Giant slayer Kenny

Giant slayer Kenny

Hong Kong superstar Eason Chan's rice & shine was kept from the No. 1 spot last month on Taiwan's authoritative G- Music album chart by Kenny Khoo's Ten Storeys. Kenny who?

He is a 25-year-old Singapore singer-songwriter who has just made his giant-slaying debut.

Chatting with Life! on Wednesday, he says: "Very unbelievable, I really have to thank the fans. I have been there for only 1½ months and to accomplish this is really out of this world for me."

Ten Storeys was released in Taiwan on April 28 and he has been promoting it there.

It has been a whirlwind of activity as he travelled, performed and went on variety shows. It has been exciting but also "intimidating at times", he says.

Even though he speaks Mandarin at home, doing so on Taiwanese programmes was a whole different ball game. Khoo, the older of two sons of retiree parents, says: "The pace is very fast. When they cue you, you have to say something immediately. You have to be loud, attention-grabbing and interesting."

In conversation, he is soft-spoken, in part because he is nursing a cold and does not want to strain his voice.

But he considers each question carefully, even returning to a previous query to make sure he has answered it fully.

He has dealt with more challenging situations. On a variety show, he had to sing Eason Chan's Brother And Sister, as though he were watching a pornographic film.

He also got to appear on 100 per cent Entertainment, hosted by popular star Show Lo. Khoo says: "When he came on stage, I could not believe he was standing in front of me... I was quite shaken."

Khoo is signed to local outfit Funkie Monkies Productions, which is helmed by songwriters Eric Ng and Xiaohan.

Funkie Monkies has previously tried to break singer-songwriters Wu Jiahui and Ming Bridges into the Taiwanese market.

Their accomplishments in Taiwan might be less eye-catching but composer-producer Ng, 38, says that making a push there helped to open doors beyond. It led to gigs for Bridges in Korea, China and Indonesia.

Funkie Monkies has built up a network of contacts in Taiwan but Ng adds: "If the artist is a 'cannot-make-it' one, even if you bring them over, they wouldn't want to take."

It helps that Khoo sings, writes and acts. He had a supporting role in Chai Yee Wei's That Girl In Pinafore (2013) as a student who is into music.

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