U.S.-China relations may be rocky right now, but a hit Mandarin-language song written and performed by an American woman has once again displayed the powerful capacity of music to transcend boundaries.
Christine Welch’s “One Million Possibilities” (“一百萬個可能”), which was initially recorded in 2013, blew up on Chinese video sharing platform Douyin sometime in 2018.
“I think it was around August that some people started coming to my Facebook page and saying ‘Hey, there’s a ton of people who love your song on this new app Tik Tok, or Douyin in Chinese,'” Welch told the BBC.
Evoking imagery of winter and the endless possibilities built into every living moment, the beautiful ballad struck a deep chord with Chinese netizens, and many began using it as a backing track for their Douyin videos.
For those with some vocal chops, the song also became a huge karaoke hit, with many posting their covers on Douyin.
Such was the reach of the song that Welch was invited to perform at the 2019 New Year’s Ice and Snow Festival in Beijing.
Welch, who began learning Chinese as a college student at Northwestern University, moved to Taiwan shortly after graduating and began posting both her covers and originals on YouTube.
“I’ve never written a song in English” Welch said. “I just feel like Chinese is a very poetic language.”
Following her breakthrough success, Welch hopes that her talent as a lyricist will eventually outshine the novelty factor of a Westerner singing in Chinese.
“A lot of the videos I see are just like, ‘Oh, this foreigner sings Chinese!’ I hope that people will be able to recognize that I’m an individual and, like, be able to know my name.”