Thai singer Tata Young bounces back after illness

Thai singer Tata Young bounces back after a bout of illness and will perform here this month

Singer Tata Young suffered from hypothyroidism but has recovered.
Singer Tata Young suffered from hypothyroidism but has recovered. PHOTO: TATA ENTERTAINMENT

Tata Young was one of the most prominent pop stars to emerge from Thailand in the mid- to late 2000s but her presence in the regional pop scene has been pretty quiet of late.

But that is only because the 33-year-old has been concentrating on performing on home ground, the singer tells Life! in a telephone interview from Phuket, where she was on holiday.

More importantly, she also took a few years off to recover from an illness.

"I was sick for a little while. I had hypothyroidism and I gained a lot of weight and it was tough to be in front of the camera. Although my confidence was always still there, I was easily tired. So I took a break, got myself together and finally now I'm well and fit. I feel healthy."

Another piece of good news for her fans here is that Young will be back in Singapore to perform at Teout - Thai Music Showcase at The Coliseum on May 31, alongside popular Thai rockers Endorphine and Big Ass.

"I'm really excited, I haven't been back to perform in Singapore in a while and I'm really looking forward to it. I think it's going to be great."

Young made a comeback of sorts in Thailand recently when she played two major, sold-out concerts at the Royal Paragon Hall in Bangkok in March.

Titled Turn Back Time With Tata, the gigs were a showcase of songs culled from her 19 years in show business, from her first single Oh Oy, released when she was just 14, to her later, and more racy, tunes such as Sexy, Naughty, Bitchy from her first English album I Believe (2004).

"I've been focusing on Thailand a lot because I've been away touring for my past albums and I wanted to come back to my roots and show the Thai people that I never forgot them."

Born to a Thai mother and an American father, the singer, who was born Amita Marie Young, first came into the spotlight when she won a national singing competition at the age of 11.

Her debut Thai album released three years later, Amita Tata Young, was a major success and sold over one million copies, as did her second album, Tata 1,000,000 Copies Celebration.

She would later shed her teenybopper image with I Believe, which spawned Asian-wide hits such as Sexy, Naughty, Bitchy as well as the title track. Her new sexy image, provocative lyrics and raunchy music videos stirred controversy among the conservative crowd. In Malaysia, for example, her hit song had to be renamed Sexy, Naughty, Cheeky.

She has since released nine studio albums, including 2009's Ready For Love, and has sold more than 13 million of those albums worldwide, making her one of Thailand's most successful musical exports.

Besides singing, she made it into the Thai edition of FHM's 100 Sexiest Women In The World lists from 2005 to 2007, and has acted in three Thai films, including 1997 drama The Red Bike Story.

An ambassador for the United Nations Environment Programme, she was awarded the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Montreal Protocol award in 2010 for her work as an environmental activist.

For Young, who is single, singing will always take priority though.

"My experiences as a singer through the years have taught me a lot. They have made me stronger, more mature. I seriously don't know what I'd do apart from singing, it's always been my passion and I've learnt so much from being in this business," she says.

"I guess it's been a really good ride and I'm still going to be around forever."

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