Popular Danish soft rock band, Michael Learns To Rock, also known as MLTR, is returning to China after their 1995 tour of the country. They promise to perform “many songs people know” along with a new track, an English version of Chuan Qi, or Legend, by mainland singer-songwriter Li Jian. It became a big hit when pop diva Faye Wong sang it at the 2010 Spring Festival Gala.
“Though we don’t know the language, its soothing melody attracted us as it is similar to our slow, romantic style,” says guitarist Mikkel Lentz. They will play their version of the song at their upcoming concerts in Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou.
The band has a special talent for doing re-makes of popular Chinese songs. Their Take Me to Your Heart, which is an adaptation of Hong Kong singer Jacky Cheung’s classic Goodbye Kiss, in 2004, was a huge hit across the country thanks to its slow melody and simple English lyrics.
Then, in 2007, they released an English version of Chinese rock godfather Cui Jian’s successful Nothing to My Name, titled I Walk This Road Alone, which was included in their album The Best of Michael Learns to Rock Live.
“When we came to China for the first time, we were surprised to see so many fans here especially since our albums have not been released officially in the country. We were impressed,” says the guitarist.
Singer-keyboard player Jascha Richter agrees and says: “We knew nothing about China in 1995.”
MLTR came to Beijing again in 2008 with their One World, One Dream song that they wrote for the Beijing Olympic Games. Its music video featured the Bird’s Nest, Water Cube and the Forbidden City.
“There were lots of bicycles back in 1995 but (in 2008) we saw cars and high buildings everywhere in the city, so much had changed,” adds Jascha.
Their upcoming tour will be unplugged and feature all of their popular songs as well as new ones from their 2009 album, Eternity, brought out under their own independent label, MLTR Music.
The band was started by singer-keyboardist Richter and drummer Kare Wanscher, when they were high school students. Guitarist Lentz joined in 1988. Since their debut album, Michael Learns To Rock, in 1991, they have brought out seven studio albums more than 10 million of which have sold worldwide, mainly in Asia.