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|Born||January 18, 1979 (age 41)|
|Profession||Singer, Musician, Record producer, Songwriter, Film Director, Actor, Model, Screenwriter, Composer,|
|Spouse||Hannah Quinlivan (m. 2014)|
|Parents||Ye Hui Mei, Zhou Yao Zhong|
Jay Chou (born 18 January 1979) is a Taiwanese musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, actor, and director.
In 2000, Chou released his debut album, titled Jay (2000), under the record company Alfa Music. Since then his music has gained recognition throughout Asia, most notably in regions such as Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, Japan and in the Asian communities of Western countries such as the United States and Australia. He has sold more than 30 million albums and has received numerous awards for his musical work. Chou has also written songs for other artists whilst working on his albums. In 2003, he was the cover story of Time magazine (Asia version), titled New King of Asian Pop, acknowledging his influence on popular culture. He has since held six world tours, performing in cities around the world to more than 10 million people.
Chou debuted his acting career in the film Initial D (2005); followed shortly by his role as the honorable son, Prince Jai, in the multi-nominated Mandarin Chinese epic, Curse Of The Golden Flower (2006). He has since ventured into many other movie projects, becoming known to western audiences when he made his Hollywood debut in 2011 with The Green Hornet, starring alongside Seth Rogen and Christoph Waltz. Chou also manages his own record and management company JVR Music.
Jay Chou grew up in Linkou, Taipei County in Taiwan. Both his parents were secondary school teachers: his mother, Yeh Hui-Mei, taught fine arts, while his father, Chou Yao-Chung, is a biomedical researcher. His mother noticed his sensitivity to music and took him to piano lessons at the age of four. During his childhood, he was fascinated with capturing sounds and songs with his tape recorder, which he carried everywhere with him. In the third grade, he became interested in music theory and also started cello lessons. He was an only child and loved to play piano, imitate TV actors, and perform magic tricks. His favorite composer was, and still is to this day, Chopin. His parents divorced when he was 13 and he was teased by his classmates, which caused him to become reclusive and introverted. He had no friends and preferred to be alone, listening to music, contemplating and daydreaming. At Tamkang Senior High School, he majored in piano and minored in cello. He showed talent for improvisation, became fond of pop music and began to write songs.
Chou was conscripted for mandatory military service after graduating from high school with inadequate grades for university. However, a sports injury triggered by an unexplainable and severe back pain eventually led to the diagnosis of ankylosing spondylitis, a hereditary spine inflammation disease; and he was exempted from military service. Meanwhile, he found himself a job as a waiter.
Chou's mother initially aspired Chou to become a music teacher, while Chou remained relatively clueless on what to do with his life. Without his knowledge, a friend entered both their names in a talent show called Super New Talent King in 1998. Chou played the piano accompaniment for his friend, whose singing was described as "lousy". Although they did not win, the show's host Jacky Wu – an influential character in Taiwan's entertainment business – happened to glance at the music score and was impressed with its complexity. Wu then asked who wrote it, discovered Chou and hired him as a contract composer and paired him with the novice lyricist Vincent Fang. for his then record company Alfa Music. Chou then spent most of his time in Wu's studio learning music producing, sound mixing, recording and writing songs. Although he was trained in classical music, Chou combines Chinese and Western music styles to produce songs that fuse R&B, rock and pop genres. However Wu told Chou that he will help Chou to release an album after he wrote 100 songs and he will pick ten from there. Chou already had an arsenal of songs he wrote for others but had been rejected, so among those he chose 10 for his debut CD album Jay that was released in 2000. The album established his reputation as a musically gifted singer-songwriter whose style is a fusion of R&B, rap, classical music, and yet distinctly Chinese. His fame spread quickly in Chinese-speaking regions throughout Southeast Asia.
Jay Chou launched his debut album Jay under Alfa Music in 2000. The album was promoted heavily by Jacky Wu in the entertainment shows he hosted. Jay also appeared in some of the shows himself. The debut album and Jay himself was marketed as a talented singer-composer album with a unique tune. With his collaboration with Vincent Fang and Vivian Hsu in the album, it also brought about a few hits.
After promoting the debut album shortly, Jay went into the studio for next 12 months to record and produce the next album Fantasy. This album released in September 2001 became a big hit and sold an estimated 2 million copies in Taiwan alone. Other than being a commercial success, the album also garnered Jay 5 awards out of being nominated 10 at the much-coveted 13th Golden Melody Awards in 2002. This established Jay in the music industry. Hits such as (simple love) which brings out the simplicity of love in youth with a very catchy tune, which talks about love before B.C. won Chou the Best Composer award, and talks about a person leaving on a space mission while he didn't get to profess his love to his loved one. All these songs are Chou's signature songs and are being sung in concerts even till today.
Chou's music has been a much-discussed topic across Chinese regions, because it differed greatly from mainstream popular Chinese music released at that time. His pieces combine ancient themes with futuristic ones, even including things like space ships, all while employing graphic storytelling skills to evoke vivid imagery to his audience. His enunciation, or lack thereof, whether rapping or singing, was also critiqued when listeners often found that they could not decipher the words sung until they looked up the lyrics. Critics referred to his singing as "mumbling". This garnered a lot of attention and reporters often quiz Chou on his singing style. Chou defended this as his signature style to infuse the vocals with the music and "make it blend" well together. Another reason Chou came up with is that he wants the listeners to look at the lyrics because the lyrics written by Vincent Fang are very deep. Ironically, all the criticism garnered Jay a greater audience and more fans. Up till this point in time, his music is mainly within the R&B genre. This album is to be looked back, the most significant part of his career which catapulted Jay into stardom.
Chou's compositions are loosely categorized as pop music. While many of his works fall into contemporary R&B, rap, and rock genres, the term "Chou Style" has been popularized to describe his trademark cross-cultural music and his insistence on singing with slurred enunciation. Taipei Times once described the meaning of "Chou Style": "In what has become the archetypal Chou style, Taiwan's favorite son blends pop, rap, blues and a smorgasbord of esthetic elements of world music to create his dream-like never-never land..."
He regularly fuses traditional Chinese instruments and styles with R&B or rock to form a new genre called "Zhongguo feng", which literally means "Chinese Style Music", some of which are written in the Pentatonic Scale as opposed to the more common seven-note scale (Diatonic scale) to accentuate an oriental style. Besides his own culture, he also incorporated Spanish guitar in "Red Imitation", American techno/electronica in "Herbalist's Manual", rap with subtle classical music undertones in "Reverse Scales", Blues style in "Free Tutorial Video" and Bossanova style in "Rosemary", to name a few. Sound effects from everyday life are frequently woven into his music, such as bouncing ping pong balls, touch tone phone dialing, helicopter blades, dripping rain, and radio static noise (Musique concrète).
His formal musical training is evident by the use of classical textures in his compositions. For example, counterpoint was used in "Perfection" and "Sorry", while polyphony can be found in "The Wound That Ends War" and "Twilight's Chapter Seven".
Chou formally entered the film industry in 2005 with the release of the movie Initial D. He has since acted in three other movies, directed one film and more than a dozen music videos. Chou, who once said "I live because of music", ventured into movies because he felt the need for a new challenge. As fans have grown concerned that movies will compromise his music career, Chou has repeatedly reassured that movies are a source of inspiration and not a distraction; at the same time, he realizes the need to balance both careers and maintain his place in the music field to garner the continued support of fans.
Entry into acting was an unexpected move for Chou. His high school English teacher thought he was capable of very few facial expressions, and the director of Hidden Track (2003, a movie in which Chou had a cameo role) said that his strong individualistic personality will not make him a good actor. In 2005, Chou's first role as the lead actor in Initial D served two purposes: to launch his acting debut, and to increase his exposure to Japanese audiences. This film is based on the Japanese comic Initial D, where Chou played Takumi Fujiwara, a gifted touge racer who is quiet and rarely shows expression. Some reviewers criticized his bland acting while others felt he performed naturally, but only because the character's personality closely mirrored his own. His performance in Initial D won him Best Newcomer Actor in Golden Horse Awards and Hong Kong Film Awards. Chou's second film was Curse of the Golden Flower (2006). As a supporting character, he drew much of the attention of Chinese reporters; Chou's involvement in this movie was announced in its own press conference, separate from the meeting held for Chow Yun-fat, Gong Li, and the other actors. Chou portrayed Prince Jai, the ambitious second eldest prince and general of the Imperial army whose personality epitomizes Xiao, the Chinese virtue of filial piety. In this internationally released film, North American audiences saw Chou for the first time. According to Chinese movie critics, comments about his acting ranged from "lacks complexity" to "acceptable," but was critically praised by Western reviewers. His performance in Curse of the Golden Flower was nominated Best Supporting Actor in the Hong Kong Film Awards. In the 2008 film Kung Fu Dunk, Chou portrayed a kung fu student and dunking prodigy, and the film earned over ¥100 million (US$14.7 million).
Chou portrayed Kato in The Green Hornet, directed by Michel Gondry and released in January 2011, after Hong Kong actor Stephen Chow withdrew from the project; the film grossed over $228 million worldwide. MTV Networks' NextMovie.com named him one of the "Breakout Stars to Watch for in 2011".
In May 2011, Chou started filming for a new movie, The Viral Factor directed by Dante Lam and starred various well known artistes such as Nicholas Tse. The movie was released in theatres over Asia on 17 January 2012. With most of the scenes shot in the Middle Eastern and Southeast Asian countries, earlier filming process has been slightly disrupted due to political conflicts in the Middle East.
Chou and Daniel Radcliffe joined the cast of Now You See Me 2, which slated to be out in Summer 2016. It marks his second attempt in conquering Hollywood after The Green Hornet in 2011.
In November 2014, Chou confirmed his relationship with model Hannah Quinlivan. The pair had been dating since 2010, but Hannah had been working as Jay's employee as a clothing shop assistant since she was 14 (2007). In December 2014, Chou announced that he would marry Hannah Quinlivan on his 36th birthday.
The two eventually had their wedding planned by Sarah Haywood in England. It took place in Selby Abbey of North Yorkshire on 17 January 2015, one day before Chou's birthday. The following reception was held at Castle Howard. A private wedding ceremony open to friends and family occurred on 9 February in Taipei. A third reception, this time in Australia, was held in March. According to Chou's official Facebook page, the couple has been registered for marriage since July 2014. On 13 July 2015, Jay Chou's agency confirmed that Quinlivan gave birth to a girl by Caesarian section.
Additionally, Jay Chou's marriage at Castle Howard in England gained the castle's website around 50 million more viewers. The manager of Castle Howard's website added Chinese translations for the Asian tourists that want to know more about Castle Howard.