The singer in the photo above is Mary-Jess Leaverland, who was a winner on a Chinese version of X Factor. I really loved her story. Mary-Jess was studying music and Chinese and Sheffield University when she went to Nanjing for her year abroad. While there, she entered the TV singing competition and won. It’s not that common for English people to speak another language, so I’m always amazed when I see someone who has made a real effort to go out of their comfort zone like this. Her singing is quite an unusual mix of Chinese pop melodies with English and Chinese lyrics. Plus, she is this really sweet and humble kid who’s had her dream of becoming a recording artist come true and she speaks in this incredibly grateful way, like she can’t believe her luck. No arrogance, no celebrity. It’s really refreshing.