Ling Hua comes from Inner Mongolia and Zeng Yi from Hunan, but the two met in 1998 in the city of Guangzhou, where both were working as migrant workers. The two also spent many of their evenings performing at nightclubs. A year later, they formed a group called Cool Fire, singing mostly Korean and US pop songs.
Their big break came in 2005, when they performed in CCTV’s singing competition Xinguangdadao. Although they came second, they won a recording contract. The duo also came up with a new name, Phoenix Legend.
Why are they famous?
The duo is currently one of China’s favourite pop acts. Their music, which blends folk music with rap and hip-hop, has a wide appeal (Ling sings and Zeng raps). In the last seven years they have sold more than 6 million albums, and 10 songs from their first four albums have recorded a billion online hits. Tickets to their first concert in Beijing, held in October 2010, soon sold out.
The duo also have critics. Some say the two have mass appeal but their songs are virtually meaningless (not like Lady Gaga, then). The feedback doesn’t seem to bother the two singers. “Our goal is simple: to sing the songs well and have more people like them,” Ling told the China Daily.
Why are they in the news?
Their hit song from three years ago, Most Dazzling Ethnic Trend, enjoyed an interesting comeback recently. The song was played during a NBA Houston Rockets game in April and danced to by cheerleaders. It quickly became an internet sensation.
“We have no idea how the song reached the US,” says Ling, who admits that she was shocked that it had become popular outside China. “Maybe we should thank Yao Ming because the NBA wants to attract more Chinese fans.”
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