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“Nobody knows why the Chinese even like Kenny G so much,” said Jackie Subeck, a music and entertainment consultant from Los Angeles who has been doing business in China for 12 years. He is not paid royalties every time the song is played, she said.
Kenny G is not overwrought about that. Since the 1980s, he has sold more than 75 million albums worldwide. “Do I wish I could get paid for everything? Of course,” he said. “But I surrender to the fact that that’s the way things go there.”
Touring China in the 1990s, he heard “Going Home” in Tiananmen Square, in Shanghai, on a golf course and “in a restroom in the middle of nowhere,” he said. “It made me feel great to know there was no language barrier to connecting with music.”
He has performed in China many times, but he had no insight into his music’s popularity there. “I don’t ask questions because I like to leave some of the mystery,” he said.
Still, Kenny G is aware of the tune’s shepherding function and plans accordingly when he performs in China.
“I save it for last,” he said, “because I don’t want everyone going home early.”