Yes, it’s really happening.
One moment we were still moping at the lack of an album release, and the next we’re awaiting a musical documentary. With so much going on, it’s almost okay that JJ isn’t releasing an album this year. Almost.
《听·见 林俊杰》(“Listen to JJ Lin”) or “If Miracles Had A Sound” (JFJ Production’s motto) boasts to be the first comprehensive documentary detailing music production within the Chinese music industry. Over the course of 455 days, filming took place throughout studios in the U.S., Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, and Taiwan to create over 14,400 minutes of source material later condensed into 2 hours.
Through the film, JJ hopes to dispel the incorrect notion that Chinese-language pop music is just “bubblegum pop” and to share his own musical story. Jason Mraz, who JJ had collaborated with for his album “Genesis”, also shares his experience working with JJ.
Most importantly, the film encourages all to realize and follow their dreams, whatever it may be.
Still not convinced? JJ recently released a short trailer of sorts, which speaks far more than what these words could:
The film premiered on June 27, 2016 in Beijing‘s prestigious Tsinghua University (清华) to a crowd of lucky fans and students. JJ Lin himself, along with TV host Mickey Huang (Huang Zijiao), was present at the press conference.
The entire documentary will be available for online streaming on July 7, 2016 at 12:00 P.M. CST (UTC +08) on various online platforms such as YinYueTai, QQ Music, LeTV, 腾讯视频, Sohu TV, LINE TV, and JJ Lin’s official YouTube channel, while the DVD is set to be available for purchase in early August.
Among the many attendees was music critic Deng Ke, who later shared his experience at the premiere screening.
Below is a rough translation of Deng Ke’s Weibo post. Such does not directly reflect my personal opinions. Some grammatical mistakes are from the actual post itself.
Finished watching the music documentary “If Miracles Had A Sound” in Tsinghua’s big auditorium and felt:
The entire film felt very down-to-earth, as it wasn’t that type of self-promotion; it devoted a lot of time to discussing the creation and production of music, interviewed a lot of relevant musicians (Billy Koh, C.Y. Kong, Jason Mraz, etc.), and deserves the title “music documentary”. With a basic understanding of his [JJ Lin’s] music, the many details of the documentary will help you gain a deeper understanding of him and his music.
[The film is] set for a July 7 web release.
The interactive session after the premiere obviously included fans who vindicated their true feelings, but because this event was directed towards many Beijing academies, especially professional art academies (China Central Music Academy, China Music Academy, etc.), there were still many specialized questions. Lin wasn’t fooling around, and answered each question earnestly. I’ve chosen a few examples:
1. Regarding inspiration:
Inspiration is very precious, and once experienced it should be immediately recorded. He uses his phone to record them, even if it can’t be used yet.
2. Regarding balancing technique and inspiration during song creation:
Music theory and songwriting abilities are used to efficiently and appropriately mould inspiration. Don’t sacrifice technique for valuable inspiration.
3. Fitting the song and lyrics:
Different notes correspond to different areas of physical resonance (bringing out different tones), and the song lyrics will directly affect the synchronism, which should be paid attention to, especially in the song’s hook.
After the interactive session, I, along with a few other reporters did a mini Q&A session with JJ backstage. I asked three questions:
Q: With so many Mandarin love ballads, how do you, in such a competitive environment, write so many good melodies (and keep at it for so many years)?
Lin: Follow your own heart, follow your own feelings, and keep track of any inspiration.
(Actually he said a lot, but most of it basically came off as 1) He’s very hard-working and 2) He really has a penchant for writing melodies, or at least a really good feeling towards melodies)
Q: Having written so many ballads, how do you prevent accidental overlaps? Have you ever considered going further to try other styles of music?
Lin: Inspiration does not prevent accidental overlapping, and sometimes I’ll even overlap with myself. I have spent a lot of energy to prevent this, and have discussed this with others. I have been experimenting with other styles.
(But I personally feel that he could go further in trying a new style of music)
Q: Your songs in your albums are all self-written, but as a singer, I feel that your voice has more possibilities. Will you compete in “I Am A Singer” Season 5?
Lin: . . . . . .
(He did not answer)
Basically it was like that.
A lot of this looks very professional, and with but some knowledge in piano and music theory there is definitely much to be learned through watching the film.
Don’t worry if you don’t know much about music though — the ultimate message is to, through the film, gain inspiration to realize and follow your own aspirations.
*screaming and fangirling in the background*
P.S. JJ Lin (alongside Jolin Tsai and Harlem Yu) is on tonight’s episode of Go Fighting! Go watch it!