Tan Kee Yun
The New Paper
3 September 2016
Mandopop superstar Jay Chou has piled on the pounds - and he isn't afraid to admit it.
At the opening of his streetwear label Phantaci's first overseas boutique at Orchard Gateway yesterday afternoon, the 37-year-old Taiwanese singer and actor grinned when the emcee, radio DJ Zhong Kunhua, quizzed him about his fashion sense.
"Recently, I've grown fatter," said the father of one in Mandarin, to laughter from the crowd. So now, I prefer baggy clothes. I just want to feel comfortable wearing them."
In June, while promoting his latest album, Jay Chou's Bedtime Stories, he told Taiwan's Chung T'ien Television that he had put on 17kg in the last three years.
Chou has a year-old daughter, Hathaway, with his Australian-Taiwanese wife, Hannah Quinlivan.
Around 500 enthusiastic fans turned up yesterday to catch a glimpse of Chou at his first business venture in Singapore, a joint partnership with Taiwan-born Singapore-based TV host Lee Teng.
Phantaci has four stores in Taiwan and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.
Chou, who turned up with Taiwanese artists from his own record label JVR Music including singer-songwriter Gary Yang and vocal group Nanquan Mama's member Devon Song, told reporters that choosing Singapore as the location of Phantaci's first official store outside of Taiwan was a no-brainer.
"I travel to Singapore pretty often on my private visits," he said. "When I'm here, I shop at Orchard Road. Of course, today, it feels very different 'shopping' publicly in front of so many people."
Chou recalled that in his early days as a showbiz rookie, he could still go incognito and "walk down the entire stretch of Orchard Road".
PHANTACI FOR KIDS
When Zhong asked Chou, who is a judge-mentor on Chinese reality TV competition Sing! China, if he has ever considered starting a children's attire line for Phantaci, the latter laughed and said: "You're thinking too far. Not at the moment."
But he said that at times, he "helps to pick out new clothes" for his daughter.
"Even for my own albums, I like being a fashion consultant," he added.
Tonight, Chou will take the stage at the National Stadium for his sold-out The Invincible Jay Chou Concert Tour.
When asked if local singer Nathan Hartono, a contestant on Sing! China and a member of Team Jay Chou, will be appearing as a special guest, Chou said: "I'd love to have him but, along with the others whom I'm mentoring, Nathan is busy preparing for the next round of Sing! China.
"I know Nathan's parents are keen to watch my concert and I've prepared tickets for them."
One of Chou's fans outside Phantaci told The New Paper that Chou had arrived in Singapore with his wife and baby.
"I was at the airport at noon and I saw him and Hannah," said 22-year-old administrator Verna Chung. She was wearing shades. And their baby was being carried by Brother Du (Chou's make-up artist and long-time friend)."
Ms Chung and another fan, 26-year-old civil servant Jacqueline Tan, had been at Orchard Gateway since 1pm, waiting for their idol.
Ms Tan gushed: "I think Jay is more charming and mature since he became a dad. I've bought clothes from Phantaci and they're very cool and artistic, true to Jay's style."
Ms Chung said: "I hope Jay will bring his other business ventures to Singapore. We've tried his restaurants in Taiwan. The food is very good."