If you’ve treated yourself to the spectacular film that is Crazy Rich Asians then you would have recognised a certain tune in the film. It’s a Mandarin cover of Coldplay‘s iconic song ‘Yellow’ by 19-year-old Chinese American Katherine Ho.
The song’s also nabbed No. 3 on the Viral 50 Australia chart and is in the top five on other viral charts including the film’s primary location Singapore, as well as on the USA, Canada, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Philippines Viral 50 charts.
In other words, it’s doing so well.
The Mandarin cover of Yellow was inspired by Li Wenqi who performed the song on The Voice of China.
Though this achievement is huge enough on its own, it means so much more to Western Asians across the world who have been verbally slapped with the word ‘yellow’ as a derogatory term for the colour of their skin.
At first, Warner Bros. was not a fan of director Jon M. Chu using the song in the film for fear of uproar. Coldplay even initially rejected the request to use Yellow so Chu wrote a letter to the band, he told Quartzy in an interview.
The letter read:
“For the first time in my life, it described the colour in the most beautiful, magical ways.
“The colour of the stars, her skin, the love. It was an incredible image of attraction and aspiration that it made me rethink my own self image.
“[It would give] a whole generation of Asian-Americans, and others, the same sense of pride I got when I heard your song.”
Within an hour, the band wrote back and gave their permission.
Spotify judges the ranking by how often the tune is streamed and shared so that’s a lot of people.
The Mandarin cover is track 12 on the official Crazy Rich Asians soundtrack and you can listen to it, below.
Ho, a YouTuber and The Voice contestant excitedly shared news of the song to her Instagram last month writing Yellow was her first favourite song.
Getting to sing one of my all-time favourite songs in Mandarin is a sort of musical marriage of two worlds that have shaped my identity, which is why I am especially excited for you guys to hear this song.
The Mandarin version is not a direct translation from the English one, but the lyrics are beautiful nonetheless. To me, they tell a story of being scared to take a risk on someone or something, but eventually taking that leap of faith and watching love win in the end. I think that the lyrics are fitting for the movie and the circumstances surrounding the movie’s making.
Being one of the only Hollywood productions in decades to feature an all-Asian cast, I can imagine that there was plenty of risk and uncertainty during the movie-making process. But despite it all, I truly believe that this film is groundbreaking, not only for it’s significance regarding representation but also because it’s just an amazing film that will get you laughing, crying, thinking, and feeling.
Crazy Rich Asians is in Aussie cinemas now.