Music sync: How Emma Stevens scored 500 million streams in China

music sync and Emma Stevens

Shortly before a new album release, Emma Stevens’ career received a boost when her music went viral in China thanks to a sync deal.

While gearing up to release her new five-track album Emma Stevens enjoyed a surprise fillip from the other side of the world.

A Place Called You, a single she released in the UK five years ago, became an overnight hit in China.

The song featured in Where Are We Going? Dad, a popular reality TV show in which celebrity fathers take their offspring on rural adventures. Within weeks the track had been downloaded 500 million times on the Chinese music streaming site NetEase.

Recognising the Far East could be a huge new market for her music, Stevens followed up with a seven-day tour. On her return she told iSingmag performing in China had been an incredible experience.

“It was amazing to go to a completely new place and discover people really loved my music,” says Stevens, who has also had sync deals with UK shows such as The Apprentice. “At one point I looked out at the audience and they were singing along to the song. It was so sweet.”

Stevens, who much like her music appears to be perennially upbeat, is now preparing to tour the UK to promote Atoms, which she co-wrote with Grammy Award winner Charlie Midnight.

It’s what she calls a “mini album”, a collection of five songs including the single Because It’s You, a collaboration with The Feeling’s, Kevin Jeremiah.

A self-confessed surfer chick, Stevens says her music is all about “sharing positivity, loving nature and loving people”. It’s an ethos inspired by her mother, who died from cancer six years ago.

“She was really influential and taught me to play the guitar,” Stevens says. “She could see [that at the beginning of my career] I was struggling with self confidence and that it was preventing me from pursuing my dream, so she really encouraged me.

“My mum also taught me to be positive and kind. After she passed away it all hit me at once and I realised that I wanted to share that outlook with people. Life can give you hard things to deal with, but you can get through it.”.

As part of her mission to be a positive force, Stevens (who could well be one of the nicest people working in the music industry) regularly goes into hospitals armed with a ukulele and sings lullabies to sick babies (read more HERE).

“So many people are just out for themselves,” she says. “It’s worth it’s weight in gold if you can be a nice person and offer something a little bit more than just ‘I want something from you’.

“Be someone who a publisher or a music executive might want to call up for a chat, be accessible, treat people well.”


Bronwyn Bidwell is an Australian journalist and editor based in London. She enjoys writing about music, books, history and popular culture.