SINGAPORE - When Taiwanese pop rock band F.I.R. perform at the Starker Music Carnival on Nov 2 at Zhongshan Park, their lead singer will be different from the one during their concerts here in 2008, 2010 and 2013.
Instead of Taiwan-born singer Faye, taking the mic will be Chinese singer Lydia Han, performing with the other two band members - Ian Chen on keyboards and Real Huang on guitar.
Reports in 2018 say Faye left the group and struck out on her own after releasing her 2017 solo album Little Outerspace. This split - some reports claim - was less than amicable, but Chen, 47, told The Straits Times: "As early as 2017, Faye told us that she not might be able to perform or create music with us. Perhaps some netizens and media outlets misunderstood and thought that we did not want Faye. But this is not true."
She wanted to forge her own music path, which might lean more towards electronic dance music or folk songs, said Chen.
"We knew she really liked these things and we could understand. 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."
Both Chen and Huang praised Faye's solo album. Chen said: "We like it very much," while Huang, 39, said: "I think there is a definite sense of her creativity and perspective.
"Its style leans towards EDM, which she has always liked."
F.I.R. stands for Fairyland In Reality, after the band's 2004 debut album. In October 2018, during a media conference in Beijing, the band announced Han would be its new lead vocalist and in April, 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, which was tailored for
BOOK IT/STARKER MUSIC CARNIVAL 2019
Where: Zhongshan Park, Jalan Rajah
When: Nov 2, 3.30 to 10pm
Admission: Tickets from $38 are available from Peatix (smc2019.peatix.com)
Han's vocals, which Chen described as having a stronger rock vibe in the higher registers, compared to Faye's.
Asked about the constant comparisons,Han, who is in her 20s, said: "Actually, I am very grateful to those who have compared us. It lets me see what I aspects I can improve on. I will work hard to learn from her and continue to develop my own distinguishing features."
Han, who hopes to bring a different feel to the band, said she considers Chen and Huang as family.
"They take care of me - we eat together, watch movies together, make music together. They really love music, always treating it with respect and a pure heart - this is something I must learn."
At previous live performances, 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. She acknowledged that some of these old songs could be quite "difficult"to perform in terms of the vocal techniques or emotions required.
Chen said of her performance in the past year: "I would give her 90 marks. She is very steady during live performances and I'm very satisfied with her work on the album too."