Born in Taiwan, singer-songwriter turned actor-director Jay Chou’s big break came when he entered a local talent show. Today his unique musical style has fans all over the world with his last album selling more than three million copies a month in Asia alone. TALK ASIA visits the award-winning 29-year-old Chou at his Mr. J restaurant in Taipei.
Chou grew up as an only child in a single-parent family. He tells TALK ASIA host Anjali Rao that although he felt lonely as a child, the free time allowed him to develop his musical talent. “It allowed me to practice really hard on my music.” His strict practice schedule – playing the piano for three hours everyday - was not easy, even for the young Chou: “There were a number of times I was really about to give up, but then I just sucked it up and told myself that one day my hard work would pay off.”
An influential Taiwanese entertainment show host spotted Chou in a televised talent contest displaying his piano and songwriting skills. Chou claims he was only trying it out for fun: “I didn’t do it for the sake of getting famous.” Yet his unique cross-cultural music style quickly established a big following. But the best-selling artist is still humble, “It’s the timing, the place and the people that allowed me to make a step forward.” Chou also explains to Rao how he felt a strong sense of responsibility to educate his audience through his songs.
In 2005, Chou took a big step and entered the film industry acting alongside established movie veterans in Curse of the Golden Flower. He recalls working with these huge cinematic names on the set: “Chow Yun-fat was always joking with people at the scene…he really knew how to make the others feel relaxed about his presence. As for director Zhang Yimou, I never saw him losing temper at work.” He later wrote, directed and starred in the 2007 movie Secret. He admits he liked being in the driver’s seat: “I do think I was born to be sort of a control freak cause I always...
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