Memories of a purple rose
Taiwanese singer-actress Angela Chang still remembers a purple rose given to her by a boy who liked her.
FROM MVP to MVP. Since Angela Chang first made viewers sit up in 2002 with her winning performance in Taiwanese idol basketball drama My MVP Valentine, she has gone on to prove herself a most valuable player in music too.
Her debut album Over The Rainbow in 2004 showcased her unexpectedly powerful voice and catapulted her into the ranks of pop princesses.
The petite and pretty 25-year-old was nominated for Best Female Singer at the2005 Taiwan Golden Melody Awards for her second album, Aurora.
On the movie front, she received a Taiwan Golden Bell Awards Best Actress nomination last year for playing twins in Bump Off Lover 17.
She is cracking the China market too. The hardworking gal held concerts in Shanghai, Suzhou and Changsha last year and performed on China Central Television's New Year's Gala last February, a key event in the station's annual line-up.
Chang, who was born in Taiwan, got her break by taking part in singing contests in Canada, the country her family migrated to when she was 12.
She won first place in the Chinese-Canadian singing contest BBC Star but was not able to make it to Taiwan for the finals because of schooling commitments.
Still, her performance caught the attention of singer-producer Lin Longxuan. And, after graduating from high school, Chang went back to Taiwan to develop her career and signed with Linfair Records in 2000.
Her younger sister and younger brother are currently both in school and live with their father in Vancouver, while her mother lives with her in Taipei. She was in town recently to promote her fourth album Flower In The Wonderland.
1. What has changed from your first album, Over The Rainbow, to your fourth, Flower In The Wonderland (released in January this year)?
It has been a process, and I have learnt many things on the journey of music.
There are lots of firsts on this album, for example, trying out different musical genres from the folk pop of Flower In The Wonderland to the rock-tinged The Look.
I guess everyone can feel that Angela's music has become more mature, that Angela has grown up.
2. Can one song change the world?
It's possible. I'm quite happy that my song Invisible Wings from my previous album Pandora touched a lot of people. Children who are ill have told me that this song gives them hope. The power of music can move people.
Personally, I remember being very moved by the song Days Without Cigarettes sung by Zhang Yusheng in his 1989 album Miss Me. I didn't fully grasp its meaning as I was very young but the mood it conjured was very powerful and sad.
The lyrics are a poem written in prison by Wang Dan, one of the student leaders of the Tiananmen Square protests in Beijing in 1989. In it, he likens soaring pigeons to freedom.
3. If you had to choose between singing and acting, which would it be?
I have wanted to be a singer since I was 15. I cannot imagine myself to be without music one day. Between winning an award for singing and one for acting,I would want to win the award for best singer. (She has won prizes for best newcomer and most popular singer.)
4. Since your family moved to Canada when you were 12, where do you consider home?
Both Taipei and Vancouver, but I have not been back to Vancouver for a longtime.
I have many fond memories of the place though. Life was simple there. I enjoyed singing and would go for karaoke and enter singing contests.
I miss the environment, and the whole attitude towards life. It was a very relaxed place. I would study and then hang out with my friends after school.
5. What is the strangest dream you have ever had?
The song Flower In The Wonderland actually came to me in a dream. It was the first time I dreamt of someone singing a cappella. It was a girl's voice, but it was not a voice that I recognised.
6. What's the most memorable bouquet of flowers you have received?
It was a very beautiful purple rose. This was back in Taiwan when I was young and there was a boy who liked me and bought a single stalk of the rose for me.
Flowers were just starting to be imported into Taiwan then and were very expensive.
7. If you could design your own wonderland, what would it be like?
It would be a shopping mall or some relaxed place like Bali. Shopping is one of my favourite activities apart from watching movies and eating.
8. If you could live your life all over again...
I don't know what I would do differently. I guess I would still choose to sing, but I would also want to just live an ordinary life. It's less convenient when people know you.
Flower In The Wonderland is out in the shops.
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