8 shows. 8 cities. 10 days.
8 shows. 8 cities. 10 days.
After years of Simone and I dreaming about taking our brand of music, mixed with professional, charismatic showmanship and heartfelt connection, to mainland China, we finally did it.
What an adventure!
We knew BRAVO Amici’s first tour of China would be an amazing yet testing time. For example, the ruthless schedule, the 4-7 hours of travelling every day to different cities by bullet train, the limited budget because we weren’t proven in that market yet, the cultural differences (to ensure we showed the appropriate respect and courtesy) and the language barrier.
The similarities on doing a show like ours in China:
- Music transcends every barrier. Music allows us to connect beyond words, beyond cultures and traditions.
- Creating joy makes a positive impact in the world, no matter where you are.
- A hard working, committed team facilitates the magic behind the scenes and on stage, from the inception of the tour to the finale.
- We’re blessed to have so much fun with cool people, doing what we love to do!
…and some differences
- Beforehand, I had to write down what I was going to say throughout our show – to kick off, introduce songs and offer thanks at the end – and I had submit it to the production team. Then Chinese interpreters translated it and spoke during the set, after me.
- Only about 20% of the audience spoke English at some shows. It was great when they understood me as I like to preach from my pulpit. I never did find out how you say ‘boom’ in Chinese?
- Lots of little kids were in the audience, loving the music. The classical crossover, pop opera genre is not just for older or mature audiences there – it’s for families and young people to enjoy too.
- Our youngest fan was aged three, called Julie, who came on stage to join us: been there, loved that, bought a t shirt.
- The washrooms: Squatting over a hole in the floor in an expensive suit – or long sequinned dress for Emily and Helen – with nerves before each show. And no toilet paper.
- The audience were on their phones a lot, which could appear disinterested but actually they were engaging with us, filming us, loving it!
- Hours of travel every day between one massive city after another by the incredible Chinese bullet trains, whipping us to each destination.
- People smoking everywhere – on buses, trains; even the side of the stage as we performed.
- Millions spent on LED screens at each venue, with the stunning screens taking up the whole stage. Incredible! Starved of music and entertainment for so many years, it seems they’re throwing money at it now to educate their population. It feels like the Western world is reducing spending on the Arts, as it’s not deemed to be worth it (go figure) and yet the Chinese are doing the opposite, believing it worthwhile to invest.
Thank you China! We loved the beautiful scenery around this vast country; the warm and engaged audiences with their enthusiastic arms in the air; the crowds of smiley people at our signings after the show; the new and, at times, confronting experiences which kept us on our toes, being brave in our discomfort, relishing life and its wondrous life-changing events.
‘Stay brave, a little awkward and always kind’ – Brené Brown
我爱你 – (I love you – pronounced ‘Wǒ ài nǐ)