Balladeer finds confidence in TV singing contest

Della Ding Dang
Della Ding DangPHOTO: ROCK RECORDS SINGAPORE

Taking part in reality singing contests has boosted the careers of Singaporean singer Kit Chan and Hong Kong-based belter G.E.M.

Still, Chinese balladeer Della Ding Dang was full of trepidation when invited to join Chinese reality TV singing contest King Of Mask Singer earlier this year.

"When I first had a chat with the director, he could tell that I was on my guard. He told me to my face that I was afraid of critics and worried that my vocal abilities would not get recognised," said Ding Dang, 32, in an interview on Monday.

The Taiwan-based crooner need not have worried. Her powerhouse vocals earned the votes of the celebrity judges and audiences and she emerged victorious on an episode of the weekly contest.

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Originating from South Korea, the TV show pits masked professional singers against one another. The contestants are unveiled only when they win the weekly round of competition.

Those who have been unmasked include Hong Kong's Hacken Li and Malaysia's Gary Chaw.

The humble Ding Dang said that the experience on the show has been a confidence booster: "I've become more confident. Now I tell myself that I can do it. Previously, I always had reservations and would hold back."

As losing on a televised programme could be ego-bruising, the contestant facing elimination is given the choice to remove his mask or keep his identity under wraps.

Ding Dang, however, declares that if she had lost, she would have no qualms revealing her identity.

"It doesn't matter what the results are. To me, what's important was that I took up the challenge to make a breakthrough," says the singer, who is signed to Taiwanese label B'in Music which is co-founded by A-list Mandopop band Mayday.

The competition has also boosted Ding Dang's career.

Her manager reveals: "She has received more engagements for commercial performances in China. They almost always request her to sing her competition piece A Thousand Year Love."

Local audiences can hear her singing live at her upcoming concert in February.

In town to promote her show, which is titled The First Day To Say "I Love You", she tells of how one of her concerts brought a pair of lovers together.

"A pair of fans met as strangers at my concert, subsequently they became friends and now they are married and expecting a child," says Ding Dang, who is known for idol drama theme songs such as Taiwanese idol drama Autumn's Concerto (2009).

Though coy about her own relationship status, she is looking forward to finding her soulmate.

Listing the qualities of her ideal man, she says: "I'm looking for someone I can chat with. It will be great if he's a good cook and can whip up a meal. I'll be in charge of eating."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 23, 2015, with the headline 'Balladeer finds confidence in TV singing contest'. Print Edition | Subscribe