Tanya Chua and record label rebut plagiarism accusations

Netizens on Weibo say that Tanya Chua's (right) song, Halfway, is similar to Taylor Swift's (above) 2011 single, Safe & Sound.
Netizens on Weibo say that Tanya Chua's (above) song, Halfway, is similar to Taylor Swift's 2011 single, Safe & Sound.PHOTO: ST FILE, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE
Netizens on Weibo say that Tanya Chua's (right) song, Halfway, is similar to Taylor Swift's (above) 2011 single, Safe & Sound.
Netizens on Weibo say that Tanya Chua's song, Halfway, is similar to Taylor Swift's (above) 2011 single, Safe & Sound.PHOTOS: ST FILE, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Singaporean singer-songwriter Tanya Chua's record label has rebutted accusations online that she plagiarised American pop star Taylor Swift in Chua's recently released album, Kisses For The World.

Netizens on Chinese micro-blogging site Weibo said that a song on Chua's album, titled Halfway, was similar to Swift's 2011 single, Safe & Sound, which was performed with country duo The Civil Wars.

Some netizens added that the similarities were especially apparent at the three-minute mark of Chua's song.

In a statement on Weibo on Sunday, Universal Music China said Chua's new album was solely her own creation and no part of it was plagiarised.

The company said it has always respected the work of artists and hopes to create an environment that does the same.

Universal also asked the public to stop spreading false claims and added that it will not hesitate to take legal action to defend its rights.

Swift is signed on with Universal Music Group.

Warner/Chappell Music - which manages the copyright of Chua's works - also issued a statement on Weibo on Sunday denying that the two songs were similar.

It said that a comparison of both songs shows that Halfway is sung in C major while Safe & Sound is in E minor. The songs also differ in their tune, composition and chord progression.

"Our company will take all necessary actions to investigate any false accusations and safeguard the rights of contracted creators," it added.

Last Friday, Chua said on her personal Weibo account that facing accusations of plagiarism is one of the biggest nightmares for an artist.

She added that having written hundreds of songs for more than 20 years, there could be some of her works that others may remember as questionable.

For example, her 2008 song Red High Heels had turned out similar to The Weepies' Take It From Me, with the same tempo, key and an intro.

She said that at that point in time, she often listened to The Weepies and she was not conscious about the fact that she had plagiarised.

As for Halfway, she said it was inspired by her own creation and she could not see how it was similar to Swift's Safe & Sound.

She said: "Songwriting should be free and casual. There are so many melodies and rhythms out there... But what I can promise is that I will never plagiarise. I disagree with it and I don't need to do it."

She added that she has always written songs without regrets and thanked fans for their support.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 25, 2018, with the headline 'Tanya Chua and record label rebut plagiarism accusations'. Print Edition | Subscribe