Jolin Tsai, Jam Hsiao and more: Upcoming gigs to watch out for

Award-winning Mandopop star Jolin Tsai promises fans a high-octane concert this weekend and, yes, she will be singing the lesbian song

Sexy concert outfits are a "must" for Jolin Tsai (above).
Sexy concert outfits are a "must" for Jolin Tsai (above).PHOTO: SUPER DOME PRODUCTION

The song and music video for Taiwanese singer Jolin Tsai's We're All Different, Yet The Same, are banned on television and radio in Singapore for their homosexual content.

But fans will be able to hear it live at her gig at the Indoor Stadium on Saturday, she confirms over the telephone from Taipei. The video for the mid-tempo electropop number, which has chalked up more than eight million views on YouTube, features a lesbian wedding and a kiss between Tsai and actress Ruby Lin.

Tsai, 34, says: "I respect everyone's choices but I would still do songs that move me. I've no regrets doing it and, yes, I will be singing it at the concert."

The concert promoter IMC Live Group has received the Arts Entertainment Licence from Media Development Authority for the show, which is given a rating of Advisory 16 (some mature content), with no age restriction.

Apart from that red-flagged number, audiences can expect to see a red-hot show from one of Mandopop's biggest stars, whose last major gig here was at the Indoor Stadium in 2011.


  • WHERE: Singapore Indoor Stadium

    WHEN: Saturday, 8pm

    ADMISSION: $108 to $238 from Sports Hub Tix (call 6333-5000 or go to

For her Play concert this weekend, for which 80 per cent of tickets have been sold, an international crew of dancers and top costume designers have been assembled.

Sexy outfits at the show are a "must", she says with a laugh, adding: "A few are covered up while others will show some skin."


Her boyfriend, model Vivian Dawson, 31, has seen her parade in them at her concerts in Taipei Arena in May. "He thinks they're great and nothing needs to be changed," she adds nonchalantly.

Indeed. Her fans will not want her to fix what is not broken.

Tsai started out in show business as the girl-next-door with her debut album 1019 (1999) and her popularity exploded as a sexy dance diva on records such as Magic (2003) and the plainly titled Dancing Diva (2006).

She is also an award-winning entertainer and was named Best Mandarin Female Singer at the prestigious Golden Melody Awards in 2007. Her latest studio album Play (2014) had nine nominations at the Golden Melody Awards, including for Best Mandarin Album and Best Song for the title track.

Play won for Best Mandarin Album and Lip Reading, a track off it, won for Best Single Producer.

And she will not pretend she is not thrilled by such accolades.

Using the analogy of a visit to the casino, she says: "When you're right in the midst of the game, then they're important. It feels like you're taking a gamble. Of course, since I'm already at the casino, I'll have a flutter because it's fun.

"But when you leave the table, they don't matter as much.

Over the years, she has been chameleon-like in shifting from one look to another, by turns outrageous, racy and fun.

The images alone from her latest world tour include her in a one-shoulder leotard and killer stiletto heels revving up a chain-saw, dapper in 1920s flapper fare and regal in a dramatic headpiece of snakes.

Presumably, the last is for when she performs the song Medusa, off the record Play.

The constant image makeovers make her hard to pin down, though, and Tsai does not give too much away in interviews either.

Regarding the title number Play, there seems to be a degree of disdain on the electropop-rap number as she sings: "Who cares if you're niche or mass market, pooh/Who cares if you're fresh and light or have heavier tastes, pooh."

"Don't pigeonhole me," seems to be a clear message here.

But in this interview, Tsai clarifies: "I really liked the lyrics a lot, but it's not about me personally trying to shake off something.

"People might read into it as being against typecasting, but it just made an impact on me because it was so well-written."

Given the playfulness that she brings to her music, one wonders what Tsai is like away from the limelight, whether she is active and bubbly or calm and quiet.

She says: "It depends. I can be very quiet, but I can get crazy and laugh out as well."

And what would make her guffaw? "I laugh easily, so I find lots of things funny."

Even when it comes to her creative process, nothing is definite.

She says: "I'm not the type who likes to set goals. I would just make choices on the spur of the moment. Sometimes things flow smoothly, and sometimes it's more of a jerky rhythm, but every stage of making a work becomes a good memory.

"You can't follow the rules too much when it comes to music so that it can be exciting."

There is no question she is committed to performing live, though. She points out that the biggest challenge of doing a concert is creating something organised from nothing and ensuring that everyone has a great time.

"It's different every time, but the music and the reaction from the fans remain constant. Even if I'm feeling tired offstage, I'll give my all once I'm up there. It's the reason singers get addicted to doing concerts."

While she still feels jittery before a show, she is experienced enough to know that it will all work out.

"You worry about this and that, costumes and whether you have the right shoes.

"But once you're on stage, all that worrying gets tossed out of the window. And the heels you're wearing don't hurt at all. Everything gets better once you're on stage."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 22, 2015, with the headline 'READY TO PLAY'. Print Edition | Subscribe