Beauty not 'soul' reason of success as rising star set to make sweet dreams a reality

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 04 October, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 04 October, 2008, 12:00am

Veteran music promoter Hans Ebert prides himself on focusing on finding talented musicians, but his new discovery from the mainland certainly has the looks to go all the way besides her undoubted musical ability.

Hong Kong 'keeps signing up mediocre 'singing talent' because of their looks', Ebert would complain. 'I'm really unsure if this is what fans today want to see. James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Macy Gray, Amy Winehouse etc were not exactly pin-up dolls.'

But now, meet new rhythm and blues/soul sensation and Beijing doll Tia Ray. The young singer-songwriter has just recorded a Putonghua version of Sweet Dreams with David Stewart of the Eurythmics. She has also written a soulful tune, Amazing, which will soon be released as a single, and possibly with a video. 'I wrote it after my third guitar lesson. At the time, I broke my toe and broke up with my ex. And I just wrote the song.' Tia, incidentally, learned English from listening to English pop music. She was discovered while doing gigs at the Hyatt in Beijing. 'You don't have to be black to have soul; I think people with yellow skin can sing it, too.'

But don't ask Hans or Tia about when the new album or CD is coming out. They think CDs are dead, only the major record companies and their peers in Hong Kong still don't know this. With iPod, download and transfer technology on the Web, they say we are going back to singles, as in the days of The Beatles.

And why not? It would be much cheaper!