Father of Hong Kong-born America’s Got Talent star Celine Tam answers allegations of cashing in on daughter’s success

At launch of his own album, Steve Tam apologises to fellow performer who accused him of stealing her students, and proves he really has a doctorate

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 25 June, 2017, 4:56pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 25 June, 2017, 10:47pm

The Hong Kong father of nine-year-old singing prodigy Celine Tam Tsz-kwan pledged to be a “good father” amid criticism that he has exploited his daughter’s TV success, and that he stole students from a local celebrity.

After Celine Tam shot to fame with her performance on TV show America’s Got Talent this month, her father and singing coach Steve Tam became well known as the man who nurtured her.

In an event to announce the release of his own album on Sunday, he took the opportunity to apologise to local celebrity Nancy Sit Ka-yin after she accused him of stealing her students.

Celine Tam handles pressure and critics with aplomb, father says

And after doubts that he really was a doctor, he even showed off his doctoral certificate of philosophy in business administration from the Nueva Ecija University of Science and Technology in the Philippines.

“I will step up my efforts to learn and improve. Everyone has his own past. I have my shortcomings. As a father, in my journey of life, my children have given me a very good opportunity to learn,” he said.

“I will constantly improve myself, change myself and be a good person. In the future, I will do everything I can to be a good father.”

Earlier this month, Celine took the internet by storm after a video of her performance on the hit show was posted on social media, winning praise and admirers.

The Hong Kong-born girl started singing when she was just three years old. She is now a student at a school under the English Schools Foundation. She got past the first round of America’s Got Talent singing Celine Dion’s My Heart Will Go On.

While Celine Tam has won support, some criticised her father for capitalising on her talents.

“I am totally disappointed about him. He is just using his daughter as a money tree... she is just nine years old,” one person wrote on the girl’s Facebook page.

Steve Tam did not address such worries on Sunday, but said his daughter enjoys singing very much.

“After Celine was born in 2007, I discovered that she loved singing. I was a singing coach and so I decided to nurture her. The more I nurtured her, the happier she was,” he said.

“I then talked to my wife and asked if I should open a school to teach singing. I wanted to help more children.”

The cover photo of his school’s Facebook page is a photo of his daughter.

Earlier this month, celebrity Sit said Steve Tam once asked to teach singing at her art centre. Sit agreed but later found out that Tam had taught the students in his own office and charged the children five times the usual price.

Steve Tam publicly apologised to Sit on Sunday and said he had donated HK$80,000 to Po Leung Kuk, a social services charity, in Sit’s name.