A first ‘stubborn’ step on the path to solo stardom

“The harder the path, the firmer my step,” Meng Meiqi sings, in high-pitched tones over a backdrop of pulsating electronica music, showing the 20-year-old’s determination to overcome any obstacle she might face in her performing career.

That’s a part of the title track of her first extended play record, for which she has written some of the lyrics.

“I want to unveil my inner world to the listeners via the songs on this record,” says Meng.

The EP, Jiang (which translates as “stubbornness”), released on April 23, has already racked up about 8 million yuan ($1.16 million) in digital sales, topping the album charts on QQ Music, a major streaming music platform in China.

This is not the first time the young performer has impressed the public with her singing and dancing. Arguably, her biggest achievement to date came via last year’s hit online talent show, Produce 101, where she quickly stood out and secured her big break into China’s entertainment industry as a member of the 11-piece girl band, Rocket Girls 101.

After that, Meng opened the door to a large domestic fan base, garnering more than 20 million followers on the Chinese micro-blogging site, Sina Weibo.

“She is a wonderful performer as she knows how to control her facial expressions and body movements perfectly onstage. I’m fascinated by the expressive power of her performances,” says Wang Yiru, 24, a Shanghai-based office worker and a keen fan of Meng.

In the music video for Jiang, a scene where she stares into the camera through eyes lined with bright pink makeup while performing powerfully choreographed dance moves was captured in one continuous tracking shot. A scene like this requires the artist to display sophisticated dance techniques and performance skills, and that is exactly what Meng has been learning since the age of 12.

Meng recalls that it was a street dance video she saw in 2010 that inspired her to learn the genre at a dance club. Supported by her parents, Meng’s love of dance grew stronger and, four years later, the then 15-year-old made the decision to leave her hometown of Luoyang city, Henan province, to become a teen trainee with an entertainment company in South Korea.

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