By Jocelle Koh
Thumbnail Design by Allison Sun
Photos Courtesy of Esplanade - Theatres By The Bay
When asked what it is that inspires him to create; Mandopop dark horse Khalil Fong’s answer was succinct, but universally meaningful.
“There are various reasons but I guess primarily a sense of responsibility to the art itself.”
Khalil's position in the Mandarin music industry has always been unique. Whilst the likes of Jay Chou and Wang Leehom are crowned Mandarin pop royalty, the title sounds a little off when applied to Fong, who just seems to be legendary in his own way. In fact, his thoughts on responsibility seem to echo in the path of a certain arachnid superhero.
Indeed, the 35 year-old musical mastermind has fought an uphill battle ever since his debut almost a decade and a half ago; first pioneering the incorporation of R&B, Soul, Funk and Blues into Mandarin pop music. But even now, Fong continues to incorporate an attitude of diligence and social responsibility into his ever-growing body of work.
“I’ve always considered myself a world citizen and my musical tastes are quite eclectic. I think I’m always working my way towards the blending of ideas and cultures whether consciously or subconsciously.”
In collaboration with Taiwanese YouTuber/singer-songwriter Dena Chang, Asian Pop Weekly is launching an all-new video & print interview series called ‘Cream of the C-pop’ where we go deep with our favourite Mandopop artists to create effortlessly engaging content accessible for both Eastern and Western audiences. Each episode will comprise of a video interview and tailored game segment hosted by Dena aired on her YouTube channel. Matzka's written interview will first be released on Asian Pop Weekly, followed by the video on Dena's YouTube soon after.
Squinting in the heat of the day as he stepped out of a cab, Matzka arrived at Chu Fang Café for our Cream of the C-pop interview, accompanied by his team. A slightly intimidating figure, I hastened to introduce myself, to which he merely replied with a slight nod of his head. We soon realised that Matzka was a man of few words…at least until he started talking about music.
The 29 year-old hailing from the Paiwan tribe in Taitung struck an interesting chord with us; declining to rest indoors before filming and instead chatting with his team or sitting patiently next to Dena in the wilting heat before filming began. Given his heritage, he declared flippantly that this was something he was very much used to.
Another thing he hilariously seemed very used to was propping his feet up against something, requesting a chair to prop his feet up on while the entire interview was ongoing. Whilst initially giving us the impression of being slightly intimidating, Matzka soon showed himself as someone who was full of quirks, and a treasure trove of information especially when it came to music, and the reggae genre.
In collaboration with Taiwanese YouTuber/singer-songwriter Dena Chang, Asian Pop Weekly is launching an all-new video & print interview series called ‘Cream of the C-pop’ where we go deep with our favourite Mandopop artists to create effortlessly engaging content accessible for both Eastern and Western audiences. Each episode will comprise of a video interview and tailored game segment hosted by Dena aired on her YouTube channel, released simultaneously with the feature right here on Asian Pop Weekly.
From getting distracted by cute kitties to waxing philosophical on her life journey, we went deep with the elusive Diana Wang in a sit-down interview the eve of her performance at the 2018 GMA Showcase. There’s been a flurry of excitement circulating the Netherlands born singer-songwriter since she unexpectedly announced signing with Khalil Fong’s new record label FU MUSIC last year, pushing out a new enticing Chinese Opera-meets-R&B sound.
Six or seven years after debuting as a fresh-faced artist, and basically a lifetime of chasing ambitions as a singer, Wang has reinvented herself countless times before. Yet the 27 year-old seems to have hit her stride after joining forces with FU last year, slowly but significantly revealing her song writing prowess and unique worldview.
Photos by Anrong Xu (IG: @anrizzy)