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Confirm poor. No future. Difficult to succeed. These are thoughts that probably cross your mind when you think about local artistes and the music industry. Well, think again! Despite it being a tough industry to break into, here are 5 of our local artistes who have MADE IT internationally.

That’s right: record deals, multiple albums, tours and the big bucks. These over-achieving local artistes inspire us to dream big and work hard, without sacrificing the truly important things in life.

Let’s take a closer look at the stories of our nation’s 5 shining music stars.

1) JJ Lin

With 12 studio albums (yes, 12!) and 4 world tours tucked under his belt, JJ Lin is one of the most successful local artistes to this date.

Image Credits: Her World Plus

Besides playing DOTA, JJ Lin has snagged numerous music awards for singing and song writing from the Golden Melody Awards, Global Pop Awards and the Apple Entertainment music awards.

Image Credits: AsianTVAwards

Though JJ Lin, whose English name is Wayne, is influential (friends with Harlem Yu and A-Mei), he remains humble and very much a family man. He actually invited his mother, father, and brother to perform on stage with him for his Genesis World Tour concert in Singapore.

JJ Lin’s artiste summary
Which record label? Warner Music Taiwan
How rich? According to Forbes, JJ Lin’s net worth was reported to be $50,940,000 in 2016! This makes him the 31st most bankable Chinese Star in the world.
Famous in? Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, America
No. of awards? Over 100
No. of albums released to date? 12
No. of world tours? 4

2) Stefanie Sun

When a singer has her own Madame Tussaud’s wax twin standing in Sentosa, you know she’s made it. Singapore’s Queen of Mandopop has 12 studio albums and sold over 30 million copies of them to date.

Image Credits: Pinterest

Together with notable singers Wang Leehom, Wang Feng and Jane Zhang, she recorded the theme song for the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games titled “Light the Passion, Share the Dream”.

Image Credits: AsianPopNews

The myriad of awards under her name are but the echo of Sun’s spectacular success.

Despite her success, Stephanie Sun remains as tongue-in-cheek and down-to-earth as possible.

When a picture of her looking like an aunty queueing at McDonald’s surfaced, she took the opportunity to show that beauty is more than skin-deep.

Stephanie Sun’s artiste summary
Which record label? Universal Music
How rich? Taiwanese tabloid has reported her as earning up to SGD 1,348,630,404. That makes her a billionaire. But, most of that sum came from her property investments (3 in Singapore), and other property and stock market investments.
Famous in? China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia
No. of awards? 69
No. of albums released to date? 12
No. of World tours? 3

3) Kit Chan

“This is home, truly, where I know I must be..”

Yes, Kit Chan is the songstress of our nation’s favourite NDP song, Home!

She also happens to be an extremely successful singer with 14 albums (she released her latest album just this year) and has set up her very own record label, Banshee Empire.

Image Credits: Newsasiaone

Chan’s ability to sing in Mandarin, Cantonese and English has propelled her to perform in many parts of Asia, the United States, Hong Kong, and even New Zealand.


Image Credits: Youtube

Further, she was given the title of Singapore’s “national treasure” for good reasons. Ever since she debuted in 1993, she has displayed the multiplicity of her many talents – in singing, theatre, television drama, poetry, song writing, and entrepreneurship (she runs two floral boutiques in Singapore: Flowers in the Attic and Roses in the Loft).

As if that wasn’t enough, Kit Chan was continually involved in community involvement projects – as ambassadors for National Youth Council, National Heritage Board, and relief organization “World Vision”.

Kit Chan’s artiste summary
Which record label? Banshee Empire (Her own company)
How rich? Definite Millionaire
Famous in? China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore
No. of awards? 9
No. of albums released to date? 25
No. of World tours? –

4) A-Do

You wouldn’t believe it, but A-Do (Do Cheng Yi) started out as a humble construction worker right here in Singapore. He was scouted by local producer Billy Koh in a talent search audition. Everything in his life changed after that. A-Do was propelled to astounding fame across Asia when he released his first album in 2002.

Image Credits: Lollipopsg

While his life story sounds like it came right out of the movies, there is no mistaking how talented and successful this local singer is. A-Do is famed for his unique husky vocals which won him over 20 awards to date.

Image Credits: Lollipopsg

He is adored for his bashful personality and modest demeanour, especially among his Chinese fans. In spite of his wealth and success, he drives a small Honda, is still best buddies with his former construction colleagues, and is afraid to get on an airplane, as reported by China Daily.

In recent years, he’s been spending more time looking after his mother, who single-handedly brought him up. What more could we say?

A-Do’s artiste summary
Which record label? Ocean Butterflies
How rich? Possible millionaire
Famous in? Taiwan, China, Singapore
No. of awards? 2
No. of albums released to date? 6
No. of World tours? –

5) Tanya Chua

When this critically-acclaimed singer released her first album with Warner Music, Stranger, it topped the sales charts in Taiwan. Her next Warner album went on to win her the Golden Melody Awards – the most prestigious title in the Mandarin Pop music scene. It would be the first out of four she has won to date.

Image Credits: MMIA

Chua is also effectively bilingual, which has enabled her to release 10 Chinese and 4 English albums thus far. In fact, bilingualism is but one of her many musical talents.

Image Credits: The Straits Times

She has written and produced a number of songs for prominent singers like Fish Leong, Stefanie Sun, and S.H.E.

Tanya Chua has been praised as a “musician”, not just a mere “performer” by the widely-revered Taiwanese producer and songwriter Jonathan Lee because of her profound musical abilities.

Unwilling to settle for karaoke-friendly ballads, she continues to learn and explore music and song-writing. Rather than write songs for the market, she aims to keep her music fresh, creative, and real. Her passion and courage to go against the grain, take risks and seek growth makes her not just admirable, but also inspirational.

Tanya Chua’s artiste summary
Which record label? Asia Muse
How rich? Possible millionaire
Famous in? China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Singapore
No. of awards? 8
No. of albums released to date? 18
No. of World tours? 1

Singapore may be a small country but it has nevertheless produced some BIG talents in the music industry. Even the biggest and brightest of names had to start from humble beginnings, like A-Do, before working their way up. All while maintaining close bonds with their loved ones like JJ Lin, or declaring their love for our home country in an NDP song like Tanya Chua and Stefanie Sun!

Indeed, these 5 individuals are role models for us all, and remind us that success is not all about the glitz and glamour, but remembering the things closest to our hearts.

Also, read 10 Places To Fly Your Drone For Amazing, Never Seen Before Photos Of Singapore