Zhang Huimei, or “A-Mei” as she likes to be called, was born a tribal princess of the Puyuma clan of Taiwan’s aboriginal ethnic group.
Making up just 2% of Taiwan’s population, the Puyama have often been reduced to kitschy song and dance performances at theme parks.
But A-Mei was made for bigger things, and she became one of the first Taiwanese singers to break into China’s music market. Proud of her roots, A-Mei often incorporates tribal rhythms into her music.
What is she famous for?
Her performance at former Taiwanese president Chen Shui-bian’s inauguration earned her some serious attention. Her singing of the Taiwanese national anthem angered Beijing, which subsequently banned her from visiting the mainland. Radio stations in China also ceased broadcasting her music. She had to wait for more than a year before Beijing allowed her to stage concerts again.
“All of this fuss because of one song,” commented the Mandarin-singing diva. “I honestly had no idea it would turn out this way.”
And why is she in the news?
After a two years hiatus, A-Mei recently released a comeback album to revive her singing career. In the self-entitled album “A-Mit” (the singer’s aboriginal name), A-Mei is said to be ditching the familiar love ballads and introducing a rocker sound.
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