Friday, April 5, 2013

Jason Chen Live in Singapore 2013


He’s Taiwanese-American, has impressive vocals, is amazingly talented, and shot to fame on YouTube.

Jason Chen first debuted on YouTube five years ago, covering the song “The Look” by Ryan Tedder in front of a webcam in his dormitory room. He has since risen to stardom and has been touring the world, mesmerizing fans with his dulcet vocals.

Jason has certainly come a long way.  Today, he works in a refurbished studio with a much better video recorder. He is currently working on his second full-length English album titled “Never for Nothing” and a Chinese mix tape 节省钱。His first album, “Gravity”, won over many fans (garnering over 7.7 million views) with his successful hit single “Best Friend”.

What’s interesting about this 25 year-old singer is that he doesn’t only cover English songs, he makes a good effort to keep to his roots and also sings Chinese songs such as “Tong Hua (Fairytale)” by Guang Liang and “Ting Hai” by Zhang Hui Mei.

What’s even more interesting is that he graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) with a degree in Business Economics and Accounting, but decided to take on singing as a career.

I had the most awesome experience meeting Jason for an interview during his tour of Singapore in March 2013 and also went for his solo performance at Hard Rock Café!

For our readers who have never heard of your music, explain your sound in a few words.
I sing a lot of pop songs, love songs, sad songs… And I do a lot of mainstream music.

Which song in your YouTube channel did you enjoy recording the most? Why?
I think it would be my cover of “Just a Dream” by Nelly. This was the first-ever video that I did with someone else and it was with Joseph Vincent (a Filipino American musician). It did really well (over 8 million views) and I had a lot of fun recording that song.

You’ve done a lot of performances around the world over the past couple of years. Do you still get nervous before performing on stage?
I don’t get nervous because I’ve been on stage since I was really young, playing the violin. It’s more that I feel awkward, because when I have both hands free, I’m not quite sure what to do sometimes.

Your Chinese album is called “jie sheng qian” (save money). So, do you like to save? What are your saving habits like?
I’m not stingy, but I do like to save. I don’t calculate (my expenses) down to the dollar, but I’m pretty much living the same way I did when I was still doing accounting. I’m one of those people who would look at the prices when I order food or buy clothes. I would be very conscious about how I spend my money. Of course, there would be certain things I would be more willing to spend on, especially if it’s going to help my branding or if it’s going to allow me to produce a very nice music video. But I won’t buy a nice car, eat super-expensive foods or buy branded clothes.

JASON’S SHOWCASE @ HARD ROCK CAFÉ
Jason’s showcase was held at the Hard Rock Café at Cuscaden Road. Although it was located in the heart of Orchard Road, my media friends and I had trouble searching for the place as it was quite a distance away from malls along the main road. Despite that, the turnout was great. The cosy performance area was soon fully filled with excited fans waiting for Jason to come out on stage. Best of all, the venue was air-conditioned! I knew this was going to be a great performance.

The showcase started with everyone moving to the beat of the mashup of “Just a Dream” and “Payphone”, originally sung by Nelly and Maroon 5 respectively.

Jason then proceeded to sing “Back at One” by Brian McKnight, serenading the entire audience with his smooth and cool vocals.

“AutoTune” was up next, a favorite, judging by the increased volume of fans screaming and cheering. The song showcased creativity and wit, and Jason floored the audience as soon as the first verse started. His voice had been artificially layered with Autotune effects throughout the whole song and I must say it was not bad at all. I didn’t think he could pull this off that well in a live setting. That being said, his ingenuity in song-production is one of the many reasons which really made me feel that the soreness from standing throughout the whole two hours was really worth it.


 A Bruno Mars cover came next. Jason covered “When I was your man” with vocal prowess, belting out a high note in the bridge, which made everyone clap their hands.

Jason even demonstrated his proficiency in the Chinese language, doing a rendition of Tao Ze’s “Pu Tong Peng You (Ordinary Friends)” and Wang Lee Hom’s “Bu Zhi Dao De Shi (Things you don’t know)”. His almost pitch-perfect vocals and the familiarity he exhibited with these songs certainly delighted the Chinese fans.

Next, he sang a rendition of Justin Bieber’s “As long as you love me”.



 “Best Friend”, a popular original, was up next. In this song, he mixed it up with another classic from N Sync - “God must have spent a little more time on you”. The piece demonstrated the versatility of Jason’s ability and vocals, and fans loved it just as much.

Jason then sang a song from his new album called “Hide and Seek” (about how we can never find the perfect person). Although it was a completely new song, I could see that everyone was enjoying the song, with some jumping enthusiastically when Jason sang “I’m searching for you” repeatedly as a lead-in to the chorus. The crowd sang in unison, like a well-rehearsed choir group, which impressed and touched Jason.

Finally, Jason thanked all his wonderful fans for supporting him on YouTube by belting out his newest single, “Thank You”, which was going to be on his new album “Never For Nothing”, releasing in  April 2013.



Besides the song renditions, we also got a glimpse of Jason’s views on Singapore.  When asked what his favourite Singapore food was, Jason replied: Hainanese Chicken Rice and Chilli Crab. Jason also said Singapore was the cleanest country he had ever performed in.

This was the first time Jason had ever sung twelve songs consecutively on tour. Let’s hope he comes back to Singapore again soon with a greater repertoire of new songs!

*photos by official photographer Jinha Kim 


By Ho Khin Wai, Year 3, Diploma in Banking & Financial Services

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Khin Wai is an NYP Year 2 Banking and Financial Services student from School of Business Management (SBM). He started writing for NYP Portal in 2011 out of interest and was soon "addicted" to it. He has also written book reviews for Straits Times YA Classified. Besides writing, he loves singing and has performed for various events in NYP under NYP Soundcard.


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