Newly minted Best Mandarin Male Singer JJ Lin says he probably was not ready to win the Golden Melody award previously.
"If I had won in the past, I wouldn't have gone through the years of disappointment and regret. And what I learnt was that things don't always happen the way you want them to. And when that happens, the challenge is in how you deal with it and then find the strength to move forward," he says in an interview with the local press over the telephone from Taipei on Wednesday.
"That's how I could have come up with my 10th album, Stories Untold. I'm very thankful for having had this process. And I think I'm at my best now in 10 years."
Lin, 33, has been nominated a total of four times for the prestigious Golden Melody award for Best Mandarin Male Singer. His other nods were for the albums She Says (2010), 100 Days (2009) and Cao Cao (2006). He had previously won Taiwan's Golden Melody Award, considered the Grammys of the Chinese music world, for Best New Artist for his debut, Music Voyager (2003).
The ceremony this year was held at Taipei Arena on June 28.On the night itself, Lin's joy at finally nabbing the elusive top accolade was clear to all.
"Yes! So this is how it feels to win the Best Male Singer award!" were his first jubilant words when he reached the stage.
He was up against veteran Hong Kong singer Wakin Chau, Taiwan rocker Chang Chen-yue, rapper Soft Lipa and China's Li Ronghao. He is the first Singaporean to win the award, while Tanya Chua and Stefanie Sun have previously won the accolade of Best Mandarin Female Singer.
Unfortunately, he slipped after leaving the stage and ended up with a swollen right ankle. And that was somewhat of a buzzkill.
He says with a laugh: "I didn't really get a chance to have a wild celebration, like maybe jump in the water or something."
Now that he has hit a high in his career, it seems he is willing to think a little more about his love life.
At the after-party of the awards, the singer-songwriter had revealed that he has a crush on a girl who is not in showbusiness.
He declines to divulge more, saying only: "There's someone who seems quite suitable but I need more time for things to develop. I previously faced a lot of pressure and everyone's speculations, so I hope to approach things in a relaxed manner."
His ideal partner is someone "who's lively, independent and forthright and who's very understanding given the focus on my career".
His preference is for someone outside of entertainment circles because otherwise, "even making friends can cause misunderstandings, it's too complicated".
He could be referring to the intense scrutiny and backlash that followed after he professed his fondness for singer Hebe Tien. He was also previously linked to other women including host-singer Smire Weng and bosomy model Lilian Chen.
At this point, marriage is "a little far away" for the boyish-looking star, but he adds: "I hope not to be alone by the time I turn 40."
Meanwhile, there is his follow-up album to work on.
While the award has given him greater confidence, it also means "greater pressure" as all eyes and ears will be trained on his next offering, which is slated for a year-end release.
"The next album is a reset and a restart. The award is an affirmation of my path as a singer-songwriter and so I will continue to listen to my heart in making music."