Wallace Huo: I Want Radio Interview
C: Le-Rong Chen W: Wallace Huo
C: It had been quite a few years and now you finally released your first album. You had been dreaming of being a singer when you were very young, 16 years old. Why would you like to be a singer instead of an actor, for example?
W: I found I was quite good at singing when I went to Karaoke with friends, and I was better than them both in vocal and skills. So I guess maybe I had sort of talent for singing.
C: Had you ever been in any kind of singing competition?
W: Not really. There was one competition where you would have a chance to record your CD if you were in the top three. But I shied away in the end. I did attend some training classes, though, when I was 17. The teacher had solid training in vocal but she also taught pop singing.
C: Why did you work for the artist agency first?
W: I would like to be an artist, but in the beginning I had no idea about the entertainment field. So I was told to work from scratch as an assistant to those well established artists. It was quite tough for me ‘cause I was very young and had not served the army, so very few record companies wanted to take me.
C: Which one do you like better, singing or acting?
W: I love singing better than acting, to tell you the truth. Of course I won’t give up acting especially when there are good projects, but being a singer gives me a sense of achievements that you hardly get from acting. It’s a very different experience.
C: I heard that you had quite a hard time in studio?
W: You bet. But I am a typical Capricorn and I knew it’s tough, because I had recorded some OST before, so I had some idea what it was all about. Of course it’s no comparison to recording the personal album. It is a demanding process and the producers are meticulous. There was a song for which I practiced for more than 300 times! Not because I did it poorly, but because we wanted the best result.
C: How about your “20 second blankness”? What did you do in those 20 seconds?
|W: I did nothing. Just squatting down and let my brain go blank or recall some past memories. When the recording didn’t go well, I asked for the 20 seconds and it was quite helpful.
C: What did you recall? Like your sad story about love?
W: Sad love, this and that, everything…
C: A handsome guy like you had sad love story? You are kidding me.
W: Come on! Anyone can have his sad love story, even me.
C: Are those 20 seconds long enough for you?
W: That’s enough. I had been an actor so it was not too hard for me to switch to that feeling or mood.
C: The first song in your album is based on your true story?
W: You could say that, it’s something sad, and I can’t help weeping when I recorded it. However, you had to transform that sad story into the driving force behind you.
C: Look at your company. Sony Music, it’s huge! Imagine you stood in front of it many years ago and now you are in it…
W: You want it, and you got it. I don’t know whether it’s because I am lucky or I am persevering. Maybe both.
C: How did your family think about your choice in the beginning?
W: They didn’t think I could make it. Let’s face it: there was no good response for the Star OST, and the TV rating was disappointing. My family didn’t think I could be someone since it was so tough in the beginning. I did persevere, though. Finally I did something in TV dramas and people began to know me
C: You made movies too. How was that compared to TV dramas?
W: I like making movies better than TV dramas. Unlike making TV, which is usually in a rush, the making of movies is quite delicate. When making the TV dramas I was so exhausted that I didn’t feel I was turning in my best stuff. Making movies is different. You take your time and I am very comfortable about that. I had already made one movie and I want to make more.
C: What kind of roles would you like to play? I guess you will say bad guys when others think you cannot be someone other than a pretty face.
W: I want to play some psychologically ill roles…The audience don’t really like those perfect lover images any more.
C: I don’t buy that. You were perfect lovers in your idol dramas and people were so crazy about you.
W: Well, maybe you are right, but that’s not something I am looking for.
C: Have you ever considered yourself as someone special?
W: Never. I am just as common as anybody. Look, I don’t like brand-name fashion, I am not particularly enriched with emotions, and I am not romantic at all. It is this showbiz that makes me look different.
C: But how long can you stay this pristine? I know too many young people who become arrogant once they gain fame and popularity.
W: I will be always like this. I know myself too well that more often than not I look down on myself. It may sound pessimistic, but the good thing is that I am always clear about myself. I don’t really care about the fame, but I am so happy when someone praises me for my singing or my acting.
C: And if girls worship you just for your handsome look, will you be happy as well?
W: Not really. I would rather do a good job in music or drama than just being a pretty face.
C: I think you had just mentioned the points. Every year there are so many pretty faces popping up. They come and go, but only true ability counts.
W: I have to tell you that it’s especially tough for me to promote my album, even though I had put a lot of endeavors into it. Nobody thought that I could sing in the beginning.
C: Including your company?
W: Of course! They had this stereotyped idol image of me and doubted if I could really sing.
C: This reminds me of Jerry Yen. He said something exactly like what you had just said. But now you have a very good start!
W: Thanks! I hope it is a good start.
C: Say something about this track: Dragonfly on Your Shoulder. It has rap in it!
W: Yes, although not a really tough rap. It is a good start for me. Although I am not so into rap, but I won’t avoid doing it. In fact, it’s quite fun.
C: You had three producers and a vareity of songs, like ballads, J-pop and so on. This makes this album very enchanting. And I feel you become sunnier and more real, unlike your dreamy, melancholic idol images in the TV drams.
W: Dreamy? Oh Wow, I didn’t know that! When promoting my album, people were surprised to find that I was quite open and not so close as they previously thought. I hope this album can help people know more about me. None of the roles in my TV dramas really reflect the true Wallace and people don’t really understand me. That’s really sad!
C: What is your favorite song in this album?
W: I would say Bird That Gives up the Sky. Although it is still the mainstay pop music, the music is elegant and has very high quality. The lyrics are so great. I didn’t understand it in the beginning. I spent a lot of time reading and understanding it. I imagine I am the bird who gives up the whole big sky just because of his love. It’s something about a great love and promise. Isn’t that amazing?
C: Totally amazing. Do you like rock? Or dances?
W: Sometimes I listen to rock, but I am not into dancing at all. I could learn though, if my next album requires that.
C: What do you do in your leisure time, if you still have time beyond your super-busy schedule?
W: I like to go to the night markets or drive alone and play music in my car. Nothing really special, just like what common people do. It’s my way of getting relaxed.
C: Do you like to go partying? Or be with a group of people? Many artists do that.
W: Absolutely not! When I work, I work with a lot of people, and when I don’t have to work, I really like to be alone.
C: Among these three veteran producers, who is the most demanding?
W: I would say Jamie Hsueh. He was meticulous about my vocal, because he knew me when I was young, and he knew that I definitely could sing. I was rejected by many record companies; they didn’t even want to listen to my demo tapes. Jamie knew me years ago. He wanted me to work with him, but I had to serve the army first. Then I became an actor and he thought that I gave up singing. When I knew he moved to Sony Music, I contacted him at once and told him that I still wanted to become a singer. From here everything started. I owed so much to him.
C: You have to admit that good look can really bring you trouble. You can’t blame them, you just have to show people your ability instead.
W: That’s why I insist singing even I got a sore throat. I don’t care if my voice doesn’t sound perfect. I want to let people know that I really mean it.
C: What would you do in the coming year of 2005?
W: I will be promoting this CD to let people know me better. In my next album I hope to add some of my own stuff.
C: Really? Have you already tried writing something?
W: I wrote the introduction in this album. And I also wrote lyrics for track 10. Jamie liked it, but he thought it was too sad and he wanted something lighter. He promised me to use my lyrics with different music in my next CD.
C: Do you plan to write books?
W: You are kidding! No, no, no.
C: I have to say that a lot of stars write books with few words but a lot of pretty pictures…
W: I don’t have lots of stuff to put in books, and I feel dishonest to do that.
C: How about holding a variety show?
W: Oh my God! You kill me! In fact I am pretty stupid and I don’t think I can do that.
C: Wallace, you are everything but a stupid person, believe me.
W: I can only focus on one thing at a time. That’s my way of working.
Le-Rong Chen is a very respected lyrics and non-fiction writer in Taiwan and holds many positions including DJ at radio stations. Please acknowledge the translator when you cite this article in English.
Translated by Orion on 2005-08-29; Full program available at i-want radio