Stella Chang: Fans do like her songs for sure

Stella Chang performing in Singapore after 20 years.
Stella Chang performing in Singapore after 20 years.PHOTO: HYPE RECORDS

Stella Chang, almost 50, showed time has not dimmed her vocals and her voice grew more vibrant as the night wore on

After a long wait of 20 years, fans here finally had the chance to hear Taiwanese singer Stella Chang perform live in Singapore again.

Remarkably, as the evening went on, her voice grew in strength and vibrance.

She said that fans who had caught her earlier shows had wondered if it was due to some nourishing concoction she was imbibing throughout the concert.

Actually, it was just water. "It's because I practise," she added simply.

It was during the late 1980s and early 1990s that her star shone brightly.

From her debut album, After The Passion (1985), she won fans over with her clear and crystalline high-pitched voice, and she went on to slay Chinese pop's Heavenly Kings when it came to record sales.

  • REVIEW / CONCERT

  • STELLA ZHANG QING FANG LIVE IN SINGAPORE 2016

    Singapore Indoor Stadium

    Last Saturday

Time has not dimmed her vocals and growing older, she turns 50 this year, suits her.

The two-time Golden Melody Award winner for Best Mandarin Female Singer has never been a cutesy teen idol and her soaring love ballads have an emotional maturity which has stood the test of time.

Then again, there are tracks such as I'm Still Young, which she admitted to being a little embarrassed about singing.

The audience of about 7,000 would probably have been happy just to listen to her belting out hits such as California Sunshine, Getting Married and Hard Not To Think Of You.

But it was clear that much thought and effort had gone into the show, partly because Chang did not know when she might have the chance to perform again.

After marrying banker Sung Hsueh-jen in 2005 and settling down in Hong Kong, she has largely stayed out of show business. The couple have two sons.

She joked: "For you, I have abandoned my husband and children."

Singapore was the final stop in her tour after Taipei and Kaohsiung. She embarked on it only because famed producer Jonathan Lee was finally able to be her concert music director.

Some of her songs were presented in a new light, such as Young Everyday, with its big-band arrangement.

In a nod to a major musical influence on her, she performed a medley of folk songs beautifully accompanied by guitars and strings. And then showing her diva side, she introduced a medley of classic hits from the 1990s, such as Michelle Pan's Am I The One You Love The Most, by saying they would have been even more popular if she had sung them.

Another highlight of the evening was when home-grown pop star JJ Lin showed up as her guest star and played the piano as she duetted with him on his hit ballad, Remember. His smooth pipes were a nice counterpoint to her bright vocals.

The staging for the show was elegant and classy and the various elements all came together for the finale. Dressed in a vermillion gown and framed by a giant gazebo with a huge wall of flowers as a backdrop, she cut a striking figure as red confetti drifted down lazily.

Having waited such a long time for her to perform here, her fans roared for an encore after her final song.

Visibly moved when she returned to the stage, she joked: "How am I to go back to my kids like that?"

She performed one more track, A Woman's Fate, and then placated her fans with an energetic "See you next time".

The first number of the more than 21/2-hour-long concert had been Do You Like My Songs.

There was never any doubt what the answer was.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2016, with the headline 'Fans do like her songs for sure'. Print Edition | Subscribe