Huayi – Chinese Festival Of Arts 2020

Bare and stripped-down gig for David Tao

Taiwanese singer-songwriter David Tao (left) will hold his concert next month at the Esplanade Concert Hall.
Taiwanese singer-songwriter David Tao (above) will hold his concert next month at the Esplanade Concert Hall.

Almost a year ago, Taiwanese singer-songwriter David Tao became a father for the first time.

This year, Tao, billed as the godfather of Mandarin R&B, is slated to release a new album. Known for his signature style of R&B tunes crossed with rock beats, his last studio album was 2013's Hello Goodbye, and his last single was 2017's Mars Baby.

He is known for hits such as Airport In 10.30, Blue Moon, Close To You and Black Tangerine.

In an e-mail interview, the 50-year-old tells The Straits Times he has been writing songs for the upcoming album for the past two years.

"However, there have been a lot of struggles as to which direction I want to take things in," he says, adding that it was only recently he began to find the direction and theme of the new material.

"I have always been against releasing an album for the sake of putting out something. If I don't have a clear direction, theme or even a concept of what I want to say, it feels empty to just release something."

Perhaps one source of inspiration could be his new experience with fatherhood? His wife, Ms Penny Chiang, gave birth to their son, nicknamed Bonbon, in February last year.

Tao described fatherhood as "nothing but joy and a blessing" so far.

He says: "It has definitely changed me. It is not one of those overnight changes, but something that gradually seeps into your psyche. Having Bonbon has also brought Penny and me even closer together, adding many new dimensions to our love and life."


While waiting for his new album, fans can attend his Feb 1 gig at the Esplanade Concert Hall, which promises to be very different from his 2018 concert at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

For example, there will be no use of pre-recorded tracks. Everything the audiences hear will be coming from the musicians on stage.

As a result, some songs will be arranged differently to make up for instruments that will not be on stage, such as strings or horns.


  • WHERE: Esplanade Concert Hall, 1 Esplanade Drive

    WHEN: Feb 1, 7.30pm

    ADMISSION: $68 to $188 from Sistic

He teases: "It is going to be a very music-oriented show, without all the lighting and pyrotechnics of a larger show."

Playing pop music in a venue renowned for its acoustics requires that one not over-produce the material, but give the audience something more "bare and stripped down", he adds.

Tao is also delighted that Singapore pop duo The Freshman, consisting Project Superstar alumnae Carrie Yeo and Chen Diya, will be the opening act for his show, which is part of Huayi - Chinese Festival Of Arts 2020.

He said: "I have actually worked with Yeo in many of my previous shows. Their music is refreshing and it is wonderful how (it incorporates) a lot of culture from Singapore and Malaysia."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 14, 2020, with the headline 'Bare and stripped-down gig for David Tao'. Subscribe