Kiwi aims to be Chinese chart-topper

By Ben Irwin

While most teenage musicians dream of making it big in America, one Kiwi is aiming for a much bigger market - China.

Laurence Larson is known in China for singing in Chinese and English, and hopes to build a career based on that. Photo / Chris Loufte
Laurence Larson is known in China for singing in Chinese and English, and hopes to build a career based on that. Photo / Chris Loufte

While most teenage musicians dream of making it big in America, one Kiwi is aiming for a much bigger market - China.

And if his success on the Chinese equivalent of YouTube is any indication, he's well on his way.

Laurence Larson, 19, is an oddity because he is a European singing in Mandarin, a talent he has developed while studying a popular music and Chinese language degree at Auckland University.

The former Macleans College pupil has amassed more than three million views from seven videos on the video-sharing website Youku - the Chinese equivalent of YouTube.

"I'm really hoping to make a name for myself over in China because I think it would be pretty amazing for a Kiwi kid to become a well-known singer over in China," he said. "That's my big dream."

He has released one original song, but most of his videos are cover performances.

His vocal and guitar cover of Chinese song My Singing has had more than 500,000 views, while his English version of Long Time No See has had just under half a million views.

A large part of Larson's success on Youku is because of the way he composes his performances.

"I've become quite well known for translating half the song into English and then singing the first half in Chinese and the second half in English," he said.

"Chinese people are really interested in learning the English language so they really enjoy that fact that I've translated their lyrics into English."

Larson, who started performing in Chinese last year, found singing in the language was much easier than he expected.

Chinese was a tone-spoken language, which makes it difficult to learn, but when singing the tones were usually ignored, he said.

"I found it a lot easier to sing in Chinese rather than speak it."

He has two years left at university but hopes his music career will continue to grow.

Larson and his manager, Gad Gong, hope to put on some New Zealand shows this year, and then, all going well, go to China next year.

Laurence Larson's website:

www.msick.webs.com

His most popular Youku video: My Singing http://tinyurl.com/pqc9nch

- NZ Herald

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