"Golden Voice" was Zhou's nickname to commend her singing talents after a singing competition in Shanghai, where she came in second. Zhou rapidly became the most famous and marketable popular singer in the gramophone era up to her death, singing many famous tunes from her own movies. Her frail but eminently musical voice captured the hearts of millions of Chinese of her time.
After introducing "Nightlife In Shanghai" (夜上海), Zhou returned to Shanghai. She spent the next few years in and out of mental institutions owing to frequent breakdowns. Through the years, Zhou led a complicated and unhappy life marked by her failed marriages, illegitimate children and suicide attempts.
Having made a total of 43 movies. Her favourite film was always Street Angel (馬路天使). This contained two theme songs: "Four Seasons Song" (四季歌) and "The Wandering Songstress" (天涯歌女) which enjoyed long-lasting popularity.
Her recordings can be found through CRC Jianian, a joint-venture between the Chinese government and American publishers.
Zhou Xuan was survived by 2 sons, Zhou Wen and Zhou Wei, born of different fathers. According to Zhou Wen's biography, the younger one, Zhou Wei, was the son of Tang Di (唐棣), while the father of Zhou Wen is unknown. Zhou Wei currently lives in Toronto performing at times in the TTC subways, and participating in various musical projects, including teaching. He is known as a flautist.
He has two lovely daughters, both musicians carrying on Zhou Xuan's legacy. The elder of the two, Zhou Xiaoxuan, is an accomplished classical pianist trained at Concordia University and now living in Beijing.
There have been 2 biographies written by Zhou Xuan's surviving family members. The book My Mother Zhou Xuan (我的媽媽周璇) was written by Zhou Wei and his wife Chang Jing (常晶); while a later book, Zhou Xuan Diary (周璇日記), was written by Zhou Wen.
Another adaptation, based on Zhou Wei's biography, is China serial titled Zhou Xuan (周璇), starring Cecilia Cheung. This version of the story was accused by Zhou Wei as false representation of Zhou Xuan, and damaged the reputation of Zhou family.