Cao Fang (曹方; formerly 曹芳; b. Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, Yunnan, China, May 6, 1983) is a Chinese indie pop singer-songwriter and melodica player. She sings in the Mandarin language. She has a young-sounding voice and a sweetly melodic style that has been compared to the Taiwanese singer Cheer Chen (whom Cao regards as one of her favorite performers). Her style has also drawn comparisons to The Cranberries and Faye Wong. Some of her songs show the influence of trip-hop, bossa nova, and the music of China's ethnic minorities, such as the Jino people, whom she visited in Xishuangbanna as a child. Her English nickname is Icy.
She was born on May 6, 1983 in the Xishuangbanna Dai Autonomous Prefecture, in China's southwestern province of Yunnan. In 1996 she went to Kunming to study. In high school, she began writing songs and joined a band. The band recorded a demo, which impressed the musician Xiao Ke, who heard it in approximately 2001 while recording traditional music in Yunnan, but was unable to locate her. Several months later, she came to Beijing for a university students' original music competition, for which Xiao Ke was a judge; she won the awards for best lyrics and best group, and Xiao Ke invited her to join the label he had founded.
Cao moved to Beijing in 2002, where she began working as an assistant at Xiao Ke's label. Soon thereafter she signed to the label and became a professional singer. She released her first CD, Black Perfume (黑色香水), in 2003. The album was poorly promoted and sold poorly, but she gradually achieved renown via discussion of her works on Chinese blogs.
Her second album, Encounter Me (遇见我), was released in 2005 on the Tai You Wen Hua (钛友文化) label, selling over 100,000 copies and winning several awards. In the same year, she changed the written form of her name from 曹芳 to 曹方. Her five-track EP, Farther Than the Sky (比天空还远), was released on her own label in late 2007.
In 2008, GE Healthcare used her song "In Summer" (在夏天) in a television commercial for Healthcare Re-imagined. She has also composed songs for several other Chinese singers, including Jian Haixin, Qin Hailu, and the first Super Girl winner An Youqi.
Her hobbies include drawing and lomography.
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