Music: Just a regular guy

Yen-j will play at Legacy Taipei tomorrow night to promote his latest album, “Simple Love”

By Andrew C.C. Huang  /  Contributing reporter

Fri, Oct 19, 2012 - Page 11

Pop singer, songwriter and producer Yen-j (嚴爵) will perform a concert titled Yen-j: Y3 Original Composition Concert (嚴爵Y3全創作演唱會) at Legacy Taipei tomorrow in support of his newly released third album, Simple Love (單細胞).

“I’m not an idol. I’m an ordinary person,” Yen-j told the Taipei Times last week. “I fall in love and live a life just like everyone else. I want to share this with the audience through music.”

The talented singer and songwriter shot to instant stardom with his pop/jazz debut Thanks Your Greatness (謝謝你的美好) in 2010. His 2011 follow-up album, Not Alone (不孤獨), veered towards pop, while Simple Love ventures into electronica.

With the title track Simple Love, he returns to ground zero by singing a love song with a simple melody and unadorned vocals. In Temporary Boyfriend (暫時的男朋友), another track, Yen-j passionately avows that he is willing to be the “rebound” boyfriend for his beloved.

“Electronica is the ‘in’ thing these days,” he said. “But I try to do it differently, by blending folk melodies with pulsating beats.”

Yen-j is versed in at least five instruments, including jazz piano, guitar, bass, drum and trombone.

“I explore the instruments by myself and slowly get the hang of it,” he said.

Similar to pop singer Nylon Chen (陳乃榮), Yen-j calls himself a zhainan (宅男, a euphemism for a nerdy person who spends all his waking hours playing video games), because he spends “95 percent” of his life on music.

Yen-j began his career performing in San Francisco jazz bars while still in high school, spent one short semester at university, and then dived headlong into a pop star career in Taiwan. “I haven’t even been to a bar and got drunk yet,” he laughed.

“I write music every day as if it’s my diary,” he said. “Sometimes, it’s a one minute-ditty. Sometimes, it becomes a single.”