Love Chinese singing reality shows? If so, you may have heard of Zhong Feifei, a recent contestant on Produce Camp 2020 whose debut was met with lots of discussion (read: racism). The Chinese-Congolese 24-year-old was born in China and has spent time all over the world, from Congo to Boston and everywhere between. While studying her masters in the US (majoring in global security), one of her beauty vlogs was discovered by a producer from Produce Camp 2020. She planned all her audition numbers in a week, slipped into one of the last casting calls and ended up 27th overall (out of 101) on the show. We caught up with Zhong to learn about her whirlwind year and her plans for the future.
Have your parents always been supportive of your ambitions?
When it comes to my dreams, my family puts happiness first, they’re very carefree in that sense. I grew up loving music, drama and art but I never really explored it until this opportunity.
What was it like behind the scenes on Produce Camp? Did you become friends with the other contestants?
When people see girl group shows, they always think the girls are catty but they were extremely friendly, fun and passionate people to hang out with in general. We basically had no cellphones for three months, and lived, performed and competed together. It was actually super fun to live with 16 other girls, I feel like it got me closer to my feminine side as I was a tomboy growing up.
Were you nervous about how you would be received by audiences?
It was predictable what was going to happen. From experience I knew there would be controversy. The good thing is they did a good job of protecting me from it. Overall, I wasn’t that bothered about it, I realized I have fans supporting me and people who were defending me which is very heartwarming.
Your new single ‘B.U.R.N’ dropped recently, tell us more about it.
‘B.U.R.N’ is more experimental, a side I didn’t show on TV. It got mixed reviews, which is fine. I wrote the lyrics and the message of the song actually revolves around my studies. At the same time, I didn’t want the topic to be too heavy, so I chose to use a hip hop/house/fusion-style, so people could still groove if you didn’t listen to the lyrics. The lyrics and melody should work together and also independently – that was my goal for this song. As my first single, if I look back in five years I’d call this an amateur piece, but it’s a start and I’ll see where I can go from here.
This interview has been edited for clarity.
Search 仲菲菲 on Chinese music platforms, Zhong Feifei on Spotify and @xxbunno on Instagram.
[All images courtesy of Zhong Feifei]