Sun, May 06, 2001 - Page 17 News List

Familiar melodies win gold

Aside from a virtually unknown singer named Adia who took the Best Male Vocalist award at the Golden Melodies in Kaohsiung, there were few surprises as the music industry crowned Jay Chou, Na Ying, Sun Yan-zi (pictured right) and Mayday the kings and queens of Taiwanese pop

By David Frazier  /  STAFF REPORTER

Sun Yan-zi (孫燕姿), best new artist

In a competition in which mainstream artists with strong sales dominated, Adia (阿弟仔), the newest and least mainstream of the nominees in the Best Male Vocalist category came away with the coveted award. He was the only major nominee at this year's awards that belonged to an independent record label.

The best album went to newcomer Jay Chou (周杰倫) for his R&B-influenced self-titled album, which has sold in excess of 120,000 copies.

Na Ying (那英) as a presenter for the Best Female Vocalist was put into the slightly embarrassing position of presenting herself with the award, probably the most important for the event.

In the eyes of the music industry, where money is the bottom line, the male nominees are small potatoes compared to the women. "Females have much higher recognition," said Perry Ko (柯佩鈴) of Tower Records in Taipei. "In fact, there are not many really big stars right now. So if one of these women puts out an album, it's a guaranteed hit. They don't even need to promote it. But of course they still do."

Taiwan's top seller at Tower Records in 2000 was Faye Wong (王菲). Nationwide, she sold 170,000 albums during the year. Wong records for EMI, which also represents the hot-selling Chinese singer Na Ying, who is a close second, with 150,000 copies during the same period. Given the emphasis on artists who move stock, the choice of Na Ying for Best Female Vocalist came as no surprise.

"The market for female singers is much, much bigger than the market for the guys," said Ko. "There's kind of a weird split. Female pop singers get both guys and girls buying their albums, but male pop singers only get women buying the records."

In a predictable award ceremony, in many categories, winners seemed to be selected on their record sales, with mainstream artists pushing out less famous names. A massive crowd attended the gathering, held for the first time in the event's 12-year history in Kaohsiung. The broadcasting rights for the event, which for the last three years have been held by TVBS, were taken for the first time by ETTV.

Winners

Best album

Jay (杰倫) by Jay Chou (周杰倫)

Best instrumental album

Kenting - Music of Taiwan's National Parks (1) (墾丁 台灣國家公園音樂一)

Best video

Taikwando (跆拳道) for Sticky Rice (糯米團)

Best male singer (artist/album)

Adia (阿弟仔) for I am a person (我是人)

Best male singer for non-mandarin songs

Luo Shih-feng (羅時豐) for (感心感謝)

Best female singer

Na Ying (那英) for The Sorrow of Romance (心酸的浪漫)

Best female singer for non-mandarin songs

Chiang Hui (江蕙) for I Have Loved (我愛過)

Best band

Mayday (五月天) for Viva L'amour (愛情萬歲)

Best singing group

Beiyuan Shanmao (北原山貓) for Moli-shaka (摩莉莎卡)

Best new artist

Sun Yan-zi (孫燕姿) for Sun Yan-zi (孫燕姿)

Best songwriter

Li Si-hsung (李偲菘) for Cloudy Day (天黑黑) on Sun Yan-zi

Best lyricist

Na Ying for My Desired Happiness (心酸的感覺) on THe Sorrow of Romance

Best arrangement

Martin Tang for My Desired Happiness (我要的幸福) on My Desired Happiness (我要的幸福)

Best producer

Li Tsung-sheng (李宗盛)for 12th Floor Karen Mok (十二樓的莫文蔚)


In an early surprise, Sun Yan-zi (燕姿) picked up the Best New Artist Award. Sun's award proves that female singers are still the major force in the Mando-pop industry, and that the pop idol culture is very much alive. Speaking after receiving the award, her statements were the same old brand of banal excitement stars generally exhibit in such situations.

Occasionally lapsing into English, the Singapore native said she was "surprised," "very happy," and that she appreciated the support and friendship of the other nominees.

Sun's fame has grown rapidly over the last two years, and a career comprised of only two CDs and a string of TV commercials has been sufficient to make her a star.

The conservatism of this year's Golden Melody Awards was further revealed by Chiang Hui's (江蕙) taking of Best Female Vocalist for Non-Mandarin Songs. A veteran of the Taiwanese-language music scene with two previous Golden Melody Awards in this category, there seems to be nobody yet able to take over her mantel. Mayday's (五月天) picking up the Best Band award was further confirmation of this, squeezing out the more innovative group, Sticky Rice (糯米團).

According to Ma Nien-hsien (馬念先), leader of Sticky Rice, most non-mainstream bands at the moment are student bands, but they are gradually developing.

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