For Wanting Qu, the Chinese-Canadian singer-songwriter, it’s personal. Her songs are a composite narrative of personal relationships with ex-boyfriends, family, friends and her cat. With vocals that range from a raspy baritone to a mellifluous soprano, Wanting Qu evinces tears, laughter and at times a little terror. It’s a reflection of a life that “… has its ups and downs”, as she decries in the bridge of her song “Life is like a Song”
Wanting, signed to the Canadian independent label Nettwerk, since 2012 has released two award-winning albums. “Say the Words”, her sophomore album released in October of 2013, is a varied mix of emotions. She plumbs the depths of love in the somber “Love Ocean” and “Love Struck Me Down”. Then later gets playful and dismissive, as well as downright mean in “Exit This Way” and STHU (Shut the Hell Up). Songs directed at ex-boyfriends and ex-friends.
“Joker Needs Laughter Too” and the afore-mentioned “Life is like a song” are melancholic, with strong autobiographical undertones.
Just like in her first album, “Everything in the World”, Wanting provides a rich mix of Mandarin and English songs. Nonetheless, English and Mandarin come together in the ebullient “Us Under the Sunshine.”
Somewhere along the way between her first and second album, Wanting went through a personal progression. She either grew more confident in her own style, or rather just grew wiser to the ways of the world. For starters, she doesn’t do the Sarah Maclachlan thing anymore.
From her first album, the lyrics of “Hideaway,”
“You don’t talk much, but when you do, It’s rarely about you, but I can still learn something new . You know I’m gonna love you all the way, though-these three little words I never hear you say….
You know it’s gonna take a lot to push me away . But time is running out, I need to hear you say…”
appear more suited for a father-figure than an intimate companion. By her second album, the daddy’s-little-girl in her is diminished. She’s come to grip and acceptance in “Say the Words” the song.
“I have a father, he doesn’t talk much, he’s one of those quiet types you can barely get a word out of him, but I know deep down inside he loves me so. So I’d like to take this moment and say the words…”
“Say The Words” the song, does cap off the second album. Wanting renders a lullaby, a summation of personal relationships, including with Tiffany her cat. This may well be the first time in recent history, an LP has being meowed into. Her label, familiar with the unique personality they signed, probably had little choice but to go along with it.
This is the first part of a two part series. Click here, to read on to the next part.
Click here, to see slideshow and pictures from her concert at the Gramercy Theater in New York City
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