鸣 is a great example of how two or more simple characters can be combined to form new characters with new meaning. 鸣 is created by combining 口 (Mouth) and 鸟 (Bird) together to form a compound ideogram for how a bird communicates, by singing. Besides "Sing", 鸣 is also used to mean the cry of an animal.
The idiom "一鸣惊人" (Yì Míng Jīng Rén) means: "To amaze people with a single song" and is used to describe a breakout hit, or an amazing performance from a previously unknown artist, like being amazed when hearing a bird sing for the first time.
鸣 is also an excellent example of a Chinese homophone; 鸣 is pronounced exactly the same as 明 (bright), even though they are written differently. Since different words can sound exactly alike, context becomes imperative in determining which Chinese word is being used when spoken.