A-mei’s 20th anniversary tour is coming to Macau – here are the five songs you need to know
Queen of Mando-pop A-mei has transcended her traditional pop roots to embrace dance and alternative rock over the course of 18 albums, but she’ll be celebrating it all during her Macau concert on Wednesday
With a music career spanning two decades, Taiwanese singer Chang Hui-mei, better known as A-mei in English, has been the indisputable queen of Mando-pop since she made her debut in 1996.
Born to an aboriginal family in Beinan, southeast Taiwan, A-mei is best known for her versatile vocal range and emotional depth, and the multiple award-winning singer and musician has earned the hearts of many from Chinese-speaking communities all over the world.
Since her 1996 debut, A-mei has released a total of 18 studio albums that document her musical evolution, transcending from traditional pop in the beginning to, in more recent years, dance and alternative rock that boasts a distinctive sound tracing back to her cultural roots.
The pop diva might be one of the most respectable musicians in the region, but she is not free from controversies. She was banished from performing in mainland China after singing the Taiwanese anthem at the presidential inauguration ceremony of Chen Shui-bian of the pro-independence Democratic Progressive Party in 2000. The ban lasted for four years.
To commemorate her 20th anniversary in the music world, A-mei will embark on the “aMEI Utopia 2.0 Carnival World Tour”, making a stop in Macau on May 3. Here are the five A-mei songs you really must know.
You Want Nothing (From Me) After All
One of the best-known titles from her debut album “Sisters” released in 1996, You Want Nothing (From Me) After All is the one song that made A-mei an overnight singing sensation in, not her homeland Taiwan, but Hong Kong. The captivating ballad about unrequited love showcased A-mei’s versatile vocal range and emotional depth. The song was an instant hit in Hong Kong, making A-mei among the first Taiwanese singers to become a household name in the city and marking the beginning of a new wave of Mando-pop that shook the Canto-pop town to the core. It is still a popular choice at karaoke venues today.
Listen to the Sea
A hit from A-mei’s second full-length album “Bad Boy” – which has sold nearly 1.4 million copies since its release in 1997, making it the second best-selling album in Taiwanese musical history – Listen to the Sea is the favourite track of many hardcore fans as well as casual listeners. This melodic ballad captured the hearts of many, thanks to A-mei’s sensational vocals and the poetic lyrics that relate love to the unpredictable nature of the sea. Can’t Cry is another memorable track from the same album.
A-mei caught on the rise of dance music in Asia with Fire, a song for which she collaborated with Taiwanese-American singer-songwriter Wang Leehom. A track from her 12th album “Maybe Tomorrow” released in 2004, Fire is a stark contrast to the ballads that made her a household name. A-mei attempted a different vocal style which made her sound softer but more aloof to accompany the dance beats and grooves.
I Want Happiness
I Want Happiness is the title track of A-mei’s 2006 album, which was widely seen as her comeback album following a brief hiatus during which she embarked on a journey of self-discovery and studied for three months in Boston. I Want Happiness is a ballad, but compared with some of the hits mentioned above, A-mei showed how gentle her voice could be, putting greater emphasis on emotions rather than the power of her vocals. The popular song remains one of the top choices among fans.
A-mei went through a musical evolution throughout the 2000s, and the outcome was the 2009 album release “Amit”, which was named after her aboriginal name Amit Kulilay. The album’s title track Amit, sung in her native Pinuyumayan language, is a hybrid of ballad and alternative rock. The combination of her compelling vocals and the distinctive guitar riffs creates a picturesque sonic image of the mountains, where her roots were. The album won A-mei both commercial and critical success, bagging six awards including best album at the 21st Golden Melody Awards in 2010.
aMEI Utopia 2.0 Carnival World Tour
Macau, May 3 (Wed), 8pm, Studio City Event Centre, Studio City Macao. Tickets HK$280 to HK$880 available at Hong Kong Ticketing