Taiwanese Mandopop star A-fu Teng sits down with Hello Asia editor Johnny Au in Taiwan. A-fu (as she is more commonly known) is one of the rare breed of Taiwanese YouTube artists who has transitioned successfully across to a fully fledged recording career. Johnny caught up with A-fu at the Golden Melody Festival in Taipei where she discusses the changes in her career. We also talk about her music inspirations and plans for Australia. (TURN ON CAPTIONS FOR ENGLISH SUBTITLES).
A-fu its very nice to meet you! You just performed on stage at your Golden Melody Showcase. Can you give your thoughts on performing at Golden Melody Festival?
I felt very happy because when we perform on stage. We all hope to see that the audience are really enjoying the performance. I feel that music is like a mutual process, when the audience gave me feedback in the performance just then I felt very happy and touched.
I believe you released a brand new album this year called My Own Style. Can you talk to me about the recording process and your personal input into the album?
The style of this new album is a little different to the light electronic style I used in the past. The style for this album is more of disco-funk and retro. I performed some alternative which is a bit heavier and in a different attitude just then. What I want to tell everyone through this album is that every individual is unique. Through my music in this album, I want people to feel confident in their perspective of many things. I hope everyone can feel my faith through this album.
You started off as a YouTube artist. How have you seen your music progress from being a YouTube artist to now a recording artist? Has your music changed a lot in that time?
Back then when I did YouTube music I completely had the approach of not being responsible. When I upload cover songs or my own songs on YouTube I would follow my heart as if there are no restrictions, if the song sounds really good, we’ll just make it. But when you start getting into music as a singer you will have to use your heart to finish every album. Its like putting effort, its not like I didn’t put in effort in the time when I was on YouTube, but we have to really put in a lot of effort to bring out the best work so naturally you wouldn’t feel at ease and you would feel stressed out even more. But every time I receive the responses of everyone in the audience, I feel like it is worth it.
Who’s been some of your music inspirations?
Inspired my music? I listen to a lot of international artists. Like in Japan, I really like Chihiro Onitsuka and Love Psychedelico. An American artist would be Bruno Mars, I really like his music. A Taiwan artist I love to listen to since when I was younger was Teresa Teng. When I sing Chinese songs I would accidentally imitate her voice and her accent. I feel really thankful for these artists for inspiring me and my music and have helped me to fulfil my music journey from YouTube to now.
Have you been to Australia before? What would you like to do in Australia?
I haven’t been to Australia before, I hope that you guys can invite me over if there is a chance for me to sing to Australian fans. Previously I’ve heard from friends in bands that they would go to Australia to sing. So I feel that based on my previous experiences, being able to go to a different country and perform on their stages is a very unique experience. I think this is a very good milestone, I hope that I can come to Australia and sing for everyone.
What’s your plans for the rest of this year?
I think in terms of composing music, I haven’t really thought about stopping yet. No matter if I am in this career or not, I feel that creativity is something that will never be extinguished. So I still wish that in the future my life will be full of constant creations, no matter in music or arts. I like to create all different kinds of works that I personally feel are creative. Yes, so I hope on this journey I can improve more and more.
Do you have a message for all the A-fu fans out there?
Actually I really am happy and know that since my YouTube days until now at my 4th album release, I’ve had a lot of listeners secretly supporting me from behind their computer screens, writing letters and commenting to me. Perhaps they are not so cordial but I know and understand their efforts. I want to thank them for always being by my side and I hope in the future my music will not disappoint everyone.
Translation by Jocelle Koh/Heidi Lam
Keep up to date with A-fu on her Facebook page!