Photos: Dion Tang
Video: Teng Siew Eng
As actors playing the younger version of Cynthia Koh and Tay Ping Hui’s characters in upcoming Xinyao-themed drama Crescendo, both Bonnie Loo and Xu Bin, were dressed in retro outfits to film a campus singing competition for the drama, at Tanglin Community club, on Tuesday. She had a huge flower brooch pinned on her midi floral frock and he was decked head-to-toe in denim, just like teenagers living in the 1980s
Prior to their interview with Toggle, both actors had to perform a song on stage as their characters in the drama. Despite their past experience as contestants on Channel U singing reality show, Campus Superstar (Xu Bin joined the contest in 2007; Bonnie joined the contest in 2013 and was crowned the winner), both felt that they were still lacking in certain areas as performers.
Unlike Bonnie and Brian Ng (he plays the younger version of Christopher Lee in the drama) who will sing for their own characters, Xu Bin’s voice will be dubbed over by a professional singer called Elton from Ocean Butterflies Music Company.
Explaining that it was a decision made by the crew from the start of filming, Xu Bin, who started learning the guitar six months ago, said, “I love to sing and play the guitar, but when it comes to putting on a professional performance, I have to admit that I’m not able to perform as well as the other actors.”
WATCH: Xu Bin reveals his ideal girlfriend in showbiz
The 26-year-old even poked fun at himself and rated his singing skills a three out of 10, saying that he is “nothing like” his capable character in the show. “Chu Fan is also known as ‘Talented Fan’. He’s good at composing songs and he has a really impressive singing voice.”
His inability to compose songs in reel and real life hasn’t stopped him from trying though. Since the release of first single Ji Fen Zhi Ji in February this year, Xu Bin revealed that he has been trying to write his own songs – but with little success thus far as they were all rejected by his company. His guitar coach Roy Li even told him that his songs sound “dated” and come across as if it is “written by someone who’s in his 30s and 40s.”
When asked if the audience can expect a full album release from him, Xu Bin replied: “Producing an EP would be much easier than producing an album. An album requires a complete concept, but for an EP you only need to compose the song and release it as it is.”
On the other hand, Xu Bin’s co-star Bonnie had a different set of problems. While she had no issues with singing, having released her first self-titled album last year, the 20-year-old can’t play a single music instrument and says she dances with two left feet.
Fortunately, she doesn’t have to be an all-rounded performer in this drama. However, Bonnie, who has taken part in countless singing competitions since the tender age of 10 years old, is currently self-learning the Ukulele.
“After watching other actors play the guitar on set, I want to learn how to play the guitar and compose my own songs too,” she shared.
The Tiger Mum actress also spoke of the harsh criticisms that she received for her poor dancing ability. “I only learnt how to dance when I had to sing a fast-tempo song for a competition,” she said, “It wasn’t easy for me and after the performance, one of the judges commented that I had no talent in dancing.”
Xu Bin’s goddess is Jesseca Liu
Playing high school lovers in Crescendo, Xu Bin had to serenade Bonnie with a song on the guitar when they filmed their first scene together. He charmed the socks off his young co-actress who shared that her heart was racing throughout his performance.
“You could feel his presence on set and his gaze was electrifying,” Bonnie exclaimed.
When asked if sparks flew between the both of them, Xu Bin replied that he merely sees Bonnie as a younger sister.
“I used to fancy cute girls, but as years go by, my ideal type has changed and I prefer girls who are mature and independent now,” he added. “When compared to Carrie Wong who is the same age as her, Bonnie has very youthful vibes.”
So which actress best resembles his ideal girlfriend in showbiz?
“Jesseca Liu. She’s a goddess, I look forward to getting to know her better in our upcoming drama together,” he said, adding that he is open to May-December relationships as long as the age difference does not span more than five years.
Crescendo premieres October 22, every Monday to Friday at 9pm on Channel 8.