Sun, Jul 06, 2008 - Page 13 News List

Golden Melody Awards Report

HO YI  /  STAFF REPORTER

Clockwise from right: Protest hip-hop artist Chang Jui-chuan, 88 Balaz bassist Jeannie Chen, and Wild Fire Music founder Elaine Hsiung.

PHOTO COURTESY OF INTERVIEWEES

Are the Golden Melody Awards just a night of backslapping and self-aggrandizement for the music industry or do they encourage innovation and Taiwanese creativity? Four musicians, music critics and industry insiders give their verdicts.Yeh Yun-ping (葉雲平), is a music critic and past Golden Melody Awards jury member.

Taipei Times: What do you think of the Awards' language-based categories?

Yeh Yun-ping: They're backward. The language categories are unique among the world's music awards. I can understand why the system was adopted a long time ago, because back then there weren't many different genres. But I believe now it's time to make a change as there's greater diversity in music. Some would argue that music nowadays is all hybrid, which makes it nearly impossible to tell which style an album belongs to. If that's the case, we could have more awards for singles rather than albums.

TT: What could be done to improve the Golden Melody Awards?

YY: The Golden Melody Awards lack a clear direction and guidelines for what the event wants to encourage. Each year [the emphasis] differs depending on the jury members' tastes. That's why it's impossible to make predictions and why the media are always surprised at the results. This is one of the problems with the event being funded by the government. The Best Composer and Best Lyricist categories should be scraped. No other music awards in the industry use this classification. We already have the Best Song award, so why keep the other two gongs?Elaine Hsiung (熊儒賢), is the founder and director of Wild Fire Music (野火樂集). She has worked in the music industry for more than 20 years.

Taipei Times: Why are the Golden Melody Awards important?

Elaine Hsiung: The event's biggest value is to encourage local musicians and professionals as well as industry-related workers. But the Golden Melody Awards are restricted by a bureaucratic mindset that is devoid of creativity. The award categories make it seem like there are only producers, composers and lyricists working in the industry. What about art designers, photographers and album planners? There are too many unsung heroes and heroines, and too many important aspects of the industry are overlooked.

TT: Are the Golden Melody Awards keeping up with developments in the music industry?

EH: That's the Golden Melody Awards' biggest problem. In the Internet age, you should encourage and support new forms of music content and delivery. If you continue limiting yourself to the shrinking offline market, you'll end up backslapping those who don't embrace innovation.Jeannie Chen (陳冠伶) has 15 years of experience playing alternative music in bands such as Braces (牙套) and Peppermint (薄荷葉). Now she's part of the pop manufacturing industry by day and bassist of 88 Balaz (88顆芭樂籽) by night.

Taipei Times: Who's your money on?

Jeannie Chen: Chalaw Passiwali is great [nominated for Best Aboriginal Album and best Aboriginal singer]. For the mainstream, Jay Chou's music is nice.

TT: Who do you think should win the Best Female/Male Singer awards?

JC: Hsiao Huang-chi (蕭煌奇) in Best Hakka Singer Award. The reason: though he can't see, he sings the most beautiful notes in the dark.

TT: What's wrong with the Golden Melody Awards?

JC: The awards are populated by too many foreign pop idols. Also, it's bizarre to use language categorization for the awards. Say if the same thing applied to China, then you'd get something like the best Beijing singer and best Sichuan singer, and so on.

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