Friday Song: ‘Lovebird’ and Lay Zhang’s path to international stardom

Society & Culture

American hip-hop and electronic music group Far East Movement and Chinese pop star Lay Zhang 张艺兴 collaborated on “Lovebird,” a single released yesterday to much anticipation from their fans, one that is slated to appear on Far East Movement’s upcoming album. Featuring Lay’s airy vocals interweaved with dancehall and tropical house instrumentals, the song uses a sample from the 1993 alternative rock hit “Two Princes” by Spin Doctors. The collaboration showcases a surprising homogeneity between Lay’s signature sound and Far East Movement’s.

Though the beat and melodies are generally enjoyable and evoke the feeling of springtime romance, the song leaves much to be desired. With Kev Nish and Prohgress receiving a short, un-dynamic rap verse and delegated to barely audible background vocals for the rest of “Lovebird,” one almost forgets their presence in their own song. The smooth vocal linkage of the two musical acts indicates a good collaboration, but seemingly at the expense of one party.

Aside from “Lovebird,” Lay has also participated in Jason Derulo’s “Let’s Shut Up & Dance,” an upbeat dance track and Michael Jackson tribute released on February 22. In its music video, Lay shows off his dancing talents, recreating MJ’s iconic moves with groove and precision as he sings about diversity and global connection.

These 2019 collaborations between Lay and Western artists are preceded by a multitude of his advancements into the global market last year. His work with Norwegian DJ Alan Walker on “Sheep,” an electronic remix, has made its way into several international music festivals. His U.S. debut with “Namanana” and a full English album has also received much attention, charting No. 21 on Billboard. His international presence was further elevated by his appearance at the 61st Grammy Awards ceremony as the first-ever promotion ambassador of the Grammy Festival China.

Friday Song is SupChina’s weekly sign-off. Let us know what you thought of the week that was in the comments below, or email