Sun, May 09, 2004 - Page 17 News List

Jay Chou strikes gold at Melody awards

The big winner at the 15th Golden Melody Awards was Jay Chou, who picked up the best album award, while Showlen Maya and Chang Yu-wei won the awards for best Taiwanese-language singers

By Max Woodworth  /  STAFF REPORTER

Taiwan's pop king Jay Chou poses with his award.

PHOTO: TAIPEI TIMES

Intermittent rain over Taipei couldn't dampen the atmosphere for approximately 2,000 screaming fans who turned up last night outside the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall to watch their favorite pop singers arrive at the 15th Golden Melody Awards, where Taiwanese singer Jay Chou (周杰倫) took the top honors for best album of the year.

His capturing the award came as little surprise to spectators and fans, who have watched Chou come to dominate the Chinese pop-music scene with four albums. Chou has won Golden Melody Awards each of the past three years. In accepting the award, Chou thanked his mother, after whom his winning album was named.

Much of the evening's excitement took place on the red carpet outside the venue, where the wild throng of mostly teenagers pressed against guard rails screaming at the sight of almost the entire pantheon of Mando-pop and Canto-pop stars who filed into the hall.

For most fans, however, the Golden Melody Awards marks the high point on the Mandarin pop music calendar.

At one point, an unidentified man stormed onto the red carpet to try to confront the Korean singer Boa, who performed at the ceremony, but was immediately pushed back and after a short scuffle with security personnel, the man disappeared into the crowd.

The Golden Melody Awards -- Taiwan's equivalent of the Grammys -- recognize the best singers, bands and music professionals whose work is done in Mandarin, Taiwanese, Hakka and Taiwan's Aboriginal languages. Nominees for the awards come from Taiwan, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand and are reviewed by a panel of 30 judges made up of music industry professionals.

Along with best album, other major categories at the awards include best male and female singers, best singing group and best band.

In the night's biggest surprise, Sky Wu (吳思凱) won the award for best Mandarin male singer, a category that included Jay Chou (周杰倫), possibly the largest force in Mando-pop, Lee Hom Wong (王力宏), who won the best producer award, Eason Chan (陳奕迅) and David Tao, who was widely considered the favorite this year.

Hong Kong Mando-pop diva Faye Wong (王菲) took the honors for the best

Mandarin female singer for her album To Love (將愛). Wong first entered the Mando-pop in 1989 and remains one of the highest-selling pop acts in Taiwan, Hong Kong and China.

As many expected, pop rock group Mayday (五月天) took the award for best band, squeezing out their fellow nominees in that category, Shin (信樂團), Tizzy Bac, Bobin and the Mantra and Backquarter (四分衛). Accepting the award, lead singer A-hsin (阿信) screamed "Long live rock 'n' roll!"

The best band category, however, is the only one that recognizes work by rock 'n' roll bands. "We needed this award. It tells us that we didn't choose the wrong path in making our kind of music," A-hsin said backstage.

The second big surprise of the evening, after Sky Wu winning the best Mandarin male singer award, came with the relatively new duo Ah-bao (阿爆) and Brandy, who took the award for best singing group ahead of favorites S.H.E., Energy, B.A.D. and Tension.

The mother of the best lyricist awardee, Shawn Song (宋岳庭), accepted the award on behalf of her son who died of leukemia last year. "Shawn is a musical angel in the sky and I know he's here with us now," she said, in one of the most emotional moments of the show. Hong Kong pop singers Karen Mok (莫文蔚) and Eason Chan, provided another tear-jerking moment by singing a medley of songs by deceased Canto-pop singer Anita Mui (梅艷芳). Mui died in December last year after a months-long battle with cervical cancer.

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