Taipei - Li Ronghao and Li Jian, two Chinese musicians who are virtual unknowns outside China, dominate this year's Golden Melody Awards with five nominations each - ahead of the likes of JJ Lin and Tanya Chua.
Li Ronghao is up for Best Mandarin Male Singer for his debut album Model, alongside bigger names such as Singapore's Lin (Stories Untold). The two will contend with Taiwan's Wakin Chau (Jianghu), Chang Chen-yue (Ayal Komod) and rapper Soft Lipa (Recreate), said Taiwan Apple Daily today.
Li Ronghao's Model and Li Jian's Classic were also nominated on Tuesday for Best Mandarin Album, alongside Chau's Jianghu, Chang's Ayal Komod and Soft Lipa's Recreate.
But the Lis did not crack the Best Song Of The Year category, which was held by the Taiwanese. Jonathan Lee (Hill) will contend with Chang Chen-yue (Holding You), Mayday (Battle Array Song), Cheer Chen (Gypsy In Memory), Tizzy Bac (This Is Because We Feel Pain) and Jeannie Hsieh (Big Sister).
Singaporean Tanya Chua, who has won Best Mandarin Female Singer a record three times, may win her fourth with her album Angel And Devil. She will contend with Malaysia's Penny Tai (Unexpected), Hong Kong's Denise Ho (Coexistence), and Taiwan's Faith Yang (Zero) and Jia Jia (Alone The Way).
The nominations are less starry than usual, as A-mei, Wang Leehom, Jay Chou and Jolin Tsai did not release records last year.
Li Ronghao, who has written and produced songs for stars such as Rainie Yang and Na Ying, released his first record after about 10 years in the business, said Taiwan Apple Daily. He said of his nominations: "I'm so happy, I don't know what to say. I'll be attending the Golden Melody Awards in June."
Li Jian became better-known four years ago, when Faye Wong sang his song Legend on CCTV's Chinese New Year's Eve special, said China Times. In addition to Best Mandarin Album, he earned one nod for Best Album Producer and three nods for Best Musical Arranger, pretty much locking the category.
The Golden Melody Awards, hosted by Harlem Yu, will be held at the Taipei Arena on June 28.