Chapter 626: Listening to Xu Tingsheng lament
Xu Tingsheng had allocated fewer than 24 hours in his schedule for Apple’s team to record the song and shoot the MV. Fortunately, all of it had been discussed beforehand as all preparations were complete over there, only awaiting his arrival.
Leaving the airport, it was Apple and her driver who came to pick them up. She had not brought even her assistant and manager over as she was not wearing makeup too.
Sitting in the car, Xu Tingsheng detected a slight change as he listened to Xiang Ning and Apple chatting in the backseat.
When interacting with Xiang Ning, Apple no longer felt like she was being defiant and in a huff as she had become very natural. It was not that she felt nothing at all. Still, even if it was like feeling a sense of melancholy from seeing the current girlfriend of one’s ex but still bearing goodwill, it was much more comfortable for Xu Tingsheng than before.
This made him feel much calmer and at ease.
The song was split into two parts. The recording for Apple’s part had already been completed beforehand. She had apparently learnt from a Huangmei opera expert residing in America for several days before entering the recording studio.
As Xu Tingsheng was recording the song, Xiang Ning and Apple were watching him together from outside through the glass.
On his first attempt, Xu Tingsheng went off-key several times.
On his second attempt, the sound recordist said that there were still two parts where he had gone off-key.
His third attempt was worse than the first.
Xu Tingsheng finally learnt how rigorous it actually was for true professional singers to record their albums. Fortunately, he had only sang for fun and only a few times before. No one had minded his tonal accuracy then. Who knew how much flak he might have drawn otherwise?
After his fourth attempt, he already felt a little like giving up.
Apple came over and spoke with the sound recordist before keeping the score on the recording table and telling Xu Tingsheng, “I’ve told the recordist. You don’t have to be concerned with accuracy. You don’t have to be afraid of flaws too. Just work at expressing how you feel…”
Xu Tingsheng asked, “That’s okay too?”
“Of course,” Apple smiled, “You’re the one who wrote the song. It’s fine however you say it’s supposed to be. Also, I think everyone is actually like myself, preferring to hear your emotions...that flavour and tone.”
“Flavour? What tone?” Xu Tingsheng did not have self-awareness regarding this.
Feeling quite helpless, Apple booted up the laptop on the table and searched for a page, saying, “This was written by a music evaluator after your performance at Yanzhou Senior High’s school anniversary. Look at it for yourself.”
Xu Tingsheng went over to look at it, as did Xiang Ning.
[The other singer’s voice was on the low side and a bit hoarse.
When the voices interchanged, people found that while this voice might not sound as good as the one from before, it was more mature, seemingly carrying the endless vicissitudes of time. It seemed able to give consolation to the loneliness from the previous voice…
This voice gave off a strange, unique sort of feeling. It was like as soon as he opened his mouth, people instinctively felt that he was narrating an incomparably distant story…
How distant exactly?
Maybe as distant as the vast seas and the endless fields alongside the cycles of life, death and rebirth.
All of a sudden, I realised why the name of this band is ‘Rebirth’.]
Scrolling down, there was actually one more line in this commentary. Xu Tingsheng glanced at it and immediately closed the webpage.
“Vicissitudes of time? Am I that old? Rubbish. I’ll go in and try again.”
Xu Tingsheng entered the recording studio.
Xiang Ning reopened the page he had closed.
The last line of the commentary: Considering that he’s still so young, this feeling of agedness must come from deep experiences in some area. For example, he was in many relationships but was dumped many times. Alright, it should be that he has loved before and lost before.
Through the glass, Xu Tingsheng saw the two girls clutching their tummies and laughing though he could not hear what they were saying.
Actually, Xiang Ning had said, “The vicissitudes of time? I don’t really know. Still, he really seems to suddenly turn into an old man sometimes. He’s a bit strange then. Still, he’s particularly doting and devoted whenever that happens.”
Apple froze a bit, actually having the same feeling too. Sometimes, she felt like she was a child being cared for and doted upon in front of Xu Tingsheng. What was different, though, was that every time this happened, she always felt like he was a bit distracted.
“His past vicissitudes...do not include me. Yet they include Xiang Ning?”
After Xu Tingsheng emerged from the fifth recording, the sound recordist played it back once and said, “It’s fine.”
Xu Tingsheng said, “It still feels like it’s lacking something.”
Apple said, “It lacks the lament of those vicissitudes.”
The three opened a bottle of red wine. Xu Tingsheng drank half of it in a few mouthfuls.
Maybe because the heavens had not given him a very good voice just like the original writer and singer of this song, Chen Sheng, his voice was too earnest to the point of lacking a bit of flavour when he was recording. It was inferior to when he was at some scenes, drunk on singing and having attained a state of forgetting oneself.
Xu Tingsheng sang his sixth attempt in a semi-inebriated state and achieved the desired feeling.
“In a vacant daze for a mere instant,
A short illusory dream of twenty years,
What remains, knowing neither love nor feelings.
The one writing the song is pretentious,
The one listening to the song most merciless,
But what I most love is natural…”
He was so into it, scenes from this life and his previous circulating in his mind as he lamented of the vicissitudes of time.
Xiang Ning grew distracted as she listened to it.
“In this world, what is agonising is fearing that I cannot meet you; if you ask me what I’m afraid of, it’s a fear of being unable to meet you-is it because of this that you came to find me so early?”
“Xu Tingsheng, Xu Tingsheng...why do such an unreasonable you exist in this world who like me?”
Apple too grew distracted. Still, her mind was lingering on another portion: As rain pours outside the peony pavilion, no one can say who returned. Had someone returned? Say clearly-oh where have you placed my heart?
“This is clearly what I want to say, Xu Tingsheng.”
Xu Tingsheng emerged from recording.
The sound recordist asked if he wanted to listen to it.
Xu Tingsheng said, “No need.”
He knew that he had perfectly captured the feeling at that moment...also, he would not be able to capture it again. He knew that he would never be able to do better than that no matter what. He even felt that he must have surpassed how Chen Sheng had expressed it in his album in his previous life...though it might not be able to surpass one of his laid-back casual performances.
Switching locations while drunk, Xu Tingsheng shot the MV too.
As there was limited time, the scenes were very simple. It was a small teahouse. Apple was on the stage, a lesser-known Huangmei opera singer singing <<Emperor's Female Son-in-law>>. Sitting at a square table in the corner, Xu Tingsheng was the only spectator.
Meeting for the first time, listening to one song, singing a song together and then parting.
The entire recording process took less than six hours, much less than what had originally been scheduled. Still in the mood to play, Xiang Ning excitedly sang whatever in the recording studio.
The sound recordist dutifully recorded and said that they could help her put it on a CD.
Xu Tingsheng and Apple watched her enjoying herself through the glass.
At one point, Apple gazed over and saw the side of Xu Tingsheng’s face. She saw that his attention was fully focused on that young girl. There was a shine in his eyes and a doting look on his face.
“The company held a meeting to analyse your song after receiving it. The director told us that the song’s contents involved <<Emperor's Female Son-in-law>>, <<The World Inside a Pillow>> and <<Peony Pavilion>>. After that, everyone was puzzled as to why it’s called <<Outside the Peony Pavilion>>,” Apple asked Xu Tingsheng.
“In <<Peony Pavilion>>, the lovers had a happy ending. Meanwhile, what this song speaks of is outside the peony pavilion.”
Apple was taken aback, “So, you’ve really missed out on someone before? Why don’t I know about this? Was it in tenth or eleventh grade?”
Xu Tingsheng was silent for a moment before he smiled, saying, “The one writing the song is pretentious.”
“You mean that you randomly made it up?”
“More or less.”
When Xu Tingsheng and Xiang Ning were leaving the recording studio, Apple caught up with them and asked, “Are you sure that the MV can be broadcasted? What I mean is-do you really intend to show your face now?”
“Don’t add the label of Rebirth to it, and don’t be unnecessarily concerned about this,” Xu Tingsheng said, “I’m already an unavoidable public figure. Showing my face like this might instead lower the attention paid purely towards my career. Also, Xingchen is actually a business based on our customer base. If I as the boss can help to raise our popularity by performing now and then in my free time, that would be pretty good."
“Right,” Apple said, “Thank you.”Previous Chapter Next Chapter