Simu Liu currently stars as a Ken in Barbie, the #1 movie in 55 markets around the world. By now many if not most of you reading this have seen his performance – he’s a frenemy Ken, a villain and a BFF, he dances, he sings, he poses, he pumps, he stretches, he’s waxed, Simu does it all… 


And not just in the movie. That also applies to his career, which is what people are saying about him in the comments right now as he just released a music video for his song, “Don’t”. 


Simu, as we have seen over the last few years on his ascent, wants to do it all. He can act – in comedies and dramas and action – and he can host live shows and events and he’s written a book and he used to be on a dance team in university so it’s no surprise that he danced so well in Barbie and now with the singing, it’s another flex. 


But this is also a very Chinese tradition where the entertainers are concerned. Simu is the latest in a long line of Chinese actors who do the acting but also the singing. Here in the west, the more common path is to go from singer to actor. It’s less common to be known first as an actor and then get into the singing thing. In the Chinese entertainment industry, however, this is pretty standard practice. 

Take, for example, Simu’s Shang-Chi co-star, Tony Leung, the cinematic legend. Tony recorded multiple albums after he first broke out as an actor. He ended up focusing more on acting (good decision) but it wasn’t like his singing wasn’t well received, he was never laughed off the stage, the fans were into it. Because he wasn’t the only one. 

Andy Lau, another major Hong Kong actor, who co-starred with Tony in Infernal Affairs (The Departed was based on this film) has also had a super successful singing career. 


But if we’re talking about Chinese superstars, there may not be a bigger one than Jackie Chan. And did you know that Jackie Chan has recorded over 20 albums?! What people are saying now about Simu Liu – “is there anything you can’t do?! – they were saying this about Jackie 40 years ago. Because Jackie was doing all those movies, literally banging around stopping cars with his body and choreographing all those fight scenes and … singing. He’s still singing. 

This is a recent performance. 



This is Jackie Chan singing the Mandarin version of “A Whole New World”. 


And this is Jackie singing “Can’t Help Falling in Love” on Ellen. 


Chinese people LOVE singing. 

So Simu singing? It’s basically one of the most Chinese things he’s ever done. 

Attached - Simu at a Barbie photo call in London before the strike started.