When Eric Chou first broke onto the Mandopop scene, the 19-year-old was fresh-faced and bright-eyed with a penchant for romantic tunes. The formula worked like a dream: spawning a consistent string of karaoke staples that would inevitably turn an Eric Chou concert into one massive singalong sesh. Four years later, the Taiwanese singer-songwriter seeks to reinvent himself with an EDM-infused record, yet stays close enough to his balladry roots to not alienate his signature charms.
His sharp stylistic turn was apparent when he hit the stage for his sold-out 22PLUS 2018 Asia Tour, filling his set with climatic beat drops, pulsating lights and slick dance moves right from the get-go. Although the audience appeared a little lukewarm at first, Eric had everybody warmed up in no time. “How was my dancing? I wanted to have a swag vibe,” Eric addressed the 5000-strong crowd, to be met with a chorus of cheers.
However, as much as we love his new musical direction, ballads are undoubtedly what the crooner does best. It didn’t take long for the familiar piano sounds to make their entrance as he proceeded to give fans exactly what they wanted – a heartfelt medley of crowd favourites including ‘The Chaos After You’, ‘How Have You Been’ and ‘Let’s Not Be Friends Anymore’, which quickly infected the audience into singing along to every single word.
As if that’s not enough to whip everyone into a frenzy, Eric went full-on heartthrob mode as he leaped off the stage to interact with fans during ‘The Way You Made Me Feel’. It wasn’t even a heartbeat later that he got mobbed by the stampede of fans, who spared no hesitation in jumping out of their seats to get a glimpse of him.
Perhaps the highlight of the night was when his fellow musician brother Alex Chou (also known as AC周予天) made a surprise appearance, and the duo even did a duet together. The multifaceted rapper also performed two of his solo tracks, bringing the show to an all-time high. What else can we say, talent indeed runs in the Chou family!
Hours went by in a flash as all good times do, leaving all of us in the best place possible – wanting more, and more. At the end of the day, there’s no doubting Eric’s musicianship. This is truly only the beginning of a brilliant performer who has so much more to deliver, and we can’t wait to be surprised yet again the next time he visits.
Photo credits: Unusual Entertainment & 星空飛騰國際娛樂有限公司
Check out our past interview with Eric Chou where we picked his brain on the first album he bought, the song he’ll sing to confess his love and more!
BLACKPINK’s back in your area with their latest music video for ‘DDU-DU DDU-DU’ and these legends snapped. The title track off their long-awaited Square Up EP, this unapologetic banger packs in plenty of girl power appeal amidst the flashy backdrops, bold outfit choices and kickass choreography. Most importantly, the BLACKPINK ladies are here to make a statement, and they’re going to make sure you hear them loud and clear.
Queens remain young, rich and unbothered.
Hate ’em if you want, but nothing changes the fact that these K-pop darlings have accomplished way more than others could’ve ever achieved in their lifetime. In the short span of two years, BLACKPINK has since chalked up billions of views, dominated music charts around the world, and brought home more trophies than one could count – all while leaving a trail of dedicated fans (affectionately known as BLINKs) in their wake. C.mon, Jennie had a diamond-encrusted tank to carry her shopping bags while she casually eats popcorn on her rightful throne. Jennie did that.
In a more morbid scenario, the tank can also be seen as a weapon that lets her hit back at her naysayers – literally.
Haters can watch them fall, but they will rise again.
Perhaps the most poignant scene of all, a wig-wearing Jisoo is seen strutting down the streets while people ignore her existence and are busy snapping away at the picture-perfect image of Jisoo on the wall instead. Heads turn immediately when pink-haired Jisoo accidentally trips over, with everyone instinctively whipping out their guns – or rather, phones – to capture her downfall. It’s a harsh depiction of the media and public who praise you when you’re at your highest, but never hesitate to point fingers at you as soon as you make a mistake.
Is it just me or that scene where they were all focused on Jisoo and when she fell and all the phones pointed at her after her fall, it seems like a depiction of haters watching you and waiting for you to make a mistake & will point a gun at you#SQUAREUP_BLACKPINKpic.twitter.com/JzUXPA55nL
Phones are used to hold a person at gunpoint as a reference to online trolls leaving malicious comments with the intention to hurt somebody. But haters gon’ hate, ’cause Jisoo ain’t letting them get her down as she’s later seen standing up to fight for herself. Our wigs are snatched!
Beyond all that swagger and bombastic beats, ‘DDU-DU DDU-DU’ delivers an empowering message that is so hardly talked about in today’s society and it’s absolutely refreshing to see female idols using their music and platform to take a stance for themselves in the most compelling way possible.
They certainly aren’t kidding when they say BLACKPINK is the revolution.
Best known for clinching the runner-up position in the 2009 season of Singapore Idol, Tabitha Nauser has gone on to make quite a name for herself. From repping +65 in the 2010 Youth Olympic Games theme song ‘Everyone’, to collaborating with Dutch duo Yellow Claw for their latest banger ‘Crash This Party’, and even releasing her own string of hit singles ‘Bulletproof’, ‘Body Language’ and ‘Rules’, the homegrown pop diva’s musical career has been a non-stop whirl of success. Through our short interview with the rising powerhouse, one thing’s clear: Tabitha Nauser goes by her own rules, and she’s winning at it.
Hi Tabitha! We love your new single ‘Rules’, could you share with us what it’s about?
It’s definitely a song that’s meant to be empowering and powerful. I wrote it from the viewpoint of a woman. As a woman, no matter which industry you’re in, people will always try to tell you what to do. So this song is to let these women know: “You know what? It’s okay if you want to do things your own way. You are powerful and you are strong enough to guide yourself.”
So have you broken any rules in the past?
(Laughs) Oh my god, all the time. There are probably too many to tell you right now, but I’m pretty sure I have.
You’ve got a new collaboration with Yellow Claw titled ‘Crash This Party’. How did that come about and how was it like working with the duo?
I was actually in Indonesia doing promo for one of my other songs, performing on an Indonesian TV show and Jim from Yellow Claw happened to watch the show and found out who I was, so he DM-ed me on Instagram saying, “Hey listen, I’m working on an album now and I heard you sing on the show. I think you’ve got a great voice, would you be open to collaboration?” And at that time I was like, “Oh my god is this Yellow Claw?!” (Laughs)
They sent me a couple of tracks, but I just felt like they weren’t the right fit for me as they were too EDM. So I passed on the first few ones, but they were super cooperative and really wanted to find a way to make it work. Thus, they kept sending me tracks and eventually we landed on ‘Crash This Party’ and we all agreed that it was a great song – for both Yellow Claw and myself. I flew over to their studio in Amsterdam to record, and that’s it!
It’s no secret that you love Drake. If you could re-record any song in your catalogue to feature him, which would it be?
(Gasps) That is such a good question. Oh my gosh… this is so hard. I would probably do ‘Rules’ with Drake. Yeah, can you imagine? ‘Cause it’s like moody and all, and he would do so well with that track – especially with the outro at the end.
Are there any other dream international and/or local collaborations you would like to make happen in the future?
For local artistes I’ve said this a couple of times, but I think THELIONCITYBOY would be a great person to collaborate with. And international… wow that’s hard. I would love to do something with SZA. I think that will be pretty dope.
You’ve gone from interviewing celebrities as a DJ to becoming a full-fledged artiste yourself. How was the transition like for you?
Oh, I love it! Interviewing people used to stress me out – I don’t know how you guys do it – like I used to be so nervous last time. I’d rather be the one answering questions, it’s just so much easier doing that. I think that would be the only thing that feels different to me. Other than that, everything’s pretty much the same. But I like this better (laughs).
From ‘Bulletproof’ to ‘Rules’, you’ve never been afraid to express yourself through music. What gave you the confidence to be the Tabitha Nauser we know today?
I feel that it takes time. You have to go through and experience different things. You’ve got to surround yourself with very positive people who want to nurture you and support you because when you’re in a positive state, it’s just better for everyone. When you’ve got good energy, it helps with your confidence and everything else so surround yourself with good people.
You’ve always been very vocal on issues such as female empowerment. What advice would you give to women who are struggling with their self-worth?
I would say that they have the power, you know what I mean? It’s easy to just tell somebody that they are beautiful but if you don’t believe it, then you’re never gonna believe it. You just need to find something about yourself that you like every single day and tell yourself about it. For example, if you’re great at drawing, just tell yourself “I’m a great artist!” It starts from there – just these small affirmations to yourself every day, it makes you believe in yourself little by little.
If you could change the rules of the local music industry, what’s one thing you’d wish to change for the better?
I feel like people are very quick to judge local music just because it’s local, and sometimes they don’t really give it a chance because they think it’s not as great as something that comes out of the US, the UK or anywhere else. I would say give it a listen and just forget that it’s local for awhile. Who knows, you might actually fall in love with it! I actually drew inspiration from both Singaporean and Western music – growing up, there were a lot of homegrown bands that I listened to. If I say the names of some of these bands, you’ll know how old I am (laughs).
What would you say was your biggest difficulty trying to make it in the local scene?
I think for me, the biggest difficulty was trying to rebuild myself as a singer and an artiste. I did come from Singapore Idol and a lot of people remember me for that, but after that I did a bit of deejaying, theatre and hosting. So for me, it’s just kinda re-introducing people to Tabitha Nauser. But I feel like people know now – they know I’m a singer and they know my music.
How has the local music scene evolved since your Singapore Idol days?
It’s unbelievable. With the advent of social media, everything is so accessible now. You are exposed to so many more local artistes and so many different genres of local music. It’s exciting because you have your underground rap, your mainstream rap, your indie stuff, your pop and dance tracks – and it’s so nice to see everybody co-inhabiting in that space. And for me to be part of it, is a huge deal for me.
What do you hope to ultimately achieve in this new phase of your career?
I just hope to be able to inspire more people and to empower a lot of other young girls. At the same time, I want to bring awareness to local music; to reach out to the region and to people overseas as well. I’m hoping to make a mark in some way.
Can we expect a full album to drop anytime soon? What are your plans for the rest of 2018?
Not an album, but an EP will be coming out this year. I’m trying to get it done as soon as possible. I have like one or two more songs that I’m trying to finish up and once that’s done I think it’ll come out. But I think the main goal for me in 2018 is to put out more music. I definitely want to do more live shows because I love performing on stage. I just want to put my music out there and have people enjoy it.
Listen to Tabitha Nauser’s latest single ‘Rules’ on Spotify.
Remember the 2014 ice bucket challenge that caused your timelines to be flooded (literally!) with videos of celebrities dunking a bucket of iced water over their heads in an effort to raise awareness for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)? Also known as the Lou Gehrig’s disease, ALS is “a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord”. Four years later, the popular social media movement makes a comeback in South Korea, with hopes of building the first ever hospital specialising in treatment and rehabilitation for ALS patients.
The challenge was first initiated by Korean singer Sean of hip-hop duo Jinusean back in May, who is the director of Seung Il Hope Foundation, a non-profit organisation committed to aiding in the research of the debilitating condition.
Since then, a wave of prominent celebrities have taken on the challenge, including K-pop stars from the likes of IU, Girls’ Generation’s Sooyoung and Seohyun, EXO’s Chanyeol, Wanna One’s Jisung and Daehwi, TWICE’s Sana, Momo and Nayeon, B.A.P’s Daehyun and Jongup, ASTRO’s Cha Eun Woo, as well as actors such as Hyun Bin, Jo In Sung and Park Bo Gum.
In recent news, Hyunjin from rookie girl group LOONA took one for the team and made the bold move of nominating YG Entertainment head, Yang Hyun Suk for the challenge – although he’s more likely to make a financial contribution instead.
Besides getting soaked for a cause, other stars decided to show their generous support by donating to the Seung Il Hope Foundation such as actress Kim Yoo Jung, iKON’s Bobby, GOT7’s Youngjae and Yugyeom, Wanna One’s Seongwoo, and Mamamoo’s Moonbyul and Solar (the latter two also chose to do the ice bucket shower in addition to their donations).
A wild squirtle appeared! And it’s none other than NU’EST’s JR aka Kim Jonghyun, who surprised fans by dressing up as the Pokémon character for his 23rd birthday. Fun fact: JR’s known for his uncanny resemblance to wartortle, which gave him the lovable nickname of onibugi (wartortle in Korean).
It all started when the NU’EST leader posted a selca on his Instagram along with the caption “JR tour” a day before his birthday, which led to a flurry of speculation amongst fellow L.O.Λ.Es regarding the so-called tour.
On 8 June, people spotted a random squirtle mascot going around the subway stations in Seoul and checking out the various birthday advertisements that were put up for 23-year-old. It turns out that it was in fact our resident onibugi inside the costume, evidenced by the Alexander McQueen sneakers that eagle-eyed fans recognised.
As usual, JR’s fanservice was off the roof. We couldn’t stop squealing over how cute he was waving his little hands and waddling around like a penguin – the chap even did a heart-fluttering dance in front of the billboards and took photos with fans to thank them for their support. Check out these oh-so-adorable moments below and try not to melt.