With more than 150 songs under his belt and multiple award wins, including the Malaysia Outstanding Artist Award at the recent Global Chinese Music Awards (全球華語歌曲排行榜) 2012 held in Singapore, Wu Jiahui (伍家辉) is arguably Malaysia’s fastest-rising singer-songwriter.
He has written songs for some top artistes such as Jacky Cheung 張學友 (Black and White 黑白畫映), Stefanie Sun 孫燕姿 (Wish you happiness 祝你開心), Leon Lai 黎明 (Man with Love 有情郎) and Jerry Yan 言承旭 (One metre一公尺), and sang the hit song “One-Half” from movie “881” original soundtrack that sold more than 13,000 copies in Singapore.
Jiahui first started as a songwriter writing for other singers, but eventually became a full-fledged recording artist and performer, singing his own material. However, it’s still songwriting, as Jiahui admits, that gives him the kicks.
“I definitely prefer being a songwriter, because I started out behind the scenes. But today, being a singer and a producer allows me to exert more influence and control over the music. Although being a singer definitely brings in more revenue from performances as compared to the efforts put in as a producer or songwriter, ultimately it’s still songwriting and producing that brings me the greatest satisfaction.”
|Multiple award winning Malaysian singer-songwriter, Wu Jiahui|
“When I first started, I already felt contented just merely by sharing my music through songwriting. Later when I took part in a songwriting competition, I was discovered by a publisher, and was later signed as an artist by renowned Singaporean musician Eric Ng (Funkie Monkies Production). Actually, I feel that as long as I am able to sing for one more day, I would grasp that opportunity and continue to make the music I love and share it with others, because music is my dream and an indelible part of my life.”
We understand that you did not renew your contract with Funkie Monkies (FM) Productions and decided to become independent. Could you share why you made this decision? How different is it having your own label?
Actually, I’m very thankful and grateful to FM Productions for grooming me all this time. My decision to set up my own company was because both the label and I share the same consensus that it’s time for me to step out on my own. I’ve been signed to FM since 2006, and during all these years we’ve experienced so much together, and have built a lot of camaraderie. Our relationship is not just simply that of a label and its artiste, it’s more like a family, and now the parents are very happy to see their child take flight.
The new label starts out with signing myself. It’s called “Dreammy Studio”(吾梦工作室), which means finding one’s dreams. Currently there’s a manager running it for the moment, but later, when the time is right, we will slowly expand or work with other companies who are interested.
The difference between having my own label and being signed to a bigger label is that having my own label gives me a lot more freedom and control to exercise my thoughts and opinions, while a bigger label would have more financial and human resources.
What's the music industry in Malaysia like? Are there more opportunities as compared to Singapore, Taiwan and China? Where does the majority of your fan base come from? Is the media more supportive in your home country?
There are several segments in the music industry in Malaysia. There’s Malay music, English music and Chinese music, and within the Chinese music market, it’s split between local and overseas Chinese music. Actually I feel that the level of opportunities is equal everywhere, it’s all a matter of how you target the market and where you stand. Basically, my fans come from Mainland China, Taiwan, Singapore and Malaysia, and I’m thankful that the media here supports me very much.
How many performances do you do typically in a month? Are they mostly in Malaysia or overseas? Now that you have won the Most Outstanding Artiste Award (Malaysia) in the Global Chinese Music Awards, do you see anything changing for you?
On average, I do about three to four performances in a month, out of which usually one is from overseas (but it depends on the market, sometimes we could have more requests towards the end of the year, all at the same time). I feel that winning the award is just a form of recognition, and perhaps a platform for more friends to know me, and maybe because of that there are more performance requests.
Other than the Most Outstanding Artiste Award (Malaysia), your song <我們怎麼LOVE> has also been awarded as one of the Top 20 Songs. What do these two awards mean to you?
I’m very happy because I never thought that <我們怎麼LOVE> would win an award, because when I was writing it, I didn’t have too many considerations or further thoughts, I was simply just writing what I had wanted to express and record down my feelings at that moment. So now it’s really great that the song had won.
What do you think of the future of the Chinese music industry in Malaysia and in Asia would be like?
Malaysia’s music industry has been creating waves and is now on a surge. In the Chinese music industry in general, Malaysian artistes make up a considerable number; and now, as long as we stay united and work hard together, we can definitely achieve even greater success and reach higher levels. I hope that all musicians will put in their very best and their upmost sincerity in every song and every musical note, to move and to encourage more and more people out there.
In the midst of arranging this interview, another of Jiahui's works, 《灰》, has won Best Television/ Movie Soundtrack at the PWH Music Awards 2012. 《灰》，together with another recent work, 《香火》, written for a TV serial by Malaysia’s NTV7 of the same name, are nominated Best Theme Song in the upcoming Asian Television Awards 2012.
Certainly a wave-maker himself.