TAIWAN - Taiwanese singer Tai Ai-ling is best known for her torch songs that plumb the depths of emotional misery. She says that on past tracks such as Tone and Boiling, she "would cry while recording".
She adds: "Once that happens, I can't continue. In recent years, though, I'm better able to control my emotions."
The 35-year-old was in Singapore recently to promote her new album Distance Of Love.
In person, she exudes a cheery rocker vibe. Wearing a cropped black jacket over a print T-shirt, ripped denim shorts, black leggings and blinged out teal-coloured heels, she could have fooled you into forgetting that bittersweet ballads are her calling card.
It seems that Tai has had enough of tears and wants to move on.
She says of her seventh album: "This is closer to my own personality. In the past, listeners might have the impression that I would often shoot for the high notes or go for numbers that aim for the tear ducts."
The real her is somewhat different, she says with a laugh: "Lively, adorable and easy-going."
The choice of the lead single reflects that. Time Of Love is faster-paced than her usual fare and has a buoyant vibe as well.
The album, released in Taiwan in May, debuted at the top of the G-Music album chart.
It must come as sweet vindication for her. She had a say in the change of direction in her career and had a hand in the production of the album. She even contributed lyrics for the first time, to the rap duet Searching For Right Person.
The CD booklet also bears marks of her styling input. She used to look moody or pensive and would often be dressed in sombre colours. This time, she is dressed in a peachy pink dress and is, gasp, smiling.