I know it’s been a painfully long while since I’ve come here and written anything. Pardon life; it gets a bit crazy. So for October’s artist plug, we’re featuring the first Taiwanese artist ever (on this blog) – Yen-J!
I won’t even lie. I can’t understand any lick of Cantonese/Mandarin/anything Chinese to save my life, save for the cliche “Ni hao” greeting, and even that’s stretching it. I stumbled upon this guy by total and utter chance (as I do with most of my musical obsessions these days).
Yen-J is a relatively new face on the Mandopop scene. Born in Taiwan, raised in the states, this man was practically groomed for a career in medicine. Mind you, it helps when he came from a family of doctors. After a whopping single semester at the highly acclaimed University of Southern California, Yen-J had withdrawn from the college and returned to Taiwan to pursue a career in music. Naturally, his decision did not come without repercussions. Though his father reluctantly agreed to his son’s decision to withdraw from his studies, he had given his son an ultimatum of sorts to kick start his music career in 2 years. However, after witnessing first-hand how successful his son was, he has since extended that deadline to 10 years.
One could say it’s pure and natural talent, or some such, but from the very beginning Yen-J had quite the interest in music, despite his family background. At the ripe young age of 11, the boy already began composing his own music, and went on to expand his musical horizons through jazz (on his trusty piano, of course). Fast-forward to 3 months after his return to Taiwan, Yen-J was able to land a record contract with Bin music. And it was all uphill from there.
In 2010, he released his first EP entitled “Trapped in Taipei/困在台北/Kùn Zài Táibě .’ That same year, he released his first album “Thanks to your Greatness/谢谢你的美好/Xièxiè Nǐ De Měihǎo,” which met with impressive success. After winning a string of newcomer awards and being able to contribute to a variety of dramas and movies, the artist released his 2nd album in 2011 titled “Good Things/好的事情/Hǎo De Shìqíng.”
With an impressive resume like that, it’s no wonder this guy is quickly stealing hearts all over Asia. His musical style is very easy to listen to, with hints of jazz, folk guitar, and classical piano melodies to add some flavor to his musical pieces. Since I can’t understand a word he’s saying, I can only focus on the music he plays. The melodies introduce a sense of familiarity upon the first listen, but he manages to add some sort of twist that makes it uniquely his own. From what I can manage to find online, his lyrics seem to fall into the typical love/break up song spectrum, so I suppose I’m not missing much.
That being said, here are some choice works from Yen-J! Hope you guys enjoyed something a little different, outside of the kpop/jpop world I’ve constantly trashed upon your heads!