Thursday, November 18, 2010

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

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

Singaporean songstress Tanya Chua (蔡健雅), Mando-pop’s urbane
poetess, is a troubadour who delivers lessons on life’s romantic
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
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
“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
“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.”


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