Friday, July 16, 2010

Taiwanese heart-throb Eddie Peng proves that he can hold a tune in his debut album

HIS manager for the last eight years had told the Taiwanese media that no one would dare produce his album. Apparently, record label BMG had signed him five years ago, but put him in cold storage, reportedly because his voice didn't match his good looks. But Taiwanese heart-throb Eddie Peng has silenced his critics.

In town over the weekend to promote his debut album Can't Not Love, the actor-singer sang live during his autograph session at City Square Mall on Saturday. Passers-by like 31-year-old business owners Jerome Lee and Carrie Lim, who weren't Peng's fans, said he sang in tune and had 'a nice, melodious voice'. So, were those Taiwanese reports correct?

Peng, 28, told The New Paper: 'I've had some disagreements with that manager who is now my ex-manager. He didn't let me do things that I wanted to do, for example, sing. So I've only been acting in movies and TV dramas.

'As for the record label, that was my decision at that time. I felt I wasn't ready to release an album. I'm not scared of what people would say. Criticism pushes me to improve myself.'

Five years ago, he found fame while playing a beach-loving dude in Taiwanese idol drama When Dolphin Met Cat. Other successful TV series such as Honey and Clover and The Concerto followed, spurring record labels to sign him. Singing didn't come naturally to him

Peng said that when actors have made a name for themselves in Taiwanese idol dramas, they would be offered the chance to release an album. This is because these actors have huge followings in Taiwan where idol dramas are the staple of the entertainment industry.

Peng said it was a blessing in disguise that he didn't start his singing career earlier as 'some things can be done right only in their own time'.

So what makes him think he can carry a tune better now? Despite having vocal training, Peng admitted his vocal abilities can't compare to those of 'professional singers'. He said acting was also a talent that did not come to him naturally.

'But I'm a workaholic and whatever I want to achieve, I make sure I practise really hard,' he said.

'Critics said I couldn't act when I started out. Now that I'm more seasoned, preparing for a role comes much easier to me.'

Of course, he has his looks. 'That is something I was born with. I wouldn't consider it so much a talent as a gift from my parents,' he said.

He added with a laugh: 'I'm lucky that I'm born with a face that doesn't scare people away.'

Peng said he hoped his snazzy dance moves would up the entertainment quotient of his performances. For the last two months, he has been hitting the dance studio for up to five hours a day. His Japanese dance teacher, who is responsible for Japanese band Exile's slick choreography, was flown in to train him.

Add this to the two hours of daily vocal training and it's no wonder the star of Hear Me - Taiwan's top-grossing movie last year - has lost 5kg. Peng, who grew up in Canada, is also on a strict diet that restricts fatty foods and sugar. He is now filming the movie Close To You, in which he plays a boxer. So when Peng is not dancing, he's boxing for up to four hours each time.

And this is why he is 'girlfriend-less'. He said: 'I really want to be in a relationship but I don't have the time. I do date and there are girls I'm going out with right now whom I really like. But it's not easy being my girlfriend. I won't have much time for her.

'I won't rule out dating a fan as she would be familiar with my work. What would be worse is if my girlfriend were some other celebrity's fan,' he joked.

Perhaps Peng is keeping the loneliness at bay by cosying up to the bevy of female celebrities he has worked with, thanks to his album's release. Not only did Taiwanese actress Kwai Lun Mei attend his album's promotional event, Taiwanese Eurasian model-actress Tiffany Hsu shared a long smooch with him in his Summer Around The Corner music video.

Hsu is attached to Peng's friend, Taiwanese actor Ethan Ruan. But unlike Hsu, who appeared in the music video for an undisclosed fee, Hong Kong actress Shu Qi did the job for free. She starred in his first music video, Can't Not Love as 'a favour' to him. Peng had met Shu Qi last year when he was on holiday in Thailand with Hong Kong actor Shawn Yue.

They bonded over a game of badminton where Peng made Shu Qi 'promise' to star in his music video if she lost to him. After admitting defeat, Shu Qi gamely flew to Taiwan in March - in between filming in Hong Kong no less - to honour the bet. Said Peng: 'We're now very good friends. When she comes to Taiwan, we'll meet up for meals and of course, badminton.

'Everyone knows that hiring Shu Qi to be in a music video is very expensive. If she didn't do it for free, I don't think I would have been able to afford her!'

The New Paper


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