Malaysian singer Issac Dang still cannot believe his luck. His accidental foray into the Chinese music scene has been nothing but smooth sailing.
“I’m very fortunate to be receiving so much support. I consider myself new in the music scene and I’m still learning,” said the 30-year-old during a recent press conference in Kuala Lumpur.
The young man from Johor Baru got his big break when he was roped in to sing the theme song for 2012 Singaporean coming-of-age flick Timeless Love while working as a graphic designer in Singapore.
Within months, he was offered a recording contract in Taiwan, where he released his first album titled Don’t Cry.
In 2013, Dang won the Most Potential New Artiste award at the 13th Global Chinese Music Awards (GCMA), which was held at Bukit Jalil Putra Indoor Stadium. The fashionable dresser also went home with the Best Dressed Artiste award.
He then snagged a role in Malaysian TV series The Beat and recorded the theme song for another Singaporean movie, Imperfect.
After his stint in Taiwan, Dang stepped out of his comfort zone yet again, and moved to the flashy city of Hong Kong, where he recently released Subconscious, an album with both Cantonese and Mandarin songs.
Dang will be performing at a special showcase on March 4, 8.30pm, at The Gardens Theatre (Level 6, The Gardens North Tower, Mid Valley City). Admission is free, but tickets are required. For details, call 03-7982 5523 or visit his Facebook page (http://ift.tt/21EWlKa).
1. You spent the past year in Hong Kong. How has the experience been for you?
Having to adapt to life in Hong Kong for the past year made me feel like I have grown up. Hong Kong people work so hard to make a living. Initially, I thought that would make them cold and unfeeling. But I couldn’t be more wrong; the people around me took good care of me and treated me like family. I am really thankful that people there welcomed me to join their big family.
2. What can you tell us about your latest album Subconscious?
Subconscious is my second full album and was released in Hong Kong in November. There are seven songs – four in Cantonese and three in Mandarin. As artistes, we are always ‘packaged and marketed’ in a certain image while in public. This album is supposed to show people what I am like away from the stage. I like this idea of being suspended between reality and fantasy.
3. Since you are not a native Cantonese speaker, how tough was it for you to record in the dialect?
It was tough. I am from Johor Baru, where we mostly speak Mandarin. Before recording each song, I’d do all my homework and note down the pronunciation using pinyin. The most difficult part was that Mandarin has only four tones, while Cantonese has nine. I felt lots of pressure going into the recording studio. But, the result has been satisfying. It’s the longest time I’d ever spent recording a song – about four to five days, five hours each time.
4. You did some dancing in one of the music videos. How good are your dancing skills now?
Dancing is still a major challenge for me. I’m quite stiff and clumsy, so it takes some time for me to learn the moves. My dance instructor Jimmy, also dances for Eason Chan’s shows.
5. You had the opportunity to train with the renowned Christine Samson, who is one of the most sought-after vocal coaches in Hong Kong. How was that like?
Yes, Christine Samson is the top teacher to some of the hottest Chinese pop stars. She is Joey Yung’s teacher, and G.E.M. Tang started to take singing lessons from her at the age of 13. It was very emotional for me. I kept thinking to myself ‘What right do I have to deserve such special treatment?’.