Kazakhstan is a member country of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. If you ask any Chinese person what they know about Kazakhstan, they would probably say “Dimash.”
Dimash Kudaibergen, a 24-year-old from Kazakhstan, has quite the vocal talent. Born into a family of musical enthusiasts, he's won numerous competitions since the age of five and is regarded as a “national treasure” in Kazakhstan.
But he never knew how famous he could be until he came to China in 2017 after being invited to participate in one of China’s most popular music TV shows, "Singer."
The program puts singers head to head. In the first episode, Dimash was victorious and continued with strong performances all the way up until the final, where he finished as the runner-up.
Figures indicate that the show had at least 1.7 billion views. His performances triggered enormous interest, with Dimash gaining a staggering five million followers on Weibo, China's Twitter-like social media platform.
“I’ve been in China for a year and a half. I find Chinese people very friendly and hospitable. Every time I have a concert, my ‘dears’ come to the venue to support me, which I appreciate very much,” Dimash said to CGTN.
“Dears,” is what Dimash calls his fans. Meanwhile, they call him their "adopted brother from Kazakhstan." But despite the country bordering China in the northwest, Kazakhstan remains a place that many Chinese people are unfamiliar with. Luckily for them, Dimash is changing that reality.
His fans talk about their curiosity for the country where their young idol hails from.
“It’s only after I saw Dimash that I heard about Kazakhstan. I even tried to learn some Kazakh so I can sing his songs.”
“I learned in school that it’s a neighboring country of China. Now Dimash has become a connection between me and Kazakhstan. I want to travel there to have a look. It must be a beautiful place.”
Dimash talks about his desire to strengthen the public relationship between the two nations. “I feel responsible for making my own contribution to the friendship of the two countries. I know my Kazakh and Chinese fans are in close contact, and often organize activities together. It’s music that makes this happen, brings the two countries closer. Music is beyond boundaries,” he told CGTN.
“But what a singer should pursue is artistic achievements, rather than fame or popularity. Otherwise, he will fade soon. Like Celine Dion and Michael Jackson, a good singer should express his own ideas and stick to his own path.”
So what’s Dimash’s musical mission? He says it’s to introduce Kazakh music to a wider world.
(Cover photo: Dimash participates in one of China’s most popular music TV shows "Singer." /VCG Photo)