The collaboration project with singers Zhu Jing and Saara Aalto started recently in Finland with two joint shows and the two are planning for even bigger things in the future. Read the interview to learn more.

Please tell us how did you come to do the collaboration?

Zhu Jing: It’s an interesting story. My manager is friends with Saara’s manager so I had the opportunity to hear her music. When I heard her voice for the first time, I was shocked: wow, that sounds so beautiful! The one thing I was really surprised about was that her pronunciation of Chinese is perfect! So this time I came to Finland and we decided to do some cross promotion.

You are also filming your TV show here in Finland. Could you tell us about that?

Zhu Jing: I host a TV program in China, it’s called Top Chinese Music. It’s 100% about music and it is the one and only TV chart in China. We have a lot of music fans so it’s a pretty popular show. We are filming pieces for it here in Finland and we’ve done interviews with for example Ville Valo, the lead singer of HIM.

What kind of plans do you have for the future with this collaboration?

Saara: We had two concerts here in Finland, one in Turku and one in Helsinki. In the near future, I’m hoping I will be going to China to perform again with Zhu Jing and also to perform at her TV show which is going to be very exciting. We are also planning on recording some duets together so I think we have lots of plans for the future!

Zhu Jing: I will release my new album next month. I’ve already recorded the music in the United States so our collaboration songs won’t be on that album but we have at least two songs that we are planning to do as duets. One is called “Shelter” and the other one is called “My Bird”.

Saara: They are both songs from my albums and when Jing first heard the songs, she really liked them! I’ve written the songs myself so I’m very honored that Jing wants so sing my songs together, in Chinese! I also love Jing’s songs so we’re really happy we get to sing her songs together as well.

Please tell us why did you want to venture to the Asian market?

Saara: It first started when I was fifteen years old and I heard Japanese pop music. I immediately fell in love with Japanese music and after listening to it, I also wanted to learn to speak the language. I spent a lot of time studying Japanese music, language and culture and that’s how I developed my interest towards Asia. Three years ago I started speaking with my manager about me wanting to do some projects in Asia as I already knew Japanese. Then we started looking for opportunities and suddenly we found many people from China who were saying that I should come and do shows there. I took some Chinese lessons and completely fell in love with the language. I also listened to a lot of Chinese music and really felt that I had some kind of a connection to that language. It’s now been over ten years so it’s been a long process for me! I think my style is very good for the Asian market also, my look, my style and my voice are something that go together really well with the Asian style and the culture. In Asia, I feel like I’ve found my place.

This is not just a collaboration between two singers, it's a collaboration between two cultures and two beautiful countries.

What does Europe-Asian collaboration mean to you?

Saara: I think this kind of a collaboration is really important because at least for me, as a singer-songwriter in Finland, I feel quite lonely often. Like we earlier discussed, my goals differ quite a lot from what most pop artists in Finland are aiming for. Now that I’ve found this amazing partner Zhu Jing who wants to do the same things as I do so it really gives me so much power and strength to keep on going! I think it’s really important to sometimes work together with somebody so you aren’t always alone. The meeting of two cultures is really important for bringing the world together and it also creates and gives a lot of energy!

Zhu Jing: I totally agree with Saara. We combine two cultures together and for me this is very important because I’m the first Chinese pop singer to come to Finland and do a project like this. For me, it’s not just a collaboration between two singers or two artists, it’s between two cultures and two beautiful countries. This is actually my first time in Finland and not just that but my first time in Northern Europe as well. I have listened to a lot of music from Northern Europe and Finland, Nightwish and HIM for example. That’s why it’s great to be here and it feels like a dream come true! Saara is also so talented and I’m so happy to be able to work with her.

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