Singers from Shanghai

The biggest city in Greater China, population-wise, is Shanghai. Despite its humungous crowds it has failed to provide many pop stars over the years. But things are looking up for the metropolis. There are at least four significant Shanghainese singers now. Although the people of Shanghai tend to be quite patriotic about their city (perhaps because it’s one of the wealthiest in Greater China), many of them seem ignorant about who their own local pop stars are, and when you tell them their names, they express surprise, not knowing that the said star was Shanghainese.

The major Shanghainese pop stars are Anson Hu, Isabelle Huang, Jacky Xue, and Kym.


Anson Hu


Chinese Name: 胡彦斌
Mandarin Name: Hú Yàn Bīn
(b. 1983 in Shanghai, China)

Biggest Hits:

進行式 (with Elva Xiao)
男人 KTV

Anson Hu was admitted into the Shanghai Music Conservatory when he was 13. He majored in singing. He won the silver medal at the Shanghai Music Awards New Singer Competition enabling him to sign a recording contract with Go East Entertainment. He released his successful debut album in 2002. The following year he released his sophomore effort, Upgrade 4147. One of its songs was a duet with pop diva Elva Xiao and made the year-end charts in Taiwan. Hu has won many music awards over the past several years and has switched record labels, now with Gold Label Records. In 2007 he appeared as guest artist at Gigi Leung’s concert in Shanghai.


Isabelle Huang


Chinese Name: 黄龄
Mandarin Name: Huáng Líng
(b. 1987 in Shanghai, China)

Biggest Hits:



Isabelle has released a couple of albums, her debut being Itch. She sponsored Reebok products in advertising and recorded the song “I Am What I Am” for the company. She also sang a song for the launch of clothing line Shanghai Tang as well as the theme song for EA Games SIMS2. She cut the ribbon at the opening ceremony of the EA Games shop at Hong Kong’s Victoria Peak.




Chinese Name: 金莎
Mandarin Name: Jīn Shā
(b. 1983 in Shanghai, China)

Biggest Hits:

发现爱 (with JJ Lin)

Kym started with a role in the drama Sky in 2003. That year, she also appeared in an A-do music video. The following year, she signed with Ocean Butterflies Music and released her debut album, Air. She performed three duets with JJ Lin who is under the same label. One of these 发现爱 “Finding Love” was a chart-topper.


Jacky Xue

Chinese Name: 薛之谦
Mandarin Name: Xuē Zhī Qiān
(b. 1983 in Shanghai, China)

Biggest Hits:

认真的雪 “Attentive Snow”
深深爱过你 “Deeply in Love with You”

Shanghai native Jacky Xue appeared on the Mainland’s first televised singing competition My Show before the hugely popular Super Girl took off. His unique voice, ability to compose music, and his skilled dance moves helped him win champion standing. He abandoned his pursuit of a career in hotel management which he’d studied in Switzerland and signed a record deal with the prestigious Sony BMG. His debut, self-titled album was released in 2006. The single “Attentive Snow” became a number one hit in China and remained at the top of the charts for five straight weeks. Japanese music legend Shinji Tanimura, was so impressed with Jacky’s music, that he invited him to the Osaka Music Festival

Two years later, Jacky released his second album Deeply In Love With You. Its title-track became his second number one hit. Xue recorded two versions of the song: a classical style and a modern arrangement. He held a concert in Shanghai and a DVD was released shortly thereafter.


For Chinese New Year 2011, three of these singers and some other local celebreties appeared in a rap music video: “I Love Shanghai” and sang in Mandarin, English, and Shanghainese.