Yoga Lin's concert a highlight at Huayi - Chinese Festival of Arts

This year's pop music offerings at the Chinese Festival of Arts include two singers from the first season of the singing competition One Million Star - Yoga Lin and Eli Hsieh

Action-packed 2016 for Yoga Lin

It is one of the most important questions a man asks in his life and Taiwanese singer Yoga Lin, 29, chose to do it on social media recently.

On Nov 29 last year, in a post addressed to former singer-actress Kiki Ting, 32, he wrote: "I've prepared my knee, prepared what I want to say to you, and... the ring hidden in my pocket that I've already bought.

"Please, marry me."

An hour later was the short and sweet follow-up: "She said yes : )" with a photo of the happy couple hugging. On Facebook, more than 245,000 people liked this; on his Weibo microblogging account, more than 1.4 million gave the thumbs-up.

The counter on Weibo for the number of people who saw this maxed out at 99,999,999, Lin recalls.

Speaking to The Straits Times over the telephone from Taipei, he says: "I wanted to share this important moment in my life with my fans, people who have always supported me. I was quite surprised by the reaction, that it would move others.

It really struck me that I want my music to cross all barriers and resonate with everyone.

YOGA LIN

  • BOOK IT / HUAYI LIVEHOUSE! FEATURING ALFRED SIM

    WHERE: Esplanade Annexe Studio, 1 Esplanade Drive

    WHEN: Feb 3, 10.45pm

    ADMISSION: $15 for Huayi 2017 ticket-holders, $20 for the general public. Includes one drink. Tickets at the door, cash only.

    PiA: FUNNY WAY OF MY LIFE

    WHERE: Esplanade Recital Studio

    WHEN: Feb 10, 7.30pm

    ADMISSION: $30 from Sistic (call 6348-5555 or go to www.sistic.com.sg)

    ELI HSIEH: PROGRESS REPORTS

    WHERE: Esplanade Recital Studio

    WHEN: Feb 11, 7.30pm

    ADMISSION: $30 from Sistic

"I also wanted to create a beautiful memory for her, so this was something I thought about for a long time."

Surely he must have been confident of her response before popping the question online?

He says: "Well, I didn't think the chances of a rejection were very high. But I did have a friend who was rejected twice for not putting enough effort into the proposal."

This was not the only highlight in the singer's eventful 2016.

Lin, the champion of the inaugural season of the singing competition One Million Star in 2007, completed his military service, released his comeback album Sell Like Hot Cakes last year and embarked on a concert tour.

"There were a lot of key turning points and looking back, I think I've achieved pretty good results."

He is performing at the Esplanade Concert Hall tonight as part of Huayi - Chinese Festival of Arts. Tickets are sold out.

His time in the military led him to a realisation.

"I came into contact with people from many different backgrounds and we had to get along 24 hours a day, over a year. It really struck me that I want my music to cross all barriers and resonate with everyone."

In fact, he had already achieved that - his musical adventurousness and emotive singing have been warmly embraced by critics and listeners alike.

He was nominated at the Golden Melody Awards for Best New Artist in 2009 for his debut Mystery Guest and his singles and albums regularly do well on the charts.

Sell Like Hot Cakes marks the first time he sings in Cantonese, on the ballad Worse Comes To Worst. Even more impressively, he managed to get Hong Kong's "God of Song" Eason Chan to help him out on back-up vocals.

"He knows I'm a huge fan of his, but I was surprised that he agreed so quickly, given how busy he is," he adds.

During the recording, producer Eric Kwok made sure that Chan did not inadvertently sing the melody in order not to exert undue pressure on Lin.

But the Taiwanese singer was just simply happy to work with his idol. "All I wanted to do when I saw him was to hug him," and there is photographic proof of that on Facebook and Weibo.

He would also love to do a duet with Ting, now his wife after they registered their marriage on Jan 7, but he says that she is not keen.

She left show business after releasing three albums in the early noughties and acting in television dramas.

For the moment, they keep their music-making as a duo to the privacy of the car.

"We both love (Taiwanese singer-songwriter) Cheer Chen, so when we drive, we play her songs and sing along."


Some other acts to catch

The biggest name for this year's pop music programme at Huayi is Taiwanese singer Yoga Lin. Tickets to his concert at the 1,600-seat Esplanade Concert Hall on Feb 3 have sold out.

Also sold out is the gig by Project Superstar alumna Kelly Poon at the Esplanade Recital Studio on Feb 12.

She has been making a splash with her cover versions of hot Korean tracks, including the theme song Always from the TV hit Descendants Of The Sun (2016), for which she wrote the Mandarin lyrics.

But festivalgoers can still catch these other worthy acts at the Esplanade's Chinese Festival of Arts. They include Project Superstar winner Alfred Sim, who released his debut self-titled EP last year; Taiwanese singer-songwriters Eli Hsieh, crowned Best New Artist at the Golden Melody Awards for his debut album Progress Reports (2015); and PiA, who has gone from fronting her namesake band to striking out as a solo artist.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 03, 2017, with the headline 'Million-dollar reasons to watch Huayi '. Print Edition | Subscribe