Thursday, November 18, 2010


Late bloomer

Three years after he shot to fame on the ‘Happy Sunday’ TV talent show, WeiBird has finally released an album and is preparing for his first stadium shows

By Andrew C.C. Huang
CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Taipei Times, Fri, Sep 10, 2010


PERFORMANCE NOTES

WHAT: Escape of the Two-Legged Bookshelf WeiBird concert (兩腳書櫥的逃亡—韋禮安演唱會)

WHERE: Taipei International Convention Center (台北國際會議中心), 1, Xinyi Rd Sec 5, Taipei City (台北市信義路五段1號)

WHEN: Sept. 18 at 7:45pm

WHERE: Chung Hsing University Huisun Auditorium

(台中中興大學惠蓀堂), 250 Kuokuang Rd, Taichung City

(台中市國光路250號)

WHEN: Sept. 25 at 7:45pm

ADMISSION: NT$800 to NT$2,600, available through

7-Eleven ibon kiosks or at www.tickets.com.tw

ON THE NET: www.weibird.com

Fans of the now-defunct TV talent show Happy Sunday (快樂星期天) had to wait three years for the arrival of their messiah. But it was worth it.

The show’s champion, William Wei Li-an (韋禮安) aka WeiBird, made a splash this June with the release of his Wei Li-an Debut Eponymous Original Album (韋禮安首張同名全創作專輯).

Wei — who performs his first stadium shows next weekend in Taipei and the following weekend in Taichung — possesses an impressive pedigree (he graduated from National Taiwan University), matinee idol looks and talent to spare as a singer and songwriter. He wows his fans with a smoldering charm reminiscent of Wang Lee-hom (王力宏), his down-to-earth persona and the fact that he writes his own songs, all of which help him stand out in a Mando-pop landscape populated by overly polished, self-promoting idol singers with suave dance moves.

“I’m a singer, not an entertainer,” Wei said in a phone interview on Tuesday. “People usually don’t recognize me on the street. It’s good that my career and life are separate.”

Much of Wei’s charm derives from the fact that he is a bashful, self-effacing star who is quick to flash an awkward smile.

“The most unforgettable thing in life is that I suffered from an acne problem for six years and didn’t dare to go out of the door,” he laughed. “I channeled my energy into singing and found comfort in music.”

“I’m pretty shy and don’t usually approach people. I don’t even go to out too much unless friends ask me,” he said.

But he’s propelled by an impeccable melodic drive. For his debut album, Wei crafted a pop opus by waxing poetic about love and the meaning of life. The album’s lead single, Yes or No (有沒有), is an irresistibly catchy tale of unrequited love.

“I wrote this song in college when I realized my love for a girl was not reciprocated. This song is about unspoken feelings,” Wei said. “[It] simply flew out of me in a few days.”

Wei isn’t considered a vocal powerhouse, but he’s a better singer at live performances than he is on his recordings, as he showed when he delivered a ravishing rendition of Blue Eyes (藍眼睛) at label partner Angela Chang’s (張紹涵) concert last month.

Wei performs at the Taipei International Convention Center (台北國際會議中心) next Saturday and at Taichung’s Chung Hsing University Huisun Auditorium (台中中興大學惠蓀堂) on Sept. 25. The set list will include covers of songs by Mando-pop/R ’n’ B star Khalil Fong (方大同) and veteran crooner Fei Yu-ching (費玉清).





Mando-pop's poetess lets loose

Tanya Chua, one of Mando-pop’s most acclaimed singer-songwriters, celebrates her birthday this week with a concert at Riverside Live House

Taipei Times, F R I D A Y , J A N U A R Y 2 2 , 2 0 1 0

By Andrew C.C. Huang
Contributing Reporter

PERFORMANCE NOTES:
WHAT: Tanya Chua’s 128 Lounge (蔡健雅的128包廂)
WHEN: Thursday at 8:30pm
WHERE: Riverside Live House (河岸留言西門紅樓展演館),
177 Xining S Rd, Taipei City (台北市西寧南路177號)
ADMISSION: NT$500 at the door.
Tickets can be purchased online at tickets.books.com.tw/concert
ON THE NET: www.tanyachuamusic.com


Singaporean songstress Tanya Chua (蔡健雅), Mando-pop’s urbane
poetess, is a troubadour who delivers lessons on life’s romantic
encounters.
On Thursday, her birthday, Chua will present a small concert
at Riverside Live House (河岸留言西門紅樓展演館) titled Tanya Chua’s
128 Lounge (蔡健雅的128包廂), at which she’ll sing signature songs from her
repertoire, in addition to covers.
One of the most popular and acclaimed singer-songwriters in the pop
scene, Chua captivates fans with folksy ballads delivered in her hypnotic
and sultry vocals, often set against a sparse guitar backdrop.
“I have spent many birthdays alone abroad during the past decade.
This year, I intend to celebrate my birthday with my fans,” said Chua
in a phone interview with the Taipei Times on Tuesday. “I rarely go
to KTV, but this year, I intend to break some boundaries and have a
sing-along with fans.”
A two-time Best Female Singer at the Golden Melody Awards (2006
and 2008), Chua is as much revered by her musical peers as her fans.
Her songs Bottomless Abyss (無底洞) and Reminiscence (紀念) are
favorites for hopeful singers on the TV talent show One Million Star
(超級星光大道).
Chua is also a hotly pursued songwriter who has composed hits
such as Wrong Call (打錯了) for Faye Wong (王菲) and Longing for
Love (對愛渴望) for Aska Yang (楊宗偉).
Because of her image as a modern, cosmopolitan woman delving
the vicissitudes of love, Chua has been dubbed the spokeswoman of
the “urban ballad” (都會情歌) by the media.
“I am OK with that label, even if I don’t feel that’s who I am,” Chua
said. “I think it’s fine if people relate to me in ways that I didn’t intend
because I still build bonds with people.”
Chua collaborated with professional lyricists for much of her early
career because she had difficulty writing in Chinese. It wasn’t until the
last two albums that she wrote the majority of her own lyrics.
“There was a period when I felt lost singing those commercial ballads,
written by other people. My confidence was low and I didn’t know what I
was doing standing up there on the stage,” Chua said.
After her contract with Warner Music expired in 2006, Chua worked
with an independent label and produced her last two albums herself.
She found her way when she became a producer. “I got to
know my flaws and strengths more,” Chua said. “I want to
make the best of this second chance and become a bona fide
singer-songwriter.”
“When I write songs, it’s just me sitting at my dinner
table with a guitar,” Chua said. “The best songs are
songs that just flow out of you like a stream and you
don’t think too much. These are typically composed
within five minutes, and they feel natural.”
For those unfamiliar with her albums, Chua
comes across as an ultra-sensitive goddess of love
who lives and breathes romance.
“It’s true I am a very sensitive person. I feel a
lot, and sometimes that’s painful because I can’t
block out emotions,” Chua said. “My sensitivities are
such that memories [of my relationships with people]
stay with me.”
What about her own romantic life? “Just because
I write a lot about love doesn’t mean I have a busy
romantic life,” Chua said. “Sometimes, a previous
romance inspires me to write a song later on,
from a different perspective. You can always
recycle.”
“I would love to do a world tour
someday,” Chua says about her future
career path. “There’s also an English language
album that has been put on
hold for years. I would like to get
that off the ground this year too.”




Spring is in the air

Sandee Chan performs a concert tomorrow of classic hits and numbers from her upcoming album
by Andrew C.C. Huang
CONTRIBUTING REPORTER

Taipei Times, F R I D A Y , A P R I L 1 6 , 2 0 1 0

PERFORMANCE NOTES:
WHAT: Sandee Chan — Spring Goddess
Cometh (陳珊妮 — 春神來了)
WHEN: Tomorrow at 8pm
WHERE: Legacy Taipei, located at
Huashan 1914 Creative Park (華山1914),
Center Five Hall (中五館), 1, Bade Rd Sec
1, Taipei City (台北市八德路一段1號)
ADMISSION: NT$600 in advance
or NT$800 at the door. Tickets are
available through ERA ticketing and
online at www.ticket.com.tw
ON THE NET: www.sandeechan.com

andee Chan’s (陳珊妮) image as an ice queen is set to melt tomorrow
when she ditches her goth-punk guise to unveil a new persona, that of
spring goddess.
As a prelude to the summer release of an as yet untitled springthemed
album, the singer, songwriter and producer is holding a
concert, dubbed Spring Goddess Cometh (春神來了), at Legacy Taipei
tomorrow for which she will perform classic hits and new songs from the
upcoming CD.
“This new album is modern, retro, simple, youthful and laid-back,” Chan
said in a phone interview with the Taipei Times last week. “It’s not as heavy
as my previous works.”
Chan won plaudits as the songstress of hits for heavyweight stars
including Sammi Cheng (鄭秀文), Tony Leung (梁朝偉) and Faith Yang (楊乃文).
Her career reached a new apogee in 2005 when she beat Jay Chou
(周杰倫) to pick up the coveted Best Album Producer and the Best Mandarin-
Language Album awards at the Golden Melody Awards for the extravagant
love opus When We All Wept in Silence (後來我們都哭了).
In 2006 the eponymous debut album from the group Miss Gold Digger (拜
金小姐) (a band Chan formed with Hong Kong musician Veronica Lee
(李端嫻) and Taiwanese illustrator Cola King (可樂王)) took the Best Group
Award at the Golden Melody Awards.
“These days, computers allow everyone to produce professional music,”
said Chan. “I’m always listening to new music on the Internet and looking
for chances to explore new ideas or collaborate with new musicians.”
Two years later Chan won the Best Female Singer Award at the Golden
Melody Awards with the pop-meets-orchestra If There Is Something
Important (如果有一件事是重要的).
Her fans and friends call her “princess” (公主), a nickname that befits
Chan’s commanding and majestic stage presence, and she has a reputation
as a tough operator.
Asked what defines good music, Chan said: “I don’t think there is such a
thing as good music.”
“Music is such a strange thing because it’s all tied to your emotional
experiences,” she said. “We all have music from our high school or college
years that we are emotionally attached to. Whatever music you respond to
is good music.”
Over the past few years, Chan’s media profile has skyrocketed with her
turn as an acid-tongued judge on the TV talent show Super Idol (超級偶像).
“There are already so many singers out there launched by TV talent
shows. I wonder how many more we can accommodate,” Chan said. “The
talent show can give you instant recognition. After that, you still need to face
whatever challenges come up.”
In addition to music, Chan published the award-winning illustrated book
Gloomy Sunday Rosy (short-listed in the Most Beautiful Books in the World
category at the Leipzig Book Fair) in 2005 and displayed her photographs in
an exhibition titled Little by Little in 2007.
In 2000 she penned the theme song performed by superstar Tony Leung
for Wong Kar Wai’s (王家衛) In the Mood for Love (花樣年華), and she wrote
and produced the whole sound track for the blockbuster Taiwanese movie
Monga (艋舺), which was released in February.
Asked if she would like to push the envelope further by tackling acting,
Chan laughed: “We actually talked about having me play a gangster boss’
mistress during the filming of Monga. But that didn’t pan out.”




















Joanna Gets Real

Taipei Times, Sep 24, 2010

Joanna Wang is in charge of the set list for the first time tonight at her concert at Legacy Taipei
by ANDREW C.C. HUANG
Contributing Reporter

Performance notes
What: Joanna — New Tokyo Terror
Live Concert (Joanna—新東京恐懼 Live
Concert)
When: Tonight at 8pm
Where: Legacy Taipei (傳音樂展演空間),
located at Huashan 1914 Creative Park
(華山1914), Center Five Hall (中五館), 1,
Bade Rd Sec 1, Taipei City (台北市八德路
一段1號)
Admission: NT$600 to NT$1,000,
available through 7-Eleven ibon kiosks,
ERA ticketing outlets or online at
www.ticket.com.tw
On the Net: www.sonymusic.com.tw/pop/joannawang

For fans of Joanna Wang (王若琳), now is your chance
to see the “real” Joanna, the outspoken singer/
songwriter engaged in a very public struggle to break
free from the jazz princess image manufactured by
her label, Sony.
In a candid e-mail interview, Wang — who will perform
more than 20 new, unreleased songs tonight at Legacy
Taipei — slams Sony for packaging her music as “jazz,”
reveals why her band is called New Tokyo Terror, and
shows her sardonic sense of humor when she says she
drinks “a glass of hatorade every morning.”

Taipei Times: Will you be performing new songs you’ve
written at the Legacy concert? Can you describe them?
Joanna Wang: I will be performing about 20 or more new
and unreleased songs. All written in the last four or five years.
The show will be divided into two parts, the former part
being my more classically influenced songs, which are played
in a baroque-esque manner, the latter being my more pop/
rock influenced music played in a traditional rock band setup.
There’s a costume involved as well! How very exciting.
TT: Will you perform songs from The Adult Storybook CD
from your second album? Any cover songs?
JW: I will perform three songs from The Adult Storybook.
As for covers ... a most rockin’ and totally awesome tune
called This Town Ain’t Big Enough for the Both of Us by a
badass band by the name of Sparks.
TT: What do you think about your current status as the
preeminent “jazz singer” in the Chinese-speaking world?
JW: I think anyone who dares call him or herself a music
buff (I suppose one such as myself ... ) would say that I am
not, in fact, a so-called jazz singer. I’ve always been infuriated
at the fact that the marketing team I worked with decided
to promote me under the guise of “jazz,” when I clearly only
sang commercial pop ballads. If these ballads I had to sing
are so easily labeled as jazz or bossa nova, then I’m sure that
would be a true insult to actual jazz musicians. Deceit is a
terrible thing and this is a blatant (and not unusual) case of
deceit to consumers from the record label.
TT: What kind of musician would you like to become? What
kind of songs would you like to sing?
JW: I’d just sing my own songs. Trust me, if you’ve been
misunderstood ever since the beginning, the first thing you’d
want to be would be yourself.
TT: Which singer do you admire and would like to emulate?
JW: Danny Elfman. What a colorful musical career he’s
had! From his time in The Mystic Knights of the Oingo
Boingo, to Oingo Boingo and to his career as a TV and film
composer ... I’ve adored works from all of those phases.
TT: Tell me about the story behind the group New Tokyo
Terror. Do you write songs with them or by yourself?
JW: New Tokyo Terror is actually just me with a roster of
musicians that is constantly changing due to mostly location
and what kind of music we’re playing. I write all of the music.
The names New Tokyo Terror and my sometimes-used stage
name Chicken Joanna come from a manga called Fourteen
Years I read in my teens.
TT: You described yourself as a “cynical, angry character” in
our previous interview. What kind of songs do you write these
days? Are you going into darker and more emotional terrain?
JW: My writing style hasn’t changed much, as a few of my
more representative pieces were written when I was around 18.
I think “emotional” is a pretty lame-o word. And yes, I am very,
very cynical. I drink a tall glass of hatorade every morning!
Also I don’t trust people who use LOL without being ironic.
TT: What do you envision your next album to be like?
JW: Dark and mischievous. A mix of the classical (think
baroque), prog rock (if I may ... ) and synthesizers! I hope it
doesn’t come out too terribly.

This interview has been edited and condensed.

Nothing Succeeds Like Success




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A-mei: Rebel with a Cause
















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