Even though China does not have what we might consider to be a “Christian Contemporary Music” scene, there are a number of high-profile singers and musicians who are openly Christian. Some are from the mainland, and others are overseas Chinese who have become popular in China, not just among Christians, but also among the population at large.
Huang Qishan, often referred to as the “Chinese Mariah Carey” for her incredible range and rare vocal talent, entered the music world in 1986. Although she is considered by some to be the top female voice in Asia, she didn’t gain a popular fan base in mainland China until 2013 when she appeared on the program “I Am a Singer”.
Her path has not been smooth, marked by trials including her 1996 divorce from her Taiwanese singer-songwriter husband. In 2003 she was at the end of her rope when a friend shared the gospel with her and Huang Qishan gave her life to Christ. In 2012 she entered theological studies in Singapore, dividing her time between her studies in Singapore and performance career in mainland China.
This article, published in the Gospel Times, a mainland site, tells a bit of her story.
Christian Singer Huang Qishan: What Is a Christian Singer?
What is it to be a Christian singer? At Harvest Church Singapore’s June 28th evangelistic meeting, Huang Qishan shared that a Christian singer is one who carries within herself the gospel, and her life is a conduit to transmit that message.
After the song “Lighthouse”, Huang Qishan used Psalm 84:6 “As they pass through the Valley of Baka (weeping), they make it a place of springs; the autumn rains also cover it with pools,” to share her own twenty-seven year journey as a singer.
When Huang Qishan was three years old she began singing Chinese opera with her grandfather. She has never attended a day of conservatory, nor has she ever worked with a vocal instructor.
As her understanding grew, Huang began to realize that this ability was not of herself, but part of God’s sovereign guidance.
For twenty-seven years Huang Qishan’s singing has been filled with passionate emotion; she says that this inspiration comes from God: “I am moved by it, and that is why you are also moved by it.” From her perspective, those who engage in the arts are guided with help from above.
Huang Qishan determined very early on [after she became a Christian] that she would become a Christian singer.
Her sacred music instructor, Huang Laoshi, asked her: Do you want to sing at large evangelistic crusades or in a small church?
Huang Qishan responded that regardless of whether it be through theological studies or the study of sacred music, though she could not see the future, she did know that she must somehow serve the church.
She eventually spent three years serving in a church setting and says that she looks back on this as an incredibly precious season.
Her teacher asked, “What then is the essence of a Christian singer?”
Huang Qishan shared that she thought about this for a long time; the core goal of a Christian singer is not that one sings with exceptional beauty, or that the music is performed with exceeding excellence, but that “We carry within ourselves the gospel, our life is a conduit for this message,”—this is heart of what it is to be a Christian singer. Just as it says in Psalm 84, our lives will most definitely pass through the Valley of Weeping, and we must wait, submitting [to God’s way], tearing down [old things] and rebuilding [new], as well as facing fear, and because of this one is able to truly live with depth as a “Christian singer.”
Huang Qishan generously revealed that she is forty-seven years old; at this point she can still sing with amazing strength and pitch. Ten years ago she left the entertainment world to study tennis for a time. Just as athletic training over time brought about her current physical stamina, it is with a heart full of thanks that she now says “I went through the Valley of Weeping, and in the end have come to the place of springs.”
Original article: 基督徒歌手黄绮珊新加坡见证：何为福音歌手？
Image credit: by Ashley.adcox, via Flickr
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