Avril Lavigne’s new single, “Girlfriend” from her new album The Best Damn Thing is already a hit, currently sitting at #5 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart in the U.S. What makes Avril’s newest song unique is that she recorded an alternate version of the song partially sung in Chinese. In order to capitalize on her popularity in (East) Asia, she recorded the chorus of the song in Mandarin, as well as Japanese and five other European languages: Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese. Hindi was attempted, but alas it proved too difficult for the Canadian singer. The chorus of the Chinese version is a direct translation from the English version of her song, which goes “I don’t like your girlfriend / You need a new one / I want to be your girlfriend / I know that you like me / It’s not a secret / I want to be your girlfriend”.
According to her manager, Terry McBride:
In order to get the intonation and meter just right, she spent hours studying recordings by foreign language singers. Once Lavigne felt comfortable, she headed into the studio with a tutor and spent “a couple of hours nailing it,” McBride said in an interview Thursday following a keynote address at Canadian Music Week.
Appealing to China and its massive market is of particular concern for those who manage the 22-year-old’s career. McBride said analysis of online traffic suggests the largest chunk of her fans is in Beijing and two other Chinese cities.
“Her consumption is greater in Asia than what it is in all of the Western Hemisphere combined,” McBride told an audience earlier Thursday at the annual music industry conference. “And some of those cities outweigh some of the biggest countries as far as the demand of consumption.”
The manager did not specify which other two Chinese cities contain a large chunk of her fans. Should her popularity in Asia continue to soar, Avril’s management is showing signs that she could possibly tour China sometime in 2008.
Lavigne, who isn’t slated to tour until February 2008, will have the option now of singing in Mandarin for a Chinese audience
The international appeal of the song has already struck a chord, or at least in Japan. The Japanese version of “Girlfriend” debuted at #1 on Japan’s international and domestic charts, something “unheard of” for an English-speaking singer. As for her potential success in China, the future remains unknown. With hints from her management that she might tour China, Avril’s efforts to reach out to Chinese consumers could pay off … or maybe not. Here is a sampling of some of the YouTube comments of her Chinese version of the song:
it is weird, her mandarin isn’t good at all.
She massacred Mandarin.
made out some of her retarted chinese…
you want a new girlfriend?can’t i be your girlfriend
with a really crappy accent
Quotes taken from this article
YouTube clip of (a moody) Avril playing with Chinese traditional toys
Buy “Girlfriend” (Mandarian Version – Clean) from Rhapsody
Buy “Girlfriend” (Mandarin Version – Clean) from iTunes