By Matt Yang
Xiao Bing Chih is a well-known singer-songwriter in Taiwan. He has been called the “billion-dollar song-making machine” by Ashin, the lead singer of the legendary Chinese-language music band Mayday. Dabbling in all sorts of genres, Xiao Bing Chih has written electronic, rap, rock, soul, R&B, and more. His wide range and sheer amount of musical creations has been dubbed “Xiao-style love songs.”
From debuting as a band’s lead singer, to releasing two albums, Mortal and Wild, under his own name, to holding the Project X solo tour, Xiao Bing Chih’s music journey looks like smooth sailing. But right before the release of his first solo album, Xiao Bing Chih once faced a period of depression.
Return to the mortal who tell stories through music
After the band disbanded, Xiao Bing Chih took a break from the entertainment industry and went to Los Angeles to have some time alone. Perhaps due to the sunny atmosphere of the “City of Angels”, or perhaps because of the relaxing environment provided by life in a foreign country, he slowly regained his desire to create music.
After experiencing a period of depression, Xiao Bing Chih released a solo album and the title track “Mortal” of the same name. “When the whole world collapses / When my pride and the stage that once was / Has all come to an end … When an embrace ends the regret / When my dreams finally have hope / My feelings are no longer alone.”
“Mortal” tells the story of Xiao Bing Chih’s life from the lowest point to standing back up again. Every time he sings, he feels like he is being redeemed.
“Now I have learned how to be a mortal, know how to live, and how to return to reality. I make music with a happy heart and convey my inner words to more people.”
Awakening human nature with the madness of the Wild
When his first solo album Mortal came out, Xiao Bing Chih planned the “Project X Trilogy”. If Mortal focuses on redemption and healing, and describes experiences at different stages of life, then his sophomore album Wild is about the destruction and reconstruction of the soul and consciousness. Through constant experiments in diverse music styles that depart from his past, Xiao Bing Chih pushes himself to the limits of his creativity, trying to resonate with more people.
The song “Wild” is based on the 2019 movie Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix. It describes the dark side of human nature and social class. It also echoes one of the major concepts of the album, giving voice to the disadvantaged or those who are struggling. Xiao Bing Chih hopes everyone can find the power of life.
“Good for nothing” was inspired by a friend’s story. It screams for the group of people who feel pressured by their bosses and are overwhelmed by life. “I think it is very suitable for ordinary office workers to listen to and vent the stress of life.”
“Addiction”, which has tens of millions of views on Youtube, is about love that is fiercely stubborn and desperate, the kind that makes you go a little crazy with it. This also reflects his attitude towards love.
“I will first imagine a story, then try to immerse myself in that atmosphere, and then write the melody and lyrics,” Xiao Bing Chih said.
Creating “X” connection with fans through music
Near the end of 2022, Xiao Bing Chih held his first large-scale solo concert tour. All shows were sold out, allowing fans to experience the “X” music universe. In August 2023, the Project X live digital album of the concert tour was released. It includes 28 best-selling songs from the live tour. The total views have exceeded 600 million.
“X” is not only the initial letter of Xiao Bing Chih’s English name, but also symbolizes the connection he has with his fans: infinity (∞). Xiao Bing Chih said: “During concerts, the most profound feeling is singing with the fans. I feel so closely connected with the fans and the audience.”
After every performance, on the way home, he often receives stories of fans sharing unforgettable memories. Even if it is a best-selling song that he performs over and over, every performance is like a new experience. “Through my music creation, these stories also allow me to have new connections with my listeners.”
Songwriting is love in its purest form
Invited by Jade Music Fest, Xiao Bing Chih will perform at the Hollywood Theatre in Vancouver at 8:35 pm on October 18.
Jade Music Fest is organized by The Society of We Are Canadians Too. It is committed to increasing the visibility of Chinese-language music in Canada and providing more performance stages for Asian-Canadian music artists. Jade Music Fest invites everyone to appreciate Chinese-language music, highlighting Canada’s diverse cultural environment. The festival hopes to establish a friendly and influential Chinese-language music market in Canada.
Regarding participating in Jade Music Fest, Xiao Bing Chih said that while he has not had the experience of co-creating with musicians from different countries or languages, he is looking forward to having such opportunities in the future.
“If I have the opportunity to compose with a foreign musician, the first name that comes to mind is Post Malone. I like his music style very much. He has his own style, very chill. I want to create a song with him that is full of California vibes, like cruising in a convertible, enjoying the sunshine.”
As for how non-Chinese-speaking audiences can appreciate his works, Xiao Bing Chih said that everyone can follow the rhythm and melody of the songs, no matter the genre. For Chinese-language pop songs, even if the audience cannot understand the lyrics at first listen, they can still listen quietly and appreciate it from an auditory perspective.
“My creations are filled with a lot of love of all kinds and types. I hope that everyone who hears my music can feel the purest love in it.”
The Jade Music Festival presents Xiao Bing Chih at two events this week. He will perform on Wednesday (October 18) at 7 p.m. at the Hollywood Theatre, and also participate in an Artist Talk on Thursday (October 19) at 6 p.m. at Gateway Theatre. Follow Pancouver on Twitter @PancouverMedia.