alan Infoseek Interview – Red Cliff

by sljinu on December 5, 2008 · 5 comments · AddThis

alan Infoseek Photoshoot

This article is translated from an interview done with alan by Infoseek.
Translation by sljinu

Infoseek: When you learnt that you were chosen to sing the theme song for the movie Red Cliff, how did you feel?

alan: I had quite a lot of feelings about it (laughs). There was uncertainty and disbelief but I was also quite honored to have been selected for such a highly anticipated movie. The pressure also increased though. Nevertheless, I felt really lucky to have been chosen.


Infoseek: And by lucky you mean…?

alan: I received my invitation to participate in around March this year, and I had only debuted five months before. I had hardly begun my career and I was already invited to join this huge project so that’s why I felt really lucky.


Infoseek: By pressure, do you mean during the recording?

alan: I was extremely happy to have been given this chance but what if I sang really badly (laughs) and it didn’t impress anyone? Surely John Woo and the recording staff would be really disappointed right? That’s why I felt extremely nervous up until the recording was finally over.


Infoseek: Of course you would have already watched the movie so which scene left the biggest impression on you?

alan Promotional Photo

alan: Red Cliff is a story about the three kingdoms in China and it is studied in both primary school and junior high school. The story has also been serialized into a drama or manga so even though I don’t know about it in great detail, I know the rough story to it. I think this is the sort of story that usually boys would get excited about but I remember watching drama’s about this story with my mum and this left quite an impression on me so I feel quite close to the story.


Infoseek: Is there any particular scene that left a strong impression on you?

alan: There was this one scene where a horse had difficult giving birth to a foal but eventually it successfully delivered it. Zhou Yu (Tony Leung) then was told of the successful birth but he ended up thinking it was the birth of his own child. As a result, he ran back home and then his facial expression afterwards…that definitely left the greatest impression on me.


Infoseek: There is one scene where Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang played the Koto* together and they developed this mutual understanding between each other. Since you’re also a musician, what did you think of the scene?

alan: Ah, there was a scene like that wasn’t there (laughs)! It was that moment where they were all going to go to battle and they all had their plans ready but it was all in the mind. There was no dialogue going on in that scene but the music created that understanding. At the end, the writing of the character for ‘fire’ in the open palm of the hand was further proof of this understanding…Anyhow, it would be fantastic if you could feel a lot of emotions as you watch this movie.

* Koto is a Japanese harp


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Infoseek: It seems that the theme song, Red Cliff was entered in a competition in a film festival.

alan Infoseek Photoshoot

alan: I thought it was really impressive how like, no matter how the shot was taken, the actors always managed to recreate the same image. But if you look at my photos, you can see me looking down or looking up or my hands shaking too much and then the photo always becomes something different. And then, looking at all those magazines with articles regarding the film festivals, it’s like I’m the only one who’s got it wrong (laughs). I guess it’s also because I’m nervous but looking at yesterdays publication, I was the only one who’s hand was blurred.


Infoseek: Let’s discuss your new CD now. Your new song, Red Cliff ~Shin.Sen~ is a comparatively large product for you.

alan: There’s both a Chinese and a Japanese version to this song on the CD. When I was recording the Chinese version of the song, it wasn’t going very well. However, as soon as I returned to Japan I received a phone call and so I went back to Beijing and sung again. Both the composer and John Woo gave me advice with the song.


Infoseek: What sort of advice?

alan: It was something like “When men go to war, they have this scary facial expression but whenever they are with their families, they are always smiling kindly. What if you sing with the image of both of these faces in your mind?” And then with regards to the Japanese version, I still find the pronunciation difficult so I also re-recorded this one.


Infoseek: The lyrics to the Japanese version and the Chinese version are not direct translations of each other are they?

alan: No they’re not. It’s really easy for me to sing Chinese since I can understand it straight away. It’s a bit harder for me to fully appreciate the Japanese lyrics so I have to actually feel the subject of what I’m singing. However, the overall theme of both songs are the same as they deal with love, peace and friendship.


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Infoseek: It seems that you’ve chosen themes of Earth, Sky, Wind, Fire and Water for the five singles you plan on releasing over five months. Since this is your fourth single, I assume this means its theme is fire?

alan: These five themes were chosen because they are the five elements that the Earth is composed of. That’s why I sang with a different intention each time. Facing all those challenges was a good experience. The song Natsukashii Mirai had the theme of the environment hence was about the Earth. It had quite a beautiful, gentle feel about it. Also, I’ve been learning the Erhu* for quite awhile but I actually got to play it for the recording for the first time.

* Erhu is a Chinese Violin


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Infoseek: An impressive dance accompanies this song doesn’t it?

alan Infoseek Photoshoot

alan: Yes (laughs). And I tried dancing in Sora Uta. It was very traditional-like so it was really difficult (laughs). I’m quite hopeless at dancing so the teacher had to teach me from the very beginning. But I really like this song. The weather is like the skies expression. Like, there are clear sunny days and then there are cloudy rainy days just as we have bright smiling faces of sad crying ones. There are also days when we are angry (laughs). I was thinking about things like that when I was singing. The next single, Kaze no Tegami had quite a rock edge so the make-up I wrote for that was quite different to the style I wore up til then. This time, the song is going to be used as the theme song for a movie. I faced a new challenge with each single.


Infoseek: So you have a theme for each single that you concentrate on. Also, it’s clear which theme you are focusing on by looking at the CD covers.

alan: If you line up the CD covers, you’ll notice that the make-up and clothing changes so drastically with each one that you’d think “Who is this person!?” because I’m almost unrecognisble (laughs). However, the fans probably like this more than having the same image of me on each cover. I want to continue trying new things from now on.


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Infoseek: And then your last single for the five elements, Megumi no Ame will be released 12th of November. We’ll be looking forward to it. Now, let us discuss more about your personal self. Your mother also sings right?

alan: Tibetans in general like to sing, dance, laugh and drink together. My mother and my grandmother both really enjoyed singing so I think I was quite heavily influenced by them. I’ve been learning the Erhu for ten years now and even though I studied vocal music in university, I never imagined that I’d actually become a professional artist; I thought it’d always be a distant dream.


Infoseek: Do you think that being introvert was the main reason why you believed it was a distant dream?

alan: Hmm I think it was normally that way. But I sometimes felt like performing in front of people as well. Saying it in that way, I guess it means I have two personalities but that’s basically what it’s like (laughs).


Infoseek: It’s been almost a year since you debuted.

alan: This year has passed by so quickly (laughs). I graduated from university in August last year. University life was very relaxed but now as an artist, I’m extremely busy. That’s why, even though I was happy to have been able to experience all these new things, at times it’s been really tough. Despite that, I want to continue on and extend my fame.


Infoseek: Are there any parts of yourself that you’d like to improve?

alan: During the summer, I was invited to participate in a-nation for the first time but I was still a relatively unknown artist right? So when I finished singing, I quickly said “Thank You” to the crowd and left the stage. I got scolded by the staff about that actually (laughs). But because of that, I learnt that I shouldn’t have done something like that. I have to sing in a way so that I can turn even more of the heads of the people who don’t know about me yet. However, I’m still not ready for that yet.


Infoseek: There are still a lot of sections that need improvement on but after a year on the job, you must’ve built up a lot of confidence.

alan Promotional Photo

alan: Yes, that’s true. I still felt like a university student around my debut era. However, these days people tell me I’ve become much more like a professional singer. I can’t really tell though but with the people around me telling that, I can slowly let myself think that I am becoming more professional-like. I’ve sang at a lot of locations but over this one year, I definitely believe I’ve gained a lot more confidence so it’s definitely a step-up compared to before.


Infoseek: Do you ever become homesick?

alan: I do often go back to China for work for things like photo-shoots but I’m really busy so I don’t really have time to go back home. However, since video calls are possible, I often call back especially with my mum…you wouldn’t believe how much she talks (laughs). Since she also sang, she frequently gives me advice. “Do it like this,” or “Do it like that,”…I always received advice from her since I was small but then there comes that stage around your teenage years where you just think they are plain annoying. However, I’ve started listening to her advice properly again.


Infoseek: From your songs, it seems that you want to spread the message of peace and love.

alan: That’s true. I want to continue singing songs about love and peace and I want to spread this message not only in Japan, but also to the other countries of Asia. After all, music has no national borders and no nationalities.

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About the author

sljinu is a hybrid Asian. He is currently employed by the geekmaster eyn, working as a translator. He has time management issues but still finds precious minutes to listen to his beloved Utada Hikaru and Otsuka Ai as well as watch J-drama (among other things) on the train.

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December 5, 2008 at 12:47 pm

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

RaiulBaztepo March 28, 2009 at 5:05 pm

Very Interesting post! Thank you for such interesting resource!
PS: Sorry for my bad english, I’v just started to learn this language ;)
See you!
Your, Raiul Baztepo


Rinoa December 14, 2008 at 2:40 pm

Thank you for translating this fantastic article. It was interesting to discover more about alan’s life in Japan and her personality. I think alan is a promising talent and has a lot to offer in the future. She seems to feel a bit disconnected from her fans due to her language barrier and her shyness but I hope she will eventually gain more confidence in the future.


remblue UNITED STATES December 6, 2008 at 4:22 am

Thanks for the translation :) Awww alan seems so down to Earth. Very Very Likable. <3


Angel December 5, 2008 at 6:46 pm

Thank you so much for translating this sljinu! I definitely enjoyed reading this and your other past translations. It’s interesting to hear that both her mother and grandmother sang as well. And that she gets a lot of advice in singing from her mother.

I can’t imagine how often she may get homesick from this job but I’m glad she gets to have video calls with her family, especially with her Mum.

Thanks again!


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