After 15 years, Taiwanese singer Angela Zhang wants to showcase her own ideas

A promotional image for her upcoming 100 per cent Angela Zhang World Tour shows the Taiwanese singer clad in a gown made of sparkling crystal shards, looking like a butterfly emerging from a cocoon.

The comparison is fitting since the 34-year-old singer, most famous for her 2006 hit Invisible Wings, is shedding her inhibitions to showcase her newfound confidence and artistry.

Chang, who is in town to promote the Singapore stop of her tour on Nov 18, as well as her new album Head Over Heels, said she has become a more open and creative person after 15 years in showbiz.

Head Over Heels is Zhang's ninth Mandarin album and her second as music director.

Although she is used to writing her own songs, Zhang also took on the new challenge of directing an MV for the first time, for new single Before Goodbye.

In an interview with The New Paper yesterday after her press conference at Mandarin Oriental hotel, she said in Mandarin: "In the past, I was just a follower. People would tell me what to do, and I would just carry it out.

"But now, after being an artist for so long, I have matured and can showcase my own ideas.

"Directing is new to me, but I'm excited to be creating my own works and challenging myself."

Heart condition

The last time TNP interviewed Zhang in 2009, she alleged that her mother had made off with her savings amounting to NT$100 million ($4.3m at the time), while her parents went to the media claiming that Zhang had refused to take care of them, and that she was under a "magic spell".

Zhang also suffered from mitral valve prolapse, a heart condition, in 2008, around the time of her family troubles. As she declined to discuss her family issues, it is not known if Zhang has reconciled with them.

When asked how she overcame her previous obstacles, she said music was a huge encouragement to her.

"I don't just want to create trendy pop songs, but ones that have meaning," she said.

"I've realised I have talent given to me and I should develop that and share it with a wider audience.

"A fan of mine in a wheelchair once said my music provided the courage to go for treatment, and to walk again after that. This is what I want to do with my career."

Indeed, Not Afraid, one of her singles from Head Over Heels, has Zhang singing about overcoming struggles and leaving fear behind.

Another MV from a new single, Do You Remember, sees Zhang donning a uniform and acting out a high school romance, a la popular Taiwanese film Our Times.

Zhang, who came to Singapore to study English for a year when she was in Primary 5, said she has fond memories of Singapore from her school days.

"I've always loved the Singapore weather as it's hot, but not unbearably so," she said.

"I haven't been here for quite a few years and it has really changed a lot. There are so many new buildings and I'm planning to visit Gardens by the Bay on this trip."

One word that kept popping up during Zhang's press conference was "pure", as it is the Mandarin title for her world tour.

Zhang said she is looking forward to showing fans her purest self during her concert here.

"I could have picked a cooler name for the tour, but I think Pure symbolises how I want to dedicate all of myself to my fans, as they are so important to me.

"I have been known to drop surprises during my concerts, like suddenly breaking out into a rap in the middle, so I hope my fans will look forward to that."

But now, after being an artist for so long, I have matured and can showcase my own ideas. Directing is new to me, but I'm excited to be creating my own works and challenging myself

This article was first published on October 7, 2016.
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