Gloria Tang Sze-wing (鄧詩穎), professionally known by her stage name G.E.M. (backronym of Get Everybody Moving) or Tang Tsz-chi, pinyin Dèng Zǐqí, is a Chinese singer-songwriter and actress, widely known for her vocal range and stage presence. She made her debut in the Hong Kong music scene with the release of her self-titled EP G.E.M. in 2008. This was followed by the release of 2009's 18..., 2010's MySecret and 2012's Xposed, which won the Hong Kong Top Sales Music Award for the Best Sales Local Female Vocalist. Her 2nd-place finish in the 2014 edition of Chinese singing competition program I Am a Singer gained her immense fame and popularity in Greater China inT addition to her native Hong Kong. In the same year, she won a Nickelodeon Kids' Choice Award for Favorite Asian Act.
- Birth Name: Tang Sze-wing (鄧詩穎)
- Birthday: 16 August 1991
- Birthplace: Shanghai, China
- Other names: Tang Tsz-kei, Dèng Zǐqí, Gloria Tang
- Education: True Light Girls' College
- Occupation: Singer-songwriter, record producer, rapper, actress
- Years active: 2008–present
- Partner(s): Mark Ngai
- Labels: Hummingbird, Sony Music
In 2015, she released the critically acclaimed Mandopop album Heartbeat, and was ranked 11th on the Forbes China Celebrity 100. In 2016, she became the only Asian artist featured in the Forbes 30 Under 30.
Life and career
1991–2008: Early years and career beginnings
G.E.M. was born in Shanghai, China, and moved to Hong Kong at the age of four. She grew up with a musical background; her mother is an alumnae from Shanghai Conservatory of Music, her grandmother was a vocal coach, her grandfather was a saxophonist, and her uncle was a violinist. G.E.M. started to write songs at the age of thirteen. She featured in a performance on Hong Kong's Educational Television at the age of seven. She achieved ABRSM's piano grade 8 at the age of thirteen.
In 2006, G.E.M. won the champion in the singing competition titled Spice It Up, and caught the attention of Chang Tan, who offered her a recording deal with Hummingbird Music. She then became a professional singer at the age of 16. She graduated from Heep Woh Primary School and True Light Girls' College with a score of 21 points in HKCEE. In 2008, she attended Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, but dropped out in 2009 due to her decision to focus on her singing career.
2009–2010: G.E.M., 18..., and My Secret
G.E.M. at an event in Plaza Hollywood, 2009
In October 2008, G.E.M. released her debut self-titled EP G.E.M. which included two Mandarin songs and three Cantonese songs. She won a series of awards for the album, and was dubbed "Girl with Giant Lungs" and "Young Diva with Giant Lungs" for her vocal range. In May 2009, G.E.M. travelled to Los Angeles to record her first studio album, 18..., which was released in October 2009. In November 2009, she held her first concert 18 Live Concert at Hong Kong International Trade and Exhibition Centre, and the concert featured special guests including Jan Lamb and Justin Lo. In the same year, she also held a concert in Toronto. In 2010, G.E.M. went to Taiwan to promote the album 18...,and returned to Los Angeles to record her next studio album, My Secret, which was released in October 2010.
2011–2012: Get Everybody Moving Tour and Xposed
In May 2011, G.E.M. performed a three-day concerts titled Get Everybody Moving Tour in Hong Kong Coliseum, and became the youngest Hong Kong female artist to perform in the venue. She then performed another five concerts in the same venue in September and embarked a concert tour in eight countries.
In June 2012, she performed alongside Jason Mraz and Khalil Fong at the iTunes Live in Hong Kong, and sang "Lucky" with Jason Mraz. Her third studio album, Xposed, was released in July 2012. The lead single, "What Have U Done", peaked number one on all four pop music charts in Hong Kong.
2013–2015: X.X.X. Live Tour, I Am A Singer, and Heartbeat
G.E.M. embarked on her X.X.X. Live World Tour in April 2013, in support of her third studio album, Xposed. The tour started with five shows in Hong Kong Coliseum, and ended with a show at Wembley Arena in London, which is also her debut show in Europe. There was a total of 73 shows in 4 continents. In May, she became the youngest nominee ever of Golden Melody Award for Best Female Vocalist Mandarin, with her album Xposed. In June, she released a cover of Chinese smash hit Intoxicated, which was played for 15 million times on QQ Music within a week.
G.E.M. performing during the X.X.X. Live Tour in Hong Kong, 2015
In January 2014, she appeared in the second season of Hunan TV's I Am A Singer alongside Han Lei, Bibi Zhou, Phil Chang, Gary Chaw and others. Her second-place finish gained her immense popularity and fame in Greater China. In the same year, she earned a World Music Award nomination for World's Best Female Artist and an MTV Europe Music Award nomination for Best Mainland China & Hong Kong Act. On 10 February 2015, JJ Lin published the official music video for his song 《手心的薔薇 Beautiful》featuring G.E.M., which has garnered 43 million views on YouTube. On September 2015, she was selected to be the team advisor for team Wang Feng at The Voice of China (season 4). In November 2015, she appeared on the cover of China's Apple Music, and released her studio album Heartbeat with music videos of all ten tracks in the album. The album topped the iTunes chart in China. So far, her songs have been played over 9.8 billion times on KuGou, a music platform in China.
2016–2018: G-Force and Queen of Hearts Tour
In 2016, she appeared on the list of Forbes 30 Under 30 (Music),being the only Asian musician on the list. In the same year, she was asked to voice a lead role in the animated film Charming, alongside Demi Lovato, Ashley Tisdale, and Avril Lavigne. She also performed at Heroes of Remix(Chinese: 盖世英雄) that same year, singing EDM versions of songs such as Like You 《喜欢你》 and The Brightest Star In The Night Sky 《夜空中最亮的星》, among others. In September 2016, she released her photobook 25 Looks and an EP, which includes four remix songs. In November 2016, she earned an MTV Europe Music Award for Best Mainland China & Hong Kong Act. On 29 December 2016, G.E.M. released the Chinese theme song for the science fiction film Passengers titled "Light Years Away" 《光年之外》, which she also performed on several occasions, including NASA 2019 Breakthrough Prize. Lyrically, similar to the plot of the film itself, it speaks of a doomed love. The music video has over 120 million views on YouTube and 1-billion on KuGou (Chinese: 酷狗音乐) as of May 2018.
G.E.M. performing during the Queen of Hearts World Tour in Guangzhou, 2017
In May 2017, G.E.M released her first documentary G-Force, which was directed by Nick Wickham. In April 2017, she embarked on her Queen of Hearts World Tour. On 21 October 2017, Namewee (Chinese: 黃明志; pinyin: Huáng Míng Zhì), a Malaysian Chinese hip hop recording artist and composer, published a video featuring her in a cover of his song Stranger In The North 《漂向北方》(KTV Version), which had received widespread popularity, where she sings the chorus which was originally performed by Taiwanese-American singer-songwriter Wang Leehom. As of May 2018, the video has amassed over 20 million views on YouTube. At the 13th Annual KKBox Music Awards on 21 January 2018, G.E.M. and Namewee together sang "Stranger in the North"《漂向北方》immediately after she sang "Goodbye"《再見》and "Light Years Away"《光年之外》for her 2018 KKBox Artist of the Year award-winner performance. On April, she was invited to be the duet partner for Hua Chenyu in the finals of Singer 2018 and sang "Light Years Away".
On 18 August 2018, her Queen of Hearts World Tour has called for an end for part 1 of the tour and she announced the part 2 tour will hold in 2019 with more new songs.
2018–present: "Fairytale Trilogy" project and Queen of Hearts Tour Part 2
In 2018, G.E.M announced that she would be working on a project, Fairytale Trilogy, where each of the three E.P.’s will feature three new songs written by the singer herself, and produced by Lupo Groinig. Her first EP of the project was titled My Fairytale with "TIK TOK" being the lead single. The music video, was released on 21 August, and reached 5M views within 12 days. The music video reached over 10M views with only 22 days which is the fastest music video for G.E.M. reaching 10 million views. On 4 November, G.E.M. was invited to perform the song "Light Years Away" and served as on-stage presenter in the Breakthrough Prize, being the first ever Chinese singer to perform at the ceremony. As of November 2018, it made over 200 thousands record sales in China.
On 19 November, she was selected as one of the BBC 100 Women, being the only Chinese on the list. On 22 November, the number of subscribers of her official YouTube channel "GEMblog" exceeded 1 million.
Fearless, the second EP of G.E.M.'s fairytale project was released on 9 November, with "Woke" being the lead single. The song was also a hit, and was topped on national charts.
The project ended with her last EP of the year, Queen G was released on 28 December, with the lead single "Love Finds a Way".
After gaining some more new commercial endorsements, G.E.M. composed and recorded new commercial songs in Los Angeles in early 2019. Then beginning March 2019, she resumed her Queen of Hearts World Tour with concerts across Canada, US and eastern Asia.
Contractual issues and lawsuit
On 7 March 2019, she announced that she would no longer be represented by Hummingbird after three months of negotiations on her contract and allegedly being pressured to work. Hummingbird replied saying that there was no such pressure or unfair practices. G.E.M. will continue on The Queen of Hearts World Tour until April 2019 so as not to disappoint her fans. As "G.E.M." and "邓紫棋" are trademarks held by Hummingbird, it was speculated that she may have to give up using the stage name. However Hummingbird explained that the copyright was to prevent piracy, and a lawyer is being consulted before an appropriate course of action is carried out. A spokesperson added that "a lawyer has been assigned to make sure that [she] will receive all the basic rights that she deserves".
On 29 March 2019, Hummingbird filed a court case claiming that G.E.M. has three more years on her contract, ending in 2022, and is looking to validate the contracts signed in 2014, with no start date indicated on the documents, as to be taken in effect only on March 2017. Should their case succeed and she leaves the company, she may have to pay HK$120 million as compensation for losses. G.E.M. maintained that the 2014 contract was signed under the pressure of not being able to participate in the finals of I Am a Singer if she did not sign the contract. G.E.M. had since filed a counter-suit for unspecified damages, claiming that the company had failed in fulfilling their contractual duties. Both parties seek exclusive rights to her copyrighted works, including the stage name.