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A word of advice from Elton John to up-and-coming musicians: Pay your dues.

"Bands today have to learn their craft by putting the hard work in that we did when we were young performers," said John, who was in Shanghai on Saturday for the first China shows of his four-decade-old career. John performed two concerts Sunday.

After a career that has spanned styles from the bouncy rock-'n'-roll of Saturday Night's Alright for Fighting to the soundtrack for Disney's The Lion King and a London musical based on the film Billy Elliott, John said he listens to new artists for a dose of "energy, rawness and instinctiveness."

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"I get my inspiration from young bands, young songwriters," John said.

Asked with whom he would most like to work, John named Canadian singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright, his collaborator on 2001's Songs from the West Coast. "The greatest songwriter on the planet at the moment is Rufus Wainwright," John said. AP

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