Nathan Hartono wows China
Singer-songwriter Nathan Hartono wows judges and viewers on Sing! China
Many other home-grown artists had attempted it, but it was Nathan Hartono who ended up being the first Singaporean to make it past the televised blind auditions of Sing! China.
The local jazz singer-songwriter won over all four judges, including Mandopop superstar Jay Chou, of the popular reality TV singing competition formerly known as The Voice Of China.
In the show, the judges do not get to see the singers until they decide that they like what they hear.
The panel of judges, which also consists of Harlem Yu, Na Ying and Wang Feng, was impressed by Hartono.
Na even asked him for a hug and praised his "warm and honest" performance.
The show, which is in its fifth season, featured the 25-year-old in its first episode aired on Friday night on Zhejiang Television.
Hartono, whose parents are Indonesian-Chinese, told The New Paper on Sunday over the phone yesterday: "I didn't expect all four judges to (pick me). I think if just one of them (did), that would still have been a big deal for me."
Successful contestants get to pick a judge among those who turned around, and for Hartono, choosing Chou was simple.
"I picked (him) because he is one of the more prolific songwriters on the panel.
"He started out as a songwriter for a label and was churning out songs every day. And I am so curious about the work ethic," he said.
Hartono said Sing! China's producers had approached him last year, but he was forced to turn down the opportunity because of his tight schedule.
FLUENT IN MANDARIN
When they approached him again this year, Hartono said he just "could not say no a second time".
"They definitely won't approach me a third time. I thought to myself: 'When will I ever get to do this again?'" he said.
During his audition, Hartono - who proved to be fluent in Mandarin - crooned the Mandarin ballad You Mei You (Have You Ever) by Taiwanese singer Weibird Wei Li An.
Female viewers then began swooning over his good looks. Na also commented that he is "very handsome".
Hartono, who has returned from China for a break, said: "That kind of stuff doesn't really move the needle for me.
"But I do the best that I can to not look like a troll, and I am happy that they like me, of course."
In light of his new-found fan base, Hartono has made the move to engage them by getting himself an account on Sina Weibo, a popular social media platform in China.
Earlier last month, five finalists from the China Super Vocal Singapore audition were sent to Shanghai to represent Singapore for their first closed-door audition for Sing! China.
According to Hartono, the episodes featuring Olinda Cho, 35, Ng Chee Yang, 26, Elizabeth Low, 22, Zhang Zhi Ling, 25, and Curley Gao, 17, have yet to air.
When contacted, Cho declined to comment if she had made it past the blind audition, or when her episode will be televised, as she had signed a non-disclosure agreement.