Somewhere over the Pacific, a dubiously talented South Korean in sunglasses may have crossed paths with the Chinese-Canadian songstress Wanting Qu. He’s PSY, inventor of the viral hit Gangnam Style; she’s the China-born, Vancouver-based pop balladeer “Wanting,” who draws big crowds in her native land and who’s a Facebook favourite among Mandarin speakers all over.
In Asia, where pop artists are usually lip-syncing fabrications, the singer-songwriter genre doesn’t exist. This makes Wanting’s confessionally emoting compositions and piano playing almost as confounding there as a heavyset fellow who does a horsey new dance here. Wanting, a fan of Sarah McLachlan who sings in English as well as Mandarin (at 16 she left the industrial city of Harbin for boarding school in Canada) is signed to Vancouver’s Nettwerk Records, which released her album Everything in the World in the spring. More recently, she sold out clubs in Toronto, Los Angeles, New York and Vancouver, where her style is going over like, well, gangbusters.