Jia Jia wants to be more than just a 'soulful singing queen'

Taiwanese singer Jia Jia wrote a song about fantasised love for her second album


Taiwanese singer Jia Jia is eager for some romance.

"I am someone who really craves falling in love, and I like the feeling of being in love," says the 31-year-old bachelorette in Mandarin at a recent interview to promote her second album.

She adds that it is such thoughts that inspired her to pen the song Maybe, Maybe You Love Me, which is featured on the new album, Alone The Way.

"I wrote the song about a relationship that may happen one day. Maybe it's just all in my head but it'll be a beautiful fantasy, like a beautiful dream."

A lot is riding on her new album, after her acclaimed debut Unforgettable (2012).

Popular Asian music review website Xiami.com scored the album nine out of 10.

This paper's music reviewer Boon Chan wrote last year: "She is the real deal. A power vocalist who knows when to rein it in and when to belt it out. And the material on Unforgettable showcases her pipes beautifully."

Mention pressure, however, and Jia Jia, whose real name is Chi Chia-ying, says: "I felt the pressure when I did the first album because that was my first time recording an album in a studio, and I wasn't sure how people would react.

"This time around, whatever pressure there may be has nothing do with how other people will perceive my work. It's all from my high expectations of myself."

"But I really like this album," she adds. "I'm happy with it, so I feel quite confident."

Alone The Way was released in Taiwan in December last year, and charted at No. 3 on the Hito Chinese Pop chart.

Life! reviewer Chan's verdict: "Her solo debut was Unforgettable, and Taiwanese singer Jia Jia's follow-up to that is very much so as well."

Ask her about her ideal man and the refreshingly blunt singer says that he "must be very humorous, but not like Jacky Wu" - referring to the popular Taiwanese TV host who is often in-your-face - "because that's a little overboard".

At the 30-minute interview, the singer's eyes are bloodshot and watery from allergies.

"If you are taking pictures, try to avoid capturing my eyes," she says, before bursting into laughter: "I'm just joking. How is that even possible? I won't make your life difficult."

Then again, she is not the type of singer who lives off her looks.

She is known as "Taiwan's Adele", a reference to both her powerhouse vocals as well as her plus-sized figure. Acclaimed British singer Adele is seen as atypical of the usual svelte Taiwanese starlets.

That tag became Jia Jia's selling point of sorts, garnering her much press when she was promoting her debut album.

These days, however, she is known simply for being a solid singer.

At the Golden Melody Awards next month, Taiwan's equivalent of the Grammy Awards, she is in the running for Best Mandarin Female Singer alongside Malaysia's Penny Tai, Singapore's Tanya Chua, Hong Kong's Denise Ho and the Taiwan singer Faith Yang.

Her latest nickname is "soulful singing queen", something which she finds "rather funny".

"You don't hear that kind of name in Mandopop very often, so I guess I should be flattered. But I would never introduce myself that way," she says.

"I just want to be known as Jia Jia, a girl who loves to sing, and who can always change her singing style to offer something new."


Follow Yip Wai Yee on Twitter @STyipwaiyee

Alone The Way is out in stores.

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