it’s a very rough translation…… hope i didn’t misread anything… scans credit to Lunchbox! (Updated - another translation of this by Lunchbox is available here for you to get another perspective. posted by @just-my-other-side, thanks!)
Huang Zitao - A stubborn heart in a mad world.
The London Fashion Week brought Zitao’s name back on to the top trending list. Discussions on him once again erupted everywhere. It may seem hard to understand if Zitao is a good or bad boy from all these media coverage and discussions. But as we talk to him, we find that he’s more like a child whose character is maybe.. not too compatible with that of a mature society. He’s stubborn and perhaps takes things to heart a little too much, but at the same time, he is resolute and extremely hardworking.
We met Zitao at a private club where he was very at ease with the atmosphere. Much like his character (or the way he’s painted in the media with no in-between), he was in a black and white outfit. He was playing a game as we made small talk among the staff, and was interested to know if I played as well. As we all chatted and teased him a little, he merely smiled, a little absentmindedly, and continued on with his game. Looking at this, one wonders if the bad boy image created by the media was just an illusion.
He had this to say regarding the Versus incident that made headlines in the news. He had honestly been working all the time he was there and rushed over to the show the minute everything was done. They had an hour’s buffer time to make it to the show but it was evidently not enough due to the traffic congestion in London. Even though they abandoned the cars and ran over instead, they still didn’t make it on time. He’s sincerely apologetic about being late, but as for what happened after he reached the show, it was all done according to the brand’s wishes. He had followed one of the brand’s staff member in and it was an honest mistake, going onto the runway. Although not everything went well on this trip, he’s still grateful to Versus Versace’s invitation,which also introduced him to the fashion arena.
The lighthearted chat didn’t last very long. As we talked about his career, it was almost inevitable that we asked him about his time in South Korea. He changed, rather abruptly, from a mischievous demeanor to one which was a little troubled, avoiding our questions on the topic. “Haven’t I answered these questions in previous interviews?”
At this, we all fell silent and the once cheerful atmosphere was no more.
“I don’t really want to talk about those things”
“What do you wish to talk about then?”
“My music? What about the show that I’m going to, which is the reason for this interview I think? We can talk about that too.”
We all lapsed into silence again. Deep in thought, he sat there, not talking and looking increasingly lost. He appeared to be trying very hard to repress himself and adjust his emotions at the same time. His staff came over to chat, attempting to lighten the atmosphere. It was evident that he didn’t manage to adjust very well, but he had decided to complete this interview.
“Ok, ask what you want to ask” His eyes started to drift again after a heavy sigh. It felt like a heavy compromise. From the way he sighed so very deeply (a total of 3 times in a mere 15 minutes), I seem to be able to understand, the intense struggle that this seemingly “bad boy”, born only in 1993, has had to make in deciding what is good and bad, kindness and lies, and choosing between causing pain and getting hurt.
Capturing the pain of growing up through song
Compared with the image of other EXO members, Huang Zitao seem to have become the “black sheep”. The internet media first did an scathing inside “scoop” on him, which was followed by criticisms and sarcastic remarks by several influential microbloggers, This was accompanied by the almost never-ending smear campaigns by anti-fans. The speed at which all these happened seemed a bit too much for this boy in his early twenties to take all at once. Just like what he said, “I had barely returned to China for half a year, still feeling the pain from the past and still harboring uncertainties and doubts about future career development back home. I haven’t even gotten a chance to adjust and adapt to thins, and it had all come to this.” While everyone else happily devoted their energies to bashing and slandering him, he chose to hide himself away. Locking himself in the recording studio for hours, writing new songs and recording them, getting himself lost in music seemed to be his only relief.
As we slowly got back on track with the interview, he seemed less resistant and more willing to take about the recent events.
“I didn’t really need to speak, be it towards the media or to fans, when I was in EXO. It wasn’t my role to. After returning home, I had to do interviews and I thought the right way would be to tell the truth. But later I discovered that that was not the case.” Zitao’s confusion is in the fact, people always seem to either twist and take things out of context when he had not meant things that way. He doesn’t know where the problem is but the repeated twisting of facts, taking things out of context, and misinterpretation by others has caused many, who would otherwise not believe in such absurd accusations, to take it as truth. And this has become the greatest shadow over his career since his return. “We (the members) actually all get along very well. But I don’t dare to talk about any one of them now. I fear that they will say that we don’t get along, or that I said someone cry, all of which are totally fabrications”. Zitao was only willing to talk about this near the end of the interview. In the beginning, whenever we mentioned South Korea or the other 3 Chinese members, he would become silent. Only later did we understand that that was his way of protecting everyone, and of course, himself. And it was the best way he could think of now.
“Would you consider your present predicament a kind of growing pain?”
“Yes, I guess. At least now I understand that the world is a lot bigger and more complicated then I previously thought it was. I am even beginning to appreciate those who spend time bashing or slandering me as they really are placing a lot of attention on me. All that time and energy that is used solely on me. In the future,when I can produce better work, I believe all these will change.”
“Will you still be adverse to meeting the media?”
“Right now, I’m trying to reduce it. When I have more works to show, that allows me speak with my music, it may be better.”
“Aren’t you eager to explain to the masses that you are not the way the media make you out to be?”
“Earlier on I used to want to do that. I really wanted to explain everything. But that only seemed to make things worse, with people still taking things out of context. So now, I think it’s best to let time prove everything. I feel that as long as I work hard, many things will surely change.”
“Are you unwilling to talk about your time in South Korea because it was a very unhappy experience?”
“Actually I have always been grateful to what my time in South Korea have taught and given me. If it haven’t been for my time there and EXO，who on earth would know who Huang Zitao is? I may never have gotten the chance to do my favorite music. I did talk about the hard times there a little when I first returned, still fresh from the experience. But now that I think about it, it wasn’t that tough.”
“Has your recent experiences made you less trusting of the environment around you, perhaps it has even made you feel very defensive?”
“Sometimes.. but I have also gotten to know many people because of this. A lot of brothers and sisters help me a lot and are very supportive. I This may the most number of friends I have made since my return. Everyone gave me a lot of comfort and joy. I am totally at ease in front of these people. I can feel their kindness and goodwill and I’ll surely return it to them.”
“Why did you cry in front of the media the last time?”
“We were talking about some experiences and being accused of acting like a big shot. I suddenly felt very wronged and misunderstood and as those feelings surged up, I cried. But later they wrote that I cried because of a certain EXO member. I was very surprised by that.”
As we slowly went through his recent experiences, we seem to find where the problem is. He has a very innocent heart, much like a child. He cares deeply about giving and taking, about brotherhood, about your opinion of him and about whether things are fair. So when you try to measure him against the criteria of an adult world, you may feel that he’s not quite as tactful, not as worldly and perhaps even a little lacking in EQ. But if you think about this from another perspective, his almost child-like, absolute sincerity and honesty on things is extremely rare and commendable.
Don Quixote’s persistence
The environment in which he grew up in is a definite factor in him being able to keep that child-like innocence. His parents had hoped that he could grow up happily, and gave him space to pursue his dreams. Later he went to Korea and even though it was tough, he was also well-protected. Later he debuted and attained stardom overnight.
In the first 10+ years of his life he grew up much like any other kid in China, competing in terms of academic results. Luckily though, his parents didn’t try to kill his interest in music because of the traditional education system. On the contrary, it was encouraged and before being scouted, he too, like many kids, took part in the audition for several popular shows. He was scouted on one of such shows and after careful discussion with his family, and repeated verification of the other party’s identity, his family agreed to his departure. That was the start of a new life for him. Zitao has an even more interesting interpretation of the decision. “Well, my studies weren’t all that good then anyway.” He has never tried to make himself into the perfect idol. He says it rather bluntly, that he’s not a good student in school and is not quite keen on his studies. But he loves music and performing. He will devote his whole self towards learning these. He has always firmly believed that he will become an outstanding artiste. When he went to Korea, he spent his whole time in training. Other than eating and sleeping, most of the time he was in the dance or music room, simply because he liked it. When asked if he suffered over there, he replied that it was okie. Because it was things that he liked, which he took the initiative to learn. Because of that love, he didn’t feel tired.
Perhaps it’s not completely right to compare him to Don Quixote. But his single-minded devotion to music is so completely out of place with this money-grabbing, all-about-entertainment world. He is still holding on to his dream, and a wider interpretation of that dream is if Chinese rappers can make it on the international scene. If you go through his phone memos, you’ll find that it’s filled with lyrics. Full of a youth’s dreams, of missing love, of simply just being me and of thoughts of what’s wrong with the world. His view and feelings of the world is most directly expressed in this manner. When he is faced with questions that he is unable to answer, he will bring out his phone and say “Listen to this song. That reflects how I felt then”. So we listened to about 5 songs in this interview, and saw countless lyrics. He cares a lot about his work. You can say that he is not good, that he’s bad. He is silent on that. But if you question his music, he will conscientiously explain things to you and interact with you. He cares deeply about the rap that didn’t keep up to the rhythm which was uploaded on to the web. He has been waiting all along to put up the original version of the song on the web to clear his name. This is actually rather adorable.
Zitao’s life in Beijing is pretty monotonous. Music is almost all that he wishes to talk about during this period. Sometimes he would visit an eatery for mutton soup when the mood strikes him, not fearing that he would be recognized. He has a deaf and mute friend who’s always by his side. They had grown up together and takes care of each other. “We’re classmates. When I said I wanted to become a star when I was schooling, everyone thought I was simply bullshitting. Only he felt that I could do it. I thought then, that if I made it one day, he will definitely get a share of it too.” He made this story sound rather cute when he talked about it. Now this friend is well known too; almost all of Zitao’s fans know of his existence.
As to what he is going to do after this interview, Zitao replies that it’s filled to the brim with work. There’s reality TV shows and three movies coming back to back. After the interview ended, he rushed over to the recording studio, all prepared to spend a whole night there recording to finish up his album. By the time he’s done with all those schedules (TV shows and movies etc), it would be in the next year.
Perhaps for a period of time now, you will not read or see any more controversies or news on Zitao. It’s because he’s really busy with work. And with all that work going on, he has also learned to be more tactful… And as for whether a more tactful and worldly Huang Zitao will still be quite as unique a character, that remains to be seen.
This mix includes all the vibes you
will feel this fashion week!
Every fashion show & designer is
different, some choose top 40, some choose indie music no one has heard.
Knowing this, I tried to keep this mix as diverse as possible. You can
listen to this mix while trying to avoid awkward silence in an Uber,
going from show to show, on the subway, hanging out with your friends,
you name it! I hope you enjoy this mix and it helps you get through the
fashion week madness…