“With Wings to Fly”
Needless to say, Dimash returned home to Kazakhstan at the end of April to a rapturous welcome. A concert was held in his honour in Astana where many of his fans welcomed him and many of the important people in his life (parents, honoured guests, mentors and friends) took part. No one will forget him singing with his parents (Kanat & Sveta) the song ‘Asyl Anashym’ (Dearest Mother) and him walking to the edge of the stage to kneel and pay honour to his ‘Mama & Papa’.
He returned to China for his 23rd birthday in May to a huge party that was organised for him with lots of fun, games, gifts and messages. His supporters from around the world sent all sorts of creative gifts and messages to him and they were thrilled when he, in turn, had clearly spent a lot of time learning, writing and then reading in Chinese a message expressing his love and gratitude to them.
He was invited to appear on French TV after his performance of ‘SOS’ (a favourite song for French people) and they were clearly enchanted with the young man from Kazakhstan who had sung a French song on a Chinese programme!
However, it was at the end of June that Dimash finally fulfilled a lifelong dream as part of the opening of Expo 2017 when he held his first international concert that he called ‘Bastau’ (Beginning). The arena held 30,000 people, of which some 12,000 travelled from around the world to be at this extravagent event. He was on stage for over two hours singing over 20 songs, some from the Singer, some new and of course his beloved Kazakhstan was hugely featured; with 100 dombra players helping Dimash introduce ‘Daididau’ being just one of them!
Before the concert Dimash released a video with a new song called ‘Salem’ (Hello) and asked his fans to record themselves singing ‘Salem’ in their respective towns and cities. A composite of all these videos formed the background to this song at the concert, which he sang to say thank you to the ‘Dears’ for their love and support!
He featured several guests and sang duets with Kristina Orbakaite (Russia) and Maira Mukhamedkyzy (Kazakhstan). Loreen (Sweden), Sophie Ellis-Bexter (UK) and Terry Lin (Taiwan) also performed – the latter, being hugely welcomed because of his relationship with Dimash from the ‘Singer’.
It was with his parents and his two beloved mentors, Maira and Marat, that Dimash, unsurprisingly, chose to close the show singing ‘Astana Val’sy’ (Astana Waltz).
Although he has reached the top of the Chinese charts with several singles, Dimash has yet to produce an album so he spent a lot of his summer writing and recording one.
Dimash takes the responsibility of ‘role model’ seriously and finds time to encourage young artists in both China and Kazakhstan:
eg.duet with the rap artist Victor M’a
Re-cording ‘SOS’ for Kazakh ice skater Denis Ten
This is alongside his continuing commitments in China – personal appearances; singing at numerous events; photo shoots for top designers; interviews and attending ceremonies to collect an increasing number of awards. He was invited as a special guest to return and sing at the ‘Slavianski Bazaar’ in Russia. On top of this, he has represented his country in Cannes, Paris and Los Angeles, sang at home concerts and charitable events and even visited his old schools. It is also understood that he went back to University although no one is sure how he would have had time!
In November Dimash returned to China to start preparing for his first concert in Changsha (the home of the ‘Singer’) to mark the beginning of his ‘D-Dynasty World Tour’. He also continued his on-going commitments and reached No 1 in the Chinese charts on two occasions (both in a matter of hours of release) before performing at his sell-out concert on the 16th December – Kazakhstan Independence Day.
The Chinese ‘Dears’ ensured that everyone had a ‘goodie’ bag to take into the concert with them and had a tree and posters for messages to Dimash. The International groups prepared gifts, letters and books to encourage Dimash on what is seen as the next stage in his career – going worldwide! Dimash, of course, worked even harder (especially his language and dancing skills) to ensure that his fans were not disappointed. His ‘Dears’ flew from around the world to attend and his family and friends came from Kazakhstan to support him.
The ‘D-Dynasty’ tour, produced by Tan Yizhe, is a truly international team with professionals from China, Taiwan, USA, Japan, Canada and other nations. There were five new songs in a set lasting some 2.5 hours that also featured Dimash playing dombra, drums and piano and a ‘Kazakh vs Chinese musical battle’!
The show was a spectacle of lights, costumes, scenery, music and singing. It finished with a huge party-type atmosphere with singing, dancing and joy on everyone’s faces. The audience, so mesmerised and enthralled by it all, had to be asked to leave by the arena security long after the concert had ended as they just didn’t want to go home! Dimash’s fears of not pleasing his audience are seemingly unfounded!
In December Dimash also performed at a New Year’s Eve broadcast for Hunan TV, one of the most popular televised shows of the year (well over 100 million viewers) with fellow contestants from the ‘Singer’. He performed a dramatic and emotional version of ‘SOS’.
Dimash also recorded a special message for his ‘Dears’:
‘Hello my dear fans, ‘my Dears’. In a wink of an eye it is a year ago since I first arrived in China. And this year will stay in my memory forever as the most special year of my life and this is all due to you. ‘The Singer’ project enabled us to meet. I am eternally happy to have you as my dearest fans, whose hearts are pure, kind-hearted and full of energy.
With you, I am happy. I will never tire of saying: as long as ‘Dears’ are there, Dimash will always sing for you. Without you the light of Dimash on stage will fade away. I wish to say my biggest thanks for bringing me to where I am, for you never stop giving me your heartfelt, sincere love and encourage me and offer your great support. For this, I sincerely want to thank you. I believe that even the greatest literary writers could not help me express my love for you. Every moment I spend with you makes me very happy and every moment that I spend with you lifts my spirit. I love you very much. This is from your friend, brother Dimash – heartfelt thanks from the heart.
It is said that art does not distinguish between ethnicity and language, race or religion. Before, I doubted this statement but now believe it is possible for peace and solidarity in the world; it makes me believe that music is language-free because music can bring people from different nations and ethnicity together – that is ‘Dears’. To me you are a symbol of peace, solidarity and friendship.
Although I am 23 years old, I will still use a child-like innocent heart to love everyone. Thank you for all your support. I love you very, very, very much. I hope everyone can be with me, fly higher, ‘like a speeding horse, grow faster’ and we can complete unfinished business together to achieve greater success. Thank you for your continuous support until now. I love you all very much’.
The second ‘D-Dynasty’ concert in Fuzhou on the 5th January was packed and although the weather severely hampered travel arrangements, Dears came from far and wide to be there and Kanat and Raushan (Dimash’s sister) flew in from Kazakhstan.
‘My honoured fans, my honoured Dears!
First of all, thank you all for spending your precious time and making difficult journeys to come to tonight’s concert. At the same time, I wish you a Happy New Year.
This past year I’ve made some achievements, realised many of my dreams … thank you for being there every step of the way… every cheer, every applause, every friendly receiving and seeing off at airports … moves me deeply. The strength that you have instilled in me gave me wings … I look forward to soaring to greater heights.
I will try not to betray your expectations of me… I will give my all for you. It is for you that I want to make the best music… you are the motivation behind my persistent efforts… you are the source of my perseverance… words are inadequate to express my love for you… I can only bring you joy through my music, my concert, my performance… moving forward, with your love and encouragement, together we will reach even higher peaks… I’m always with you… thank you for coming to my concert. I love you all’.
Although the concert was similar to the first one in Changsha, there were some different elements to the staging, lighting, dances, costumes and songs. It is apparent that no two concerts will be the same, in the same way that familiar songs sung by Dimash will always be sung by him slightly differently. This clearly reflects Dimash’s desire to always learn and improve and also reflects Maira Dauletbakova’s comment: ‘one can see he is always searching’.
Dimash upon singing his own song ‘War and Peace’ said this:
‘What do Dears mean to me? To me Dears represent peace, unity and love. Everyone is equal in this world but there are those who are conceited and attempt to control the fate of others. I hope there are no more wars. I don’t want to see the tears of children anymore.This is the message of this song and why I wrote it’
Again, the concert ended in a party-type atmosphere with everyone enjoying themselves both on-stage and throughout the audience. This time it was the concert producer that had to encourage Dimash to leave the stage so that the enthusiastic and thrilled singer and audience didn’t upset the security staff again!
February 2018 marked a full year since I first came across Dimash and coincided with the Chinese New Year. He featured on the most popular TV programmes broadcast to celebrate the festivities and collaborated with extraordinary musicians and vocalists.
On the Hunan TV Spring Festival (8th February), he performed as part of a ‘One Belt & Road’ cultural exchange trio with Chinese Youth Pianist, Mu-Ye and Croatian pianist, Maksim MrVica. Together they performed the ‘Flight of the Bumblebee’ and ‘Auld Lang Syne’.
The Beijing TV Chinese New Year’s Gala (16th February) saw Dimash collaborating with Grammy award winner Wu Tong and the Silk Road Ensemble singing ‘Jasmine’.
On the CCTV Chinese New Year’s Gala (18th February), he sang with his fellow competitor’s from the ‘Singer’ and now good friends, Tia Ray and Jam Hsiao. They sang a jazz number called ‘Sing Differently (Extraordinary)’.
The Chinese New Year shows have the largest viewing audiences in the world and it is estimated that Dimash was watched by well in excess of 1 BILLION viewers!
Awards: February 2017 – February 2018
- First President’s Foundation Prize in Kazakhstan: Laureate
- 24th China’s Top Music Awards: Best Asian Singer
- 17th Top Chinese Music Award: Most Popular International Singer
- 25th Session of the People’s Assembly of Kazakhstan: Blessing by the President
- OK! Magazine Music Gala: Most Popular Singer of the Year
- Tencent MTV Asia Music Gala: Most Popular Overseas Award
- MTV Global Mandarin Music Awards: Most Popular Overseas Singer
- Chinese Golden Melody Festival: Favourite Male Singer
- Asia New Song Festival: Best Overseas Male Star
- Annual International Music Festival: ‘Astana Dausy’ (Astana Voice)
- ‘Awakening Time’ Fashion Night Gala: Leader of Innovation Time
- iQIYI ‘Screaming Night’ Annual Gala: Most Popular Male Singer
- ‘Beauty Touching’ Annual Charity Gala: Best International Singer
- Golden Mango Stars Awards: Most Popular Male Singer
- Weibo Annual Awards: New Music Power of the Year
- Global Chinese Golden Charts Awards: Outstanding Artist of the Year
- Belt and Road International Brand Spring Festival Gala: ‘Friendship Ambassador’ of China and Kazakhstan
- Belt and Road International Brand Spring Festival Gala: ‘Friendship Outstanding Contribution’ Award
- Global Chinese Music Top 10 Awards: Most Popular Singer of the Year
What an extraordinary year!