SINGAPORE - In 2011, Singaporean teenager Jarrell Huang made waves when he became an overnight sensation on Taiwanese television.
Then just 11 years old, the Primary Five student at Maha Bodhi School beat thousands of contestants and went through multiple rounds of competition to finish ninth place on the eighth season of Million Star.
The popular long-running Taiwanese reality TV singing competition featured hopefuls from Taiwan, China, Malaysia and the US.
Million Star, which ended its run last August after 10 seasons, was the same talent search that produced Mandopop singers such as Jam Hsiao, Yoga Lin and Aska Yang.
Having impressed TV viewers with his clear, pristine vocals, Jarrell was even dubbed "Singapore's child prodigy" by the show's host Matilda Tao. He is the youngest contestant ever to make it as a Top 10 finalist.
Prior to his achievements, other homegrown aspirants - Huang Jinglun and Sugie Phua, who were both in their 20s when they joined the competition - had snagged fifth and seventh place in Season 3 in 2008.
After falling off the radar for four years, Jarrell, now 15, is back on the music scene with a debut Mandarin EP, Little Prince's Adventure.
The album is distributed by Taiwan's Seed Music, whose stable of artistes include Hong Kong's Edison Chen and Korean boy band F.Cuz.
Last month, in an interview with The New Paper, the 1.75m-tall Jarrell explained his absence: "In 2012, I didn't touch music for an entire year because I was very busy preparing for the PSLE."
Due to Million Star, which required him to shuttle frequently between Singapore and Taipei, he had "missed six months of lessons".
"I was lagging behind, so when it came to my Primary Six year, I crammed two years of revision into one year," he said.
He scored 4As for the PSLE and an aggregate score of 225.
"I wasn't too disappointed because I think I managed to catch up," he said.
Besides exams, there was another reason why he decided to put his album plans on hold till today, instead of releasing it at the peak of his popularity in 2011.