work around her parents' disapproval, she began singing under a stage name Qian Yin (錢茵) on the weekends for a Shanghai radio station singing children's songs. She performed in secret and unpaid for a few years.
Wu had a soft singing voice that made her a success, and a buzz later got around about a new singer, although Wu's father had not realized that it was his own daughter's voice that he heard on the radio. Wu was largely self-taught in her singing, although later she learnt some vocal techniques from a male singer Xu Lang (徐朗).
At the age of 24, she participated in a singing competition at Ciro's (仙樂斯) nightclub performing a song by Bai Hong, and won the crown. She then performed regularly at various dance halls and nightclubs such as Ciro's and the Paramount in Shanghai and garnered acclaim for her performances. In 1946, she became signed to a contract with Pathé Records (China) record company. For her recording career, Wu was given the stage name Yingyin, meaning "voice of an oriole". Her first record "I Want to Forget You" (我想忘了你), written by Xu Lang, became a hit. Within 3 years of signing, Pathé Records had produced and released over 30 songs with her.
In 1955 she joined Shanghai People's Broadcasting Station. She relocated to Hong Kong in 1957 where she continued her singing career as well as recording for Pathé Records. Among her best known songs are "Spring returns to the World" (大地回春), "Heartbreak" (斷腸紅), "I Have This Feeling" (我有一段情), "The Bright Moon Sends My Love Across a Thousand Miles" (明月千里寄相思), "Fine Spring Night" (好春宵), "Chance Meeting of Strangers" (萍水相逢). She was affectionately nicknamed "Queen of the Nasal Voice" (鼻音歌后).
Wu enjoyed a resurgence in the 1980s and returned to China for recordings in 1983 in Guangzhou. In July 1984, she moved from Hong Kong to Pasadena, California. She performeed extensively in countries such as Taiwan, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, United States and Canada well into her old age. At the age of 80, she was still singing in overseas Chinese neighborhood community events for charitable causes. On January 3, 2003 she was invited to perform at the Shanghai Grand Theatre.
Wu died in Los Angeles on 17 December 2009.