Olivia Ong to make TV debut in Singapore this year

The Singaporean singer is more worried about her fluency in Mandarin than having to act alongside experienced local actors

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Photos: Isadora Ong
Video: Foong Mien Shi and Tan Shi Qi

Fans of local dramas who love Singaporean songbird Olivia Ong for her poetic rendition of The Little Nonya’s theme song ‘Ru Yan’ have one more reason to watch Channel 8’s Crescendo when it debuts later this year as it would be the singer’s maiden TV debut.

Produced by Wawa Pictures, Crescendo is a light-hearted tale that revolves around the theme of Xinyao. Based in the context of modern Singapore, the drama would weave in flashbacks from the 1980s and changes in the Singaporean society and culture.

Olivia would star as an aspiring local singer Alixia Ong who struggles between fame and her undivided passion to pursue a career in music. When Alixia is close to the brink of a crumbling career, her music producer, played by Christopher Lee, makes a wise decision to transfer her to an independent music label to pursue her dreams without disruptions.

The drama also co-stars veteran actors Tay Ping Hui, Cynthia Koh, Ann Kok and MediaCorp’s rising stars Jeffrey Xu, Xu Bin and Bonnie Loo. Jacelyn Tay, who has been on a hiatus from local screens (her last drama appearance was in 2013’s Gonna Make It), would also be acting in this this drama.

At the imaging session last Thursday, the 30-year-old shared her thoughts with Toggle on assuming the role of an actress and revealed her career plans for the year.

Despite being recognised for her acting talents when she played the role of a photographer in local film It’s a Great, Great World in 2011, Olivia humbly admitted that her acting skills are still “unpolished”.

However, the soft-spoken singer revealed that she always had a thing for acting, and is thrilled and glad to be given an opportunity to fulfil her longing of becoming an actress. The close resemblance in Olivia’s role as a singer and her life in reality also contributed to her willingness to take on the role, as she knew that she could better relate to the character.

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Worried about her fluency in Mandarin

The first-time actress is undaunted about working alongside veteran actors and seemed curiously at ease. “I am not nervous at all. I would rather say that I am really excited!” she exclaimed, during the interview.

Though the 30-year-old’s Mandarin had improved tremendously over the years, the biggest concern she has right now is her fluency in the language. Olivie shared that she would have the jitters when she thinks about the long filming durations, her lines in the script and having to shoot a drama entirely in Mandarin.

To build up her confidence, Olivia frequently reads the entire script from cover to cover, translating her lines to English so that she can have a better understanding of her role and memorise the lines more easily.

Having little knowledge in the background of Xinyao, Olivia also researched on the Internet to read up on the history of an iconic part of Singapore’s music industry.

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