Starting again with Zero

Starting again with Zero
Faith Yang admits that she can be cold, like the image she projects.

When it comes to Mandopop, sweet and sunny is often the way to go for female singers. So Taipei-born, Sydney- raised Faith Yang, 40, stands out from the crowd for venturing into rock and also for her cool, even cold, persona.

You do not want to mess with someone who brusquely puts down a suitor in a song: "I have never gotten your sense of humour/That's why I'm cold, not that I've not said it before, but you just don't hear."

The track Humourless is from Zero, her latest disc of original material since album No. 4 Continuation (2007). It peaked at No. 12 on Taiwan's authoritative G-Music album charts.

Over the telephone from Taipei, she speaks at a rapid-fire pace. But she is far from humourless, breaking into little bursts of chuckles from time to time.

She studied biology and genetics at the University of Sydney and, after graduating in 1996, returned to Taiwan to launch a music career.

The raw, rock sound of her debut album One (1997) found an audience and the record yielded the memorable hit single, Stars Fill The Sky.

Her second disc Silence (1999) featured the ballad The Love I Give and won her the prestigious Golden Melody Award for Best Mandarin Female Vocalist.

She is currently dating someone referred to in the Chinese-language press only as a "sunshine good-looking guy" (yangguang xingnan).

Asked recently on a television programme who he was, she shot back with a laugh: "Ni guan wo! (What business is it of yours?)"

1 Does the title Zero imply a back-to-basics approach?

It's a little unclear but that makes it meaningful. For one, I haven't released an album for some time, so it signifies starting afresh.

Also, zero is a circle and it symbolises having an end and a beginning. Or it could also symbolise boundlessness.

On the whole, the album is pretty close to life. Some songs have a little bit of humour, others are about the people, events and things around us.

You can say the album is about observing life. I think human beings are fascinating animals.

2 How does it feel to be releasing an album again?

At first, some of the excitement came from feeling as though I was a newcomer once more. But I quickly got back into the swing of things.

Even though I haven't been releasing records, I've been performing and making appearances.

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