Sunday, July 28, 2013

Interview with Jacky Cheung: “Not handsome enough, so can only be a singer”

Here's an awesome article about Jacky from earlier in the week that was just too good for me to 'pass up', so I decided to share it with fellow fans here.  

I'm sure most of you know that Jacky's concert DVD finally came out last week (on July 19th) -- much to the delight of us fans who have been waiting what seemed like 'eons' for the album to be released. Of course, it goes without saying that Jacky wasted no time fulfilling his 'responsibility' of promoting the album -- on the day of the album's release, he attended the press conference officially announcing the release (as well as accepting a 'double platinum' plaque for the album selling 40,000+ copies in pre-order, even before its official release...YAY!!!).  In addition, he hit the promotional circuit right away, going on practically every radio station imaginable (in HK) as well as flying to Taiwan for a few days to promote the album there (though of course he also got the chance to meet up with his buddy Harlem in the process...hehehe!).

Though I've definitely been 'keeping track' of Jacky's promotional activities this past week, I'm actually not going to be translating/posting every single article / radio interview / television interview, etc. that he's done so far this week because, well, to be honest, I just don't have the time to do so.  From the looks of it right now, I will probably only translate one of the radio interviews that Jacky did (there are at least 8 or 9 of them out there worthy of listening to though)...more to come on that later.

Anyway, back to this article -- it's actually from a Mainland newspaper that I'm not familiar with at all (not surprisingly), so I'm not going to comment too much (plus the article already speaks for itself).  But I will say one thing -- reading this interview from Jacky reminded me once again why I'm such a devoted fan of his (and will continue to be for the rest of my life)!



Interview with Jacky Cheung:  “Not handsome enough, so can only be a singer”

Article originally published 7/24/2013

Translation:  llwy12

On July 19th, Jacky Cheung (張學) held a press conference in HK officially announcing the release of his ‘Jacky Cheung ½ Century Tour’ concert DVD.  With the help of his good friend and the concert’s music director Andrew Tuason (杜自持) [TN: Andrew has also been the producer for Jacky’s albums the past few years], Jacky’s concert DVD took more than a year to complete, but has proven to be worth the wait.  As to his ‘God of Songs’ title, Jacky helplessly states that because he is not ‘handsome’ enough, he had no choice but to pursue a career as a singer….

Towards his concert DVD….

Took a year to complete with the help of Andrew Tuason

Jacky Cheung’s ½ Century Concert DVD is comprised of the live recordings from 4 of the last 9 shows on the Hong Kong ‘grand finale’ leg of his 18 month concert tour.  [TN: Jacky actually held a total of 29 shows in HK – 20 shows in April/May 2011 and 9 shows in May 2012; the 2011 shows were held at the HK Coliseum while the 2012 shows were held at the Asia World Expo Center due to the HKC already being fully booked.]

This concert DVD was certainly a long time in the making -- Jacky worked hard alongside his concert’s music director Andrew Tuason for more than a year before the ‘final product’ was completed.  With this being his 8th concert tour, Jacky expressed that he wanted the DVD to be ‘worth the wait’:  “I’ve always thought to myself – why can’t a concert DVD be produced in the same manner as other high quality video/audio products whereby everyone who watches the DVD and listens to the music are treated to a comfortable, enjoyable experience?   When putting together the DVD for this particular concert [1/2 Century Tour], this was the ‘goal’ that I kept in mind.”  Jacky admits that the process of putting together this particular concert DVD was arduous and difficult, however his mindset throughout the entire process was actually quite simple:  to ‘do things a little bit better’ (‘better’ than his previous concert’s DVD and ‘better’ than his other albums overall).

Towards his work….

He once thought that 2007’s concert tour would be his last

Asked when he plans on having another concert tour, Jacky admits that he has not even started thinking about it:  “I remember back in 2007/2008 when I finished my ‘Year of Jacky Cheung Concert Tour’ [TN: known as ‘Long Time No See Concert Tour’ in Mainland China], I thought that it would be the very last concert tour of my career.  At the time, I was already 46 years old, so naturally, I was worried about whether I’d have the physical endurance to do another concert tour:  would I still be able to do the dance moves?  Would I be able to sing for so many hours straight without much rest?   Would I have the strength physically to handle another tour?”  Jacky recounts that it wasn’t until he released his Private Corner album in 2010 and started immersing himself  again in various performances to promote his album that he realized he still had the physical endurance to do another concert tour:  “After the release of that album, I started preparing myself to do another concert by getting back into my ‘regimen’ – rehearsals, physical endurance exercises, keeping myself healthy, etc.   I actually wasn’t sure how well I’d be able to get back into the concert tour routine and what the end result would be like – all I could do was try my best.”

Attitude toward his ‘God of Songs’ title – from being ‘repelled’ [by it] to being ‘indifferent’

For the past 20 years [since 1993], whenever the name Jacky Cheung is mentioned, the title ‘God of Songs’ (歌神) is always attached to his name. 

Towards this famous title, Jacky admits that in the beginning, he was very much ‘repelled’ by it:  “In the beginning, when people started calling me ‘God of Songs’, I was really repelled by it and didn’t want to hear it.  Later on though, everyone kept calling me that and after awhile, I got used to it.  For me, as long as I keep a clear mind and don’t think of myself as such [‘God of Songs], then it’s fine -- I can live with people calling me that title.  However, if one of these days I ever stand on stage and call myself ‘God of Songs’, then that will be the end of me.”   True to his humble personality, Jacky often mocks himself as being ‘the singer who makes the most mistakes’, so in his mind, it’s impossible for him to be ‘God of Songs’ – that is, unless there is a ‘god’ out there who ‘specializes’ in making mistakes:  “People gave me that title primarily because I had a lot of performances in the past and released a lot of albums – towards this, I am definitely very lucky.”  Jacky expressed that his ‘luck’ is due to debuting in the HK music industry at the right time -- when he started his singing career, the HK music industry was in its ‘golden’ era, so he benefited from the high exposure and ‘attention’ that the industry received at the time -- because of this, perhaps everyone got used to calling him that title and even now, it’s difficult for them to change it.

Worried about the current state of the music industry; hopes for another ‘music genius’ to emerge

Faced with the current dismal state of the Chinese music industry, Jacky admits that he is truly very worried:  “I’m not worried about myself – rather, I’m worried about the current state of the Chinese music industry.  My hope is that it [the music industry] will get better and better and can last for a long time.  I really want to encourage all Chinese singers to work together and make the industry better; of course, if we were blessed with a little bit of luck on our side, that would be most ideal.  I’m a firm believer that another ‘music genius’ can emerge and revitalize the industry.  In the past, we [the music industry] did have a ‘music genius’:  his name was Michael Jackson – he was able to single-handedly energize and liven up the music industry to the point that everyone paid attention to the industry and in so doing, also paid attention to a lot of other things.”  [i.e.:  industry concerns, societal issues, etc.]   After saying this, Jacky let out a huge sigh and lamented that, regrettably, ‘luck’ is not something he has control over – all he can do is work even harder and give it his best effort, as he believes that as long as one is willing to sacrifice and invest, the outcome will be a positive one in the end.

Towards his daily life….

Even the most blissful of marriages requires perseverance

When people hear the name Jacky Cheung, there are actually 2 more ‘titles’ that come to mind:  ‘good husband’ and ‘good father’.

Asked how to maintain a successful marriage, Jacky’s advice is very simple:  perseverance.  When it comes to marriage, Jacky has always been of the mindset that it should never be a hasty decision made on impulse, nor should it be a ‘simple matter’ of merely signing one’s name on a piece of paper:  “Nowadays there are a lot of couples who get married for 1 or 2 years, sometimes even shorter amount of time, then end up in a divorce.  I feel that this is too ‘hasty’ and to me, they [those couples] don’t have a true understanding of the significance behind marriage.”   In contrast to these ‘hasty’ marriages, Jacky often used his own marriage as an example to explain to his media friends whenever they asked him about maintaining a successful marriage:  “For me, it’s not as easy to maintain a blissful marriage as everyone thinks – the biggest obstacle is perseverance.  I encourage all married couples never to forget the vows you took when you first started on the journey together:  to love, honor, cherish, and stay with each other no matter what difficulties may arise – this is truly very important.”

Does not want his daughters to enter show business

Whenever the subject of his 2 daughters is brought up, Jacky cannot help smiling blissfully.  Asked whether his daughters [eldest daughter Zoe is 13 and youngest Zia is 8] inherited his singing talent, Jacky expressed both of them love singing and actually sing almost every day – except that they mostly sing children’s songs.  However, when asked whether he would support his daughters to become singers and enter show business in the future if they so desired, Jacky expressed that he has reservations about it:  “If possible, my hope is that they won’t have the desire to become singers in the future.  If we talk purely about singing, it’s actually a good thing, but if we look at all the other things that a singing career brings forth – for example, fame and fortune – it will do more harm than good.  Because I love them so much, I don’t want them to endure such unnecessary pain and harm.”  Ever the benevolent father, Jacky’s only ‘wish’ for his daughters is that they grow up happy and healthy:  “Of course, if one day they have the ability and tell me that they do want to become singers, there’s nothing I can do about that.  After all, hoping that they don’t pursue a singing career is only a personal thought of mine.”

Additional ‘thoughts’ from Jacky….

RP = Reporter
JC = Jacky Cheung

RP:  Why put so much effort into making a high quality concert DVD?

JC:  I feel that a lot of people are a bit disrespectful toward audio/video products…instead of spending the money to buy these products (CDs/DVDs), they choose to download them from the Internet – even if the visual is not good, the picture is fuzzy, the sound is horrible, it’s not a concern.   With this being the case, I hope that at the very least, the stuff I put out is high quality, as I don’t want to give anyone an excuse to say that they don’t need to buy the original (non-pirated) version because the quality is bad anyway.  I hope that the music [products] I make is something that everyone feels is worth spending the money to buy.

RP:  You once said that “the more ‘God of Songs’ there are, the better.”  What do you mean by that?

JC:  I hope that there are more singers in this industry with a lot of music fans paying attention to them – the more of these types of singers there are, the more the industry will flourish and develop...if the industry flourishes again, then it will have the chance to recover.  If I’m the only one doing something, eventually things  will come to an end.  I don’t want to see the music industry getting worse and worse – it breaks my heart.  I hope that there will more ‘Gods of songs’ so that we can all work together toward positive results.

RP:  What is your secret to having zero rumors your entire career?

JC:  Because I’m not good-looking, so even ‘rumors’ don’t want to come near me!   When I first debuted in the industry, I was probably the ‘worst’ among the newcomers of that generation – other than having singing talent, I lacked everything else:  I didn’t have the looks nor did I have any acting talent.  Perhaps it’s because I didn’t have the looks, so people were forced to pay attention to my singing.  As for myself, since I knew I wasn’t good-looking, all I could do was put more effort into cultivating my singing skills and my performances on stage.  Of course, once you’re able to achieve a lot of things and people start to like you, they want to continue seeing around, so they will undoubtedly be protective of you and support you.  Looking back on my career up to this point, I feel that I’ve been able to ‘survive’ this long because of one trait that has accompanied me all this time:  ‘ordinary’.

RP:  Are you afraid of growing old?

JC:  If you were to ask me that question back when I was 20 years old, I would tell you ‘yes, I’m afraid – very afraid!’  But now, at this point in my life, I’m not afraid at all.  People may ask – “what is an ‘old man’ capable of doing?”  Well, I can tell you that an ‘old man’ is capable of doing a lot of things.  What I want to say is this:  don’t be concerned about what others say about you – you need to have your own hopes and expectations for yourself and your future.  This way, you won’t be as concerned about the passage of time and the past years will be full of memories.


  1. Thanks for the translation. I bought both - DVD and CD :P will definitely be scolded later by my sis :) items already shipped last week so hopefully reached this week and I can watched it :)

    1. @fangorn: Yay!! Thank you for buying both (sorry that you'll be scolded! I'm actually still waiting for my order to arrive (CD, DVD, and poster)....can't wait to watch!!

      By the way...did you order the HK version or the Taiwan version? Just FYI that the Taiwan version is actually the same as the HK one -- it's the same recording, they just packaged it differently (and it's more expensive too). Just wanted to make that clarification, since alot of people were under the impression that it was going to be like previous years where the Taiwan version covered the shows he did in Taiwan (that's not the case this time).

    2. All HK version...the cd comes with the limmited cd single. Didnt buy the poster though (no place to hang). I actually didnt realise there is a TW version O_O Is there a different package? The cover looks the same ???

      I am just sad that there is no "Ai Shi Yong Heng" song... I love his live version at that concert :P