Thursday, November 4, 2010

Steven Ma’s Interview: Survival Depends on Crossover.

Posted 01 February 2010 - 07:12 PM
With the recent news reporting on how tvb plans to have some of their artistes crossover to the music industry, and Steven talking about artistes crossover in his recent interview with Paco, I decided to translate this old magazine article because of its relevance to this topic. Somehow, the middle page is missing and I can't remember its source, being so long ago that I have it, so only the posted pages are translated. It makes me a more tolerant person to see things from another person's pov, in this case, from an artiste's pov.

2004 dec 4 Saturday Weekly - Toronto weekly magazine.

1994 - in Cik Cha and JSG awards presentations, within their newcomer singers top 3 positions, there was this young man called Steven Ma. Two weeks ago I watched aTVB hit series, Better Halves; the actor portraying Fuk Tou is also called Steven Ma. Furthermore, the owner of a publishing company who also wrote the book, Why Suicide? ; they all called Steven Ma.

Say he is a singer – those who frequently listen to HK commercial radios, watch HK tv shows and movies, none of them can name his songs outright. But the sinas can recall most of his tvb series.

Say he is not a singer – the tickets for his concert in Toronto were readily sold out a month ahead. And the crowd at his signing session was a mile long; not to mention fans who have liked him for 10 years or so arrived early at the site to line up.

In Ma Zai’s opinion, nowadays it is very difficult to be a singer. As to his tv series accomplishment, he thought it is respectable, at least, it makes him a recognizable artiste.

“These days it is difficult to be solely a singer. It is tough to be newcomer singers. The markets they have to penetrate no longer specialized purely in music. They must also film movies, tv series, commercials, even work in non related music jobs.”

Ma Zai is not talking about himself but of the newcomers these days.

He segues: “Only then can they survive. If based on purely singing, sometimes can only release an album within two years; but meanwhile you need to eat, dai lou! Sometimes I hear the newcomers saying, “cash for food not even enough”. Truly pitiful. So crossover is a must.

“Even though I’m not a pundit but based on my eleven years in the industry, and my observation of the change in the trend, I believe these fields have been already crossover namely: modeling, movies, tv series, singing, radio broadcasting, and tv hosting; they have all overlapped. Nowadays, there is only one common label: artiste. No longer like how we used to view Mei Jie (Anita Mui), Hao Zeong (Alan Tam, principal) , Goh Goh (Leslie Cheung), and Danny Chan. For their generation, singers were strictly singers, tv actors were tv actors, and movie stars were movie stars. But it is different now. Even Taiwan is this way; Japan too. So must not be too inflexible and insist on saying, “I must be a singer.”

“My time in the industry was much better. When I was a newcomer, there were many shows to do. Then there were no mp3 downloads from the net; pirated cds were not as rampant. My first album sold more than tens of thousands copies. Now, albums with sales hovering 3000 or 5000 copies are considered quite respectable. Those with poor sales hovered around 500 or 800 copies. Just think how horrible that is.”

* crossover, overlapped are Steven's own words.
magscan steven ma's warm house 

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