Hand of God guides rock singer's new album
Updated: 2011-08-22 09:33
By Chen Nan (China Daily)
His skin-fit purple jeans, black T-shirt, that hangs loosely on his strong frame, leather bracelets, and huge finger ring scream the rebellious spirit of a rock singer. But when Vanness Wu begins to talk about his new pop-rock album, C'est La V, his first in three years, he is seriousness personified.
"The title of the album borrows from the French phrase 'c'est la vie', which means 'such is life'. My name has a 'v', which is pronounced the same as 'vie'. So the title is meant to say 'this is Vanness, this is me'," he explains.
The old Wu, a handsome, arrogant playboy, is still coming to terms with the new Wu, earnest and modest.
"It took me three years to finish this album, but it feels like 10 years - of growing and maturing," says the 32-year-old American-born-Chinese singer.
Wu rose to fame in 2001 when he became part of F4, comprising TV stars Jerry Yen, Vic Chou, and Ken Chu, who triggered a frenzy throughout Asia with the drama series Meteor Garden, based on the wildly popular Japanese comic Hana Yori Dango.
The hit series and its sequel made overnight superstars of the group members, and led to not just more drama roles, but also product endorsements and a string of successful albums and concert tours.
"It was a bit of a shock. We didn't expect it. I remember the time Jerry and I were to attend a fan meeting, our very first one. But the packed venue was declared a fire risk and the meeting was cancelled. That's when we realized how big we had become and were blown away by it."
Wu, considered the group's most versatile, learned dancing at a young age. The American-born singer returned to Taiwan alone with $1,200 in his pocket. He wanted to sing and release albums, but had to wait for opportunities, as he knew no one. Just when he was about to give up, the producer of Meteor Garden saw him in the gym and offered him a role.
Its success led to the release of his debut album, Body Will Sing, which was voted one of the Top Ten Selling Mandopop Albums of the Year in Hong Kong. In 2003, he played the lead in the kungfu flick, The Kumite, which was nominated for Best New Artist at the Hong Kong Film Festival. He also teamed up with South Korean star Kangta for the album Kangta & Vanness in 2006 and released several Japanese albums.
But despite his superstar status across China, Wu was unhappy. His agent dictated everything that members of F4 did.
"Even hanging out with friends was not allowed," Wu recalls. "They told us that our lives would be different after the drama's success, but nobody told us how to adjust or how to face the changes. We were totally lost and confused."
In 2007, on completing his contract, Wu flew back to Los Angeles and withdrew from the spotlight.
During those dark days, Wu, a party animal, stayed at home and spent time with his family. He also turned to religion.
"God will line everything up if you let him," he says. "I learned to step back and let everything take its course. That's my approach toward life now."
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