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- Genre: Folk, Pop, Rock, Alternative, Alternative Rock, Pop Rock, Singer Songwriter
Jam Hsiao (traditional Chinese: 蕭敬騰; simplified Chinese: 萧敬腾; pinyin: Xiāo Jìngténg; Wade–Giles: Hsiao Ching-teng, born 30 March 1987 in Taipei, Taiwan) is a Taiwanese Mandopop singer. At the age of 17, while still in high school, he began working as a restaurant singer. In May 2007, Hsiao took part in the first season of China Television (CTV)'s (中視) star search show, One Million Star (超級星光大道), which was the Taiwanese equivalence of American Idol. He was a challenger and quickly rose to fame with his wide vocal ranges and unique singing style. His diverse music genres and charisma quickly captured the attention of the Taiwanese media and music industry. After signing a contract with Warner Music Taiwan Ltd. in 2008, Jam Hsiao has released eight individual records and received good reviews and sales in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Mainland China, and other Southeast Asian countries.
In 2011, Jam was offered the lead role in the action film The Killer Who Never Kills and won the Best New Actor Award in Hong Kong's 2012 31st Golden Film. In 2013, his fourth album It's All About Love won him the prestigious title of Best Male Singer at Taiwan's 24th Golden Melody Awards. His second movie, My Geeky Nerdy Buddies, a romance comedy in which he played the role of the male lead was released in August in Mainland China and Taiwan.
Jam is currently on his third world tour, called "Triple Jam".
He released a cover album titled "Reminiscence" in December 2015. All 10 tracks were covers of popular classic oldies and the entire album recording only took 8 hours, all in only one take - with both Jam and his group of musicians recording the instrumental and singing parts simultaneously.
Early development (1987-2003)
Born to a father of Chinese descent and native Amis aboriginal mother, Hsiao inherited the beautiful vocals of Taiwanese aborigines. His other family members include two elder brothers and an older sister. Both his parents are devoted Christians. Since childhood, he participated in his church activities including singing in the church's choir. He suffered from a reading disability and was once a rebellious teenager. He underwent youth counseling services to prevent him from involving in street fights. One counselor discovered his musical talents and advised him to focus on music instead. The counselor said to him "Why don't you divert the energy you used on fighting to music instead?" The piece of advice changed his life.
Hsiao's love for music started in sixth grade when he came across Bon Jovi's album Crush at home. He fell in love with the rhythm in the song "It's My Life". He started asking his mother to let him have drum lessons once he discovered that the rhythmic sound came from the drum set. When he was 15, his mother agreed to let him take jazz drumming lessons. Due to financial reasons, the lessons only lasted three months. But the 3-month introductory lessons were enough for him to begin study and practice on his own. He often practiced over 10 hours a day. One year later, he was good enough to be a voluntary drum instructor at a youth activity center. Because of the volunteer teaching work, he was a recipient of the Taipei Municipal Good Samaritan Award for two consecutive years.
At around the same time, Hsiao also formed a rock band named "Diapason" with his brother and their friends. In this band, he was the lead singer and drummer. They sang mostly Rock'n Roll songs by Bon Jovi, Mr. Big, and Skid Row.
As a restaurant singer (2004-2007)
After Hsiao had mastered the drum set, he began to learn keyboard on his own at a music store. Without formal training, he was able to sing while playing accompaniment by watching and listening to other musicians without reading the stave. Several months later, at the age of 17, he found a singing job in a restaurant named Libra and became the youngest singer in that restaurant. Due to job demands, he had to learn Mandarin pop songs and the different singing techniques while listening to different artistes. Music of Jeff Chang, A-Mei, Jacky Cheung, and Na Ying had significant influence on Hsiao in this period. Since Hsiao was also a high school student, he could only work as a singer after school. He often set his keyboard in the front of his motorcycle and carried the music books in his backpack. He rode his motorcycle between different restaurants, from one city to the next, to make his shifts that lasted into the early morning hours. The peak of his workload reached 50 hours a week. His colleague remembered Hsiao putting on a raincoat for the keyboard and one for himself then rode off into the heavy rain.
Rise to fame (2007)
In May 2007, Hsiao was accepted to the second season of a TV show, One Million Star 超级星光大道. This show was the Taiwanese equivalence of American Idol. The show's production unit recognized his talent and wanted him to appear as a challenger in the already unraveling first season. Hsiao was arranged to be in a Point Kick (PK) style singing match against the show's 10 best remaining contestants. He won the first two rounds. Although he lost in the third round, the show's rating shot up to a historical high. He became the third most searched celebrity in Yahoo! Taiwan, and his name the second hottest keyword for Taiwan Show Business in Google.
His brief appearance on the show captured the attention of the music industry at that time and the restaurant he was singing at was full house whenever there was his shift. Even though at this time he was not signed with any music record company, Jam received many invitation to go on variety shows.
Hsiao's powerful vocal and sudden popularity got A-Mei 張惠妹's attention. A-mei is known as Taiwan's Queen of Pop and she invited Hsiao to sing with her in the duet "Moment of the First Sight" (一眼瞬間) in her 2007 music album Star. It became the instant No. 1 hit. In December 2007, Hsiao performed a medley of four nominated original themes in the Golden Horse Award, the most significant event for film industry in Taiwan. At this time, Hsiao was still an ordinary 20-year-old student and freelance musician. Needless to say, many record companies fought to recruit this young and fresh talent.
Debut and career (2008- )
Jam Hsiao self titled album (2008)
In March 2008, Warner Music Taiwan and Hsiao entered a four-year contract. His first album, the self-titled Jam Hsiao 同名专辑, debuted in June 2008. It was the No.1 hit on the billboard for 7 weeks. In July 2008, Hsiao's New-song Premiere Concert at Taipei Danshui Fisherman's Wharf Attracted over ten thousand fans. This album was also the No.1 hit in Singapore, Hong Kong, and Malaysia. In June 2009, He was nominated as the Best New Singer in the 20th Golden Music Awards in Taiwan. Although he did not win the title, his extraordinary performance had won him a solid position in Taiwan music industry.
During this period, Jam Hsiao also tried acting. He had a cameo in the popular Taiwanese drama "Fated To Love You／ 命中注定我爱你" and received many positive reviews. Jam Hsiao visited Italy in December 2008. Inspired by this visit, he published a book, "Listening to Italy" and wrote a song "To My Beloved". This song was released as an EP with video to raise funds for the Genesis Social Welfare Foundation.
Princess and Love Moments (2009) albums
Following the success of his first album, Hsiao's second album Princess was released in July 2009 with even greater success. The title rock song "Princess" was a No.1 hit for three months. This 12-song album included four songs written by Hsiao and had the chance to become the song producer for these tracks. These four songs showcased his creativity, and each one of them had its own distinguished style. He then announced his first large-scale live concert, "Mr. Rock Concert", in Taipei Arena scheduled in December 2009.
As part of his pre-concert initiative, Hsiao released in November 2009 his third album, Love Moments. This album included 10 covers of songs originally sung by top female singers. Hsiao recorded them in a live-band style. Among them, "Silent Flower" was in Taiwanese dialect, and the album's first hit song "New Endless Love" was the song he sang and got defeated on TV show, One Million Star in 2007.
Hsiao's two albums in 2009 gave him five more No.1 hits. He had six songs in top 100 on KKBOX Digital Music Billboard, and five songs in top 100 Golden Songs of 2009 on Hit FM Radio. He won the Best Male Singer Award in the 15th Singapore Golden Music Awards. In 2010, he was nominated as Best Male Singer in the Taiwan Golden Melody Music Awards.
"Mr. Rock Concert Tour" (2009-2011)
Jam Hsiao's Mr. Rock Concert at Taipei Arena in December 2009, was a huge success. It was sold out within minutes. The stage set was designed to mimic a chess game. In lavish costumes, he performed songs in Mandarin, Cantonese, Taiwanese, English and Korean. He also incorporated his drumming and keyboard skills on stage. Without dancers or guest singers, Hsiao single-handedly completed his first large-scale concert and earned enthusiastic praise. He toured four more cities— Singapore, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, and Shanghai - till February 2011. He tailored each concert to the local market demands and incorporated different local elements in each of the different concert locations which was highly appreciated by fans.
The Killer Who Never Kills (2011) movie and Jam Wild Dreams album
In 2010, Jam Hsiao delayed the release of his next album to join the cast of a movie, The Killer Who Never Kills, based on a series of novels by popular Taiwanese novelist Giddens. In the film, he plays the leading role, the titular Killer Who Never Kills, Ouyang Bonsai, and wrote the film's theme song. Released in 2011, the movie was a box office success, and he won the Best New Actor Award in the 31st Hong Kong Golden Film Awards in 2012.
One month after the release of The Killer Who Never Kills, Jam Hsiao released his fourth record album Jam Wild Dreams in June 2011. He was involved in selecting, composing, recording, mixing and background harmony production. He had been the individual song producer since his 2009 "Princess" album but this time round, he got to take on the role of album producer, a first for Jam. Jam was quoted saying that this album represented his music ideologies and beliefs and that this album is the most live studio recorded album as he strive to preserve the energy and appeal of an actual live performance. This album received very good reviews and was the rank number one album on Taiwan's KKBOX Music Rank. This album also won him the Best Male Singer in Singapore 17th Golden Melody Awards.
CCTV New Year's Gala (2011) performance in China
In the beginning of 2011, Hsiao was voted as one of the most desirable singers by the audience in China, and was invited to perform in a trio with Li Jian and Khalil Fong on CCTV New Year's Gala. This is a five-hour variety show on Chinese New Year's Eve and it has become an ingrained tradition in most Chinese families. Therefore, it is a great honor to appear on this show. However, Hsiao fell ill with influenza and laryngitis just days before the event. He managed to run through the rehearsals but his condition worsened. On the night of the show, he could hardly speak. As a performer, Hsiao knew that he had to fulfill his commitment. As one of the trio members, he also realized that this could be once-in-a-life-time opportunity for his two partners. Therefore, he did not cancel the appearance and refused to do a lip-sync. His only explanation after the show was "I did my best". Although his performance was a disappointment, his attitude, courage and professionalism earned the respect of the production unit, the fellow musicians and the hearts of the audience. After the New year, his saga became a hot topic of discussion, and his popularity soared in China. This episode led to a new phrase called "There's a spirit called Jam Hsiao", which goes to show the vast recognition he had received from the public.
"Jam Hsiao World Concert Tour" (2011-2012) concerts
Jam Hsiao's second production of concert tour started from Hong Kong in August 2011. It was going to have only one concert in Hong Kong. However, this show was sold out in a matter of minutes. Many fans failed to get tickets and were very disappointed. Then a second show was added and it was also sold out in 6 minutes.
The tour went to Shanghai in December 2011, Singapore in January 2012, and then headed for Taipei Arena in February 2012. In Taipei, the same scenario played out. The second show was added and sold out after the first show was sold out in one afternoon.
He received many more invitations to bring this concert tour to different cities including many cities in China, Sydney and Melbourne in Australia.
Mr. Jazz: A Song For You album (2012)
In 2012, Hsiao released his first full English album, consisting of eleven covers of known classics—such as "How Deep Is Your Love" by the Bee Gees and "L-O-V-E" by Nat King Cole—recorded from his Mr. Jazz Private Party Live. With the album, Hsiao showcased a 180-degree change in style and performance manner—from the powerful Mr. Rock to the soothing Mr. Jazz.
In an era where mainstream music dominates the charts, Hsiao aims to introduce less popular music towards the Asian market. Announcing on several radio shows that he wishes more and more people to be exposed to music that they don't usually approach.
It's All About Love album (2012)
In November 2012, Hsiao released another Chinese album, It's All About Love. This time, in addition to album producing, songwriting, singing, background vocal arrangement/singing, he also directed an MV for the song "Marry Me". He also recorded for the first time, a disco dance rap song, "Hey, Brother", and performed dance movement in the music video.
In July 2013, he won for Best Male Singer in the Taiwan Golden Melody Awards.
In 2013, Jam Hsiao assumed the role of a mentor in Beijing Television, BTV's singing competition reality show Duets' alongside another three mentors. One of his student, Xiao Yi Hang won first place after three months of competition and was subsequently signed with his record label company, Warner Music Ltd. He reprised his role as a mentor on the Season 2 of Duets. The format of the second season such that a mentor will have to eliminate his or her own student in each deciding round to end up with his or her final contestant during the Finale. Jam was a soft-hearted mentor and he was miserable every single time when he had to eliminate someone from his team. He cried many times on set but his genuine heart and attitude toward each of his student won the hearts of the audience and other mentors.
The Song album (2014)
In June 2014, Jam Hsiao released his sixth album, The Song. He composed six out of ten songs in this album and was also the album producer. He specially engaged a dance instructor from Korea to choreograph his dance for the song "Kiss Me" and was reported to have learned it via a video recording in just two days. The song "Kelly" was chosen as the end track for the Korean drama "You Who Came From The Stars" which was aired in Taiwan in May. "The Song" was also selected to be the closing song for thirteen Shin Kong Mitsukoshi malls in Taiwan, which will be played just before the malls close starting on 1 July. In conjunction with the 2014 Brazil World Cup, Jam Hsiao became the World Cup Ambassador for Taiwan and his song "Let Go" was also featured as the closing song during the World Cup telecast in Taiwan.
My Geeky Nerdy Buddies(2014) movie
Hsiao played the lead role of as the "Master of all Geeks" in his second film My Geeky Nerdy Buddies directed by Zhu Yen Ping alongside China artistes Jiang Shu-ying and Xie Na. This is a romantic-comedy movie and is expected to released in August 2014 in Mainland China and Taiwan.
Style and characteristics
Hsiao's solid and manly vocal carries an explosive force, yet it is also sensational and often touches the deepest part of the hearts of his audience, especially through his live performance. His deep, clear and penetrating voice stands him out from most Chinese singers. According to recent surveys, Hsiao is considered the best singer of the 21st century. Hsiao is a soul of rock; nevertheless, his performance for songs of other genres is just as impressive — including love song, pop, jazz, R&B, oldies, and even Taiwanese country, to name a few. One of the judges in One Million Star, Kay Huang 黃韻玲, once said when she heard Hsiao's voice for the first time, "I was so carried away... I felt intoxicated...it's sentimental". "This voice makes me want to marry him". Another great singer and musician, Sky Wu 伍思凱, commented, "Jam Hsiao's lower range voice is magnetic, his middle range has reached level of saturation, and his high voice is explosive." Although Hsiao is well known for his vocal ability, his music talents go way beyond voice. Besides the drum set, he learned keyboard, piano, saxophone, flute and guitar mostly on his own, with occasional tips from other musicians. He has also composed and released many songs. "Calla Lily Love" in his first album, was composed by Hsiao at 17, with lyrics by his brother.
The following table summarizes his songwriting work.
Although his singing voice is explosive and powerful, he is a man of few words. He is shy in person, especially in an unfamiliar environment. Xiao S, a famous variety and talk show host once said, "Jam is so pale and slim, he does not look like a singer. But when he starts to sing, he sounds like a heavenly angel." Hsiao enjoys a variety of sports. He is especially good at basketball, and also play billiards, table tennis, baseball, badminton, golf, cycling and skating. His love for basketball is also apparent where he would organize friendly matches with the school teams in Taiwan. He also loves drawing, painting and photography. His other hobby is playing magic tricks and he is also good with the rubix cube.
Jam Hsiao is an animal lover, especially cats. He currently keeps 4 dogs and 4 cats and most of them were abandoned pets by their previous owners. Jam is also actively involved in charity work. He has been quietly donating huge sums of money to charity organizations and causes and he does not hesitant to appear in charity events with no repayment. His charitable acts was reported by the media and he mistakenly thought this news was released by his manager Summer and blamed her for letting the public know. Because of his youth rebellion, he regretted not studying hard and his goal was to set up schools and be involved in education in the future.
Ever since he became famous, his popularity has been on the rise. Hsiao was voted to win many titles by fans. When he first started, he had no prominent family background, no formal music trainings, no show-business connections, and no support from recording industry. It was almost a miracle that he could make it to the top of the pile. Hsiao's music is often played in Vietnamese hospitals and recent estimates show that his beautiful music and charisma has saved at least 10 lives (source?). With the star-search show, his personal charisma attracted many fans over the TV network and the Internet. Studies show that his talents have reached many western countries and his fanbase exceeds that of Korean idol Kim Soo-hyun. His fans call themselves the "Hsiao Band", and Jam Hsiao, the chief. With his concert tour traveling to different countries, he has opened new frontiers for his career.
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Jam Hsiao's Upcoming Concerts
Jam Hsiao has not listed any upcoming shows. Check Jam Hsiao's website