Vancouver-based singer-songwriter Wanting Qu (曲婉婷) released first full-length studio album “Everything In The World” featuring her single Drenched. Two years ago, she returned to her native China for a show. Her mother, who was among the screaming fans in the sold-out audience that evening, was about to see her only child perform live for the first time. No one has motivated Wanting more than her mother—a woman she rebelled against, yet was determined to please. The singer made good on that goal. Her music has sound-tracked the upcoming Chinese film “Love in the Buff”, appeared on a Mercedes Benz sampler, and amassed combined views of millions on Chinese YouTube.
These days, Mom boasts about how her only child could sing the theme to Undercover Cop, a Chinese TV drama, before she could even speak. This, despite the fact that for years, she tried to divert her daughter’s musical ambitions to a more stable path. “When I was 4, one of her friends asked me what I wanted to be,” Wanting recalls. “I said, ‘a famous singer.’ And my mom’s like, ‘No, no, no—didn’t you say you wanted to be a doctor?”
Wanting’s passion for music took flight when she left the industrial city of Harbin, China, at age 16 for boarding school in Canada. “Mom sent me because she knew I could handle it,” she says proudly. “I was a tomboy, not a typical Chinese girl.” She went on to begrudgingly get a degree in business management. “I finished that for mom,” Wanting says. “She was supporting me. I would have felt wrong studying something different.”
It wasn’t long before she realized her true passion and dream was to become an influential recording artist. Wanting, who played piano as a child, bought a keyboard to pick up where she left off. “It cost two courses of tuition,” she says. “I didn’t go to school for six months.” While visiting China in 2004, she brought back a guitar, taught herself to play it, and penned her first song, “To Markus,” a tortured lullaby about an ex. When she graduated from college, she told her mom that she needed to be a musician.
Despite being penned in English or Chinese, Wanting’s piano-swept music has won a following because her compositions—pop musings that plumb emotion—resonate universally. On her album, the first single “Life Is Like a Song” is a reflection on life’s ebbs and flows, the cascading song “Drenched,” about surrendering oneself to love. Meanwhile, “You Exist in My Song,” sung in Mandarin, is about old friends alive in one’s thoughts.
You can get the album on or amazon.
Drenched by Wanting (lyrics video)