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Ai Weiwei releasing heavy metal album

Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, currently the most influential artist in the world, is branching out into music. The artist this morning announced plans to debut his first album, which will consist of nine tracks ranging from heavy metal, punk and pop-influenced tracks.

The project was borne out of Ai's highly publicized 81-day-long detention in 2011. "When I was arrested, they (his guards) would often ask me to sing songs, but because I wasn't familiar with music, I was embarrassed," the artist told Reuters via telephone. "It helped me pass the time very easily.

"All I could sing was Chinese People's Liberation Army songs," Ai said. "After that I thought: when I'm out, I'd like to do something related to music."

Ai's album, "Divina Commedia," named after Dante's poem, is also a an allusion to his Chinese nickname, "Ai God" (As Reuters explains, "God" in Chinese is "Shen", while "Divina Commedia" in Chinese is "Shen qu"). He has written the lyrics and sings on the tracks, saying, "I really loved it. I had to make so much effort; I have never known music before. I'm really very passionate."

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