I arrived in Shanghai with no backing track and a defiant smile. I saw them visibly hold their breath for a second longer than usual. The thing is, they had hired an extremely professional sound crew.

There was a main engineer and about six young men willing to haul equipment on and off stage and plug everything in. In fact, there was a delay with one of the rehearsals and it gave us a chance to jam for a while.

I wasted some time messing around with Guo Jians’ sample tracks for a while, in the few spare moments I have between mothering and all the other projects I have going on.

When Guo Jian saw me at dress rehearsal, he laughed awkwardly and then kept laughing every time he looked at me.

When they realized I was talking about my breasts sagging down with their milky weight, there was a titter of giggles in the dressing room.

His song was the mushy song, mine was the response to the mushy song by onlookers. Luckily, I was dealing with Chinese musicians who are very familiar with last-minute planning.

We even got a Beijing rehearsal in on the afternoon before we all flew to Shanghai.

All of our backline was present and waiting for us, down to the correct make and model number on each amplifier. (Ironically, it was rented from Guo Jian’s band’s Shanghai-based guzheng player—small world! Those ten minutes comprise my favourite part of the whole experience.

) So, when I saw how professional it all was, I was not worried in the least. When the technical backdrop is present, professional musicians can do what they do best: play music. I can still feel myself, rising separate from the stage, suspended in the studio’s rafters, rapt.

I thought they were going to give each contestant a bouquet of flowers, actually. Of all the flowers in the world, the flower I like the is the red rose. ), but later I realized that “taiyanghua 太阳花” has two different translations.

The first is “sunflower” and this is what you’ll get if you throw those characters into an online image search.

But, in the dictionary, these characters actually mean “moss rose.” They’re a type of flower that comes in many colours, including the bright orange that became my theme colour.