TAIWAN’S KING OF GOLDEN MELODY

TAIWAN’S KING OF GOLDEN MELODY

Jam Hsiao is one of Taiwan’s leading singers and is known as the King of Golden Melody. Hsiao did not fit well in school, having been a delinquent since primary school. He tried smoking in 3rd grade and was involved in a brawl at 14. His first inklings of professional singing started at the age of 17 while in high school where he began working as a restaurant singer.

Hsiao’s rise to fame really started in May 2007 when he was just aged 20 and was accepted to the first season of a TV show, One Million Star, the Taiwanese equivalent of American Idol. It soon became apparent that Hsiao was a serious challenger for the competition.  He won the first two rounds but lost in the third round. The show’s massive success, however, propelled Hsiao to the stratosphere. The show’s rating shot to a historical high and Hsiao became the third most searched celebrity in Yahoo! Taiwan, and his name the second hottest keyword for Taiwan Show Business in Google. Hsiao still kept performing in the same restaurant which now pulled in full houses during his shift.  Many record companies understandably wanted to sign him and he was invited to many variety shows.

It was not only the record companies that were vying for him. His powerful vocals and young talent did not go unnoticed by Taiwan’s Queen of Pop herself, A-Mei, who invited Hsiao to sing with her in the duet Moment of the First Sight in her 2007 album Star. The song became an instant No. 1 hit. He carried his newfound momentum into the Golden Horse Award, Taiwan’s most prestigious film event where he performed a medley of four nominated original themes. Hsiao was still a 20-year-old student and working freelance.

Jam at 2012 Macau concert

Hsiao’s much-anticipated record signing came with one of the “big four” record companies, Warner Music, more specifically Warner Music Taiwan. Hsiao entered a four-year contract. His first album which was self-titled, Jam Hsiao, debuted in June 2008 and became No.1 on Taiwan’s G-Music, Top 20 Weekly Mandarin and Combo Charts and Five Music Chart. His album also became No.1 in Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

During this period, Jam Hsiao made his foray into acting. He certainly proved his acting chops and gained many positive reviews in his cameo in the popular Taiwanese drama Fated to Love You.  His acting achievement culminated in playing the lead role in the 2011 action film The Killer Who Never Kills which won him the Hong Kong Film Award for Best New Performer.

His second album released in July 2009 was met with even greater success. Four out of the twelve songs on the album were written and produced by Hsiao. Having already reach superstardom, Hsiao announced his first large-scale live concert, Mr. Rock Concert, in Taipei Arena scheduled in December 2009.

His pre-concert initiative involved releasing his third album, Love Moments in November 2009. It included 10 covers of songs originally sung by top female singers recorded in a live-band style. These two albums contributed to a very successful year and added five more No.1 hits to his repertoire.

Mr. Rock Concert was sold out within minutes. Dressed in his signature lavish styles, he performed songs in Mandarin, Cantonese, Taiwanese, English and Korean all without dancers or guest-singers. He also incorporated his drumming and keyboard skills on stage. Each concert incorporated local elements and was tailored accordingly. The concert tour was met with enthusiastic praise.

His fourth album Jam Wild Dreams received very good reviews and became the best-selling album of 2011 in Taiwan, with 50,000 copies sold. The album saw him take on the role as album producer for the first time. Hsiao was invited to perform in a trio with Li Jian and Khalil Fong on CCTV New Year’s Gala. Every year the gala is played on the screens of many television sets of Chinese families. It was a massive opportunity and event for Hsiao. His persistence in going through his performance despite suffering from an illness that affected his voice became a hot topic and he was lauded for his perseverance.

His second production of concert tour started in August 2011. Each initial and subsequent show scheduled sold out in a matter of minutes.

Jam_Hsiao – Taipei New Year’s Eve Party 2011

In 2012, Hsiao released his first full English album, consisting of eleven covers of known classics. This album was change in style by Hsiao from Mr. Rock to Mr. Jazz.

In November 2012, Hsiao released another Chinese album, It’s All About Love. This time, Hsiao showcased another one of his diverse talents again with by directing a music video for his song, Marry Me.

In June 2014, Hsiao released his sixth album, The Song and became the 2014 World Cup Ambassador for Taiwan. In September 2016, Hsiao formed the band Lion, together with Lee Q Wu, Tsou Chiang and Liu Chao-chu. They released their self-titled album on September 16.

In 2017, Hsiao, together with his band, Lion, participated in singing competition Singer 2017 and got third overall.

In May 2018, Jam Hsiao’s highly-popular and critically-acclaimed Mr. Entertainment world tour kicked off. Presented by StarPlanet, his recent stop in Malaysia for his world tour was a great success.

Hsiao has not lost a step in his career which has spanned over a decade. Multi-talented with a powerful and flexible singing voice, Hsiao’s albums are heavy sellers and his concerts are a spectacle to behold. Only 32 years young, his stellar career will continue to be watched with great interest.

DJ Tenashar – Creating Success, One Track at A time

DJ Tenashar – Creating Success, One Track at A time

Sugar, spice and everything nice may not be even close to describing this bombshell of a talent unless something is as sweet as a beat, spicy as a riff and much nicer than a scratch. Debbie Valerie Tenashar Long, or better known as DJ Tenashar is a “ten”, that’s for sure and we ascribe this numerical value to this remarkable lady for various reasons. Hold your breath for we shall count them down as frantically as one of her EDM tracks.  

Before she found her passion and garnered success in the deck, Tenashar was a financial broker for a prestigious firm.  She was the top broker for 3 consecutive years and she had a promising career ahead of her, but she felt like a part of her was missing; she was a passionate lady, but her job as a financial broker just wasn’t it. Taking the leap of faith, she left her job and became a model. She appeared in several magazines before she found her true calling towards music, and was soon ranked number 87 on DJ Magazine’s Top 100.

When asked what fuelled her roaring engines to succeed, Tenashar gave us the sort of picture-perfect answer.  Her response was; “chasing my dreams, following my passions and working hard at something that I love compound the amount of the pleasure that I get when my milestones are a beautifully manicured fingertip away”, But what are these milestones that she is talking about? One example she gave was the day she signed with Universal- one of the world’s biggest record company. Feeling honored, she could not hold back her joyful tears, but her tears weren’t just for her success.

For Tenashar, every gig and every show she does leaves her with one remarkable experience and she truly lives for her fans, and realizing how her music gives her generation and the generations to come an inspiration that in the face of adversity, one should always stand up and never back down is one of the many reasons why she wakes up and hits the turntables every day. In addition to that, she makes people who come into her life see the sun where once only clouds were.

Last track and definitely not with the least heat, DJ Tenashar looks forward to her fans and us, potential ones, to jam to her latest tracks that she has been spending a lot of time concocting. She promises a future house sound and as expectations are sky-high, and since this lady is a pioneer, it is only safe to say that we’re keeping them dancing shoes ready.

Julie Estelle – The Journey Towards Perfection

Julie Estelle – The Journey Towards Perfection

MY UPBRINGING, MY WORK VALUES

I was born in Jakarta and my parentage is half French and half Indonesian.  I lived and grew up there for some time before moving to Bali for 7 years. I then moved back to Jakarta and have never left since, and I can speak French because I learned it during high school.

I have a sister, Cathy who started being a model and MTV VJ when she was young herself. Not long after she had started in this field, I was also offered to cast for a TV commercial in 2005. The same year I started acting in movies as well and that’s how my professional career took off. At first it was the difficult to juggle time between school and work. Now it’s just the long working hours, but I guess that right now, I am already used to it and quite frankly, I have learned to enjoy it.

My part as “hammergirl” in the The Raid 2 (2014) was somewhat life changing to be honest. It opened me to a totally different world of martial arts, which is something totally new to me. It took me 6 months of heavy training to master the choreography as I had no martial art background whatsoever.

I am a very organized person and I like to plan things and set goals in everything I do. And I value discipline and punctuality. Also, the thought of achieving my goals is a strong driver for me to keep pushing forward.

I have achieved many things throughout my professional career, but what I will consider to be my greatest achievement is the fact that I have been able to be independent and provide for myself since I was 17.

And everyone can achieve a lot of things if they believe in themselves. So always believe in yourself no matter what you do and what people say.

 

THE PEOPLE I LOOK UP TO AND MY NEXT GROOVE

Speaking of self-belief, my parents have always believed in me and supported me since I started until now. They are my role models.

In my line of work I admire Johnny Depp because of his choices of various roles he is always a great actor. And Leonardo di Caprio as he’s not just a great actor, he is also an environmentalist and that is something I happen to relate to.

I don’t know if I am still going to be active in the industry say 10 years later, but regardless I have a dream to conduct my own businesses. In fact I have already started a business – I am running an agro business with my sisters, where we provide healthy kale base snacks. Our brand is the kale tale (follow our Instagram – @thekaletale for more info). I am passionate about food, so in the future I hope to have my own restaurant or cafe.

 

MY CHILL FACTOR

I try to manage to keep my life in balance by sparing some time for a holiday after long projects. It is very important for me to have some time to “recharge”.

Maybe it’s because I grew up in Bali so I love beaches. To me the beach gives me comfort. There’s a place I love to go every year here in Indonesia called Gili Island. I went there for the first time in 2007. I fell in love with that place on my first visit.

 

BEFORE I GO…

My latest movie, Headshot, is going to be intense for sure, and other than that you will just have to watch it yourself!

Pia Wurtzbach – A Passion And The Perseverance

Pia Wurtzbach – A Passion And The Perseverance

Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach from Philippines was just another face in the local showbiz before she was crowned Miss Universe. The small town girl from Cagayan de Oro possesses style, charisma, personality and she always wears a sweet smile; a smile that symbolizes gratitude, ambition, elegance and strength.But how did a simple, sweet and dreamy girl like Pia achieve such a great feat?

Pia’s life growing up wasn’t easy. She was born on September 24 1989 at Stuttgart, Germany. Her mother is a Filipino and her father was a German. She has one sister who is two years younger than her. Since Pia’s mother is a big fan of Miss Universe pageants, Pia developed a passion for beauty pageants from a young age. Back then, little Pia would try on her mother’s shoes and do the catwalk for her. Her mom would then ask her questions during their “role-play” sessions and one of which was, “What’s the essence of a woman, Pia?”Of course, Pia was only a kid back then and would not be able to answer such a question.

When Pia was eleven, her parents separated and she followed her mother to the Philippines. Life was difficult for them and as Pia was the eldest, she went to work as a child model and actress to support her family. For some, the idea of a child working may seem abhorrent, but in Pia’s case, the hardship was somehow a blessing in disguise.She was known by her stage name, Pia Romero and was managed by ABS-CBN’s theatrical agency Star Magic which later provided her with education.

Pia appeared mostly on TV shows after her acting debut at twelve. Her first show was a teen-oriented series titledK2BU in 2002. Following the success of this series, she later starred in the romance musical anthology Your Song in 2007. It was during these times that she started to cultivate the interest for beauty pageants. Although Pia did think about joining the Miss Universe pageant, she abandoned the idea as her family was relying on her income as an actress.

Pia isn’t just all beauty; she’s a beauty with intelligence and skills.She finished her secondary education at ABS-CBN Distance Learning School at Metro Manila. After high school, Pia went on to study culinary arts at the Centre for Asian Culinary Studies in San Juan, Metro Manila. After leaving school, she worked as a stylist and makeup artist. She then worked as a beauty writer for the Philippine Daily Inquirer, one of Philippines most reputed tabloids.

Pia’s journey into the world of beauty pageantry was filled with challenges. It took her three tries to win the Binibining Pilipinas (Miss Universe Philippines) title and although it was painful and tiring, Pia never gave up. She first joined the competition in 2013 and finished as the first runner-up, but her second attempt saw her not winning any title after the question-and-answer session. During that session Philippines Senator Sonny Angara, one of the judges, asked Pia a question in Tagalog and she replied in the same tongue.Online commentators wondered if Pia had lost points with the international judges when she did so. Pia was a little disappointed when she lost in her first try, but this second loss left her devastated as it ended worse than her first. However, she pulled herself together, regained her confidence and went back for more last year. Pia once again gave all she had and that night, Pia was crowned Binibining Pilipinas(Miss Universe Philippines) 2015, the highest award of that pageant.

Winning that title was Pia’s ticket to international stardom. While she finally won the title that she had been vying for the past three years, she realized that the real deal was just around the corner and the game now has new players. Hence, Pia trained hard day and night, weekdays and weekends alike, and she prayed hard for her victory. She realized that she now represents her country on the grand stage and there are no more second chances. Life for her was about Miss Universe and nothing more.

For Pia, the three-year long wait since 2013 was the hardest part of her career. Her failures left her wondering if this was the right path for her and there were times she asked herself if this was what she really wanted. But, Pia being Pia,was persistent, stubborn and still chasing for glory and her mission this time was the Miss Universe title.

Finally, the day she had been waiting for has finally arrived. 15 beauties from 15 different countries flaunted their beauty and intelligence in The Axis, Las Vegas. The competition was tight and as time went by, Pia got nervous watching her fellow contestants leaving with broken hearts and hopes one after the other. Slowly and surely, it came down to the final three; Philippines, Colombia and USA. Drama kicked off when it came down to the final three when host Steve Harvey caused “the biggest blunder of 2015” by announcing the wrong name as the winner. Steve first announced Ariadna Gutierrez from Colombia as the winner of Miss Universe 2015 and Pia from Philippines as the first runner-up. Pia heard Steve the first time loud and clear and she was content. She did give her level best after all and being the first-runner up for Miss Universe is a big achievement by itself. But no, it wasn’t quite over yet. Steve came back on stage with a nervous look on his face. This time, he said, “I have to apologize, the first-runner up is Colombia, and the winner for Miss Universe 2015 is Philippines.” Well, everyone including Ariadna and Pia reacted in disbelief and only when the tiara was taken from Ariadna’s head and placed on Pia’s head, did reality sink in.

Was there ever a time you wish you could say “you should have seen the look on your face” to someone so badly? Pia was too stunned at that moment to feel anything and she even had that stunned look on her pretty face when she was being crowned. She couldn’t comprehend what happened until she shed tears of joy to her heart’s content backstage. It was a huge victory for her and for her beloved country. The beauty pageant has a significant impact and a huge fan base in Philippines as the nation has won the title twice in the past; the last time was when Margie Moran brought the title back home in 1973. Now, after 42 years of title drought, Pia has delivered the 3rdvictory for Philippines in the Miss Universe pageant and the nation celebrated as“Queen” Pia stepped foot on her home ground.

Pia Wurtzbach, whose life is one which is driven by dreams and struggle, has proved that you can achieve anything you put your heart, mind and soul into it. Pia may have been a small-town girl, but thanks to her persistence, willpower, faith and beauty, the 2015 Miss Universe winner now reigns as “Queen” in the hearts of millions.

Issue 11/2016

An Empowering Rose

An Empowering Rose

More often than not one associates technology entrepreneurs and ventures with young men.  So it is most impressive and inspiring when one come across a young Indonesian lady who has broken into a largely male-dominated arena and succeeded in her own way. Recently, Top 10 of Asia speaks with Aulia Halimatussadiah, widely known as Ollie, on how she started out, the challenges as well as her achievements.

Ollie is a prolific author and founder of two online businesses in Indonesia. Her love has always been reading and writing and she used to read up to 7 books a week. She now reads a minimum of 2 books a day! It is really quite a feat for someone who has such a busy schedule.

Her love for reading led her to buying many books online. Every time she needed to purchase a book, however, she found the process in efficient and tedious especially as she had to key in her bio data. She sought to provide a more efficient solution to online buying of books and decided to resign from her job as a web designer so she could dedicate herself to the task. Thus, her first online venture – Kutukutubuku.com was born and is now one of Indonesia’s top online bookstores.  That decision to resign from her job changed her life.  In fact, looking back now, she says, “I should have listened to my heart sooner.”

Her inspiration for writing came after attending a friend’s book launch. After the event, she applied for a scholarship for a creative writing workshop and was accepted. Three months later, she wrote her first book. The publisher liked and published it and it turned out to be a bestseller.

It was a setback and disagreement with a publisher along the way that set Ollie on the path of her next venture.  Again, it was the urge to provide a solution to a specific problem. She explains, “One day, my 16th book got rejected by the publishers. We had different ideals about the book. They felt the market was too small.”

Aulia Halimatussadiah

Aulia Halimatussadiah

Not one to sit back and take the rejection, she tried to self-publish but found the cost prohibitive.  And so she decided to start an affordable online self-publishing print on demand platform called Nulisbuku.com.  Ollie explains,“We are a young country with 60 % of the population under 30 years of age. There are many ideas that need to be published and most people can’t do this because of the high cost. 1,400 publishers can’t handle 100 million ideas at once so that’s how NulisBuku.com was born. We now have 150,000 writers and more than 5,000 books have been self-published.”

Through this platform, she has empowered thousands of writers and the community is close to 100,000 strong.To date, Ollie herself has written 27 books since and plans to publish 3 more within the year.

In her writings, there is a long list of authors – and among them, oversea authors are Paulo Coelho, Joe Vitale, Orhan Pamuk, and Elizabeth Gilbert; Indonesian authors such as Fira Basuki, Ika Nastassa, Alberthiene Endah, Dee Lestari –all inspire Ollie in her writings.

“Each book delivers a message of its own and I am a messenger. My job is to accept and message, and make sure the message is sent to as many people as possible.”

Managing an organization such as hers invariably poses its own challenges. Ollie says, “We’ve been bootstrapping from day one, so one of the challenges is to keep running as fast as we can with a very lean team. Educating the public on the concept of self-publishing is another.  Technical issues such as server management and website maintenance are also challenging.”

The sage Confucius wrote: “Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” This most certainly applies to Ollie. She says, “I don’t need to balance my professional and personal life because I’m doing what I love and every day feels like a holiday.”

Her fervent belief that more women should utilize technology as a catalyst to success motivated her and some friends to create Girls in Tech Indonesia. In addition, she also organizes Startup Lokal which is the biggest digital start up community in Indonesia.

Right now, Ollie’s been reading up on Elon Musk and watching his videos as he’s her current inspiration due to his innovative mindset. And it is because she sees herself making bigger innovations with a wider impact on her country.

Ollie’s greatest achievement is her contribution to nation building through her start-ups and organisations – inspiring thousands of young people to express their mind through writing, helping more than 5,000 people self-publish their books, and moving young people in Indonesia through her writings.

Issue 10/2016