Beautiful Song 小阿七《从前说》

We in Singapore do not have a real busking culture that brings out hidden talent in the sea of mediocrity. Even though we have reality talent shows, they are not very different from examinations. Competitors who lack the potential for flamboyance or fail to carry themselves “professionally” are unlikely to win.

Our society deems it wrong, risky and unprofitable to promote artistic talents at the expense of academic talent. Busking in Singapore is just an expedient way to collect donations for the “disadvantaged”.

Social media has added a new dimension to busking. The kind of street performance at Ximending in Taiwan has spread to the mainland and stars like 小阿七 have emerged and blossomed, with some of them drawing literally millions of fans. I view this as a positive move and I’m slowly slowly shifting my attention from the ostentatiously styled and packaged megastars to the more humble, laid back and spontaneous performers.

小阿七 hails from the city of Chongqing, China. Born in 1996, she started singing on the streets of Guangzhou in 2019, following the style of her counterparts in Taiwan. Fortunately, the mainland authorities don’t see the need to crack down on street performers r “upgrade” them to stage performers. Riding on the power of social media, she drew crowds both online and offline. She is currently China’s top street singer with more fans on social media than some sponsored professional singers. Sadly, it seems that 小阿七 may soon be off the streets as she keeps appearing on TV.

Below is my favourite song by 小阿七. Yes, it’s prerecorded, but in a land of knock offs, 小阿七 is one of those who sounds just as good unplugged unlike many of the Dou Yin singers whose vocals have been digitally enhanced before being uploaded.

Not surprisingly, this song touched the hearts of many Chinese women who have been charmed by romance only to be bruised by reality. Check out the rendition of all these talented amateur singers, some of whom are only seen on the streets or on social media. I’m very impressed.

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