Solo star gets to fight with Jackie Chan

He was in town last August as part of superstar K-pop boyband EXO.

But yesterday, China-born singer Tao, who left the group officially in late August by filing a lawsuit against former agency SM Entertainment, seemed happier now that he's gone solo.

The 22-year-old was in town for the official opening of luxury brand Moncler's first boutique at ION Orchard last night.

Speaking to local media during a 10-minute doorstop interview, he said in Mandarin: "Flying solo has allowed me to do a lot of things that I like to do.

"I really enjoy my life now, because I feel that I am living it more fully and leading a more meaningful life."

He added: "Work-wise, I can exercise more freedom.

"I am going to work hard and do what I am good at, focusing on my music career especially."

Tao hogged headlines in April when he reportedly left South Korea to pursue his solo career without reaching an agreement with his then company.

He made his debut as a solo artist in China in July, and made his exit official in August after filing the lawsuit.

Even though he operates as a one-man show now, the Chinese idol's star has not dimmed.

More than 600 screaming female fans, some of whom had waited for up to 10 hours, greeted him at Ion shopping mall.

He arrived at 8pm at the mall to a rousing welcome, as fans surged forward and tried to take photos.

Student Sherry Ng, 15, said: "I believe Tao had his own reasons for leaving EXO, but I still support him as he is so passionate about his work.

"He also treats his fans very well. Being able to see him so close up just now was so exciting. I died."

Student Janelle Yeo, 15, said: "We won't abandon him even though he has left the group because he still puts in a lot of effort into his projects.

"You can tell that he really appreciates us, so he deserves our love and concern."

Looking at the number of fans who showed up, Tao seemed touched, and said: "This really exceeded my expectations, I never expected so many fans to be here.

"It makes me very, very happy even though I only reached Singapore at 6 this morning and was a little tired."

Comparing life now to his EXO days, Tao said that he is busier as he has to manage a lot of things and make big decisions on his own.

He is currently filming a martial arts movie with Hong Kong action star Jackie Chan and will spend the next couple of months on set, as it is due for release next October.

The sporty star, who has been practising wushu since he was five years old, insists on doing his own stunts."I will have some fight scenes with Jackie Chan so I hope everyone can anticipate it," he said.

"I did injure myself during filming, but I still want to do the fight scenes myself. Now, my leg injury is slowly recovering as I have been doing physiotherapy daily."

The idol has huge plans for the coming year, saying that he wants to release an album and hold a concert tour.

He admits that the heavy workload makes him tired but the fatigue goes away whenever he starts working.

He said: "I am still young, I won't consider taking a holiday or a break.

"This is the best time for me to give it my all."

Alluding to his dramatic year, he said: "I grew up very quickly within a very short time, and it made me learn that being happy is the most important thing."

Turning pensive, he said: "Happiness is something that cannot return once it is gone.

"For me, being happy has become my motto now. "I am not going to leave this world while having regrets, so I will do what I want to do."

This article was first published on Nov 6, 2015.
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