Yan Kuan: Not Your Average Actor Turned Singer


Edit: I added an MV to this post, so you can actually hear him singing one of his compositions, and acting too, since the MV features his character in the “Last Princess”.

So the previous lipsynching post was derived from an introduction from this post. I had stated I did not like actors turned singers, but this guy is one of the rarest exceptions in that category because his dream was to produce music since before he became an actor, and he’s paid quite a lot (literally) to make that happen. I’ve wanted to post on Yan Kuan since starting this site because he’s really, really under appreciated. At first his looks caught my eye (he’s like one of the best looking actors I’ve ever seen), and then it was his down-to-earth personality in interviews that I began to appreciate, as well as his acting. I was amazed when I learned he came out with an album he composed and wrote the lyrics for. So I saw this article, a great introduction to him and his career path, and idarklight was kind enough to translate it for me because I’m on “hiatus” of course.


After filming the “Music Assembly Line” program, Yan Kuan came to us to receive hotline calls. He’s very compliant toward his fans. Liu Tiange is the first one to call in. “Will you sing me a song? “Next Stop Prince.” Most singers wouldn’t agree, but Yan Kuan’s very considerate of his fans, “that’ one’s too high, how about if I sing “Love, actually”?” After singing, he asked, “How was it?” “Good, good, good.” The little girl was very happy. Luo Xiang used Yan Kuan as an elder brother and talked to him about his dissappointement in not getting into his dream college. Yan Kuan used himself as an example:” I applied for music school but didn’t get in. I got accepted to an acting school, but I was still able to release an album. Majors and colleges aren’t important. The important thing is what you learned from them.”


Doesn’t want to be an idol.
It’s not often that the word “pretty” can be used to describe men, but Yan Kuan’s one of those men. His face is a bit Western and looks great on screen, but Yan Kuan doesn’t feel like his face did that much good for him.”When people focus to much on your face, they’ll ignore your acting skills.” He said he has also been discriminated against because of his looks. “Some people might think you’re a threat to them. It’s pretty normal. I’m fine with it and don’t care that much.” When the reporter asked if other male actors have discriminated against him because he stole their screentime, Yan Kuan smiled: ” I can’t say.”

Not Just Singing on the Side
The reporter then asked him about leaving his previous company. Did he really lose over 10 million yuan? “Not that much, but not that less (note: from a previous article I read, I think it was about 8 million, which is a little over 1 million USD, insane for a supporting actor in China to pay)…we worked well, but I like singing. Originally, they said I could release 3 albums in 5 years, but then it became 2 albums, then 1. When I was halfway done, they asked me if I could give up the album. In the end, I had to leave them. Chasing after dreams will always require sacrifices.

Yan Kuan says that the money for his album came from his acting. He especially emphasized the fact that he’s not someone who’s just singing on the side. “I wrote all the songs on the album. Pu Shu, Cui Jian, they’re all my elders. I hope everyone will support original music.”


Edit: I realized if I wanted to pimp properly I should probably put one of his songs on here. This is the opening for The Last Princess, a series he was in and he composed and wrote lyrics for it like he does with all his music. So you get to see a bit of his acting as well. :D

He also did quite a few photoshoots one after the other recently after gaining some sucess through The Last Princess though he was only a supporting actor in that as well (will he never be the lead??? argh), and so these aren’t high quality photoshoots for any big name magazines, but they are pretty cool. I wish I had these in HQ. His facial features really seem like those of a model…sharp and well-defined. However, they probably are also the reason he doesn’t get lead oles, since he looks arrogant due to his eyebrows/high cheekbones, even though he really isn’t.

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19 thoughts on “Yan Kuan: Not Your Average Actor Turned Singer

  1. I find his acting in Qing Shi Huang Fei really good, especially in episode 37 and in the episode where his Empress Dowager mother passes away. He has a chiselled face and very handsome! Wishing his career and marriage are smooth and fruitful!

    Btw, thanks for sharing the pics! Glad I found this blog! ^__^

  2. To be honest, honest! I think Yan kuan is one the cutest of all chineses actors. And i think they should let him play more of a lead role. I watch every of his movies and hated it when he’s not the main character or die at the end….i follow thru every of his movies and always checking for any new one..Just to let the world know that i am Cambodian and live Boston MA, USA and im a really big fan of Yan Kuan…

  3. I’m so happy becoz there are so many people are fans of Yan kuan. He’s so good at acting, composing and singing but i don’t know why he didn’t famous as well as others actor. I’m so admire him abt his talents. I lov him

  4. @ Kale,
    The story of my fascination with Yan Kuan’s work began a year ago. I can say that the trigger/the agent of this situation was ….Nicholas Tse. I watched the film with Jackie Chan and Nick Tse on Polish TV (Jackie is quite popular here); I noticed Mr. Tse and the next day I surfed the Net looking for some info about him. I started to listen to his music and watch his films and series in the Net. One evening I entered the site dramacrazy. I clicked the first title there and it was Da Ren Wu. I was so happy that Nick Tse was playing the main role there, but after 2 episodes my attention was turned into Yan Kuan. My colleagues and friends remember that time very well when I was coming to work with a story of what had happened in the last episode – that must have been really funny ;-)
    The album was bought by my friend’s husband – he is Vietnamese, he came to Asia to visit his relatives and purchased the album on special request for me and my friend (his wife).
    @ everyone, I’m glad to see that the group of Yan Kuan’s fans all around the world is getting bigger and bigger :-)
    Kisses and hugs for everyone,

  5. I am wondering if someone could explain to me what Yan Kuan’s relationship is with Transformers? I understand that he is a fan. But I am curious because I have seen several photos of him at what looks like Transformers Conventions or something where he is talking and being given gifts. Does he also do endorsements or commercials for Transformers merchandise or something?? If he does then I would love to see them! And IF he’s that much a part of it then why didn’t they at least give him a part in the movies? That would have been nice.

  6. I love Yan Kuan! His voice is like an angel, he seems an angel.
    He is very, very talented!
    I am a fan here in Brazil !!!!!!!!!!!

  7. @everyone

    Wow, I didn’t know Yan Kuan was so loved by those outside China. That’s pretty encouraging.

    I’m sorry I haven’t put up his news very much, but there was nothing really that noteworthy unfortunately. I’ll definitely update next time I see something on him of interest.

    I wish he could play the lead in a series, but unfortunately he hardly ever gets that chance.


    How did you manage to get his album in Poland? I couldn’t find it in China. :(

  8. Thanks so much for posting the article about Yan Kuan. He first caught my attention about a year ago when I saw the Wu Dang series. He was the best character in the whole series. I’m just an Irish girl from Chicago and I only understand maybe about three words in Chinese – But I could tell that his acting was REALLY good – It was HIM that kept me watching the series to the end even though I couldn’t understand a word. After I saw that series I tried to find out more about him ( it took me forever just to find out what his name is ). But there is basically no info in English.

    For the past year I have watched some other series that I was able to find ( again no english subtitles ) – But again his performance keeps me watching. I find that even though he seems to be stuck playing supporting characters that he ALWAYS outshines the leading characters. He has something that is very rare in any actor / performer – and that’s REAL charisma – He has a strong magnetism that is pretty hard to deny. He’s definitely more then just a pretty face. He should be doing more movies too. With the right part in an internationally distributed film I honestly think that he has what it takes to break down the barrier between East and West as far as the American film industry goes. He’s young enough, Sexy enough, and talented enough to pull it off. We really need more Asian actors in this country and I would really like to see a lot more of him in particular.

    In the meantime – I wish that somebody out there would start fan-subbing all of the Chinese series stuff. If this material would get fan-subbed in the same way that all of the Japanese Anime is done then people from all over would watch it. I think that all of the Chinese series as well as the actors themselves could greatly increase their fan base ten-fold.

    As far as the music goes – I’ve heard some of it and I can tell that he’s a good singer – But the music style itself just isn’t my cup of tea. Although I understand that this style is a very popular thing in China – So I think it’s great that he’s doing what he wants. More power to him. I hope he’s successful.

    Thanks again! Please keep writing more about him!

  9. @ Jazz,
    I guess Yan Kuan is not that under apreciated since he has a fan from Poland.
    How do you know about him and watch his dramas?

    I didn’t know that chinese audience didn’t like his face because he has a slight western look..what is the typical chinese look that people like then? I mean, Huang Xiao Ming and Chen Kun don’t have a typical oriental look either but they’re famous in mainland…or am I wrong? Is Hu Ge, Lu Yi considered oriental looking? sorry I don’t’ know the difference really, cause for me, China is a multi-ethnic country. Is oriental= siberian face?

    If anyone can help me, can I watch the last princess on youtube? I looked on yan kuan dedicated channel but couldn’t find this series.

    thank you so much.

  10. Thank you for posting the article about Yan Kuan.
    I have never thought of Chinese actors and singers to be comparable to the American Hollywood stars, but, when I watched some of dramas Yan Kuan performed in, I just kept my breath. He is amazing, definitely a very good actor.
    Then I bought his album (it was quite difficult here in Poland, but I finally managed). It was.. wow… I can’t find the words – despite singing in such an exotic language for me as Chinese, I can hear how good his voice is. Right now I can even hear more than only ‘shi, sha, shou’ :-) Moreover, you can find many influences from different cultures music. That is another strong pros for Yan Kuan.
    Not mentioning, he is also a model – that is the obvious situation- he is so good-looking – this session with a steam-engine in the background, definitely designed for a huge fan of railway as I am.
    So, thanks, and keep your eyes turned onto Yan Kuan :-)

  11. I want to thank you for sharing this article with us. I really appreciate you and I’m so so so happy that I found this article.He…

    I agree with you that Yan Kuan is very under appreciate. I think it’s because he look like westerner a bit. Chinese people don’t really like western look and they prefer actors/actreses who have oriental look although they aren’t as handsome/beautiful as they who got the western look.

    No matter what, I will always support Yan Kuan. He’s one of the most multi-talent actors. He’s so goodlooking and he can act and sing very well. Where else could you find such a brilliant person like him?

  12. I agree Yan Kuan is very under appreciated, which makes it hard for me to search for his recent work. Thanks for posting this.

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