Jay Chou not letting marriage slow down the music
In his arsenal of hits, Mandopop superstar Jay Chou waxes lyrical about romance in the Mesopotamian plains and Tigris river, likening relationships to tornadoes, ancient teapots, peonies and the fragrance of sandalwood.
To his fans across Asia, the enigmatic entertainer, who will turn 36 next month, has immortalised himself through his imaginative songwriting.
Taiwan's Peter Pan of music never grows old. But in the real world, Chou is every bit a typical human being.
Next month, he will also tie the knot with 21-year-old Taiwanese-Australian model Hannah Quinlivan, his girlfriend of four years.
It signals the end of an era for the Mandopop king, who has been considered one of Asian showbiz's most eligible bachelors for more than a decade.
M looks at his latest affirmation of love, as well as his last hurrah in his musical efforts and fashion business before he walks down the aisle.
Chou and Quinlivan have kept their relationship low profile, neither confirming nor denying it.
In June, amid swirling wedding rumours, Chou - whose rumoured exes include pop diva Jolin Tsai and host Patty Hou - announced at a Taipei press conference for the Golden Melody Awards that he "will definitely marry before he turns 36 in January 2015".
Last month, he publicly acknowledged Quinlivan as his partner by posting pictures of them together on his Sina Weibo microblog, with a message to his fans: "All of you wished that I would be happy. It is now time for me to share my happiness."
Earlier this week, in an interview with Taiwanese radio station Hit FM, Chou debunked Internet chatter that he had proposed to Quinlivan at London's Hyde Park - he was in London for work.
He was recently cast in the Hollywood thriller, Now You See Me: The Second Act, slated for a 2016 release. Co-starring Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo and Daniel Radcliffe, it will mark Chou's second Hollywood outing after 2011's The Green Hornet. .
"If I were to propose, it would be in a mysterious place," he said, adding that his wedding banquet will be held on his birthday, Jan 18.
Chou told local Chinese magazine U-Weekly of his desire for a normal life away from the spotlight.
"I hope that our Chinese showbiz scene can take a leaf from Hollywood. Celebrity couples should be able to take their children out for walks or go shopping like it's the most natural thing to do," he said.
Through his songs and music videos, Chou has transported us to various fantasies, from silly seafarers (Hydrophobic Sailor) to sexy vampires (The Era) to sword-fighting heroes (Fireworks Cool Easily).
With his 13th studio album, Aiyo, Not Bad(his favourite catchphrase), which is available on iTunes from this Friday, Chou pays homage to silent film icon Charlie Chaplin.
The artwork for lead single Extra Large Shoes has him channelling Chaplin to humorous effect. Chou aces the latter's physical appearance, from trademark bowler hat right down to the moustache and cane.
"Extra Large Shoes is a retro-style track, with rich and interesting lyrics by Vincent Fang," he said in a press release via his record label Sony Music.
"I hope everyone can become happier and happier while listening to it."
The video for Extra Large Shoes, which has hit about 3 million views on YouTube, reportedly cost TWD$5 million (more than S$200,000) to produce.
Those catching Chou's Opus 2 Jay 2014 World Tour concert - a continuation of his 2013 Opus World Tour - at the National Stadium this Saturday can expect to hear a live rendition of it.
His live show, originally scheduled for Nov 8, was a sold-out affair, with more than 30,000 tickets snapped up by local and regional fans. However, when it got postponed to Dec 27 due to concerns over pitch conditions for a football tournament, there were reportedly "several hundred refunds".
And don't worry about Chou going silent after marriage.
Marriage isn't likely to slow him down, as he has lined up a series of concerts in April and May, in Chinese cities such as Chongqing, Chengdu and Wuhan.
When he's not making music, Chou is a business mogul.
He owns a KTV chain in China (True Love Fantasy KTV), several eateries in Taiwan (Mr. J Kitchen and Deja Vu), a piano brand (Secret) and his most well-known sideline, fashion brand PHANTACi that specialises in street menswear, sports gear and accessories.
For the first time since its inception in 2006, the Taiwan-based PHANTACi is bringing some of its cool stuff to Singapore.
Chou fans and fashionistas can check out the PHANTACi pop-up store at *Scape. It opened on Dec 20 and will last for two weeks.
PHANTACi has collaborated with international brands such as Nike and Casio. Recently, it teamed up with DC Comics for a special Justice League clothing series.
WHAT: Opus 2 Jay 2014 World Tour
WHEN: Saturday, 8pm
WHERE: National Stadium
TICKETS: $108 to $338 from www.sportshubtix.sg