Photos: Lee Wei Lin, FLY Entertainment
Video: Kimberly Tay
A Chinese ballad or a romance film might be the last thing you would associate with Tosh Zhang – a thought previously echoed by the star himself. Despite his initial apprehension, the 27-year-old has made not just one, but two breakthroughs for upcoming film My Love Sinema, in which he plays the leading role and sings the theme song for.
“Honestly, I wouldn’t be sitting here if not for (comedienne and Fly Entertainment boss) Irene Ang and the My Love Sinema team. Initially, when I heard the song, I told them that it wasn’t my style because I’m more of a rapper. I’ve always felt like my voice might not be that suitable for singing,” he professed shortly after the launch of the official music video for his song, ‘Fang Ying Ai’.
The Mandarin ballad, which speaks of love and love lost, was especially challenging for Tosh to record because he needed both “the right emotions and the right pronunciation” for every single word. Enlisting the help of fellow Ah Boy Wang Weiliang when he first said yes.
“I’d practise with him every single day, repeating the lines over and over again, but I gave up after two weeks because he was that bad,” Weiliang joked. “No, but seriously, I didn’t have enough time to help him after that but I listened to the final song and I think he did really well.” The 29-year-old was present at the launch party to show support for his buddy.
While he had plenty of help in that department, the emotions he needed for the emotional tune came from within Tosh. “I drew inspiration for the ballad purely from my role itself. I was in Ipoh for one and a half months and I was basically there alone. I’d listen to 1950s music and read the script to get into the role (…) In that one and a half months, I really felt like I was that person,” he shared.
Tosh continued, “It was so much so that when we had to do a rehearsal for a crying scene – and I’ve never done one before – I read the line that was supposed to hit me and it immediately did.” As for how he channelled the heartbrokenness of his character, he only let on, “There’s always this one person who breaks your heart and changes you for better or for worse, and my experience with that was during my polytechnic days. It was tough (back then) but hey, here I am today.”
As for his reel-life romance, Tosh will be paired with Cheryl Wee, whom he declared “bonded with over food”. The pair turned up in matching white and denim outfits, which they insisted were not planned beforehand. While they remained coy about what to expect from the movie and what happened behind-the-scenes, they did let on that there will be “some intimate scenes”.
Tosh chuckled, “We didn’t really have a lot of NGs (no-good takes) when we were filming those scenes because we didn’t have the time for it as well, so I couldn’t do it even if I wanted to!” Well, it looks like we’ll have to wait until September to know more.
‘Fang Ying Ai’ is now available on iTunes, Spotify, AMPed and KKBOX.
My Love, Sinema will be released in theatres on September 8.