Zhang Liyin made her first public appearance since leaving SM Entertainment in 2017 and joining her new management agency Show City Times. The TV singing competition, Singing Choice (声音的抉择), allowed up-and-coming artists to compete for a chance to work with the lead judge, Li Quan.
For Liyin’s performance, she sang a contemporary R&B-style version of Wen Zhang’s “The Clouds from My Hometown” (故乡的云). Originally released in 1984, it is considered a classic in Chinese music.
The version Liyin sang on the show was a collaborative work between Liyin herself, producer Liu Zhou, arranger Zhai Zihao, as well as numerous individuals from the Door Music Studio company where they all work at. According to this Sohu article, both Liu and Zhai worked on Kris Wu’s 2018 song, “Chinese Soul” in the same producer/arranger partnership. His song was released to help promote the second season of Rap of China.
In Liyin’s segment, she received encouraging feedback from one of the judges, DJ Maimai, who was a radio host during one of her previous promotion periods. The judges asked her if this was her first time composing and producing a song. After admitting that it was her first time, she said she took inspiration from the judge’s previous work. To show her vocal technique even further, Liyin was asked to perform some ad-libbing on stage.
You can watch Liyin’s appearance on Singing Choice below. Her appearance begins at 4:50 into the video.