Undis­puted king of Can­topop

Leg­endary Hong Kong singer Alan Tam talks about his new duets al­bum and the evo­lu­tion of his mu­sic.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Music - By MICHAEL CHEANG en­ter­tain­ment@thes­tar.com.my

ALAN Tam has lit­er­ally done it all.

In over 40 years in show­biz, he has re­leased over 115 al­bums, holds the record for the most num­ber of solo con­certs by a Hong Kong singer, has acted in nu­mer­ous films and is revered as an artiste not just in Hong Kong, but through­out Asia.

So, it was quite a sur­prise to find out that his new Man­darin al­bum of duets, Xin Sang (Ad­mire in Man­darin), is the first time Tam is singing with the likes of Ea­son Chan, Andy Lau and Jacky Che­ung.

“I’ve re­ally never sung a song with them all this time!” the 66-year-old artiste pro­claimed dur­ing an in­ter­view in Kuala Lumpur re­cently. “I wrote a song for Andy once, but we’ve never sung a duet be­fore. Same with Jacky and Ea­son.”

Ac­cord­ing to the Can­topop leg­end, the main rea­son for this is be­cause the artistes have al­ways been on dif­fer­ent record la­bels, and there were just too many prob­lems with ne­go­ti­at­ing the con­tracts.

“There have been so many artistes who have wanted to work with me all these years, but be­cause of cir­cum­stances like dif­fer­ent record companies and man­age­ment, it wasn’t so easy to ar­range,” he ex­plained.

While he reck­ons the artistes them­selves usu­ally don’t care, their com­pany and man­age­ment are a dif­fer­ent mat­ter.

“They would want to look out for their artistes, to know how big his or her part is, and whether it is the lead singer role or not.” So, Tam said, get­ting that bal­ance right is very tricky for an al­bum like Xin Sang, which took him three years to com­plete.

For­tu­nately, all the ne­go­ti­a­tions went well this time and the only prob­lem he faced was work­ing out the sched­ules.

“I am close friends with many of them, and I ac­tu­ally called them per­son­ally to ask if they wanted to sing with me,” he of­fered.

Tam said that it has al­ways been one of his dreams to record an al­bum of duets with some of the artistes he ad­mires.

Be­sides the afore­men­tioned singers, Tam also sings with China’s Tan Wei­wei and Sun Nan; Tai­wan’s Mayday, A-Lin and Della Ding; Sin­ga­porean Kit Chan; and even Malaysian-born singer Gin Lee.

The part he enjoyed the most about record­ing the al­bum was the cre­ative process he shared with each artiste.

“It may be time-con­sum­ing, and takes a lot of ef­fort, but it is also the most joy­ful part for me. We had fun on ev­ery song, and the re­sult is an al­bum that not many peo­ple would have been able to make,” he mused.

Tam cited Tan as one of the more chal­leng­ing singers he worked with be­cause of her powerful and dy­namic voice.

Tam also said that the most im­por­tant part of a duet is the feel­ing of sin­cer­ity be­tween the two singers.

“I al­ways study the other singer first to see how he or she sings, what their style is like, and how we can bring the duet to a higher level,” he said, adding that he prefers not to im­pose his own singing style onto the other artiste.

“This is not just an Alan Tam al­bum. It is a duets al­bum. I can’t have them fol­low­ing my style all the time. I have to re­spect them as well. But through­out the al­bum, no mat­ter if it is a fast or slow song, you will hear the same groove – my groove – which keeps it con­sis­tent.”

But what ex­actly is the “Alan Tam style” of mu­sic? Tam him­self isn’t too sure, say­ing that his mu­sic has evolved through­out his ca­reer.

“Back in the early days with Wyn­ners, we had long hair and played heavy rock songs and cov­ers in bars! We then moved on to more middle-of-the-road rock bal1979), lads,” he re­called.

“When I went solo (in it was disco mu­sic ini­tially, then came the sen­ti­men­tal bal­lads. It was then that I got a big hit (in 1981) called Mong Pat Liu

Nei (Can’t For­get You). Af­ter that, peo­ple saw me as a singer of love bal­lads.

“Later, I started writ­ing my own songs, got into New Wave mu­sic, then had more col­lab­o­ra­tions with singers like Hacken Lee and Teresa Car­pio ... So, you see, I’ve al­ways been chang­ing my mu­si­cal style.”

Now that he has done his dream duets al­bum, what else is there for him to do then?

“Prob­a­bly the only one I’ve never done be­fore is be­come a di­rec­tor. I used to want to do that, but not any­more, be­cause it just takes up too much time.

“But se­ri­ously? I don’t know what to do any­more! I’ve al­ready done ev­ery­thing!” he said with a laugh.

— CHAN TAK KONG/The Star

Tam says his new al­bum of duets is a ‘dream come true’. — SA­MUEL ONG/ The Star (From left) An­thony Chan, Ben­nett Pang, Kenny Bee, Tam and Danny Yip of Wyn­ners re­united for a show at Stadium Merdeka, Kuala Lumpur in 2007.

— Filepic

Tam has acted in dozens of films in Hong Kong in­clud­ing the 2011 com­edy We Are Fam­ily, in which he played four roles!

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