Meet bibi zhou, the chinese singer whose fans toppled 5sos, one direction and fifth harmony at the 2014 ema
5SOS and Fifth Harmony‘s fans may have been locked in a dead heat for the EMA Artist On The Rise award, but they were no match for Bibi Zhou, who beat both 5SOS and Fifth Harmony in the Worldwide Act category at the 2014 MTV EMA.
Not so fast, @Harry_Girl_LUV. Remember, this is the award for best artist IN THE WORLD, and while Harmonizers, Directioners and the 5SOS family can make it feel like they run the world with their endless fandom, there’s a lot more world out there and a lot of artists we all should know. Like artist whose fan bases are capable of toppling some of the most ride-or-die fan bases on Twitter.
In case you were too busy voting for someone who isn’t Bibi Zhou to get into her music, well now’s as good a time as ever to get to know the massively famous Chinese singer.
After releasing music online in the mid 2000s, Bibi auditioned for China’s “Super Girl Competition” — similar to “American Idol” — in 2005 and ended up winning second place. An astounding 400 million viewers watched the show’s finale, which would help explain how she’s become the biggest female pop star in China.
Since then, she’s released seven full-length albums and an EP (as in, more albums than Taylor Swift), she’s had some of the biggest-selling albums in China, she’s appeared in a handful of films, racked up more awards than you have Twitter and Instagram followers combined, and she’s become involved in HIV and AIDS prevention as well as Chinese clean water charities. She also basically owns the color green. I’m barely exaggerating.
And she clearly has a sense of humor, considering that when she accepted her Best Worldwide Act EMA, she told Nicki Minaj “I love your butt.”
Also, did I mention she’s also extremely photogenic?
This is the fourth year in a row an Asian artist’s won Best Worldwide Act. (Chinese singer Chris Lee won the 2013 Best Worldwide Act EMA, Chinese singer and K-Pop crossover star Han Geng won in 2012, and K-Pop act Big Bang won the award in 2011.) And I’m not saying that we over here in the U.S can be kinda Western-centric… But… Okay, I’m saying that some of us can be sometimes. And that’s not totally surprising: Western music tends to flow out across the world more steadily than non-English music flows in (likely due to the massive music industry machines based in the U.S. and Western Europe and the long arms of their aggressive marketing and promo plans and distribution deals).
But it’s a giant world filled with diverse artists. And not to sound all like your mom or your crusty fourth-period music teacher, but international awards shows like the EMA (and the Eurovision Song Contest) serve to spotlight artists who are Taylor Swift-sized in other parts of the world. Their music may speak to you even if you don’t understand a word of it.
Also, I’m definitely not claiming to be an expert in Asian music at all. I’ve just always respected the Asian pop community and both its Asian fans and the non-Asian fans willing to learn about music — and, by extension — different cultures in a totally different language. It takes a more than just a little extra effort to discover and understand music you can’t find by flipping a random dial on your car radio, and I admire pop fans who recognize that pop music isn’t just English.
So let’s all congratulate Bibi and her fans, and, if her music’s new to you (like it is to me), let’s see what the hype’s all about, starting with “I Miss U Missing Me,” “Running Away,” and “Who Touched My Violin String.”