Relishing her sweet victory

Relishing her sweet victory
WINNER: Taiwanese singer Jolin Tsai kissing her trophy for Best Mandarin Album at the Golden Melody Awards last month.
PHOTO: AFP

Dancing diva. Bubblegum pop princess. Pretty idol. When it comes to Jolin Tsai, such labels are now probably passé.

After all, she can officially claim the title of Queen of Mandopop after 16 years in showbiz.

Last month, the 34-year-old Taiwanese superstar emerged the biggest winner at the Golden Melody Awards, bagging three of the night's most coveted accolades.

Riding on a wave of expectations, she won Best Mandarin Album and Best Vocal Recording Album - both for her latest studio release Play - as well as Best Single Producer for her track Lip Reading.

The Golden Melody Awards are often regarded as the Grammys of Mandopop.

Tsai's triple victory essentially cements her status as the industry's bona fide queen.

In an e-mail interview with M, Tsai said she was "especially exhilarated" to take home the Best Mandarin Album title, as this biggie traditionally goes to singer-songwriter types or albums that veer towards more experimental territory.

Past winners in the category include Taiwanese aboriginal musician Chang Chen-yue and rockers Mayday.

"I'm extremely happy... as it's so rare for an album chockful of dance tunes to gain recognition on the Golden Melody stage," she said.

"Play is a team effort and I'm very thankful for every one of my teammates who helped make the album a success."

At the ceremony held at the Taipei Arena, Tsai was seen shedding tears of joy twice - once when Play was announced as the winner, and a second time backstage during video interviews.

"I'm sure that all of you who've followed my career since Day One know how difficult it has been for me (to win this)," she told reporters, fighting back tears.

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"My album is very mainstream, plus there are lots of dance numbers. To be able to receive this honour - I'm touched."

There are no less than six groovy, uptempo hits on Play, from sexy club jam Medusa to her duet with J-pop diva Namie Amuro, I'm Not Yours.

Local fans of Tsai can catch her in action at the Singapore Indoor Stadium next weekend.

Singapore is one of the stops on her current Play concert tour, which has already taken her to major Chinese cities like Beijing and Guangzhou.

"It's going to be a party," promised Tsai.

"The last time I held my concert in Singapore (in 2011), we had a three-sided stage.

"This time round, the stage will be four-sided, which means I'll get to be more up-close with the audience. Surely, the ambience will be fantastic."

Expect an array of dazzling costumes, she added.

"Of course I will don sexy outfits," teased Tsai.

"And outfits that show off my different sides too - wild, androgynous, traditional Chinese."

When quizzed if she will perform her controversial song We're All Different, Yet The Same at her upcoming concert here, she declined to reply.

In May, the ballad - which features lyrics about same-sex marriage and boasts a music video showing Tsai locking lips with actress Ruby Lin at a wedding setting - set the Internet abuzz when it was banned in Singapore for its "mature content".

"It's a pity it's banned in Singapore, but I respect differences in opinions," Tsai said.

"I'll continue to make music with themes I care about and do songs that spread the message of love."

Away from the media spotlight, fans of Tsai know her as a culinary expert.

An avid baker, she likes baking art cakes (cakes with decorative designs) and posting pictures of her beautiful works on Instagram.

"I've been doing cakes with mostly shoe and bag designs. It's time I ventured into human characters," she said.

"Maybe next time, I'd try doing a cake designed as Frozen's Elsa!"

keeyunt@sph.com.sg

 


This article was first published on July 15, 2015.
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