Thanks to the massive popularity of Chinese reality singing competition The Voice of China, a littleknown song by Taiwanese powerhouse Tai Ai-Ling is enjoying a surge of attention.
In 2011, the 34-year-old, best known for her soaring vocals on ballads like The Right Person and Empty Harbour, released the energetic, rap-infused pop hybrid number Super Explosive.
But, it was merely a filler on her album Not Just December then. No music video was made and it received little to no radio airplay. Two months ago, wide-eyed 25-year-old contestant Zhang Xinyi from Jilin province stepped onto The Voice of China's glitzy stage and won over the judges and audience with her rendition of Super Explosive. It also sparked renewed interest in Tai's original and netizens have been lamenting on YouTube how "a great song was buried".
Highlights of The Voice of China, now into its second season on Zhejiang television, can be viewed on the station's official YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/ user/ZjtvChannel.
In a phone interview from Taipei to promote her latest album, The Distance That I Missed You, the Taiwanese aborigine - she is from the Paiwan tribe - told LOUD in Mandarin that Super Explosive holds a "very special" place in her heart.
"I was the co-producer on Super Explosive and we included some aboriginal chants and musical elements in it," she said.
"Of course, it's quite a pity that the song wasn't promoted back in 2011 and I haven't had the chance to perform it on many occasions.
"But that's the reality of the music industry. I'm a professional singer, not a marketing expert. Sometimes, what I love might not be what the record label thinks is most marketable."
Nevertheless, Tai, who will be in town next Tuesday for a live gig at Shake Club, welcomes the delayed reaction with open arms.
"I'm just happy that people are starting to take notice of that song. Personally, I feel (Zhang) did very well with her cover, too," Tai said.
She does not rule out joining reality singing competitions for professionals, such as I Am A Singer, which made its debut on Hunan TV in January. It pits established singers like Terry Lin, Aska Yang, Chyi Chin and Paul Wong against each another.
Meanwhile, Tai is looking forward to coming to Singapore.
"I never fail to put on weight after visiting Singapore," she said with a laugh.
"My last trip there was four to five years ago and I remember the delicious Hainanese chicken rice, bak kut teh (pork rib soup) and pandan cake!"
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