|Tan Jing [people.com.cn]|
Tan Jing has made her way up from ordinary small town girl to music star performing in the international arena. Her musical journey was full of challenges and turns.
Born into a musical family in Houma, north China's Shanxi Province in 1977, Tan started singing lessons with her mother when she was a small girl. In 1993, Tan, who didn't complete high school, was accepted into the Music Department of Shanxi University for her outstanding music talents at the age of 16.
Her mother found Tan was making rapid progress during her first year and came up with the idea of encouraging her to drop out and apply for the Central Conservatory of Music, the Beijing-based national leading music school.
"I was an obedient child and also eager to excel, so I felt like challenging myself," recalled Tan. Having dropped out, Tan had no way back but tried hard to prepare for the national college entrance examination again. Fortunately, she was admitted to the Conservatory's Vocal Music Department.
While still immersed in joy from being admitted, Tan found out that since the college would be supporting some needy minority students, she was losing her status as a government-supported student and becoming a self-supported student, with her tuition fee increasing from 900 yuan (US$ 146.61) to 5,900 yuan (US$ 961.11) per academic year.
"At the time, my family was not very well-off. I was so sad that I locked myself in my room for three days. In the end, I told myself that I was no worse than others and I could outdo others and realize my dreams with my own efforts," said Tan.
She described herself as "not only not the most outstanding, but the most ordinary" at the school.
Although she had a sense of inferiority as a self-supported student, Tan never lagged behind but improved her singing skills through painstaking practice.
To prove herself, Tan strove to take part in various singing competitions. "Through those competitions, I knew that there were many outstanding singers who excelled not only in singing but also in stage performances," she said.
Tan, who honed her singing at competitions, quickly developed from a shy singer on stage into a confident singer with professional accomplishment.
In her third academic year, she won first place, and a prize of US$ 7,000, at the 'Seven-Star Cup' Chinese and foreign singers' competition with a popular song titled 'A True Story,' which also enhanced her confidence in her singing.
In 1997, Tan encountered the General Political Department of the People's Liberation Army's former president of the Song and Dance Ensemble Sun Jiabao during a performance. Sun thought highly of her performance and invited her to apply for the ensemble. He also volunteered to write a recommendation letter for her.
"I never thought I would one day wear an army uniform or become a colleague of those famous artists. I was really lucky," said Tan who joined the ensemble after graduating the next year.
On the big stage, Tan has still held on to her music dreams. In 2006, she graduated from the People's Liberation Army Art Academy, becoming the first to earn a master's degree in Popular Music Studies in China.
In 2008, she was accepted as a Ph.D. student of the School of English and International Studies of the Beijing Foreign Studies University, specializing in comparative literature and cross-culture studies. "There is no end to learning. I should always be prepared," said Tan.
Her unremitting learning has also brought her many gains. In August 2000, she won gold in the popular music category at the Ninth National Young Singers' Competition organized by China Central Television (CCTV) and was honored as the Most Popular Singer. In September 2006, she became the second Chinese singer, after Song Zuying, to perform at the Golden Hall of Vienna.
In November 2011, she joined many famous Chinese and foreign artists in putting on a fabulous performance at the Royal Albert Hall in London. This year marked her first appearance on China's annual Spring Festival Gala.
"I don't think one can rise to fame overnight. Each bit of my progress has been achieved with my mother's encouragement and my own effort," said Tan. "I'm grateful for my experience of being a self-supported student at the Central Conservatory of Music. Thanks to that setback, I have continuously tried hard to prove myself and thus wasn't drowned out in masses of singers."
In March 2014, Tan attended the ongoing second session of the 12th National People's Congress (NPC) as a deputy.
She is most concerned about young people's security online. "The Internet can help teenagers broaden their horizons and enhance their communications, but unhealthy online information can negatively impact their development," she said.
Accordingly, Tan called for all of society to pay attention to the issue of online security and create a safe cyberspace for teenagers to effectively protect them.
(Source: Xinhua/Translated and edited by womenofchina.cn)
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