For his 26th birthday on May 24 this year, Dimash Kudaibergen received an unusual gift – 2,780 trees planted in the north-western desert of China by his Chinese fan club in his name. How did a Kazakhstani singer get so popular in China so much that it has even propelled him to global fame?
It all began in 2017 when Dimash, as he is popularly known, took part in one of China’s most popular TV singing contests, “Singer”. His debut performance blew the audience away. With his impressive six-octave vocal range, his rendition of the French song “SOS d’un terrien en détresse” earned him first place in the opening episode.
He shot to fame overnight, garnering over three million followers on Weibo, China’s popular microblogging website.
In the seventh episode, Dimash fulfilled his childhood dream of sharing his Kazakh culture with the world. Dressed in an elaborate ethnic costume, he played the dombra – a folk string instrument – and charmed the audience with a traditional Kazakh folk song, “Daididau”.
He eventually placed second in the show but succeeded in winning the hearts of many Chinese. Better yet, he has helped to deepen ties between Kazakhstan and China.
“I feel responsible for making my own contribution to the friendship of the two countries”, he said in an interview with CGTN. “It’s music that makes this happen, brings the two countries closer. Music is beyond boundaries.”
Apart from China, Dimash has also found a solid fan base in the United States. In December 2019, the singer held a sold-out concert at the Barclays Centre in New York, where he performed to a 19,000-strong audience.
Singing aside, the musical prodigy also plays six other instruments besides the dombra: the piano, drums, guitar, keyboard, marimba and bayan, a Russian accordion.
His parents, who are both singers, noticed early on that he was pitch-perfect and displayed a keen interest in musical instruments. He started performing at a young age and has taken part in numerous singing competitions. Despite being offered a place in the Astana Opera, Dimash, who holds a master’s degree in Composition from the Kazakh National University of Arts, has opted to pursue a career in contemporary music.
Besides his musical talents, he is also known for his philanthropic acts. In 2016, for instance, he donated all his profits from a concert held in his hometown of Aktobe to aid needy families. This year, he gave five tons of food to 102 families in Nur-Sultan and Aktobe who were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Through music, Dimash works to spread joy and forge friendships while promoting Kazakhstan’s culture. This is his gift to the world.