The Singapore Hit Awards last Friday night capped a triumphant comeback by homegrown pop star Stefanie Sun.
Kepler, her first album since she got married in 2011 and became a mother in 2012, swept five awards.
She said: "Making an album is a long journey. Kepler has great meaning for me because there's been a lot of changes in my life and the roles I play and there were a lot of unknown challenges. But making music is my life's calling."
At the ceremony held at Suntec Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre, she won trophies for Most Popular Female Artiste and Best Female Vocalist. Kepler was named Best Album while the haunting ballad, Angel's Fingerprints, won Best Local Music Composition for producer-songwriter Li Weisong. Having lodged an impressive six weeks at pole position, the track was also named Y.E.S. 93.3FM Pick of the Pops Most Popular Hit.
The Mandopop awards are organised by the MediaCorp radio station and this was its 19th edition.
The line-up of singers was a diverse one and included Aaron Yan and Jia Jia from Taiwan, Li Ronghao from China and Jess Lee from Malaysia. Yan was the other big winner with three awards. He was Most Popular Male Artiste and Versatile Artiste and his EP Cut won for favourite album cover.
The star wattage, though, was relatively dim and several big names were not present to acknowledge their accolades. The absentees included Taiwanese band Mayday, which won Best Group and Most Popular Group, and Hong Kong's god of song Eason Chan, named Best Male Vocalist.
It was a good thing that Sun was there to fly the Singapore flag high and to brighten up the proceedings.
When receiving the prize for Most Popular Female Artiste, she said that she had asked herself before why she had succeeded. "Am I very talented? Or is it because I have a great team?"
A fan shouted at this point: "You're beautiful."
Sun also thanked her husband for being one of her inspirations and added of her family: "Without them, I wouldn't have the space to make this kind of album."
As the biggest winner of the night, she was the only artist to perform with a live band, singing both old and new hits.
Highlights of the live performances included Jess Lee's powerhouse rendition of the ballad Cliff To Heaven, Jia Jia performing Sing For Lonely Souls with her soothing balm of a voice and Li Ronghao emoting on Model.
Li added to his Golden Melody Award for Best New Artist with a Singapore Hit Award trophy in the same category and was also named Outstanding Regional Artiste (Mainland China).
Xinyao pioneer Eric Moo was presented with an Honorary Award and he recalled what his mentor, popular Taiwanese singer Liu Wen- cheng, once said to him: "You're not very good-looking and you can't dance, so you have to sing your songs well."
He added: "I used to think that this award was cold to the touch, but tonight, it feels warm."
This article was first published on November 10, 2014.
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