The world’s biggest party, The Salvador carnival in Brazil, will for the first time welcome a Chinese artist to perform. Psy was the first Asian artist to welcome this honor and now Chinese star, Ayi Jihu, is the second and the first Chinese artist to be invited to do so. In doing so she is once again making history with her iconic performance.
Performing at the Salvador Carnival in front of over 2 million people a day and a global audience of hundreds of millions, is something that is reserved for the special. It takes official government sanction and an invitation from Brazilian stars to make this even have a slight chance of happening.
Ayi Jihu is already an historic artist. She is perhaps used to making history. Her career thus far is full of historic firsts. This is perhaps due to the very nature of the type of artist or celebrity she is or has become. By her very nature, Ayi Jihu is set up to do great things. Born in ethnic Yi Chinese is a small minority in a small village in the Sichuan region of China, she has become China’s first and only real independent international artist. Everything she does is against the normal way of things. This has played a great part in her crossing over and catching the eye of the West too.
While PSY has taken a more direct route to his carnival appearance, with his huge worldwide number one hit and video, Ayi Jihu has taken a very different route. She has not had a huge worldwide track, or a video with hundreds of millions of plays on YouTube. So just how did she get to be where she is?
The worlds biggest carnival welcomed Ayi Jihu to perform for several reasons. This historic move is not just about number one hits or popular music. It is about people, culture tourism and looking to the future. Jihu represents all of these things and most of all she represents “the future.” People are all aware by now, or should be, of just how fast China is growing. How it grows will probably be affected by how they integrate more with the West. Jihu is a symbol of China’s move into the future and how it will master and dominate, not just the things we expect but also music and entertainment.
Up until Jihu, no true born Asian artists have really ever been able to master the language, ‘swagga,’ and vibe to allow them to truly crossover to the West. Even Psy struggles on this front. His lack of English skills sets him up more as anomaly than a credible crossover artist or celebrity. However, Jihu has no such problem. She is able to communicate to both East and West perfectly, not just her language but her whole image and swagga goes both ways. She has mastered the ability to appeal globally at a local and real level without number one hits, massive hype or major TV exposure. Jihu is considered by many who come into contact with her as “the real deal.” A human being everyone feels they can get with. This is the real secret to the success and rise of Jihu and this is the reason she has been invited to perform at the worlds biggest party, The Salvador Carnival in Brazil.
Jihu recently returned from Bahia, Brazil. While she was there she not only collaborated with Brazilian stars Edu Casanova and Maristela Muller, but took the time to work with the people of Brazil. Putting herself out to get involved with them, Jihu and her team continually look to give first and then collaborate. This is what sets them apart from others and this is another reason why Jihu moves ahead. Here is an artist that is very aware of her position in the world and the great power that rises from it. She represents them and at the same time is willing to get involved with all types of people the whole world over. She does this on their terms and on their level and often becomes like them as much as she can. This is very evident when you listen to her music and collaborations with Edu Casanova and Maristela Muller. These songs are a fusion of Portuguese and English, but more Portuguese than English. One would hardly expect a Rihanna to make such a move. Jihu is an R&B pop artist, that is her thing. Throw in a ragga groove and she is off. However, we now find her on a Brazilian samba type groove, working with a Brazilian artists and adapting to their flavor whilst giving her own.
Jihu’s ability to master and mix with other cultures and people is the real key to her success. This is a true born Chinese girl and as Chinese as Chinese get. However, when speaking with her if one is American they feel she is American, if one is English they feel she is English, if one is African or Brazilian they feel she is one of them. She then backs this up by getting involved with common interests with the people from the ground up. It was her continued efforts on this front that brought her to the attention of the Salvador head of tourism and culture, who requested a one-on-one personal meeting with the star.
Thanks to her efforts and word spreading about her in Brazil, Ayi Jihu was then invited to address the Bahian parliament and the people of Brazil at a special celebration of Bahian culture and art.
Things did not stop here. As news spread around Brazil about Ayi Jihu and her collaborating with the people, stars, and culture of Brazil, she was was then invited to perform for the Brazilian Vice president in China. Jihu ended up performing with Edu Casanova not just for the Brazilian vice president, but many top leaders and dignitaries from around the world including the Chinese commerce minister. All of this without a worldwide number one hit, no massive PR campaign, nor any real hype. Just true honest appeal and a willingness to put her best foot forward first.
It is the way of Ayi Jihu and her team to do things a different way. Often they avoid the obvious routes and systems most use on their quest for fame and fortune, and this perhaps this tells everyone that there is more to their end game than just fame and fortune. It is obvious now despite the detractors, that Jihu is an artist that wants to bring people together, help people, and do something for the world in general. Her whole way of doing things testifies to this and that is another thing that makes her so unique and different. Many artists wait until they have too much before they start to really give anything back. Until that moment, they spend their time in an endless and selfish quest for themselves and when they do give, it is often a well staged PR stunt. Jihu gives for real and by paying it forward from the very beginning. This approach tends to throw many for a loop as they just don’t expect it or think it’s real, but once people get around Jihu and her team, they start to realize that it is real. Ultimately it is this approach of giving and not taking that has lead Jihu to be invited to historically perform at the worlds biggest carnival in Salvador Brazil. Ultimately it is this unique and refreshing approach that will see Ayi Jihu become one of the biggest icons of our time and in due course.
By Stephen ‘Eagle E’ Ellis – CEO Shlepp Records/Shlepp Entertainment Ltd.
Global News Ink