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Eric Moo says it's 'plain laziness' to call him sharp-tongued

The Beijing-based veteran musician has sat on the judging panel of no less than four high-profile Chinese singing competitions. -TNP
Tan Kee Yun

Wed, Apr 10, 2013
The New Paper

SINGAPORE - Eric Moo is like the stern teacher you once had to cope with in school.The 50-year-old Malaysian powerhouse singer-songwriter gave this reporter a personal glimpse of his reputed killer stare and acerbic tongue, which he's notorious for as a regular judge on China's reality TV talent shows.

Since 2006, the Beijing-based veteran musician has sat on the judging panel of no less than four high-profile Chinese singing competitions, including Super Girl, Happy Girl, The King Returns and Voice Legend.

Netizens who are not in Moo's camp said his remarks are often "harsh and curt", sometimes to the point of being "abrasive".

During a face-to-face interview with The New Paper last week while he was in Singapore to promote his upcoming June solo concert, he cut a commanding presence.

When asked if he got tired of playing the bad guy, he said: "Critics and members of the media often use the term 'sharp-tongued' on me, which is plain laziness on their part.

"Anyone who dares to speak the truth and take a firm stance is labelled 'sharp-tongued'.

"That's too much of a generalisation and I don't really think much about it. What's important is that those contestants take my words of advice to heart and find them useful in the future."

I hid my anxiety behind laughter and quickly followed up with another question.

Having worked and lived in Beijing with his wife and two daughters, Huan Huan, 11, and Le Le, five, for the past seven years, does he feel that China, with its increasing number of glitzy, big budget singing contests, will soon overtake Taiwan as the hub of Mandopop?

Moo, who has released more than 35 albums in his three decade-long career, shook his head.

"Undeniably, in recent years, there have been some young artistes who shot to fame overnight after appearing on mainland Chinese TV. But at the moment, Taiwan is still the centre of Mandarin pop music," he said.

Honestly, I hadn't seen that coming at all. Newsmakers do not normally turn around to quiz their interviewers.

I quickly realised the significance of his question.

No, I can't think of any from China, I admitted said.

Moo nodded, seemingly pleased that I had proven his point.

Taiwanese pop music

He added: "Taiwanese pop music boasts a rich history... The industry won't be toppled so easily by China.

"That said, there are a few outstanding rising stars who've just come out of China, like Qu Wanting. I think her debut album is simply solid."

Harbin-born singer-songwriter Qu, now based in Vancouver, released her first album, Everything In The World, last year, and it was a major hit. She is Canadian record label Nettwerk Music Group's first Mandopop singer.

Strict as he might be, Moo is all for giving budding young stars a platform to shine.

He has invited newly-crowned Channel U Campus SuperStar winner Bonnie Loo, 19, to perform at his concert.

"I've also engaged the services of a young China-based acrobatic dance troupe to dance at my show," he added.

Will we ever see his kids doing a duet on stage with daddy?

Moo said with a laugh: "When they're ready, why not? If singing turns out to be their passion, I don't mind letting them have some fun."

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