Singer with a story to tell

Singer with a story to tell
Picture Caption: Gina Li in TV drama Once Upon A Time In Beitou.

SINGAPORE - With a Golden Horse Award win and a Golden Bell nomination under her belt, singing contest One Million Star alumna Gina Li could easily shelf her singing career in favour of acting. Yet the 28-year-old continues to plug away at her music. Her second album, Ai Dao Zhan Le (Love Has Arrived At Its Destination), will be released this month.

"I've been busy filming dramas and movies, but music has always been on my mind. I've been longing for the moment when I can release my second album," she tells Life! over the telephone from Taipei.

She says she could never do without music in her life and listening to music helps her to get into the mood on the filming set.

Li, who made it to the top 10 on the second season of One Million Star in 2007, says: "When I'm building up the emotions to film a crying scene, I will plug in to my mobile phone and listen to music to help me get into the mood. Acting and singing complement each other."

In fact, her two careers come together in another way too - the title track of the sophomore album is also one of the theme songs for her new Hokkien drama, Once Upon A Time In Beitou, which is currently airing here on mio TV.

There was a time when Li was against the idea of going into acting, which was unfamiliar territory to her. She rejected drama offers when she was competing in One Million Star.

Eventually, she changed her mind after the competition to take part in a 2010 movie, Juliets, where she plays the daughter of a song-and-dance troupe who falls in love with the son of her father's rival.

"Director Shen Ko Shang watched One Million Star and spotted me. He felt that I looked like I had a story to tell. Until I actually went to see him, I resisted going into acting as it was something foreign to me."

After she read the script of Juliets, which is a collection of three shorts, she was sold.

She took on two roles in the second short titled Two Juliets, where both characters are lovelorn girls in a modern interpretation of the Shakespearean tragedy Romeo And Juliet.

The story of her character Julie struck a chord in her. She says: "Julie was born into a musical family. Her background and growing years are like mine. I felt she was me."

Li's father used to run a travelling song-and- dance troupe which carried her Chinese name Qian Na. According to previous reports, she made her singing debut on stage with the travelling performance troupe at age three.

For her role in Juliets, she went on to nab the Best Newcomer prize at the Golden Horse Awards in 2010.

She probably related to her character in the movie very well, like she thought she would, but the film director was spot-on in believing that she looked like she had a story to tell.

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