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AP Interview: Chou taps inner child for 11th album

The Number 11 seems to be a lucky number for Mandarin pop's biggest star, Jay Chou.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The Number 11 seems to be a lucky number for Mandarin pop's biggest star, Jay Chou.

Chou released "Wow," his 11th Mandarin album on Nov. 11, and 2011 marks his 11th year in show business. Over that time, he has revolutionized the business in ways not even he could have foreseen and has heavily influenced a generation of musicians and song writers who followed.

Although his musical style is loosely categorized as R&B or pop, the 32-year-old Taiwanese singer/song writer is a classically trained pianist who often injects classical music and traditional Chinese instruments into his tracks.

With "Wow," Chou says he is "getting back to basics" and making music for a younger audience.

"I believe that a musician should have a child's heart," Chou said in an interview in Taipei with The Associated Press. "I've made a lot of more sophisticated tracks in the last 10 albums. There were a lot of songs that adults love. The 11th album is more for the kids."

Since becoming a huge star and developing a following across Asia, Chou has fallen victim to the growing paparazzi culture in Taiwan. He is often followed and chased by photographers and reporters who would go to great lengths to dig up stories about his personal life.

Chou doesn't hide his disdain for the paparazzi, and he vents his frustrations in lyrics, or, in the case of the music video for the album's title track, by blowing up a fictitious paparazzi "office building."

It's an "immature" thought, he acknowledges, but one he says will resonate with fellow celebrities. "I'm sure I'm not the only one who feels this way," he said.

Chou has also ventured into acting and directing. His directorial debut "Secret," is a story about star-crossed high school sweethearts who re-connect with the help of a magical piano. He revealed to AP that a sequel is planned for next year.

"I will use the same cast and crew," he said. "because I think we've already got pretty good chemistry."

Playing Kato alongside Seth Rogen's "Green Hornet" gave Jay Chou his first big Hollywood break, and more offers are coming in. But Chou hasn't yet found another project that appeals to him.

"I want to pick something that's suitable and something that I like," he said.

He's hoping "Green Hornet 2" gets the green light so he can reprise the role of Kato. Until then, Chou can be seen in the "Viral Factor," co-starring Hong Kong actor Nicholas Tse, in January 2012.


Associated Press writer Angela Chen contributed to this report from Hong Kong.