Photos: Teo Sijia
Local singer-songwriter Hanjin Tan touched the hearts of many in an interview yesterday (Oct 23) after revealing that the songs in his latest album, Rap One-Love is Pain, contained personal aspects of his life and that one of them was even dedicated to his Hong Kong-born wife, Prima Wong.
The track ‘You Are Most Beautiful’ was a long overdue gift from him to Prima and is his “most romantic gesture” to date, said Hanjin, who relocated to Hong Kong in 2009 for music - and love.
The 41-year-old felt that he owed his wife “something” since writing her a song called ‘I’m Useless’ a while back. During a roundtable interview with local media, Hanjin added that the song was an appropriate gift to Prima, although it did not contain much romantic lyrics.
Indeed, ‘You Are Most Beautiful’ is peppered with pragmatic lines such as “I’ll give you all my money” and “I’ll tell you you’re beautiful every day” which, Hanjin felt, was “more sincere” than most mainstream love songs as it talked about things he had already done rather than what he aspired to do.
Hanjin and his wife Prima at the wrap party for his 2012 concert at the Hong Kong Coliseum. (Photos: TPG/CLICK PHOTOS)
A person who walks the talk, Hanjin confirmed later during his interview with Toggle that his wife is the ‘finance controller’ in their household.
“I don’t know the passwords to my bank account or internet accounts,” he quipped. “She told me to leave it to her, and I left everything in her hands.”
As a singer who had a tough start in the music industry due to his “less-marketable” looks, Hanjin’s music career in Hong Kong began when he was hired to work as a record producer, at the grand ol’ age of 25 years old, by Cantopop singer Eason Chan. He has since worked with A-list singers such as Christina Aguilera, Sammi Cheng, and Jam Hsiao, to name a few.
Things are looking up for Hanjin these days. After 16 years in the industry, he finally embarked on his first music tour in China last year.
The multi-talented artiste, who graduated from the National University of Singapore with a degree in economics, has even dabbled in acting and starred in a 2011 film about late martial arts star Bruce Lee, for which he picked up a Best Supporting Actor award at the Hong Kong Film Awards the same year.
(Continued on next page: Hanjin tells us why he’s trying to lose weight)
Some of the musicians Hanjin has worked with: Eason Chan, Joey Yung and Coco Lee. (Photos: Hanjin/Instagram)
When not writing and producing in his music studio, the Hong Kong-based musician can be seen on TV – not as an actor, but as a judge for various singing competitions, such as The Rap of China and Hong Kong’s The Voice, including the Singapore/Malaysia edition of The Voice.
And Hanjin told us his stint on the currently-airing programme is the very reason why he was actively working out—without resorting to extreme dieting methods—to achieve his “ideal body shape.” It all started after some ribbing and jokes about his “outstanding” figure when he was taking promotional pictures for the show with fellow judges Gary Chaw, Della Ding and Sky Wu, he let on.
He lost 5 kilograms after working out for two months with a well-known trainer from Hong Kong, but gained it all back after he “took a break” due to an old injury he sustained from playing rugby during his younger days.
Looking back on his bumpy ride to success, Hanjin expressed his appreciation towards Hong Kong singers Eason Chan and Jacky Cheung for giving him the opportunity to enter the music industry in the first place.
“They gave me the confidence and motivation I needed to get to where I am and I am eternally thankful to have met them and to have been able to work with them on my various albums,” said the singer.
Hanjin added that a lot of his representative music works which are performed by other singers should have been sung by him instead. However, he faced a lot of rejection from record companies because of his looks.
Despite these setbacks, he took these comments in stride and remains very positive and optimistic today.
“Was it hard to accept [these criticisms]? I could not accept it, but will it help? At least my songs are recognised, if not these singers would not have selected them – and they are all title tracks [of an album].”
Rap One-Love is Pain is available at all digital music stores and music retailers.