When Harry Harding, known to his fans as "Hazza," arrived in China with a passion for Chinese pop, little did he know that he'd top the charts one day.
The 31-year old singer and television presenter has made a unique mark in the Chinese music industry. He released his debut single "Let Go" in 2012 and won the "Most Popular Internet Celebrity 2011" at the 56.com short film awards in Beijing.
Hazza's rise to fame now sees his newer songs, such as "I Was Wrong," peaking on national music charts at the fifth spot and broadcasted on over 25 radio stations in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macau.
Hazza has gone on to win several awards since then, including the China News Award, which is presented to the country's most outstanding journalists. Before he knew it, he was also a popular name in the media industry.
A song of 'appreciation'
Hazza had been curious about China since he was in primary school, which offered Mandarin classes. In an interview with Courier Mail, the media personality recalls listening to his Chinese friends share stories about China.
"They told me all about China and their lives there which really fascinated me," he said. "I bought an album by the Chinese singer Jay Chou in China Town. It frustrated me that I couldn't understand the lyrics so I decided to learn Chinese.
"I never imagined that one day I would actually be singing the songs."
Hazza studied Mandarin at Griffith University’s School of Languages and Linguistics, which he is now grateful for.
"Singing in Chinese, for me, is fairly symbolic because I hope it manages to show my appreciation for the culture here, and also because I work with Chinese people on producing the songs, I think it stands as a testament to the fact that Chinese people and foreigners can come together and be creative and actually combine different elements to produce something worthwhile," Harding said in an interview.
Finding a connection
The support Hazza receives for his programs and media content from the Chinese audience and Hazza's passion for pop and music have complemented his studio presence.
After winning the China News Award in 2017, he was a part of several other talk shows, including FaceTime and China Charts. His videos on his YouTube page have continually attracted engaging viewers.
"I feel like here, in China, it's not every day you would turn on the TV and see an Australian," Hazza says in another interview, adding that he believes that misunderstandings between Chinese people and Australians could change. "It's about connecting the community," he adds.
Hazza has also impacted the Chinese and international communities through his work. The key to it all, he believes, lies in going with the flow.
"If every time you come up against a challenge and treat it like it's the end of the world, you're going to have such a depressing time. There are 1.4 billion people here, and they all manage, so why can't you?" he's said, "You can't change other people. The only thing you can change is your input in those interactions. Honestly, there are no other ways you can go about living in China."