Meet the Jolin Tsai of Malaysia

by - 15:11

Three years ago, Michiyo Ho was just a small-town girl from Jenjarom, Selangor, who had not really given much thought about what she wanted to do after she completed her secondary school education.

Today, the 22-year-old social media darling is being hailed as Malaysia’s Jolin Tsai. While Ho does bear an uncanny resemblance to the Taiwanese dance pop diva with her pretty features and her svelte figure, the similarities do not end there. Apart from catchy pop tunes and cute dance choreography, the doe-eyed fashionista also performs in eye-catching anime-inspired outfits.

Her self-titled debut album was released last October in conjunction with the Pink Ribbon Breast Cancer Awareness Zumba Charity Event while her latest Mandarin single Mimi was written by songwriter/filmmaker Namewee as a theme song for the breast cancer awareness campaign.

She has also tried her hand at co-hosting a new Mandarin television show on Astro AEC titled Call Me Handsome.

After spending the past few months promoting her album in Malaysia, the spunky lass is now making waves in Taiwan with Mimi.

1. How did you get your break into entertainment?

I was having fun posting stuff on Facebook and Instagram, when one day, Namewee contacted me on Facebook. He was recruiting online personalities for a local supergroup called Red People. Initially, I thought it was just a scammer pretending to be him, but he managed to get in touch with some friends who convinced me that he was the real deal. That was how I joined the team.

2. What can you tell us about your debut album?

There are five songs, four in Mandarin and one in Korean. All the songs are composed and written by Namewee, except for the one with Korean lyrics.

It was a great experience. The songs also feature collaborations with other artistes. Apart from having Namewee rapping on the Mandarin version of Love Me No More, I also got to duet with Diorlynn Ong on Abandoned, work with Jack Lim and Danny Koo in the music video for Hands Up Handsome!, and with MC Ah Fang on Mimi. Even South Korean rapper Fatdoo is featured in the Korean version of Love Me No More.

3. What was it like recording the Korean song?

Initially, Namewee gave me the lyrics to the Mandarin version. Then, all of a sudden, he wanted me to do a Korean version. Since we had a deadline for recording, I had seven days to learn the song. After we uploaded the song to YouTube, there were people who commented that it sounded like I was singing in Thai. Maybe it was because I had to Romanise the words to learn the song, as I was not familiar with the language. Although there was a Korean language teacher to help with the pronunciation during the recording session, we could not do much about the tone as we were singing a fast tune.

4. There is a lot of dancing in your music videos and you have such cute dance moves for Mimi. How long have you been dancing?

Not very long actually. I’m not a natural when it comes to dancing. So, the first time I had to dance for a music video, my movements were quite awkward. In fact, it was so awful that Namewee was quite taken aback! After that, I trained really hard to improve, because I was determined to prove him otherwise. And, it worked. He was pleasantly surprised by my vast improvement when we recorded Mimi.

Michiyo Ho is fondly known as the Jolin Tsai of Malaysia. Photo: The Star/Sam Tham

Michiyo Ho is fondly known as the Jolin Tsai of Malaysia. Photo: The Star/Sam Tham

5. Apart from your new album, you’re hosting a variety show on Astro and you’ve even recorded a song for the show. What was the experience like?

The song Hands Up Handsome was written by Namewee for the show, Call Me Handsome. Recording the song and shooting the music video was so much fun.

I had to put myself in this village girl’s shoes and pretend to be coy and demure as I waved my handkerchief about while I was singing and dancing. It was quite hilarious.

Hosting the variety show was another first for me. Luckily, I had veterans like Jack Lim and Danny Koo to guide me. The physical challenge segments were quite tough for me as the other participants were all men. But it was fun all the way.

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