Held online on 12 November with over 10,000 Facebook views, the 2022 SUSS Cultural China Public Lecture revisited Chinese music, but of a very different genre – Mandopop!
Mickey Huang, Billy Koh, Peter Lee Shih Shiong and moderator Ken Low, a senior journalist with Lianhe Zaobao, shared their views on the developments and outlook of Mandopop in Singapore, China and Taiwan.Associate Professor Foo Tee Tuan, Director of Centre for Chinese Studies@SUSS, at the 2022 SUSS Cultural China Public Lecture.
Associate Professor Foo Tee Tuan, Director of Centre for Chinese Studies@SUSS, opened the lecture before Mickey Huang, a Taiwanese television and radio host, and Billy Koh, a Singaporean music producer, started the discussion by reflecting on the contradicting impacts of technology and how it has transformed the music industry.
Mickey Huang reminisced that consumers used to buy albums to listen to pop songs and to support their favourite artists, but music streaming platforms have since changed everything. He shared, “Interestingly, new songs are easily available and it is a lot easier to self-release music now, but it is also more difficult to get your music heard.”
Billy Koh added that in the past, songs we listened to were mostly selected by professionals such as producers and DJs. Nowadays, listeners have to bear the “time cost” to pick the songs themselves.
The role of independent artists was also discussed during the lecture. While it seems that there are more independent artists now, Billy Koh thinks that they somehow have an uphill struggle to break into the mainstream to stimulate the development of the Mandopop industry.
Both Billy Koh and Peter Lee Shih Shiong shared more about pop music artists and the elements of pop music. Billy Koh divides pop music artists into three categories: performers, songwriters, and idols. As artists grow and become more successful and experienced in the industry, they can be a performer, a songwriter, and an idol at the same time. According to Peter Lee Shih Shiong, a great pop song has to be catchy and tell a story that strikes a chord with the listeners.
The SUSS Cultural China Public Lecture (CCPL) is an annual event organised by the Centre for Chinese Studies@SUSS and Lianhe Zaobao, conducted in Mandarin, with simultaneous English interpretation.