F.I.R. to play here with new lead vocalist

F.I.R. new lead vocalist Lydia Han with band members Ian Chen (left) and Real Huang (right).
F.I.R. new lead vocalist Lydia Han with band members Ian Chen (left) and Real Huang (right).PHOTO: HIM INTERNATIONAL MUSIC

China's Lydia Han will take the microphone as Taiwan-born Faye has left the band to go solo

When Taiwanese pop-rock band F.I.R. perform at the Starker Music Carnival on Nov 2 at Zhongshan Park, they will have a new lead singer.

Instead of Taiwan-born singer Faye, Chinese singer Lydia Han will take over the microphone, performing with the other two band members - Ian Chen on keyboards and Real Huang on guitar.

Faye reportedly left the group last year to go solo after releasing her 2017 solo album Little Outerspace.

The split, according to some reports, was less than amicable, but Chen, 47, told The Straits Times: "In 2017, Faye told us she might not be able to perform with us.

"Perhaps some media outlets and netizens misunderstood and thought the band do not want Faye. But this is not true."

He said Faye,now 38, wanted to forge her own music path, which might lean more towards electronic dance music or folk songs.

"We knew she really liked these things and we understand," he added. "I told her to chase her musical dreams and we will continue to take the F.I.R. brand forward. I hope everyone will achieve very good results."

  • BOOK IT /STARKER MUSIC

  • CARNIVAL 2019

    WHERE: Zhongshan Park, Jalan Rajah

    WHEN: Nov 2, 3.30 to 10pm

    ADMISSION: Tickets from $38 from Peatix (go to peatix.com)

Both Chen and Huang praised Faye's solo album. Chen said: "We like it very much."

Huang, 39, said of her album: "I think there is a definite sense of her creativity and perspective. The style leans towards electronic dance music, which she has always liked."

F.I.R. stands for Fairyland In Reality, after the band's 2004 debut album.

The band announced at a media conference in Beijing last year that Han, who is now 23, would be their new lead vocalist.

In April this year, they released a new album, Re:Youth, with her. At least two songs from this album - The Freedom Song and In The Name Of You - have hit the charts.

Also on the album is the playfully upbeat Can You Remember. It was tailored for Han's vocals, which Chen described as having a stronger rock vibe in the higher registers, compared with Faye's.

Asked about the constant comparisons with Faye, Han said: "Actually, I am very grateful to those who have compared us. It shows me what aspects I can improve on. I will work hard to learn from Faye and continue to develop my own style."

Han said she hopes to bring a different feel to the band and added that she considers Chen and Huang as family.

"They take care of me. We eat together, watch movies together and make music together. They really love music, always treating it with respect and a pure heart - this is something I must learn."

At previous concerts, Han had sung old favourites from F.I.R.'s back catalogue, such as the rock ballad Lydia and the high-energy I Wanna Fly. Some of these older songs, she admitted, could be quite "difficult" to perform in terms of the vocal techniques or emotions required.

Chen rated Han's performance so far: "I would give her 90 marks. She is very steady during live shows and I'm very satisfied with her work on the album too."

• This year's Starker Music Carnival will also feature five local acts: singer-songwriters Kenny Khoo and Tay Kewei, Project Superstar champion Alfred Sim, pop duo The Fleurist and 2018's Starker Music Jams Champion Soph T.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2019, with the headline 'F.I.R. to play here with new lead vocalist'. Print Edition | Subscribe