Published: 14:55, May 20, 2024
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French singer captures hearts in TV show
By Xinhua
French singer-songwriter Joyce Jonathan participates in Ride the Wind 2024, a reality show featuring music competitions produced by Mango TV. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

CHANGSHA — When Joyce Jonathan sang Les Champs-Elysees in both French and Chinese, many people in China learned a new word — chanson, a poetic and romantic genre of music from France.

Jonathan is participating in Ride the Wind 2024, and has become the first French singer-songwriter to take part in the hit Chinese music competition formerly known as Sisters Who Make Waves. Produced by Mango TV, the show challenges female celebrities, mostly over the age of 30, to stage performances that defy showbiz age stereotypes in China.

Jonathan says that her foray into Chinese reality shows is driven by her love of Chinese culture and wish to "show a possible bridge between French and Chinese cultures".

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"I haven't participated in reality shows back in France," she says. "I accepted this invitation because it is a huge challenge, and because I want to learn more Chinese and learn to sing in Chinese."

Jonathan's parents both have a love of Chinese culture, and her mother runs a travel agency that began promoting tours to China in the 1990s. She visited China with her mother for the first time when she was 10 and has since formed a lasting bond with the country.

As a child, Johnathan was given her first scooter and guitar in Beijing. As she grew up, she gravitated toward Chinese philosophies like Taoism and Confucianism. Since her first album was released in 2010, she has translated several songs into Chinese and has returned to China regularly to perform.

Now at 34, Jonathan is learning Yueju Opera, a traditional style of opera that features male roles played by women, as part of the competition.

"Even my mother didn't recognize my voice when I sang Yueju Opera. She never imagined that I could do that one day," Jonathan says.

"I really like this image of the modern woman who, at any age, can still learn things and show that she's very strong."

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Jonathan already had a sizable following among Chinese students of French before the show, but broader Chinese audiences have since been delighted by her performance.

"France and China have a lot in common," she says, remarking on the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and France. "The 60-year friendship between China and France is just the beginning for a new wave of mutual learning."