Lin Yu Chun
With the combined global influences of YouTube and reality television competitions, an endearingly awkward forty-nine year old woman from Scotland can inspire a twenty-four-year-old Taiwanese boy with a bowl cut to follow his dreams of becoming a singer.
The unexpected explosion of Lin Yu Chun's international fame began with his appearance on the Taiwanese television show, Super Star Avenue, where he gave a pitch-perfect performance of Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You." Even though he was voted off the show, the clip was soon posted on YouTube, where it has since acquired over 6 million views (not including the views acquired from the re-posts of the video, which likely bump the numbers up to a billion). Soon, Lin Yu Chun was invited to the United States to perform on The Ellen Degeneres Show and Lopez Tonight. He is currently working on his first record with Sony Music Taiwan.
Earlier this year, the Taiwan Tourism Bureau collaborated with the Los Angeles Dodgers and declared May 22nd "Taiwan Day," inviting Lin Yu Chun to sing the national anthem at the Los Angeles Dodgers vs. Detroit Tigers game. Both Major League baseball teams have Taiwanese players, with Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Kuo Hong-chih and Detroit Tigers reliever Ni Fu-te. The special Taiwan Tourism Bureau-sponsored "My Town" section of the stadium was rooting for the Dodgers -- that is, until Ni Fu-te entered the game. This substitution caused loyalties to be divided, as the Taiwan fans also began to cheer when Ni Fu-te struck the Dodgers players out.
However, the most enthuastic responses were saved for Lin Yu Chun. In addition to "The Star Spangled Banner," Lin also performed "God Bless America" and the official Taiwan Tourism song "Touch Your Heart," inspired by Taiwan's unforgettable slogan.
In a press conference promoting the event, Kuo Hong-chih and his fellow Dodgers players -- James Loney, Jamey Carroll, and Jaiver Paul -- talked about their March 2010 trip to Taiwan where they played a few exhibition games against a team from the Chinese Professional Baseball League. Then, Kuo Hong-chih and Lin Yu Chun exchanged gifts -- Kuo giving Lin a signed baseball, and Lin Yu Chun giving Kuo a blue bow tie and an autographed photo of himself.
APA chatted with Lin Yu Chun after the press conference.
Interview with Lin Yu Chun
May 20, 2010
Interviewed by Ada Tseng
Translations by Vincent Liao and Lu Lu
Camera by Craig Stubing
Video edit by Lu Lu
Photos by Ada Tseng and Craig Stubing
APA: What made you choose the song "I Will Always Love You" to perform on the TV show?
Lin Yu Chun: 當初唱這首歌是為了要獻給我的外婆，因為我從小就是外婆帶大。之後大學四年跟我相處了很長時間，外婆一直非常照顧我，所以我想要唱這首歌來表達我對她的感謝。
[I was actually singing that song for my grandmother. I was brought up by my grandmother. I lived with her through college, and she's been taking care of me over the years. I wanted to sing the song to show my gratitude towards her.]
APA: There's a video online where Dolly Parton saw you sing her song. Have you seen it?
[Being praised by the original songwriter was just a great honor. I'm very grateful. Thank you.]
APA: When you visited Lopz Tonight, you talked about how your father originally didn't want you to go into a singing career. What does he think, now that he sees you here singing the national anthem at a Dodgers game?
[Of course my father supports me. Before, he was just hoping that I would have a good career and good life. Now that I get to team up with the Dodgers and sing here at the Dodgers stadium, of course my father supports me 100 percent.]
APA: Is it different singing the Taiwan national anthem versus the US national anthem?
LY: 中華民國國歌簡單而不失庄重，但是美國國歌我不知道它是不是一開始就是這樣 唱，但是聽過那麼多歌手唱過以後我發現它有越來越難的趨勢。不知道，是不同樣 子的風格吧。
[Taiwan's national anthem is simple and solemn. I don't know if the US national anthem was sung this way from the very beginning, but I think that after having so many singers perform it, the song has become more and more difficult to sing. I don't know; maybe they are just two different styles.]
APA: Congratulations on your contract with Sony. Any news about your upcoming album?
[Everything is in the preparation stages. Hopefully I will have my new album released by this July, if everything works out. I hope everybody supports me. My album will be released in the USA as well.]
APA: Do you plan on touring the United States once the album's out?
LY: 有計劃，非常希望可以來美國演出。因為美國是我第一個出國表演的舞台，非常希望可以再有機會來。據我所知Sony唱片在今年年底有可能安排我來美國演出，所以 到時候見咯。
[Hopefully. Because this is the first country I've performed in other than Taiwan, I hope that I can come to the States again. As far as I know, Sony is planning something at the end of the year after my album is released here in the States. So hopefully I can see you then.]