May 16th 2006, Cannes, France:
At exactly 17 o’clock one afternoon I awaited the imminent arrival of Cindy Bao, a Chinese singer. Her producer, Xiaoqiu Huang, the renowned Chinese composer and producer, had arranged everything. Cindy was to sing for me in my suite at the Hotel Martinez, overlooking the Mediterranean. Elegant and exacting, Cindy knew what she wanted.
“I want to go outside of my Beijing borders,” she said through her producer, who acted as our translator.
Intrigued, I couldn’t wait to hear her sing, and I said, “We’d better get started. Dinner is scheduled for 18 o’clock.” In that moment her nerves began to show. She’d never sung in English in her life.
She sang “Vincent.” It was ravishingly beautiful. I knew immediately that I could help her to fix her vowels by working with the tongue and breath, and I also had confidence that I could help her extend her vocal range.
“I’d be delighted to work with you.”
“Thank you wery much. I am very happy,” she said in heavily accented English, but without her producers’s help
Spring 2007, Beijing, China: I was awestruck on this first visit to China, but I didn’t get to do much sightseeing. I was there to guide Cindy’s recording. She possessed a spectacular instrument—so honest. Not only did she solve many of the difficulties in singing in English, but her Chinese also became crystal clear as a result of all the vowel work we did.
The album went to number one.
And her rendition of “Love Story,” also in English on the album, earned her incredible headlines for her performances at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.