Chapter 6 Composition
This time, Silver Wing Media had contracted with ten interns, three of whom were the original host’s classmates. Each of them was very strong, and the competition was truly fierce.
No longer looking, Fang Zhao began thinking about the next step.
There were only ten days left, what could he do?
After suffering blow after blow, under the double pressure of the rookie competition and the company, the original host had exhausted his thoughts and ingenuity, but still couldn’t succeed in piecing together a good counter-measure.
Handing in a barely pieced-together something? It would certainly be brushed down.
If it did, never mind that the original host’s self-esteem wouldn’t allow it, even Silver Wing Media would also ruthlessly shove him out the door, ending the internship.
Getting thrown out from Silver Wing Media this early in the game would be the equivalent of a professional black spot, which would bring him a lot of difficulties in the future of his musical career.
“Rising Talent Competition…”
Fang Zhao looked up all the information about the music industry’s rookie competition. The modus operandi of the company was very different if one compared the apocalypse with the present. Fang Zhao had to adapt to the new situation, and also had to consider the audience’s preferences while composing.
‘Pop’ also had a generation gap. After experiencing the shock of the apocalypse, it began to grow once more,and it had been doing so for the past few centuries. Nowadays, the sound of new music instruments and electronic synthesizers could leave one bewildered. The masses also had different preferences, the style and preferences differing greatly from the ones in the world Fang Zhao had once lived in.
Although Fang Zhao also thought that no matter what, he would just act according to his earlier habits and preferences, with the situation he now found himself in, it was one failure and he would be forced to roam the streets.
Artists were also people, and for them even ensuring the basic necessities was a difficult problem.
However, grinding a chopper would not hold up the work of cutting firewood. Fang Zhao was sitting in the corner of house dedicated to composing, and was pondering with his eyes closed. [TLNote: Idiom: ‘Grinding a chopper would not hold up the work of cutting firewood’ which means that advance preparation will help the work go faster]
After thinking of something, Fang Zhao pulled out a drawer from the side, and took out a notebook from it.
In the time when many people liked to record their things in the bracelet, the original host preferred to write down the important things on paper.
These were the records of past six months, the original host’s comprising of the essential points which he had observed during his internship at Silver Wing. Following it were the works which he had been preparing for the rookie competition. Looking at the written date, the original host had begun preparation for the rookie competition very early.
The three completed works therein were written with deep strokes. The paper had been cut open a number of times. It could be seen that the original host was using a significant amount of force while holding the pen. Naturally, finding out that these three had been stolen, he had strongly vented out his disappointment, anger and despair. But still, the original host had not torn up the notebook, in the end putting it into the drawer, because he was reluctant to destroy the fruits of his own hard work.
Fang Zhao looked at the three completed songs. One of them had the lyrics, while the other two’s were incomplete. Presumably, he had intended to sending them to the company, letting their lyricists finish the task.
In this record there was also an unfinished song spanning a few pages. It had been composed by the original host at the time of his breakup. He had also written a diary, presumably wanting to use that diary to write the lyrics.
The main melody had already been determined. He had wanted to keep it hidden until he proved his strength in the rookie competition, and then use the company’s resources to properly remake the song, since it held a special meaning for him. Not once had the thought crossed his mind that on account of his other songs being stolen, this one would also not see the light of day. The original host committed suicide filled with regret.
Fang Zhao looked very carefully at the unfinished song, his fingers moving on the paper bit by bit, “Just for you.”
From the corner of the shelf, just like an unfurling folding fan, a keyboard with piano-like keys spread out horizontally. The feel of pressing the keys was pretty good. This was the original host’s favourite instrument. The quality was not the best, but it was definitely not shoddy either.
On his first contact with it, Fang Zhao felt a bit of unfamiliarity, but along with the fusion of the memories absorbed in his brain, his hands were playing more and more smoothly.
Fang Zhao also tried to play a few of his own works, but those were incomplete pieces of music. He wanted to remind himself how they went so as to avoid forgetting them in the future, and so that once the Rising Talent Season ended, he would be able to refine them. These were all preserved in his memory, having accompanied Fang Zhao day and night through the apocalypse, like a treasure. One day, Fang Zhao would bring them out into the light once again.
After familiarising himself with the instrument, and fusing the memories, Fang Zhao brought in emotion.
Fang Zhao had a good idea of what the original host was feeling at the time when he had written that song. Only once he relived those emotions would he be able to finish that song.
For a few successive days, Fang Zhao didn’t leave his room except for going downstairs to sunbathe and to Yue Qing’s shop to buy food. The sound-proofing of the windows couldn’t fully cancel the noise coming from Black Street at night. However, that could not disturb of Fang Zhao’s creative process.
For the first two nights, Fang Zhao had trouble accustoming, and his excessive vigilance made him have a fitful sleep. However, from the third night onwards, Fang Zhao became able to balance the vigilance in his heart with the noise outside. Swift adaptation to the environment was a skill that many survivors in the days of the apocalypse possessed.
On another day at noon time, the shop boss Yue Qing had finished sunbathing and had started dragging chairs into the shop. Even though the weather had begun to warm up, so much that some people who often sunbathed had prepared sunscreen, the people on Black Street still cherished this short sunbathing session. Before he entered the shop, he glanced at the entrance to the side corridor, only to see Fang Zhao and his hairless dog coming.
“This kid has been very busy lately, ah,” Yue Qing muttered in a low voice.
With the month of June, the battle between the rookies in the rankings had entered the white-hot stage. The people in this circle were all paying very close attention and discussing those in the rankings. Who would be amongst the top ten this season? Which company would they come from?
Silver Wing’s top echelon was also concerned with the rookie rankings. As of late, there was a lot of pressure on Duang. On the one hand he had to deal with enquiries from the top, on the other he had to designate people to deal with these interns’ work. Even with three assistants he couldn’t relax.
In fact, if Duang was only required to follow the same rules as in previous years, urging the interns to compose, getting them producers, recording, uploading, and handling the publicity process, most of these only required a few words on his part. Naturally, there was a dedicated team ready to complete them. However, this year, the Company’s top management seemed to have some kind of significant intention, as could be seen from the recruitment of the ten intern composers. In previous years, only three to five would be recruited, but this year there were suddenly ten!
Moreover, Duang also had a piece of news that he had gathered after several enquiries. The top management had decided that if these ten people were able to bring good results, as long as they entered the top fifty, they would all be contracted full-time. He didn’t believe that the company didn’t want to put up a big fight.
Because of this, the pressure exerted on him from the top was even greater. Running around arranging things had made Duang dog tired. However, being in charge of the rookies was still a good job; meanwhile, the ones in charge of the elderly had to worry about swiftly losing their hair.
However, just thinking of the last person out of these ten rookies that he was managing, Fang Zhao, who still had yet to produce a work, Duang could feel his temple hurt.
“It’s no good to look after the team, ah!” Duang sighed.
He was now under pressure for having given the boy ten days, since this year the top management was placing special emphasis on the rookies. He could fight for some more time, but he did not know whether the kid would fail his expectations or not. If he was unable to produce a satisfactory work in ten days’ time, then Duang could only have have him fired.
Browsing the rankings’ real-time situation, Duang felt his eyes burn as he stared at the two ranked at the very top.
He was furious, ah!
The rookies first showcased their abilities in the competition of the Leading Rookie Rankings. The names of the top two hadn’t changed for over a week, invariable. On the contrary, the people below them were falling behind more and more. If it was someone other than these two, then Duang could still strive for a bit and try his hand at pushing the rookies, but with their appearance, Duang could only cool his heels.
The top of the Leading Rookie Rankings read——
《Believe Me》, Singer Xun Huai, Composer Xun Hai, Company Tongshan True Entertainment.
《Rainbow Candy》, Singer Felice, Composer Felice, Company Neon Culture.
Singing and Composition done by the same person… This person was certainly talented, right?
Both are talented, but they are not real idols, but actually virtual idols!
Real-life idols debuted after undergoing the experience of arduous infighting. The rookies racked their brains in order to dash through the rankings, each day living with the fear that their own rising talent performance would not fit the bill. After all, their achievements were related to the company.
However, it was different for virtual idols, and especially those bearing clear purpose and character, behind which the company spent a lot of manpower and financial resources, undergoing a lengthy preparatory plan, only debuting after an internal screening. Moreover, the backing company also focused many more resources on them, which was a convenience that the small real-life idols could not have.
Behind every virtual idol there was a perfect team and the vigorous force of an ambitious capital.
Could they even be considered rookies?!
Such large companies launched virtual idols and backed them with human, material and financial resources, which were certainly not available to the rookies. This year, there was no real-life rookie who could rival them, and Silver Wing could not afford focusing all their resources toward competing with the two virtual idols. The company’s focus was directed more toward big-name celebrities, so the top management had already decided to abandon the fight for the first two places of the Rising Talent Competition.
Virtual idols cropped up in the rookie rankings year after year, just like bugs. Whenever virtual diols appeared in the Rising Talent Competition, the other rookies could only serve as stepping stones.
An executive of Silver Wing had once proposed to Global Music Association the removal of virtual idols from the rookie rankings. Unfortunately, it was rejected. The people of Silver Wing could not help but spew out old blood whenever they recalled it.
Naturally, the melon-eating masses who were unaware of the truth would certainly say that, since two of the three major companies had already introduced their virtual rookies, those of the Silver Wing still do not dare to present one, ah!
However, as long as one knew even a little bit of the entertainment circle also knew that Silver Wing was as weak as a chicken in what concerned virtual idols. One try, one failure, another try, another failure. Not one had managed to succeed, ending up falling down on the street one by one. [TLNote: ‘Falling down on the street’ comes from the ancient Chinese writings; the ancient Chinese thought that ‘falling down on the street’ is bad luck behavior, therefore it developed into an expression used for cursing at people.]
The previous year, the company had internally organized a virtual idol team. After the virtual idol created by the producer fell down on the street, Tong Mountain Real Entertainment and Neon Culture could hardly conceal their derision and laughter, making him cough blood. To this day, he was recuperating in the hospital. Actually, he was incapable of facing the Silver Wing staff and top-management executives. At that time, he had established his own military regime, but now…How regretful, but he could not anymore, ah!
Silver Wing executives were also regretting similarly in their hearts. Had they known earlier that it would fail, they would not have gotten involved in the creation of the virtual idol, giving the people of the industry the chance to either overtly or covertly mock them. The money wasted in the failed virtual idol project would have been sufficient to launch several new potential stars.
The virtual idol project launched by Silver Wing had been almost the same as having no results after heavily investing one’s hard-earned savings. In this season’s rookie rankings, there were two virtual idols. Silver Wing top executives felt that Tong Mountain Real Entertainment and Neon Culture had deliberately used virtual idols to disgust them, who intended to put forward their rookies.
Now, the company had already given up on the idea of creating virtual idols, and had become obsessed with real idols, which made the pressure on the rookies much greater. Ignoring the top two spots in the rankings taken by virtual idols, the company wanted to take several spots in the top ten. As long as he was able to seize three spots, Duang would have his salary doubled. If he seized four spots, he would be promoted.
No matter whether it was a raise or a promotion, Duang was very much interested.
Top ten… How many can I get?
Just as he was thinking this, Duang’s bracelet made a beep. He took a look at it.
Fang Zhao’s sample tune (demo) had arrived.
“Oh, it’s arrived!” Duang’s mind got a jolt.
Having received this demo, regardless of the quality, regardless of whether Fang Zhao had composed it independently or with the help of others. By now, all ten rookies had in over their works. Duang’s task was nearing completion.