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SISU Alumnus Wang Yuanchao sings SISU, Shanghai stories

05 December 2019 | By Li Xianmin | Copyedited by Deng Boyin

  • Wang Yuanchao

Reckoning it’s a kind of honor to write a song as a present to his memories-borne Alma Mater was Wang’s answer for why composing SISU Roads, seemingly formulaic yet trust-hearted from his unpretentious tone.

Write songs as an alumnus 

“It’s just a slight thing I could do to repay SISU.” Said Wang after his song was chosen for theme song of 70th anniversary of Shanghai International Studies University(SISU), China’s top-notch international studies university.

After almost 20 years since his graduation from SISU in 2000, Wang Yuanchao, with a set of tags on himself, say, song composer and singer, role model dad and high-end event’s organizers, weaved his affection toward SISU into his new single, SISU Roads.

As one of the 6 final songs selected for theme song, SISU Roads takes in a set of “road” images and reflects reminiscences of SISU students belonging to different generations.

Old roads like West Dalian Road, East Tiyuhui Road depicted in the lyrics are the roads SISU students once strolled along on Hongkou Campus before new campus block of SISU was constructed in Shanghai’s Songjiang area in 2003.

Afterwards, Wenhui Road rose to everyone-know spot on which students and faculty members from SISU partook of their all-flavor foods every time they were fed up with dining hall’s provision.

Composing, arranging and recording within 4 days, Wang present the song in Chinese pop folk music style, one of styles he has incorporated in his music, with melody of Jessamine, a song teeming with China’s water features in southern part of Yangtze River as interlude and several sentences of English lyrics making it less traditional.

“Composing music is never an easy task as you imagined it would be” stressed Wang during an interview, “it also requires the ability of imagination and combination.”

After successfully standing out from 100 competitors, Wang cooperated with professional record company to polish and re-organize the song originally derived from using an iPad and earphones as main tools.

After these adjustment, quality of the song will, as he put it, certainly rise into another level because the original work isn’t qualified to be publicized by professional standard.

“I extremely like this song no matter for its lyrics or melody.” Commented one SISU student in SISU’s WeChat official account, China’s WhatsApp-like platform.

Write songs as a student

It may be unacquainted to new SISU students to hear about Wang Yuanchao, yet, chances are slim for old generations of the university’s students to be unfamiliar with him. Quite on the contrary, he is the iconic figure in many alumina’s reflections.

Partially romantically, in pursuing his once crush girl, he came to SISU, and using his words, his life headed into a totally different direction.

Even though this direction didn’t lead to where his crush landed as shown in one of his song, Sorrowful Hyperbola Won’t Intertwine, but he had surely found his new possibilities unfolding forth.

The music-frenetic wrote various songs in SISU, some of them for campus events and some for class songs, and made a living in large part from instructing students to play guitar.

Far back in 1998, Wang has established a band, Red Band, with his 3 alter egos, conducted a series of performance tours in different university and harvested whooping amounts of fans and attention.

The band enjoyed its prime time and gradually fall apart after the keyboardist died in 2006, on which Wang regretted deeply as it touches upon the sealed memory.

“It was really pitiful, he would definitely be somebody if he was still alive.” Sighed Wang, who was the former bass player of that band.

Sing SISU and Shanghai in multiple identities

In the wake of graduation, he took a set of different jobs including marketing, brand management and even co-founded a musical company with one of the former band member.

One thing remained unchanged is the hobby of writing songs which he considers an important outlet to capture his observations of daily lives and showcase his love for Shanghai, the city he was born in, cultivated, married and raised his own child in.

Wang composed more than 100 children’s songs ensuing his daughter’s birth and used it as an exclusively useful way to record stories and restore funny thoughts of their two.

In one latest work he composed, he wrote a song to depict an intriguing thing that birds could not withhold pooing while they are flying so they may lay stools on other animals such as tiger and lion even though these animals are mighty ones. He thought this stark contrast is the song’s punchline.

As a Shanghai local, Wang also used his own way to advocate the city as attested from the song wrote for echoing garbage-sorting policy in Shanghai and the theme song of Shanghai International Marathon in 2016.

In comparing his affection toward Shanghai and SISU, he said Shanghai is a broader concept and SISU is a place where most precious memories stayed.

“I somehow think SISU shares some similarities with China” Wang introduced when asked about what he felt about being SISU’s student, maybe they aren’t not the most powerful one either in university or country level, but they’re still excellent and have a promising way to advance.

Maybe just as what’s Wang’s love toward Shanghai and SISU are bonded together, in the 70the anniversary of both SISU and China, the university and the country’s roads and fate are inextricably overlapped.


Press Contact

SISU News Center, Office of Communications and Public Affairs

Tel : +86 (21) 3537 2378

Email :

Address :550 Dalian Road (W), Shanghai 200083, China

Further Reading