OrionLion is an emerging independent singer-songwriter who made his solo professional recording debut in 2023 with a string of popular singles and remixes. Currently based in Hong Kong, he is a native of China’s Guangdong province and composes all of his songs in his native language. When not in the studio, the multifaceted OrionLion can be found at University, studying for his Phd.
The OrionLion sound is an eclectic mix of modern style and classic retro pop vibes. As an avid collector of classic vinyl and cassette recordings, his style is directed by his tastes. The prolific producer has dropped four singles in just three months, and recently released his first song of the new year.
“詩經-靜女 The Reticent Girl From the Ancient Classic of Poetry” is the brand new single from OrionLion, released worldwide via all major streaming services on January 5, 2024. A melodic electric guitar opens the tune of a laid-back lounge/pop groove. The band lays down a chilled 70s pop vibe as OrionLion steps to the mic with a dreamy love song about a beautiful and mysterious girl.
Check out the “詩經-靜女 The Reticent Girl From the Ancient Classic of Poetry” lyric video below. You can also hear the song on the Deep Dive : Pop & Rock playlist, or listen on your favorite streaming service. We had the chance to chat with OrionLion. Read his answers to our 8 questions below. And follow the links at the end of this article to connect with OrionLion.
8 Questions with OrionLion
Where are you from?
OrionLion: I was born in the southwest of Guangdong province, China, which has hot weather. I am now pursuing a Ph.D. degree in Hong Kong geographically quite nearby, having a similar climate. So, I speak Cantonese and Mandarin.
How long have you been making music?
About 10 years since middle school, but very slowly because I did not undergo any professional amount of training. But I kept learning and expanding my musical network and exploring what music I wanted to make. Finally, I settled down to this Retro-styled music, which I have been listening to.
Who are the musicians involved in your project
PotatoL: As the co-producer and arranger of this music. He listens to the same type of music as I do: a lot of Taiwan music in the 80s, a large portion of which is in Hokkien language, and the music style was greatly influenced by Japanese Enka and local folk music.
inin: She is the feat. artist in this song. Her pure and ethereal vocal brightened the whole bridge.
Who are your biggest musical influences?
Mariah Carey: I really love her combination of traditional Soul, RNB, and Gospel elements in pop music. Also, same as what Mariah does, I really love integrating layered and complex background vocals to enrich the whole song structure.
Taiwan singers and arrangers: My favorite singers are Lin Cuiping (林翠萍), Han Baoyi (韓寶儀) and Teresa Teng (鄧麗君). Their music integrates traditional folk elements in both Taiwanese music and Japanese Enka, and they did know how to explore and show the best quality of their vocal in every song. They are the queens of non-invasive pop music with folk.
I love the arrangement of Liu Cing-chih (劉清池). He was the pioneer of Hokkien music arrangement in the 80s by compounding modern (at that time) drum sets and kits, synthesizers (Electone), and folk instrumentals. This compound was not simply dumping things together but an organic and clean creation of art.
What is your greatest non-musical influence?
Maybe food and cooking. Cantonese people really care about eating all the time. We are famous for the variety of food choices and the pursuit of “fresh” foods. As a result, pursuing diversity, tolerance, and genuineness are rooted in my soul.
My main job is in biology. I love nature. I hope to depict natural scenery and feelings somehow in my music.
What inspired you to create this project?
“靜女” is a poem from the Ancient Chinese Classic of Poetry (over 2500 years of history). It was the first ancient poem I had to memorize in high school freshman year. It is about dating, and the reticent girl gifts something not expensive but thought of as “beautiful”. However, this appreciation is not because of how beautiful the gift itself is, but because it came from the one in the poem writer’s heart. Interestingly, the poem was designed to be sung in the beginning. I think myself lucky to have the taste of such a feeling from over 2500 years ago.
The idea of writing songs for ancient classics can be traced back 10 years ago. At that time, I was obsessed with Teresa Teng’s ” Dàndàn Yōuqíng” album, where all 12 songs were adaptations of ancient poetry. As the peak of C-pop, Teresa Teng’s work is too fantastic to describe with words, transcending eras. Also, these literature classics and traditional-styled music are part of our cultural roots. They made me feel extremely proud of the culture I belong to. So, I also wanted to participate in and create this kind of beautiful music.
What are your plans for the future (musically)?
I have been already writing and producing several pieces of retro-styled folk-pop music. Some elements are from Taiwan Oldies with which we have grown up, others contain oldies of traditional Chinese folks. These are the roots of my, and my collaborators’ musical language.
Despite this retro style, the themes are quite related to the current world. We hope to not put only our own lives into music but also evoke love and tenderness in every listener’s heart. We hope to provide a platform to care about the feelings of listeners instead of only expressing that “we love this music, so you have to listen to it”. No, we want the listeners to feel they are related to.
Is there anything else you would like to say?
Language shouldn’t be the barrier to music. We also welcome any type of collaboration. Hope we together can bring great enjoyment to this world.