Pop icon’s fortieth birthday sparks fan introspection


Jay Chou: life begins at 40?

Pop singer Jay Chou turned 40 last Friday. To mark the milestone, his wife, Taiwanese actress Hannah Quinlivan, sent him on a scavenger hunt that started out with a small shoebox and ended up with a slightly bigger birthday gift: a Lamborghini in his garage.

Chou’s fans took the chance to wish their idol happy birthday too, while also expressing disbelief that he had reached middle age.

“In the blink of an eye, the young man whom we grew up with has turned 40,” one netizen lamented. “I will always remember the years of listening to his songs on my headphones in high school.”

“For many people from the post eighties and nineties generation, Jay Chou’s songs bring back so many memories of earlier times studying well into the night for college exams. For so many of us, Chou is not just a singer, he is a symbol of a generation; the memory of our youth,” another wrote. (WiC was also reminded of Chou’s popularity last weekend when an earlier article we’d published about his last album became the most read item on our website – after social media discussions on his birthday milestone spurred massive and widespread fan searches online.)

A classically trained musician, Chou studied piano and cello at high school, where he also got his start writing music and lyrics. Combining his classical training with pop, Chou got his big break in 2000 with the release of his debut album Jay. It was an instant success and Chou has been a mainstay in the Chinese music industry ever since, including the composition of the official song for the 2008 Beijing Olympics and serving as one of the mentors on the hugely popular reality singing competition The Voice of China.

“Let’s put it this way, there wasn’t one song from Chou’s earlier albums that didn’t go viral. Don’t forget it was a time when people still had to buy cassette tapes and CDs and free copies of music wasn’t so easily pirated. But Jay Chou really conquered listeners around the world with good music. His strength is unquestionable,” reckoned Entertainment News, a portal.

What really sets Chou apart – both he and his fans believe – is that a lot of his old songs still sound relevant today. “You may find it surprising to find out that I very seldom listen to pop music by other artistes,” he wrote on his Instagram. “That’s because this song of mine from 16 years ago still feels like pop by today’s standard.”

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