Get to Know G.E.M. (the Taylor Swift of China) and All the Cool Things She's Done
Meet Gloria Tang Shi-Wing, one of the biggest names in the Asian music industry, who has set her sights on breaking into the U.S. scene. The 24-year-old singer is better known by her stage name G.E.M., an acronym for Get Everybody Moving that she chose in the hopes to inspire people with her music, "to get them moving, to chase their dreams," the same way Beyonce, Mariah Carey, Whitney Houston, and Christina Aguilera have done for her.
With a social media following that falls somewhere in the millions and a schedule that's packed with tour dates, G.E.M. has been called the "Taylor Swift of China." "It's such a compliment," she says of the comparison. "Maybe it's because we're both girls, we both play instruments, and we write our own music."
But talent-wise, the Chinese pop star can hold her own. She started singing at the age of three, began playing the piano as early as four (she also plays the guitar and drums), and dropped her first EP at 17. And for someone who's spent practically her entire life in the spotlight, she's surprisingly down to earth. Her bubbly personality and cute quirks (her favorite U.S. restaurant is Chipotle and her guilty pleasure is peanut butter) completely won us over.
G.E.M. is in town to attend New York Fashion Week for the first time, and we took the opportunity to sit down with the star. The takeaway: At the age of 24, she's already accomplished more than some would in a lifetime. Below, we've listed the coolest things she's done and the even cooler things she has in store.
1. She just finished a tour of 64 shows around China. How does she prep for her tours? "I go to the gym a lot, almost every day, I drink a lot of water, and I'm careful about what I eat," she says. "Before a show, I usually turn up Rihanna to pump me up."
2. And shes's headed to North America. G.E.M. will be performing shows in Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, San Jose, and Canada starting in November.
3. She sang on top of the JungFrau mountaintop in Switzerland. "I was out of breath," she says, recalling the Tag Heuer event as the most amazing place she's ever performed at. "I was singing 'Someday I Will Fly," and looking at the unlimited sky and mountains, and I had tears in my eyes." G.E.M. is the global ambassador of the brand, and she has a collection of 300 Tag Heuer watches.
4. Next year, she'll be performing in space. Yes, that's right. She has been approached by American private spaceflight company XCOR to be its brand ambassador. Details haven't been hammered out, but G.E.M. has agreed to fly out to hopefully perform two songs, which will be live broadcasted back to Earth.
5. She's been on two reality TV shows. She was a contestant on China's singing reality show "I Am a Singer" last year, and this year, she's on "The Voice of China" as a guest judge. "It's amazing," she says. "I actually learned a lot from these talented singers. It's quite funny that they call me Coach, even though I'm the youngest."
6. She's starring in an animated movie Charming (slated to hit theaters in 2016) with Demi Lovato, Avril Lavigne, and Ashley Tisdale. She plays Sleeping Beauty, and she'll be recording a song with the others written by Fall Out Boy. "The whole experience is phenomenal," she says. "It's going to be my very first song in English. I'm quite nervous."
7. She's attending New York Fashion Week for the first time. Her first-ever show was Diane von Furstenberg's spring/summer 2016 show. Others on the schedule: Jeremy Scott's movie premiere ("I'm going to be dressed by him, so I'm really excited," she says) and the DKNY show. "It's my first fashion week, and I'm looking for inspiration for my wardrobe," she explains. Is she nervous about NYFW at all? "No, not at all—I'm there to watch," she laughs.
For more on G.E.M., listen to her new single "Heartbeat," which she wrote after a recent heartbreak and facing online rumors. "I wrote this song to encourage myself to stand up again," she says. "I hope this song would encourage other people, regardless if they're facing cyber bullying or any kind of bullying in their lives. A new heartbeat signifies a new start. Don't let the past drag you down."