BEIJING (Reuters Life!) - The woman widely regarded as the "Queen of Mandopop" is making a long-waited comeback with a limited series of concerts in Beijing and Shanghai in October and November, six years after her last release.
The almost effortlessly cool Faye Wong has sold millions of albums and won fans across Asia, with songs ranging from the heart-rending early hit "Easily Hurt Woman" to the ersatz, Buddhist-inspired trip-hop of her 2000 album "Fable."
The entertainment pages of Chinese internet portals were dominated last week by pictures of Wong at a brief Beijing news conference to announce her return, many simply carrying the headline "The Diva Is Back."
Her popularity shows little sign of fading, with advanced sales for the just 10 concerts of her comeback tour -- five each in Beijing and Shanghai -- reaching 18.88 million yuan ($2.79 million) in only 10 days.
"Is this figure really that accurate?" the typically taciturn Wong asked, in one of her few utterances at the news conference in which she kept the press waiting for three hours and was then on stage for a mere three minutes.
Famous for her icy demeanor, Wong, 40, had more or less withdrawn from the limelight five years ago to concentrate on her charity, set up to help children born with cleft lips and palates, as her second daughter was.
A Beijing native, Wong started out singing syrupy Cantonese love songs in Hong Kong under the English name of Shirley. She has recorded in her native Mandarin almost exclusively since 1994, as well as the odd song in English or Japanese.
Still, there is no word on a new album to follow up 2003's "To Love."
She generates passion bordering on hysteria among fans and manic screaming at her concerts and public appearances.
"She is great, and her songs always touch the deepest places in my heart," wrote "Love You" on Chinese website qq.com.cn.
Wong is known for writing a fair number of her own songs, rare in the fast-moving, bubble-gum world of Chinese pop music where artists often put out several albums in one year.
Counting even Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou as a fan, Wong is also famous for her hit Chinese-language covers of tracks by The Cranberries, Tori Amos and the Cocteau Twins.
Outside of Asia, she is perhaps best known for her occasional film roles, including in Wong Kar-wai's award-winning "Chungking Express."
Additional reporting by Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Sugita Katyal