Monday, 6 May 2013

Jay Chou interview with Vani (Hongkong)

Jay did a radio interview with deejay Vani in Hongkong recently. She has known him since his debut, promoting his first album and every subsequent one since. Jay remains very grateful to her and will always do an interview with her whenever he releases a new album and this year is no different. But this interview will focus on more personal stuff than just Opus 12.
NB: I've translated as much as I can, mostly Jay's parts.
Once again, I may sound a little incoherent at times but the overall meaning should be quite clear. ;)

Part 1:

Vani has known Jay more than ten years and he has grown so much; and has many friends.
Jay looks cool on the outside but is warm on the inside and Jay agrees:
"That's because I have relatively few facial expressions but I do have a humorous side!.I laugh easily and this cool look is just me from the first album.

I've always been hardworking; just not in studies. I do have some regrets about not going to University in that I missed out on the Uni experience; I might have formed a band or written different kinds of songs. But I was not willing to go for tuition for my academics. At that time, I was satisfied not to have to go to university as I had a nice family and my music. There was not much stress as I felt I could always fall back on my music and become a music teacher. 

If I had gone to Uni, I would have studied classical music. But I feel that my choice to go into pop music was the right one as there are already so many classical pianists like Lang Lang. I like pop music because it allowed me to create songs instead of just playing other composers' music, which is what performing pianists do. God gave you a gift and even though music may be in your genes, you still have to work hard. Re classical music, these are compositions which are already hundreds of years old; you're just performing them and it's all about your level of ability or interpretation which may not be what the composer intended or others might not agree with your version. Whereas if I write my own song, I can decide how romantic I want it to be. I think I've expressed this very well here (*self-praise*!)
I do hope my  music will live forever in my MVs as well.

Talking about OPUS 12, whence Jay is asked by Vani to critique his own music:
 "I feel that this person (viz Jay himself!) is very Diao. I'm very serious about this. Good singers are a dime a dozen but a composer who can write good songs is considered very competent. If I were a fan, I'd like this very much. Like each album can have different genres of songs, like different dishes in a menu. Let's say my first album was all Chinese style; second album all rock; third album all hiphop; fourth was'd feel that this composer always changes. But from my very first album, I've always kept a mix of genres in each so people feel that I have not changed my style. Which is not true; in fact, I've always been experimenting and changing. And I've not fallen in my music, ever. I've always been very hardworking; just that you have not looked at me carefully.
Writing fast does not mean it's a bad song; neither does it mean it's done in a careless way. But sometimes what is written in three minutes can be a beautiful melody because it's done in a moment of frenzied feeling. And this melody might live on forever. (Wow, I have said it very well!...*self-praise again*!)"

Part 2:

Re criticisms about his music, etc:
"I don't get hurt easily; music is my forte. Unless I really do not know much about music. Unlike being an actor, which is not one of my strengths. For that, I would listen to critisicm and learn from it. But when it comes to music, which is something I have learnt from the age of three or four, what I create has to be good in my own eyes for me to let others listen to. Different people have different levels of competency in what they do.
In my song, Besieged From Four Sides. I have lyrics, 'When I reach to the top of the mountain
No one can hurt me'. But some artistes will thank the critics.
Even though I keep on going forward, I don't feel I have reached the top yet. It's like working out for fitness. There's always more to strive for.
As an artiste, you can't keep yourself in a room to look at your own stuff.
Others must understand you; you must have your own style. I want to influence others; not make myself suit others.
(Sammi Cheng told the DJ that she admires his attitude towards fitness which is the more important thing beyond just looking good)
I want people to appreciate how hardworking I am in fitness; and more so, it translates into my music.

Part 3:

Vani says he seems to have many friend and not have many enemies.
"I find it difficult to make new friends. Like when I come to HK, it's to meet old friends.
I don't know; maybe it's my cool image. I don't think it's because of my celeb status; I'm just not one of those who will make the first move. My friends have been with me for many years like my choreographer.
To be my good friend, you can't be too superior to me. Because I'm strong-minded and I liken myself to being the tiger amongs the sheep; I like to be the leader. And my friends listen to me. I have a lot of initiative. And I don't like others to have too much initiative. Eg...I have this song and you must have this sort of dance; I tell Vincent I have these lyric ideas and you must have the 'Gong Gong' in them, because it's a memorable line. Also for the 'Huo huo huo huo' in Fearless. If Vincent had his way, he would not write stuff like that. Yes, we must coordinate well together.

My friends who understand my music will enjoy my songs.
Not much criticism from them about my music. For other things, friends will mostly support you.
But there was one instance in which I took the photo of the pappz, thinking it was fun but friends told me I didn't need to do that.
I think I'm kind of child-like a lot of the times.

Part 4:

I have my company, my restaurants....staff about a few hundred in all, including the concert crew.
I am happy doing what I do and do not think it's stressful.
Only time is when I worry about whether it's good enough or I don't feel confident about something.
I was very confident about OPUS 12; but still worried if it was good enough.
This Earth does not revolve around me but I do feel that when I've written a good song, if it does well, it does well.
After shooting Pandamen, which involved my friends from NQMM but did not do well, I realised that not everything I did or had ideas about would be successful or liked by others, but I did not regard it as a failure. It was my first time doing a TV series and I wanted the experience. I wanted to help my friends and give them a chance.
NQMM is very quiet now, which I think is a pity. I'd like for them to rise up again; that is my stress.
I also realised that just because they are my friends or colleagues, or they have a connection with me does not imply that they will be equally successful; they still need to rely on themselves.

Talking about love:
"Artistes need love to create more good things. But it's not absolutely necessary. Just using my imagination or listening to other people's stories for inspiration can work as well or even better. My love songs are usually not based on my own life but there was one which I wrote for another singer but is very personal...viz End Of The World.
I wrote many lyrics but most of them are from imagination. Some are cute puns, like in Big Ben.
Family is also good to have. I started thinking about that after I turned 30. My Mum has not stressed me about this. My girlfriend must get along with my Mum and Grandma. She must also be comfortable going out with my friends.
It's difficult having my own private space; we must be able to hold each other together; it's not easy being the girlfriend or boyfriend of an artiste."

Part 5:

"Family must approve of and like her. We should also be good friends first; she must like and understand my music. I want to be the Big Man.
Am I romantic? 70% perhaps.
I will announce when I get married but prior to that, I'm not one to reveal who I'm going out with. I feel that is my own personal matter and want to preserve a little privacy that way.
I'm not like the Westerners, who date each other openly and then breakup openly; to me, that makes things quite awkward when one party gets married and all the previous photos of that party with the former partner get shown.
I prefer my relationships to be low-profile; in a way, it's also to protect the privacy and reputation of my girlfriend.
Marriage should be for life.
I hope to get married not too late in life, so that the age gap between me and my kids will not be too large. We can play together. They can appreciate my music. I should be quite a good father.
I don't think of myself as an idol; I'm a singer and songwriter. Fans should like my music.
I've always been lowkey about my girlfriends, even in school.
There was already gossipy stuff then which I hated.

I hope my fans will accept my work and other stuff.
Romantic gestures like setting off fireworks for my girlfriend...nearly set her house on fire. I think that's quite moving. Quickly left after getting it all ready. Did it for my mother too.

When I'm 60, I will still be singing, playing basketball, maybe friends with Kobe, English will be better.
I'll have my own movie company; do whatever movies I want; scold the newbie if he's not Anthony Wong. ;)
I'll still be in this industry like my godpa.
Perhaps I can't dance much then but I can still make movies. Hopefully, there'll be some young Jay Chous by then, new talents which I have discovered and nurtured.
I'll be a music company boss; maybe even have my own basketball!"

He ends with "Dreams make life more meaningful".
He'll still have an interview with Vani when he's 60. :)

My thoughts

I love hearing him sing his little ditties for the show at the start of every programme, in that heartfelt voice of his!
I also like what he said about his songwriting being more satisfying as opposed to being a performing pianist and playing classical music, which was written hundreds of years ago.
To me, that is the essence and individuality of Jay Chou shining through.
But I can also imagine that if he had done the professional pianist thing, he would have possibly found new ways and means to interpret the classics or even improvise as he decides. His musicality is just too much to be restricted to mere performing.

He has once again, stated his stand on relationships and why he chooses to keep mum about them. To me, that is a very admirable trait and I respect him all the more for his conservatism in this aspect.

He sounds like there are many more dreams for him to fulfill; I can't wait to see him realise more of them!
Haha...did he say he would have improved on his English when he's older??
Gosh, I look forward to the day he releases an album in English!



  1. I enjoy reading your blogs and this is one of them. I like the way Jay views about relationship and marriage. It makes me adore him more. And I'm with you in waiting for him to be good in English and yeah I also hope he release an english album or even just a song.

    1. Hiya.

      Glad you enjoy my stuff!'re right. At the rate Jay is going, just one English song would be more than enough. ;)