I'll never forget the sound of those drums, slamming out an anthem that refused to be ignored. The screeching vocals distorted the mic, irreverent, hyperactive, ridiculous – and the coolest thing I'd ever heard.
I had saved up for months, delivering newspapers and mowing lawns, and when I finally had the cash, I begged my mom to drive me to Record Archive, our neighborhood record store. One Thursday afternoon, after picking me up from school, she relented. The minute we got home, I popped the cassette in my tape player, and for the next 44 minutes I soaked in the exhilaration of pure hip-hop bliss. Then, I flipped the tape over and played it again. I was 11 years old when I bought my first record, The Beastie Boys' Licensed to Ill, and life was never the same for me after that.
Everyone remembers buying his or her first CD. It's part of coming of age. It brings us into the world, and it can give us release from the world, too. Music has the power to transport us, to transfix us, to empower us, to inspire us. But record stores are dying out, and it's getting harder and harder to sell music these days. Whenever I speak to anyone in the industry about my ideas for selling music in China, I'm always met with a lot of skepticism. Piracy is king, they say, it's inescapable. Now that I'm not with a record label anymore, I'm not even sure what the best way is for me to release new music. But I've got a lot of great material that I want to share with you, so it's about time I start putting together the next album.
So, our team has started by rebuilding my website from scratch to create a place for me to sell my music digitally, and we're hoping to prove that it can be a model for other musicians too. In the coming year, a few other artists and I will be teaming up to start a new site for musicians and other artists to share their creative works in an economically viable way. But it's still just an experiment, and every download on WangLeehom.com is a vote for a new way of getting music to the fans. It's always been important to me to support musicians and artists, famous or not, independent or not, and I'm hoping that the new site will become a way for me to give back to a community that deserves the kind of support I'm so grateful you guys have given me for so many years.
As always, I intend to include you – the fans – and hear your voice on this topic. After all, you are the ones who empower me. We will be developing a way to get feedback from you and together brainstorm the future of a sustainable music industry, whether it's over Weibo, Facebook, or WangLeehom.com. Thanks so much for continuing to be by my side all these years. It’s your support that fuels me with the fire to keep pushing forward, and I appreciate it more than ever as we take this next step together.
With lots of love,