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Both his parents were secondary school teachers: His mother noticed his sensitivity to music and took him to piano lessons at the age of four.
In the third grade, he became interested in music theory and also started cello lessons. He was an only child and loved to play piano, imitate TV actors, and perform magic tricks. His favorite composer was, and still is to this day, Chopin.
His parents divorced when he was 14 and he was teased by his classmates, which caused him to become reclusive and introverted. He had no friends and preferred to be alone, listening to music, contemplating and daydreaming. At Tamkang Senior High School, he majored in piano and minored in cello.
He showed a talent for improvisation, became fond of pop music and began to write songs. However, severe back pain triggered by sports eventually led to the diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis HLA-B27 ; and he was exempted from military service.
Without his knowledge, a friend entered both their names in a talent show called Super New Talent King in Chou played the piano accompaniment for his friend, whose singing was described as "lousy".
Although they did not win, the show's host Jacky Wu — an influential character in Taiwan's entertainment business — happened to glance at the music score and was impressed with its complexity.
Wu then asked who wrote it, discovered Chou and hired him as a contract composer and paired him with the novice lyricist Vincent Fang. Jay Chou then spent most of his time in Wu's studio learning music producing, sound mixing, recording and writing songs. However Wu told Chou that he will help Chou to release an album after he wrote 50 songs and he will pick ten from there.
Chou already had an arsenal of songs he wrote for others but had been rejected, so among those he chose 10 for his debut CD album Jay that was released in His fame spread quickly in Chinese-speaking regions throughout Southeast Asia.
Chou launched his debut album Jay under Alfa Music in Chou arranged the compilation, harmony, and production of all the songs. The album was promoted heavily by Jacky Wu in the entertainment shows he hosted. Chou himself also appeared on a few television programs to promote the album.
Chou was marketed as a talented singer-composer with a unique tune. His collaboration with Vincent Fang and Vivian Hsu on the release brought about a few hits. After promoting his debut album, Chou returned to the studio for the next twelve months to record and produce his next album, Fantasy, which helped him become an established star.
This album was released in September and became a big hit, selling an estimated two million copies in Taiwan alone. Fantasy helped Chou secure ten nominations and five wins at the 13th Golden Melody Awards in Chou's music has been a much-discussed topic across Chinese regions, because it differed greatly from mainstream popular Chinese music released at that time.
His pieces combine ancient themes with futuristic ones, including things like space ships, all while employing graphic storytelling skills to evoke vivid imagery to his audience. His enunciation, or lack thereof, whether rapping or singing, was also critiqued when listeners often found that they could not decipher the words sung until they looked up the lyrics.
Critics referred to his singing as "mumbling". This garnered a lot of attention and reporters often quiz Chou on his singing style. Chou defended this as his signature style to infuse the vocals with the music and "make it blend" well together.
Chou also stated that he wants the listeners to look at the lyrics stating the lyrics written by Vincent Fang are very deep. Chou's third album, The Eight Dimensions, became another commercial success and is similar in style to his second.
The singer has sold overcopies of Fantasy as ofthroughout the region. In the same year, Chou held his debut concert tour The One. There was also more crossover activity between Malaysia and Indonesia, as well as steadily increasing activity by Japanese acts in the region.
After the release of this album, he attended the Golden Melody Awards for his previous album's nomination. The album The Eight Dimensions was nominated for 5 categories but won none.
Ironically, his then-current album Yeh Hui-mei would go on to win a Golden Melody "Best Album of the year" award in Current Students Get access to all the essentials for UMUC students, from academics to finances and student life.
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