Xu Weis sentimental and sensitive nature is reflected in his songs.
When Xu Wei first came to Beijing to pursue his rock dream 20 years ago， he felt the pressure of becoming as famous as rock star Cui Jian. For the 25-year-old man， it was a tall order. So he immersed himself in his lonely， dark corner， pouring out his heart through songwriting.
Life was tough.
Just when he was about to give up， suddenly he was sweeping up nearly all the music awards in the mainland and becoming one of the countrys most popular rock singer-song writers.
Fans say Xus songs have blurred the lines of genres and age groups—something everyone can relate to and appreciate， both lyrically and musically.
But， at the height of his fame， Xu suddenly slowed down and withdrew from the public.
He emerged again in late 2012 when he released his new album， The Moment， and announced a national tour， which was scheduled to kick off from Beijing on May 17.
“I dont want to repeat myself. I want to move on and keep on finding possibilities in music，” says 45-year-old Xu.
Most of his new songs were written during his trip to Yunnan Province from 2008 to 2012. He also shot a documentary when he recorded his new album in Xishuangbanna.
Xu says he was influenced by one of his idols， Sting， who made documentaries to record his life with music.
“For some， music is entertainment， such as karaoke. But for some， they listen to music to seek sparkles in life. I belong to the latter.”
“Ive been documenting my life through music， good or bad. My songs present myself to the outside world. They reflect how I feel inside，” he says.
Xu first visited Yunnan in 1998 and fell in love with the place. He says he finds inner peace and feels comfortable in the province. The place inspires him to write light and easy songs like The Moment and Orchid in Empty Valley.
“One of my friends told me that when he compared Two Days with my new songs， he couldnt believe I wrote it，” he giggles.
Two Days was one of Xus earliest songs， which was released in 1994. In the music video of the song， Xu covered his face with his waist-length hair and murmured： “I have only two days， one day for hope and the other day for hopelessness.”
Xu was singing out the struggles he was experiencing then. He was torn between his ambition and his disappointment in life.
The song was written following his bands separation， which made Xu distressed and hopeless.
Armed with the song， he came to Beijing， and won a contract with indie label， Red Star. After releasing his debut album Elsewhere， Xus lonely and painful lyrics， and moody voice helped him stand out from the crowd then.
He was hopeful of a break. But， the music market， which was dominated by Canto-pop and pretty faces then， categorized Xu as a minority taste.
He was so poor then that he had to sleep in parks. To survive， he performed on streets and wrote songs for other singers. He went into depression while producing his second album That Day.
“People often asked me， ‘how did you write those songs， which sounded in despair？” says Xu in neat short hair. He shares that his songs were a result of solitude， sleepless nights and even starvation. “I am a very sentimental and emotional person.”
Perhaps thanks to his sensitive nature， he has managed to last this long in the cruel music industry.
His music career has now spanned nearly 30 years since he picked up guitar at 16. He has released five albums， obtained numerous rock music awards， and written some of the most memorable songs in Chinas music scene since the 1990s.
Ever since his award-winning album in 2003， Walking in Time， his fans noticed a change in his music. Replacing the desperate lyrics and impetuous rock beats are warmth， peace and contentment.
In 2005， Xu held his first concert in Beijing. Facing more than 10，000 fans， Xu says it felt like a dream.
“Its been such a long wait for this moment. When it really happened， I just had no time to react，” he says.
Now， as one of the best-known rock musicians in the country， Xu has a strong fan base. His music and his life situation have also changed.
Nowadays， a typical day for Xu starts with reading books of Chinese calligraphy， followed by a simple lunch， working out in the gym， rehearsing with his band in the studio in the afternoon and ending with watching talk shows by songwriter Gao Xiaosong or having dinner with friends.
“I also quit smoking eight months ago and put on some weight，” Xu laughs.
He says the age of 40 marked a new starting point for his life. He used to listen to rock music only， but has since started listening to various genres， such as jazz and traditional Chinese music.
He also likes Chinese painting and calligraphy， from which he gains inspiration.
“I never suffered from middle-age crisis. I am curious about everything and I believe life in the future will be interesting.”