Malaysia's Teo hopes for big break in China

By Christina Ng

MALAYSIA-BORN, Taiwan-based singer and actor Nicholas Teo, 29, went through a harrowing time last year.

He may have filmed his latest drama, The Gift, but he had to deal with record label uncertainties that prevented him from putting out a new album.

His contract with Warner Music in Taiwan ended last year, he told my paper in a phone interview.

And, because he found certain activities that the label wanted him to engage in "stressful", he sought out a different management.

He resented, for example, being pictured with a half-nude model in promotional materials for his previous album, The Moment Of Silence (2009).

Thankfully, luck was on his side: He signed with Seed Music Taiwan in March.

The label has branches in China and that will hopefully mean his songs will be played more widely in the country.

Still, he has learnt from his experience with Warner, said Teo.

"I could be very obstinate in the past," he admitted. "Now, I'm more willing to let things go.

"I'm now willing to see what I do as just entertainment and not have any hang ups about the labels or titles that people give me.

"If I want people to enjoy what I put out, I need to be happy."

And, thanks to his experience, he has "learnt to speak (his) mind and not suffer in silence".

Teo has high hopes that The Gift will be well received in Singapore when it begins airing here tomorrow. It was shot in Taiwan and Malaysia last June, and aired in Taiwan late last year.

In the romantic comedy, Teo stars as Ren Shao-ting, a fashion designer who is a hardcore perfectionist.

The drama revolves around the lives of four sisters, and will see Teo pairing up with actress and singer Cynthia Wang (Love Buffet, Momo Love).

Teo, whose father suffered a stroke in 2009, said that, these days, while he still concentrates on his career, he's also developed a more relaxed attitude towards life.

That might be about to change. He will release his next album in September, a project that will see Seed Music taking him to China for promotional activities.

"It's good that I had some time off, because over the next three years I will hopefully be very busy!" he said.

The Gift premieres on Mei Ah Drama Channel (SingTel mio Ch 73) tomorrow at 8.30pm.

For more my paper stories click here.