When Wang Jun auditions for "America's Got Talent" on Nov. 7, she'll be pursuing two dreams — singing professionally and sharing a piece of her culture with America.
Wang moved to Green Valley from Yichang, China, four months ago and married Richard Welch in June. They were introduced through mutual friends.
Sitting in the living room of her home with her husband and two massive Newfoundlands — Ziggy and Mason — Wang recalls how she was surprised by the friendliness she found after arriving here. People smile and wave whenever they pass by, she said.
"Green Valley is beautiful," she said in Mandarin, with the help of a translation app. "It's clean, the air is fresh. I love this place."
It is something Wang said she wants others in China to experience.
"I hope some of my Chinese relatives and friends come to this city, to travel from China to the United States to talk and exchange art," Wang said. "This has always been a wish of mine."
Now Wang is preparing to share a bit of her culture with the U.S. through music. In November, she will travel to Las Vegas where she will be auditioning for "America's Got Talent," a reality talent show where performers compete for a $1 million prize. Last year, dance students from Walden Grove High School had a long run on the program.
Las Vegas is the last step before she would potentially perform in front of a live audience on national television. Welch helped her register for the audition; no audition tape was required.
This is the first time Wang will sing in front of an American audience but not her first time on stage. In China, Wang auditioned for the Beijing Opera and was offered a chance to sing and dance with the group, but she said no.
"Her mother made her turn it down to go to university instead of show business," Welch said.
Wang plans to sing "The Moon Represents My Heart," by popular Taiwanese singer Teresa Teng, who died in 1995. The Mandarin song, also very popular, was released in 1977. While Wang is still learning English, she speaks multiple languages and will sing this in the original Mandarin.
"This song is very famous in China," she said. "It represents everyone and pure love between people — love, affection and friendship."
The song provides her with something familiar and something she hopes will help her to share a piece of her home. It is also a song that Wang, 64, remembers from her youth and has always enjoyed. But Wang said she isn't sure how a song in Mandarin will be received by judges and audiences.
She isn't showing any nerves so far and with a smile said it should be OK, and that she will just go there and try.
"In fact, I didn't have the courage," Wang said. "My husband encouraged me to participate in 'America's Got Talent.'"
Welch said he is proud his wife is taking the leap and pursuing her dreams of singing for an audience.
Wang said her mother didn't want her to make a career out of singing, but now that she is older she just wants a chance to fulfill her dreams from when she was younger, she said.
"I watched 'America's Got Talent' and there wasn't a 64-year-old Chinese woman on that show and I wanted to give it a try," she said with a laugh. "And, yeah, it is a big challenge for me."