Happier man, happier songs

Taiwanese singer Eric Chou says his second album is less melancholic, thanks to friends, family and his dog

Taiwanese singer Eric Chou was 17 years old when he was talent-spotted while singing at a celebrity friend's wedding.

Now 21, he has two albums under his belt and a self-penned hit, The Distance Of Love, with more than 65 million online views for its music video. His sophomore album, What Love Has Taught Us, was released earlier this month. A ballad from the album, How Have You Been?, has topped 20 music charts around the region, including those of iTunes and Spotify.

Chou was catapulted into the spotlight in 2014 because of the addictive drama soundtrack The Distance Of Love. This came before the launch of his debut album, My Way To Love, that same year.

The ballad proved to be a hit with audiences of the popular idol drama The Way We Were (2014), in which he also made a cameo as a singer.

Watching the meteoric jump in viewership figures was an affirmation of the singer-songwriter's dreams.

"The online views for The Distance Of Love music video went from 100,000 to 200,000 and continued to climb.


Eric Chou. PHOTO: SONY MUSIC

"It felt like a dream to have so many people listen to and like my song. It gave me confidence in the path I had chosen," says Chou in a telephone interview with The Straits Times to promote What Love Has Taught Us.

Having spent his teenage years studying in the United States, Chou was awash in loneliness while penning songs when he returned to Taiwan.

Those feelings of isolation, coupled with the trepidation of the wait before his big break, were reflected in the melancholy of the tunes in his first album.

"I had just came back from the US. I didn't have many friends. I was gloomy and lonely, that's why my first album sounds so sorrowful," says Chou, whose older brother Alex, 22, is also a singer.

He is quick to add that his second album contains happier songs - such as the breezy confessional Just My Type - after he received much support from family and friends in the last 1 1/2 years.

He is grateful in particular to a furry companion - a two-year-old Shiba Inu called Chopin, named after his favourite classical composer.

My dog Chopin gave me a lot of love. When I was writing songs for my new album, it was by my side and it was one of the first to listen to my compositions.

TAIWANESE SINGER ERIC CHOU

He says: "My dog Chopin gave me a lot of love. When I was writing songs for my new album, it was by my side and it was one of the first to listen to my compositions."

• What Love Has Taught Us is available on digital platforms such as iTunes and Spotify. Details for CD sales will be announced on the Sony Music Singapore Facebook page.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2016, with the headline 'Happier man, happier songs'. Print Edition | Subscribe