A singing sensation in Asia, Sun is already set to make her mark on American’s Pop Culture audience. Most recently, she’s been handpicked by Wyclef Jean to lead the American “Asian Invasion” everyone has been so patiently waiting on. With the latest collaboration.
my US manager called me up one day and told me he felt that I could be the one to lead an U“Asian Invasion” (in his words!) into the US
ASIANCE: How did you hook up with Wyclef?
Sun: I have always been a big fan of Wyclef and his work since he broke out into the music scene with Lauryn Hill in the Fugees. When I started work on my debut US pop album, my management in the US contacted him about collaborating on a single for the album and he jumped right in! We worked so well together on that song that he’s getting himself more involved in the entire album project. The prospects of this collaboration is just phenomenal and I can’t wait to bring our music to the listeners!
ASIANCE: What is the song about which you are working on with Wyclef? What is the genre?
Sun: The song that Wyclef and I wrote together is called “China Wine” and it’s essentially the story of a man walking into a bar in Singapore and his conversations with one of the ladies there. It’s a fun, celebrational song about dancing all night and dancing all your troubles away, and its unique element is how Wyclef and I have added our individual cultures to the song without taking away its mainstream pop appeal for the US market.
ASIANCE: Do you think it’s important for artists from Asia to work with popular American artists in order to make a name for themselves here? If no, what do you think is essential to have in order to make it here in America?
Sun: I think it’s a good idea for artists to work with other great artists. I don’t think it’s as important that the artist be from America though. Wyclef is from Haiti I believe. Of course, it is good that he is popular here in the US … it always helps when the public knows the artist behind the song. If you want to make it here in America, you have to have really good material. You have to bring something new and original to the plate. I think Wyclef and I have done this with our new single. We’ve created a new sound that combines our roots to produce something that transcends our individual cultures. I think America is going to respond favorably to it. To me, the United States is such a melting pop of different cultures and styles … people here are always so receptive of new things and experiences. That’s what I plan to bring through my music. Till now, we’ve not really had any Asian presence on the charts. My manager and his team really believe that the American public is ready for an Asian figure in the pop world here. I hope to bring all of “Sun” and a touch of Asia to my music and to the pop listeners here.
ASIANCE: what would you like to gain out of your experience in America?
Sun: I have such a wonderful time entertaining thousands of people all over Asia and the world. I love to sing and perform on stage and to bring my unique sound and personality to my audience. I always feel such a strong connection with my audiences. I want this experience with the US audience as well. It has been a dream of mine for many years to make this cross over from Asia to the US. No doubt I have achieved considerable success all over Asia and China, but there’s still so much to learn and experience in the US music scene. This is like the “mecca” for all artists and musicians! I’m never one to back down from new challenges and experiences, so when my US manager called me up one day and told me he felt that I could be the one to lead an “Asian Invasion” (in his words!) into the US, I thought “What the heck, let’s give it a shot!” Life is too short to regret not taking the plunge when you were given the chance! Every new experience harnesses a wealth of lessons and thrills for me. I have no doubt that my foray into the US music scene will certainly bring a whole new dimension of excitement my way!
ASIANCE: How often do you come to America?
Sun: I come to America all the time, especially in the last three years. Los Angeles in particular has become my second home. America is such a wonderful country. I’m looking forward to getting to know New York City, Miami, San Francisco, Chicago and other cities. I love to travel and America is so big and diverse! How will I ever get to know it all?
ASIANCE: Tell us about the song Gone? Who wrote it and what’s it about?
Sun: “Gone” was written by Arianna Wilson and Michael Grant. It’s one of the most haunting ballads I have ever recorded and trust me we sing a lot of ballads in Asia! I had a hard time holding back the tears when we were producing the song. The lyrics are so sad to me, but yet, there is also an element of hope in the song as well … That’s what I like about it. The song is about a woman who realizes no matter what she does or how she changes, she is not going to make her lover happy. She basically lists all the things she could possibly do in her desperate attempt to hold on to him, knowing fully well that none of that will help to keep him by her side. How sad is that? Yet the song is not all doom and gloom though. The protagonist does seem OK with the fact that she’s lost her love. It seems to me that she has resolved in her heart to make it through the “rain” – ”that she’s going to be alright even though he’s gone. That’s the part I really like.
ASIANCE: How did you learn English and are you fluent?
Sun: When I am in Asia, I definitely think I’m pretty fluent in English. But then I come to the US and it’s like, forget about it! Everyone speaks so quickly here. I feel like I’m always playing catch up and asking for the people I meet to repeat themselves again! Haha … My comfort level in speaking and writing English comes from the fact that in Singapore, we study all of our school subjects in English. So I’ve practically been speaking it since I was born.
ASIANCE: What Asian and/or Asian American women do you admire?
Sun: I have always admired Connie Chung here in the US. It’s good to see an Asian American woman so respected in the news arena. Lately, Sandra Oh from “Grey’s Anatomy’ has really made a name for herself. And of course there’s the babe that’s always kicking ass … Lucy Liu!
ASIANCE: What would you say to Asian girls who want to make it as a pop star … Give them some of your personal advice?
Sun: I would tell Asian girls to study their trade as hard as they can. Work on their talents and always seek to improve themselves and their abilities. Being a true-blue perfectionist, I am an ardent believer in hard work, more hard work, and even more hard work! Nothing in life comes easy but as long as you are willing to work hard and seek to excel in your craft, you will see good results. Through all my successes in the Asian music industry and now, entering the US music scene, I’ve found that there is really no shortcut to life. To succeed as a “pop star”, I have had to invest lots of time and effort to record and perform my music – ”to make my unique “sound” known to the masses. That involves plenty of hard work, sweat and tears … Every 3-minute performance on stage involves a whole deal of grueling behind-the-scenes preparation and practice that many people don’t see in the world of “fame and glamour”. So the age-old clichÃ© still stands – ”Hard work is the key to every success!
ASIANCE: Sun? Rain? What about a duet?
Sun: We’d certainly cover the weather elements wouldn’t we? Do you know of any artists named “Snow”? Perhaps we could form a band! But seriously, I really like Rain and his work. He is doing so well. I am very happy for his success.
ASIANCE: Will you be carrying any Asian brands in your store Skin?
Sun: I like to carry brands from all over the world. If the clothing is made of great material and is unique and fashion-forward, I will carry it in my boutiques. I carry several designers from the US and Europe and from Asia as well. I am presently in my Japanese fashion craze! So I’ll be introducing the best Japanese labels in my stores very soon.
ASIANCE: Who are your favorite designers?
Sun: Vivienne Westwood, Zac Posen, Alexander Mcqueen, John Galliano and my friend Nicole Miller come to the top of my mind. When I was in New York last month for Fashion Week, I had a chance to attend some shows from up-and-coming designers such as Brian Reyes and Akiko Ogawa. Those are two to definitely watch out for in the future.
ASIANCE: Which is your favorite country in Asia and why?
Sun: Of course I love Singapore, my home country. There’s nothing like home … it’s such an amazing place! You have to visit if you’ve not been to Singapore yet. Singapore is a comfortable, safe and unique nation, with its fusion of East and West sensibilities that cross every aspect of it’s culture – ”from food of every kind to the wide variety of cultural festivals – ”it’s literally Asia in a nutshell. I’m also very impressed with China. It is developing at break-neck speed! Every time I go there to perform, there are new skyscrapers to see and new stadiums to perform in. They are quite amazing.
ASIANCE: What would like to accomplish in your life that you haven’t already?
Sun: I definitely feel overwhelmed with all my good fortune thus far. I am so lucky to be able to perform and entertain people around the world. I have had the fortune to meet the most amazing people who are so genuine and kind to me. I am a humanitarian at heart and I always will be. I would still like to accomplish so much more in this area. I have opened several schools in Asia for children and I want to continue to open more. I believe that education is the key to empowerment and joy. With education and knowledge in your hands, nothing is impossible! That is what I want to give to the less fortunate children in Asia – ”they may have been born into one situation, but it doesn’t have to stay that way forever!
ASIANCE: What are some important issues that you believe needs support in the advancement of Asian women?
Sun: Once again, I would say education is on the top of this list as well for me. With proper education, Asian women, and all women for that matter, can achieve whatever they choose to set their minds to.
ASIANCE: What pop stars in America do you admire and who would you like to work with?
Sun: I really admire Madonna and Gwen Stefani. I saw Madonna in concert at Madison Square Garden this past August and she absolutely brought the house down. She is a true performer if we ever saw one. Her energy and commitment carried the show – ”Madonna rocks! I admire Gwen Stefani for her musical choices and of course for her style. Her taste in clothing is impeccable. I also think Christina Aguilera is amazingly talented. I would love to work with all of these women.
ASIANCE: Tell us something about you that know one else knows or we would be surprised to know!
Sun: I love McDonalds and I’m terrified of cats!
ASIANCE: Did you enjoy your weekend in the Hamptons and party that Nicole Miller and Patrick McMullan hosted?
Sun: The Hamptons is so beautiful! I can totally understand why it is such a preferred summer destination for people living in New York City. I can’t believe how big some of those mansions are. It would be nice to have a few extra rooms for all my shoes though. Did you know that I am a shoe-a-holic? Haha … Patrick McMullan and Nicole Miller are both lovely people. The party they hosted for me was fantastic. We had Asian dragon dancers, Paul Sevigny as celebrity DJ and the best food ever. It was Patrick’s birthday so I sang “Happy Birthday” for him in Mandarin. I think he really liked that. Officially, I was in the Hamptons to launch my American single, “Gone”. But the trip was also a long-awaited break for me and a fitting celebration of the phenomenal success of my latest Asian album (my fourth actually) that was number one for 6 weeks in a row on all the major charts in Asia.
ASIANCE: With your busy schedule are you still a counselor for men?
Sun: No matter how busy my schedule is, I will always make time to help other people. I have been a counselor for many years now and it’s too fulfilling to give it up. I counsel both men and women. Often, I have to help troubled marriages and relationships. Now that I am on the road, it is harder to schedule time, but I manage. Sometimes I get calls at 4 a.m. in the morning when I am in New York City because my clients don’t know that I’m not in Asia. It’s tough when I have to get up early the next morning for a recording session or an interview, but I’m committed to my counselees … sometimes I’m the only lifeline and source of support they have.
ASIANCE: What do you think is the biggest difference between Asian men &women and American men & women in relationships?
Sun: In this day and age of world-wide communication, I really don’t see that much of a difference any longer between relationships in Asia and America. I do think American couples are a bit more willing to argue in public sometimes. That certainly can be quite entertaining on the streets of New York City!
ASIANCE: Do you think you could be of help to American couples?
Sun: Ha ha! I think American couples learn all they need by watching “The Jerry Springer Show.” Ha ha!
ASIANCE: What would be some of your advice?
Sun: Well, communication is the key to everything! Learning to communicate effectively would help to break down the barriers that couples often build between themselves unknowingly. It also serves to lessen the feelings of bitterness and strife that may build up over time between a man and a woman. Communication helps to “clear the air” so that each individual party can be relieved of the burdens of uncommunicated feelings and grudges against the partner. Also, learn to appreciate one another! There’s nothing to lose but everything to gain in giving well-thought-out gifts and sincere compliments to your partner whenever you can. Love is never meant to be kept secret … wear it on your sleeve and display your love for your partner proudly!
ASIANCE: What do you feel is the main difference between the Asian audiences and American audiences?
Sun: I find both audiences to be enthusiastic and loyal audiences. Asian audiences tend to like to hear slower heart-felt songs and Americans like to get up and party. I guess it’s a bit more exhausting to perform for Americans!
ASIANCE: Which celebrity in America have you met that just blew you away?
Sun: Honestly, that would have to be Wyclef Jean. Seriously, this man is amazingly talented. He is so committed to his art. When we were recording “China Wine” together, he kept pulling out these instruments from nowhere and he’d just start jamming away. I was blown away by his talent. He’s also really funny … very comedic! It was great fun collaborating with him and working off his talent.
ASIANCE: Is there something you would change in American music or the industry?
Sun: I don’t think I would change anything in American music or the industry. I have always loved American pop music and have worked very hard to get where I am today. I’m thrilled to be recording and producing in America. I can’t wait for you all to hear my music!
ASIANCE: What do you do for fun?
Sun: I shop and then I shop some more!
ASIANCE: What bit of advice would you give to any Asian American and/or Asian woman?
Sun: Three simple words … Believe in yourself! This is for all women around the world, regardless of race, religion or circumstance. We’ve each got a whole lot to offer the community around us and we should never look down on ourselves or our place in society. Stay strong!
Visit http://www.sunmusic-us.com/ for more information on SUN.