Worldwide fame can wait for Taiwan superstar

Thu Jan 22, 2009 2:14am EST
 
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By Ben Blanchard

BEIJING (Reuters) - His face adorns countless advertisements in China, he's sold millions of albums, and wherever he goes his adoring fans mob him. But for Taiwan singing sensation and budding actor Jay Chou, worldwide fame can wait.

Chou's music, which intertwines Western R&B and hip-hop with a distinctive Chinese flavor, has drawn a huge and sometimes obsessive following across Asia, especially in China, since his debut with the album "Jay" in 2000.

Last year's sports comedy "Kung Fu Dunk" was a hit across Asia for Chou. He'll appear onscreen with Taiwan supermodel Chiling Lin in "Ci Ling," which won't be released for at least another year.

But unlike Korean pop sensation and actor Rain, one of Asia's top-selling musicians, who has tried with little success to break into Hollywood, Chou says global renown can wait.

"For the international market, you have to study English," Chou told Reuters in a rare interview with foreign media, admitting that his English skills were not up to the task.

"When the time is right, I will do the international market, but it's not right yet."

Brought up in suburban Taipei by his mother, Chou, 30, flunked his college entrance exam and had thought about becoming a piano teacher, until fame came knocking.

With his catchy songs, street Mandarin, boyish good looks and self-effacing, almost shy, manner, he has won the hearts of fans even outside Chinese-speaking Asia, and has had much success in Japan. He is rarely out of the paparazzi's glare.   Continued...

 
<p>Taiwanese pop singer Jay Chou (R) and actress Lin Chi-ling attend a news conference to promote their new movie &ldquo;Ci Ling&rdquo; in Beijing January 21, 2009. REUTERS/Christina Hu</p>