Discovered by Avex Trax at an audition in China in 2006, she made her debut in Japan the following year. Her main producer and composer is Kazuhito Kikuchi and she is also known for playing the erhu.
In 2009, her ninth Japanese single "Kuon no Kawa" debuted at No.3 on the Oricon weekly charts, the highest ever by a singer from China.
Alan is a native of Garze Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture in Sichuan province, and her native language is Rgyal rong, one of the Qiangic languages, while the speakers are designated as Tibetan. Alan was born in Kangding to a large family; her father had ten siblings and her mother had eight. She grew up with her grandparents in nearby Danba, often referred to as "Beauty Valley". The name "Alan", which is in fact her official surname, is a self-created shortened form of a combination of the sinified Tibetan names of her parents Atu and Lantai. Her given name "Dawa Dolma" was bestowed upon her by a Buddhist monk and means "Heavenly maiden of the moon" in Tibetan. Alan's father was a local government official and her mother was a singer in the local Art Troupe.
She was made to play the erhu at an early age as a punishment for tomboy behavior, and in 1997 left her hometown to live with her aunt and study at the Middle and High School affiliated with the Sichuan Conservatory of Music in Chengdu, after ranking first in the erhu audition as a fourth grader.
In 2003, she was accepted to the PLA Academy of Art in Beijing and double-majored in vocal music and erhu. Playing the erhu, she performed traditional Chinese music with a group of girls at the 2006 gala performance near Cairo, which celebrated the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Chinese-Egyptian diplomatic ties.
During this time, Alan performed as a singer throughout China and discovered the pop music such as Faye Wong, Jacky Cheung and Andy Lau. In 2005, she released her first Chinese album, Shengsheng Zui Rulan, covering 13 songs by more established C-pop singers, which helped her reduce her student debt burden to her parents.
In October 2006, selected to represent mainland China together with Vision Wei (with whom she later collaborated for Jiayou! Ni You Me!), Alan won second place at the 9th Asia New Singer Competition, narrowly losing to Filipina singer Maria Donna Taneo by 0.005 points.
In April 2006, Alan distinguished herself from roughly 40,000 hopefuls when Avex Trax held auditions throughout Chinese cities that year. After graduating with excellence a year later, she became Avex's first signed artist from China and moved to Tokyo, Japan in September 2007. In November 2007, her first Japanese single "Ashita e no Sanka" was released.
In May 2008, Alan released Shiawase no Kane/Ai Jiushi Shou and all profits from the songs were donated to the Red Cross to help the victims of the Sichuan earthquake in her home province. A later Japanese single titled Gunjō no Tani was also dedicated to the people of Sichuan.
In June 2008, Alan sang the theme song "Natsukashii Mirai (Longing Future)" for NHK's Save the Future special TV programs which raised awareness of the environment nationwide. Beginning with this song, which was themed on earth, Alan's next five Japanese singles each dealt with a traditional Buddhist element from the Japanese Godai or Tibetan Bön.
Chosen to sing the theme songs (Xin Zhan: Red Cliff and Chibi: Da Jiangdong Qu) of the two-episode Chinese blockbuster Red Cliff, Alan performed at the Cannes Film Festival in May 2008. The Japanese versions, "Red Cliff (Shin-Sen)" and "Kuon no Kawa", were recorded for the films' showings in Japan.
In April 2009 Alan's ninth single "Kuon no Kawa" [River of Eternity] reached No. 3, the highest chart placement ever for a Chinese artist in Japan.
Alan held her first Japan tour in January 2010, taking in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka.
On February 3, 2010, Alan released a double A-side single, "Diamond/Over the Clouds". "Diamond" was used as the second closing to the anime Inuyasha: The Final Act. While "Over the Clouds" was used as the theme song for the PSP video game, God Eater.
On July 23, 2010 Alan performed with a symphonic orchestra at Shibuya Orchard Hall, performing 23 songs in multiple languages. She also began using Twitter to communicate directly with fans.
In August 2011 alan announced that she will be focus her activities in China. She held a live in August 31, 2011 in Japan. In October was announced that alan's Chinese label, Avex China, dissolved and she was transferred to Yuehua Music.
Her first single under the new label called "Wǒ huíláile (I'm back)" was released as digital single in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong and was composed by JJ Lin.
Alan starred as the female lead, the "Crystal Goddess", in the September 21st "Bird Nest- Attraction" musical.
In June 2012, Alan released her first Chinese album under Yuehua Music, Love Song, which includes 10 new songs produced by some famous C-pop producer like Anson Hu and Yuan Weiren, and a Japanese version of the album's title song.
In 2013, Alan auditioned for the Chinese version of popular TV Show The X-Factor Zhongguo Zui Qiang Yin. When asked of the reason of joining a singing competition show, Alan expressed her disapproval of being known as the singer of theme songs to films and television serials such as Red Cliff, Inuyasha and Bu Bu Jing Xin, and decided to have a "new start" to her singing career. Alan past the auditions, however she was eliminated before reaching the final twelve due to her judge Lo Ta-yu's critiquing on Alan's inability to reach high notes and that she wasn't suitable for the competition. Her elimination was deemed controversial due to additional footage displaying Alan's ability to reach her high notes.
Alan has also provided her voice to sing the theme song of Chinese Martial Arts MMORPG Wen Jian. The song is named The Sword Between Heaven and Earth (天地問劍).
On May 24, 2014 Alan held her first concert in Japan since 2011.
July 2014 marked the release of her fourth Chinese studio album Mo Lan, which includes five previously released digital singles: "Huí Wàng", "Sùmìng Héngzhe Xiě", "Ài Wèi Zǒu Yuǎn", "Tiān Dì Wèn Jiàn" and "Home".
In August 2014, she officially announced a year-end concert entitled Alan symphony that would take place on December 20 that year in Tokyo.
On December 20, 2014, Alan held two "Alan Symphony 2014" concerts in Nippon-Seinenkan (日本青年館), Tokyo, Japan. One concert started at 15:00 and the other at 19:00.
In addition to Mandarin Chinese and Japanese, Alan also sings in Tibetan, especially in her native Kham Ke (e.g. "sign" in Hitotsu and "Tennyo ~interlude~" in Voice of Earth). One distinctive singing style of Alan's is the so-called "Tibetan wail", where she is able to stretch her vocals for a long period of time at very high notes. She has said her singing style is instinctive and is unique to her tribe. Alan was also classically trained at the PLA music school.
In addition to erhu, Alan can also play the piano. She has recently started composing her own songs (e.g. "Together" in Voice of Earth).
Alan is a Tibetan Buddhist and aims to sing about "love and peace".我的双面女友 (2012)
The Rise of a Tomboy (2016)