Jay Chou may collaborate with Sing! China finalist Hartono
THIS Friday, Nathan Hartono will sing in one of the most important performances of his life so far, in the final of the popular Chinese television contest Sing! China at the Beijing National Stadium.
Whether he wins or loses, he has already won.
The 25-year-old Singaporean looks set to develop a music career in the massive Chinese market, possibly with his coach on the show, Mandopop superstar Jay Chou.
Hartono, who goes by his Chinese name Xiang Yang in the show, told The Straits Times yesterdayover the telephone from Beijing: "We have definitely discussed the possibility of working together on future projects, but the nature of which I probably won't say anything for now because I don't want people to get randomly excited for something that might not happen."
Hartono has also received offers from music companies there but is putting them on hold for now.
He said he will "start thinking abut what the next few months and years are going to be like" after the competition.
First, he will release an EP through Warner Music Singapore, possibly featuring a mix of English and Chinese songs.
Despite having the highest score among the six semi-finalists in last week's episode, Hartono thinks that there is little chance that he will win.
Still, it seems that Singaporeans are squarely behind him. In a Straits Times online poll on Monday, 83 per cent of 3,681 readers felt that he will go on to win the competition.
Hartono said he cannot reveal the songs he will be singing. But unlike his Mandarin and English mash-ups in the previous rounds, all the songs, including a performance with Chou, will be in Mandarin.
Formerly known as The Voice Of China, Sing! China airs on Zhejiang Television.
In July, he became the first Singaporean to make it through the blind auditions after he impressed all four coaches - Chou, Harlem Yu, Na Ying and Wang Feng.
The initial 48 contestants hailed from many countries, including China, Malaysia, the United States and Brazil.
Hartono describes Chou as a "complementary" mentor, one who focuses and enhances his mentees' skill sets rather than impose his own style on them.
Chou, he added, understood the pressure the contestants were facing so he made sure that his time with them was not all about work.
They went out for meals together ("Jay always ordered hotpot") and Chou even took Hartono and his other mentees to a gaming cafe where they played the multiplayer online game League Of Legends.
Eight of Hartono's family members, including his parents and siblings, will fly to Beijing to root for him in the final.
He is also pleased that his remark about treating Singaporeans to iced Milo if he wins has caught the attention of Nestle, the chocolate drink's maker.
Nestle has promised to mobilise its Milo vans islandwide, regardless of the final result.
Said Hartono: "It's the Milo van, man, everyone knows the Milo van. Every sports day, or like some national event, there will always be one...
"They put something different in there, I don't know what it is, it (tastes) a lot better."
The Sing! China final takes place this Friday at 8pm. It will be screened on
the show's official YouTube channel.