Li Jian was born in Harbin, Northeast China. His father, a Peking Opera artist, had expected his son to follow in his footsteps. But to his dismay, Li Jian soon reached the height of 1.8 meters as an adolescent, too tall for the opera performances.
Li later said that it was an ordinary guitar that changed his life for good.
A movie called "A Team of Guitarists on the Street" swept across China in the early 1980s. Li Jian was crazy about the film and soon fell in love with the instrument. Li's mother bought her son a brand new guitar that cost her two months worth of savings at a time when Chinese people only earned around forty to fifty yuan a month.
A self-taught guitarist, Li Jian practiced a lot and showed great enthusiasm for pop songs. An opportunity came when Tsinghua University was planning to recruit students with musical talent. As Li had won top prize in the National Middle School Students Singing Competition, he was enrolled by the university as a major in electronic engineering.
Li Jian is true to his own feelings towards life and writing his own music that never pretends to cater to the tastes of others. In the world of miscellaneous music, Li Jian stands out for his sensitive musicality and his perseverance that helps him reach where he wants to be.