updated 15 Mar 2011, 11:42
user id password
Mon, Mar 07, 2011
The New Paper
Email Print Decrease text size Increase text size
A man to melt me
by Kwok Kar Peng

LIKE most single people, homegrown singer-songwriter Tanya Chua has learnt to avoid festive family gatherings.

That's because she still gets asked the inevitable question by well-meaning relatives: "When are you getting married?"

The 35-year-old has even avoided coming home for Chinese New Year for the last five years, opting instead for a holiday in Paris on her own.

She will be home next month though, for her first big-scale concert here, on April 9.

Chua revealed to The New Paper in an interview yesterday that she is the only one in her family to remain single. Her elder sister and her cousins are married with children.

Still, that hasn't nudged her to find a boyfriend.

Brief romance

Chua, who dated Austrian guitarist Bernhard "Lupo" Groinig for five years before a brief romance with Singaporean composer Eric Ng, said: "Even if Mr Right had appeared, I wouldn't have noticed or taken him seriously.

"I'd feel irritated if I have a boyfriend, like how we have to call each other every day."

She also denied that she prefers "eating Western food", in other words dating Western men, something her friend, Chinese singer Na Ying, had told the overseas media.

For starters, Chua said she's a tough nut to crack.

She said: "I'd like a man to melt me, but it's very hard to. He must be easy on the eyes... and he must be better than me... But it all depends on our chemistry and feel.

"I can list 100 prerequisites and a man may meet all of them, but if we have no feel, there's no way we will end up together."

She's not without her feminine wiles though. She recalled how she once needed help from a male colleague to help with a task at work.

He was initially reluctant but gave in the moment she pouted.

Said Chua: "Friends have suggested that I learn how to act helpless and gentle. I did, but it was very tough to pull off. I can be meek and obedient but just for a short while."

In any case, Chua will have her hands full for the April concert, her first show of that scale here after 14 years in the music industry.

The show will be at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, and 60 per cent of the 6,000 tickets have been sold since they went on sale in January.

Chua will also be doing two shows in Taiwan, where she has been based for the last four years. One will be on March 26 at the Taipei Arena which has a capacity of around 13,000. A show in Taichung on April 23 was recently added to the tour.

Despite these grand plans, the songbird admitted she is worried about being able to push tickets for her first big show here.

"I've never wanted to put myself in a position where I have to worry about pleasing anyone or selling tickets. But now that I have to face it, I have to deal with it with positivity," she said.

"If tickets don't sell, then okay, I have to work harder. Being out of the local scene, I worry if people still remember me or listen to my music."

Chua's last album, If You See Him, was released in 2009. It was her seventh Mandarin offering and picked up the Best Local Album at last year's Singapore Entertainment Awards.

The title track was also named Best Local Music Composition in last year's Singapore Hit Awards and also Singapore Entertainment Awards.

Chua's previous shows here were held at the Esplanade, schools and cafes because she prefers intimate and casual settings where she can be spontaneous and see the audience react.

But overseas, her last solo concert tour held in 2008 in Taipei, Hong Kong and several Chinese cities, had a capacity of 3,000 to 5,000.

Said Chua: "As a child, I went to the Singapore Indoor Stadium to watch the big concerts. I never dreamt that I would be there or the Taipei Arena.

"But in the last few years, I've woken up from my insecurities and uncertainties of who I am...I finally found myself and I have new dreams. I wanted to start doing things I was afraid of before."

Jazz & tap

Her opportunity came when the Taiwanese company Da Da Arts Promotion approached her last year to do a concert at the Taipei Arena. She thought about where else she wants to perform and Singapore was first on her mind.

In another first for the singer, Chua will be putting on her dancing shoes in one segment in the concert.

But she appeared coy when pressed about it, saying she didn't want people to have too high expectations.

It won't be new to her though. Chua revealed a little-known fact about herself - she was a jazz and tap dancer for two years before she ventured into music.

"I loved dancing. I was with a group who performed in dance performances and also back-up to singers," she said.

"But when I became a songwriter, a part of my brain told me that I had to stop dancing if I wanted to be taken seriously.

"When I stopped dancing, my personality changed. I became more introspective and more of an introvert. That's because as a dancer, you are showing off to be the centre of attention. But as a songwriter, I am an observer instead."

WHAT: Tanya & The Cities 2011

WHERE: Singapore Indoor Stadium

WHEN: April 9, 8pm

TICKETS: $158, $138, $118, $88 available from Sistic at 6348 5555 or


This article was first published in The New Paper.

readers' comments

Copyright © 2011 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.