Taiwanese singer Fang Wu wants to be voice for the young

Besides singing, Fang Wu hopes to try her hand at acting if the opportunity arises.
Besides singing, Fang Wu hopes to try her hand at acting if the opportunity arises.PHOTO: GIN TAY FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

Taiwanese singer Fang Wu hopes her music can help others like her attain their goals

8Q

Before her performances on singing competitions, Taiwan's Fang Wu would keep up a steady patter of chatter with fellow contestants.

Rest assured it is not her ploy to distract her rivals, she says. With a laugh, she adds: "I wanted to warm up my vocals, but didn't know how to do that, so I just kept talking. And that helped me relax as well."

Wu, 25, took part in Super Idol in 2008 and 2009, in One Million Star in 2011, and came in third on The Most Beautiful Harmonies last year.

The bachelorette with sweet and evocative vocals released her debut album, I'm Promising, last September. Its lead single Accumulated Loneliness' official music video has logged more than 3.4 million views on YouTube.

She was in town recently to promote the album.

1 What is your most memorable moment from the various competitions?

Taking part in The Most Beautiful Harmonies in Beijing, because I was paired up with professional singers. Before that, I was mostly on my own. As a lone participant, I feel kind of directionless and not quite sure what I'm doing. On Harmonies, I got to work with China singer Zhang Jie, who guided me along the way.

2 You have said you are shy by nature. So why did you take part in these contests?

It all started because I loved to sing and loved music and didn't know it would be so scary to step on stage. In fact, the first time I took part in a singing contest was as part of a duo, to boost my confidence.

Taking part in these contests has helped to bolster my courage on stage.

3 What did your parents think of your decision to be a singer?

My dad initially objected to it. But I think he's proud of me now as he would boast to his friends, "That's my daughter on television." My mum has always been more supportive in this regard.

When my album was completed, I gave it to him to listen and he told my mum, "Maybe that's young people's music. I don't quite understand it."

4 Why did you want to be a musician?

I first learnt to play the guitar because of Malaysian singer- songwriter Penny Tai's songs. They're full of attitude and they are records of her life, so I was inspired to write my own songs.

I had approached her to write a song for me, but she said no and added that I should write my own material as I'm a songwriter as well.

5 What is the biggest challenge facing a newcomer in music?

Because media and social media are ubiquitous, information comes and goes quickly.

It's easy to listen to music. The challenge is to create something that will stay in people's hearts for a long time.

I feel fortunate that the song Accumulated Loneliness has been used in two television series and people have taken notice of it.

I think what helps me to stand out is that I'm earnestly keeping a record of what's happening in my life.

There are many people like me, perhaps they've graduated from university and have set a goal for themselves, but the process won't be smooth-sailing and I think I can be a voice for them.

6 What is the story behind the hit ballad, Accumulated Loneliness?

I wrote it the year I graduated from college (National Chin-Yi University of Technology), when I was feeling lost.

I had spent four years taking part in singing contests, but my family did not approve and because of time away from school, I was not that close to my fellow students. I was questioning the value of my existence.

But there's definitely a livelier side to the album, with songs such as Challenges, Marathon Girl and Seesaw.

What's special about Seesaw is that it samples the classic track Give Me A Kiss, which poses a question. It's fun for audience interaction and I think it's a great representation of me in my mid-20s.

7 This is your first time in Singapore, so what have you heard about the country?

The first time I was here was when I was in my mother's womb. This time, my seniors at the record label - William Wei and Claire Kuo - were telling me that I have to try the Hainanese chicken rice, green cake (pandan cake) and bak kut teh.

8 How would you like to be remembered?

I hope to venture into different areas, perhaps try my hand at acting if the opportunity comes along. It's like thinking about things from a different perspective, which could be beneficial to my music-making.

I hope that people can see a well-rounded Fang Wu.

•I'm Promising is out in shops.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 29, 2016, with the headline 'Singer wants to be voice for the young'. Print Edition | Subscribe