The Golden Melody Awards, one of the most prestigious entertainment events in the Chinese-speaking world, late on Saturday celebrated the nation’s linguistic diversity with big wins for artists who primarily sing in Mandarin, but also recognition of those who sing in Hoklo (commonly known as Taiwanese), Hakka and indigenous languages.
Taiwanese singer A-lin (黃麗玲) prevailed against five other nominees to take home Best Mandarin Female Singer for her album LINK.
It was the 39-year-old A-lin’s first win in the category, after being nominated for the fifth time.
Photo: Sam Yeh, AFP
“I am sorry I might have to take up some of the audience’s time because I have rehearsed this walk for 16 years,” she said in her acceptance speech. “This is a written statement I have prepared all these years for the six times [including a nomination for Best New Artist] I’ve been nominated.”
“I thank myself for being able to sing as me because no matter if I was tall, short, chubby or skinny, I am me,” she said.
Taiwanese singer-songwriter Hush beat out five other nominees to take home Best Mandarin Male Singer for his album Pleasing Myself (娛樂自己).
Hush is the stage name of Taiwanese singer-songwriter and lyricist Chen Pin-he (陳品赫).
“We musicians are like chefs, in charge of mixing the sweet, the bitter, the sour and some spice — such as my hot self on the red carpet this evening,” he said in his acceptance speech.
Veteran star Julia Peng (彭佳慧) was named Best Singer in Hakka, despite never recording an album in the language before, while Enno Cheng (鄭宜農) won Best Female Singer in Hoklo and Best Hoklo Album, a language she does not speak.
Cheng, speaking in Mandarin in her acceptance speech, thanked the Hoklo language for “teaching me how to bow my head and slow down.”
In the indigenous language category, Paiwan singers Kasiwa and Matzka rapped and sang in their native tongue, with Kasiwa winning the prestigious jury award.
Rapper Kumachan (熊仔) won Best Mandarin Album for PRO, while singer-songwriter Wu Qing-feng (吳青峰), the front man for the band Sodagreen, took home Album of the Year for his third solo album, Mallarme’s Tuesdays (馬拉美的星期二).
Disco queen Ouyang Fei Fei (歐陽菲菲) and late lyricist and record producer Eric Lin (林秋離) were honored with the Special Contribution Award.
Ouyang, who was famous for having hair as big as her voice, broke through in Japan in the 1970s singing in Japanese.
“Singing and performing have always been my dream. If I can, I will continue to sing and never give up,” Ouyang, now 73, told the audience.
Lin’s posthumous Special Contribution Award was received by his widow and fellow musician Hsiung Mei-ling (熊美玲).
Lin’s life was dedicated to music, putting words to many songs such as Mandopop queen A-mei’s (張惠妹) hit ballad Listen to the Sea (聽海).
Most notably, while serving as the chairman of Ocean Butterflies Music in Singapore, Lin discovered Singaporean singing talents A-do (阿杜) and JJ Lin (林俊傑).
Eric Lin passed away on Dec. 11 last year at the age of 62.
JJ Lin, who viewed Eric Lin as a mentor, performed a tribute to the lyricist.
While Taiwan has only 23 million people, its music scene has an outsized influence in the Chinese-speaking world, in part due to creativity unhindered by censorship.
President Tsai Ing-wen (蔡英文) wrote on Facebook and Instagram that the love of music at the show had “eliminated language boundaries between different ethnic groups.”
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