“5 Days in Taipei” & a Jay Chou moment

June 1, 2010 at 10:09 pm (Notes) (, )


Folks stopping by because you’re interested in Chinese music might also be interested in the blog project I’m currently working on, 5 Days in Taipei. I recently asked people to submit ideas for a jam-packed 5-day vacation in Taipei, with the hopes of discovering some new places in my adopted city. You can follow the results of the 5-day trip here: http://5daysintaipei.wordpress.com/

The project has officially ended, but now comes the task of writing and posting photos of all the amazing things I saw during my 5 days. I’ve currently only reached the end of Day 2. My goal was to do 50 interesting things of the original list of 94 ideas, and I’ve only blogged 16 of them so far. That means KTV小姐 is temporarily on hold until I catch up, unless I come across some fabulous new music I must share at once.

Speaking of new music… though I wouldn’t call it fabulous, Jay Chou‘s new album is out. Here’s the first single, which I can’t say I love very much. Perhaps you’ll like it:

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Taiwan’s Lin Yu Chun brings his talent to America

April 22, 2010 at 8:18 pm (Notes) (, , , , , , )


Been a bit too busy to get to all the songs on my to-do list (lots of Chinese study, in fact!), but just had to share these. If you recall, Lin Yu Chun rose to fame recently with his amazing rendition of Whitney Houston’s I Will Love You, and the internet was buzzing about him for days. Now, he has brought his talent to the US, where he is in fact a much bigger deal than in Taiwan (many Taiwanese folks don’t in fact realize how much attention Lin has gotten from abroad). Check out his appearances on American TV!

The first is another performance of “I Will Always Love You” on Ellen DeGeneres‘s daytime talk show, while the second is an amazing duet of Total Eclipse of the Heart with William Shatner (of all people – I wonder if Lin realizes what a legend he was performing with!) on Lopez Tonight, hosted by George Lopez:

Finally, for those who can understand Chinese or are trying to learn, check out this interview with Lin. And no, your ears are not deceiving you – they do ask him if he’s a virgin. That’s classy Taiwanese media outlet Apple Daily for you!

If you’d like some additional reading on Lin Yu Chun, tabloid-style, check out Apple Daily’s website here: http://tw.nextmedia.com/special/index/type/Tree/PubDate/20100416

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Lin Yu Chun Makes Taiwan Proud

April 8, 2010 at 7:27 pm (Notes) (, , , , , , )


Lin Yu Chun (林育群 – pronounced “lin2 yu4 qun2”) may not have any singles out yet, but I’m betting his performance on One Million Star (超級星光大道) singing I Will Always Love You in the style of Whitney Houston could do a lot for the Taiwanese music industry. If you haven’t seen his performance yet, take a look:

The internets are all aflutter with discussion of Lin’s performance (and, not surprisingly, arguments about his nationality), and people are calling him the next Susan Boyle. If that’s true, then Lin has a lot to look forward to. Of course, this is just a cover, and a kick-ass one at that. But think about it – this could have gone in a completely different direction. There are lots of international internet sensations out there who became famous for how terribly they sang an English song, and I’m sure the countries those singers came from (I’m looking at you, Korea) were cringing while waiting for the fame to wear off.

Lin Yu Chun, on the other hand, nailed it, giving Taiwan an overnight star. And when he starts putting out his own music, the world will hopefully still be paying attention. I, for one, can’t wait to see what else he has to offer.

Edit: Also check him out last year on Super Idol (超級偶像) singing A-mei’s 讓每個人都心碎 (see original KTV vid here)!

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Another way to listen to Chinese music for free: Blip.fm

March 22, 2010 at 9:31 pm (Notes, Tech Tools) (, , )


One of the annoyances of living overseas is that you don’t always get to use online features from websites based in your home country. For example, I loved Pandora when it first hit the web, but then it stopped being available for users connecting from Taiwan (at least the last time I checked). Sure, you can access just about anything via proxy, but I’d much rather find a service that’s available worldwide and has a good selection of international music. That’s where Blip.fm comes in.

I’ve been experimenting lately with Blip.fm, and have been pleasantly surprised with how useful it is. Because it can pull songs directly from YouTube and other video sites, and YouTube has an extensive selection of Chinese-language music/KTV videos, you can find pretty much anything. Best of all, it’s free!

How I’ll be using Blip.fm is to regularly post new songs (mostly with KTV videos attached) and short commentary, which you can now see in the mini-feed to the right. Clicking on the links in the posts will take you to Blip.fm, where you can add the song to your own playlist if you’re a member.

Want more ways to find out what I’m listening to? Here they are:

Although there may be an occasional non-Blip (but still music-related) tweet on Twitter, for now it will mostly be the same content you see to the right.

One last note: If you notice a song in the feed that you really like, let me know! I’ll keep it in mind for a future blog.

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Ways to Find & Listen to Chinese Music Online

March 1, 2010 at 3:49 am (Advice, Chinese lyrics, Notes, Pinyin lyrics, Tech Tools)


Though many people visit this site looking for pinyin lyrics for songs they already know, I often get asked how or where to find new music, so much that I probably should have written this post long before now. I’m lucky enough to live in Taipei, where you’ve only got to walk past a row of stores to get a decent dose of new music. Still, I do find a lot of new music online, so it’s time I share a few ways to do that.

The Legit Ways

Free Online Radio

  • I recommend Hit FM, a popular Taiwanese station that is usually playing in all the convenience stores. You can choose from 3 streams from different regions in Taiwan, which aren’t always airing the same content. Here’s the link:  http://www.hitoradio.com/showtime/onair_2.php
  • Another radio station, KISSRadio, broadcasts from central & southern Taiwan. To access KISS online, visit http://kissradio.kiss.com.tw/index.php. The title & artist will be displayed in the bar at the top of the page.
  • Finally, there’s POP Radio. Based in Taipei, it has basically the same content as the other pop stations (and you’ll notice its pop-up radio player is identical to Hit FM’s). For POP Radio, visit http://www.pop917.com/ and click “線上收聽” near the top.

Problem: The Hit FM or POP Radio players do not display song titles (at least according to my configuration on Firefox). If you don’t already understand a little Chinese, you might not be able to catch enough lyrics to figure out what the songs are called.

Solution: Get Shazam immediately! Why haven’t you already? If you’ve never heard of it before, Shazam is an app that “listens” to songs, analyzes them, then reports back to you the name of the song and artist, and even gives you extra stuff like YouTube links. There are some similar apps out there, but I’ve found Shazam to be the best for handling Chinese (& practically any other language).  It’s now available on lots of mobile platforms and can even be linked with Facebook.


Music Charts

There are scores of music charts out there, and most are pretty easy to navigate even if you don’t read 漢字. Once you sort out which column is the artist (usually the 3-character one) and which is the title, all you need to do is copy and paste the song title into KKBOX to track down the lyrics or into YouTube to find a video. Here are a few charts to get you started:

If you’re not satisfied with these, you can also Google “新歌排行” and you’ll end up with links to plenty more charts.

Videos

  • One of the absolute simplest ways to find new music is through YouTube. It doesn’t matter what language you’re using YouTube in, I guarantee that if you search “KTV” on YouTube, you will immediately get results for Chinese karaoke videos. Furthermore, most of the results will be by Taiwanese singers and will contain traditional characters for the lyrics.If you’re looking for a specific song, just paste in the “Chinese title + KTV” and you’ll likely get the official KTV video. Not sure about the song’s name? Try the “singer’s name + KTV” with the artist’s English name or Chinese name (pinyin or characters) and you’ll find what you’re looking for. A little search finesse is all you need.
  • A more unusual way of discovering songs through videos is with iKala.TV. For those in the west who  love karaoke but have never heard of iKala, this website will be shockingly terrific. It’s so fantastic that I have a post in the works about using the site, and may post some of my own iKala content here on this blog later on. But I’m getting ahead of myself here. What is iKala, anyway? Read the rest of this entry »

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Blog vacation over!

January 18, 2010 at 1:36 pm (Notes)


This blog seems to have experienced a jump in traffic recently, though I can’t imagine why, since I’ve been an absent blogger for so long. The past year has been a busy one, filled with lots of things to distract me from my true love in life: going to KTV. As such, I didn’t keep up with new music nearly as much in 2009 as I had in the past.

In any case, your visits, comments, and e-mails remind me that KTV小姐 is valuable to people who want to a) discover new music, b) learn Chinese, and/or c) be able to rock at KTV. I’m always looking to do all three, so writing these posts is just as valuable to me as it is to whoever comes across the blog randomly.

That said, stay tuned for new songs and videos! The next few posts will be dedicated to songs from my favorite Taiwanese films (another passion of mine – perhaps I’ll start a blog on those someday!). Hope you enjoy them.

KTV小姐

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