Chinese singer-songwriter Yisa Yu says singing keeps her alive

Warm Water (above).
Warm Water (above).PHOTO: ROCK RECORDS
Yisa Yu (above).  -- PHOTO: ROCK RECORDS
Yisa Yu (above).  -- PHOTO: ROCK RECORDSPHOTO: ROCK RECORDS

One could say that things are kind of fluid for China's Yisa Yu Kewei.

She has a new album, Warm Water, out in shops, and seems to be making the transition to a singer- songwriter.

On her last album, Lost Love (2012), she contributed lyrics and music to one track, Gown. This time around, she wrote the music and lyrics for four songs.

Speaking over the telephone from Beijing, she says: "When it comes to creating, it's like a gift that's bestowed upon me by the heavens. Often, I would dream of singing a new song with both music and lyrics in place and beautiful arrangement. I would record that with my phone immediately."

But that does not mean she feels the need to compose something for her subsequent albums.

Yu, 31, says that it really depends on whether inspiration strikes. Guess she is someone who goes with the flow.

It is singing that remains all important to her. "Singing is the most meaningful thing that keeps me surviving in this world. The feelings and enjoyment I get from it are totally different," she notes.

She misses the days of performing in cafes and pubs when she would perform more than 30 songs in a session, "like holding a concert every day".

To her, a singer plays a role similar to that of warm water.

She muses: "You might not think about it but it can play an important part. Say, when you're taking medication or cooking some dishes, warm water is a necessity."

She also compares legendary songbird Teresa Teng's voice to warm water, not in the sense of it being tepid, but because "her voice is particularly comforting".

Another change that took place recently had to do with her crowning glory. Having kept a short bob for five years, she reportedly let her hair grow out in order to have better luck in her romantic life - and she had reportedly succeeded by getting together with a rich man.

But she says: "Oh, that's not true. In school, I used to be the passive sort and would not take the initiative to go after someone I liked. And maybe that's why I haven't found anyone in such a long time."

Forget men. If Yu were to pursue anything tenaciously, it is music.

She had auditioned a few times for the local legs of the televised singing competition Super Girl before breaking out in the 2009 season, in which she was placed fourth.

She then signed up with Rock Records and made her regional debut with the album Blue Shorts in 2010. Before that, she had released three cover albums for the China market.

And there has been talk of her returning to the contest arena in I Am A Singer 3, the show which has made stars of Hong Kong's G.E.M. and Malaysia's Shila Amzah.

While Yu would not confirm if she is taking part, she adds: "I haven't been nervous for a while, so joining such a contest could be good. Being nervous could spur me to perform better on stage."

bchan@sph.com.sg

Warm Water is out in shops.