Jolin Tsai (born 15 September 1980) is a Taiwanese singer and dancer. She is called "Asia's Dancing Queen" due to her diversity of dancing styles, such as pole dancing, ribbon dancing, and gymnastic movements, and she is regarded as a pop diva in the Asian music market. She has won the Best Mandarin Female Singer at the 18th Golden Melody Awards and Best Song of the Year at the 24th Golden Melody Awards.
Though Tsai was introverted and shy as a child, she studied English intensively during her youth and eventually majored in English Literature at Fu Jen Catholic University. During her childhood years, Tsai developed an interest in singing and experimented with several different vocal techniques after listening to the songs of popular female singers such as Teresa Teng and Faye Wong.
See also: List of awards and nominations received by Jolin Tsai
Universal Music Taiwan (1998-2001):
Tsai first started her singing career by taking part in an MTV singing competition at the age of 18. She won the top prize at the competition with her rendition of Whitney Houston's #1 hit "Greatest Love of All". She was then signed by Universal Music.
In July 1999, her first single "Living With the World" (和世界做鄰居) was released. It was sold in convenience stores and was a tremendous success, which led to the release of her first album, Jolin 1019, in September 1999. At that time, she was promoted as "The Girl Next Door," and was an instant hit with teenagers, earning her the title "Teenage Boy Killer".Jolin 1019 ended up selling more than 400,000 copies in Asia. With the success of her first album, she released her second album in May 2000, Don't Stop. Many of the hits from that album were well known throughout Asia as the album also became a tremendous success. She also released her first photobook with pictures mainly taken in Hawaii.
Nearing the age of 21, Tsai changed her image in her third album, Show Your Love. The album was considered more mature and soothing., but it did not sell as well as her previous two albums. Her fourth album, Lucky Number, also failed to match the sales of her first two albums. Tsai's music career came to a halt when conflicts surfaced between her and her music company. At the end of 2001, Tsai's contract with Universal Music ended and her first greatest hits compilation, Together was released. Tsai did not release any albums the following year, but she did release her second photo book, with photos taken in Thailand.
Sony Music Entertainment (Taiwan) (2002-2006):
Tsai signed with Sony Music Entertainment (Taiwan) that year and got the biggest break of her whole career. Her first single with Sony Music "Spirit Of The Knight" (騎士精神) became a big hit that led to the highly anticipated release of her fifth album Magic (看我72變). The album topped the Taiwan album charts for three months. More than 300,000 copies were sold in Taiwan alone, and over a million copies were sold in Asia. The album contained many of her most well-known singles, including the hit dance song "See My 72 Changes" (看我72變) that brought Tsai back to the top of the charts, a song which some suggested was named after The Monkey King's 72 transformations. Other songs from the album, such as "Say Love You" (說愛你) and "Prague Square" (布拉格廣場) were penned by fellow Taiwan star Jay Chou. Her more dance-oriented album marked her first release in two years following her hiatus in 2002.
Tsai's sixth album Castle (城堡), released in 2004, was just as popular as "Magic" and became a top album in many Asian countries. Just as with Magic, many songs on this album were written by Chou, her rumored boyfriend at that time. The playful song "It's Love" (就是愛) and the rock ballad "Rewind" (倒帶), became two of Tsai's biggest hits. Prior to the album's release, she showcased her single "Pirates" (海盜), another song composed by Chou, at a mini-concert. She subsequently filmed one of the most expensive music videos in Taiwanese history for that song.
Between Castle and her next studio album, Tsai released a remix album of her most popular dance songs called J9 New + Party Collection. Tsai featured two new songs in the CD, including the hit song "Signature Pose". Tsai sang the Mandarin version of "Mirage (Warriors In Peace)", the theme song for the film Warriors of Heaven and Earth.
On 25 April 2005, Tsai seventh album J-Game was released, become the longest running album on the Taiwanese album charts in 2005, with over 1 million copies sold throughout Asia in just a little over a month. The album featured many more hip-hop influenced tracks than before, though it retained the dance pop and love ballads in her previous albums. Tsai supposedly broke up with Chou around the time the album was recorded, but she was able to find other writers and producers, including Leehom Wang, another pop star who composed "Exclusive Myth" (獨佔神話). The first single of the album "Barbaric Game" (野蠻遊戲) was a huge hit across Asia and it was followed by other singles including "The Greek Girl Next To The Wishing Pond" (許願池的希臘少女) (composed by rising Hong Kong singer Ivana Wong), "Sky" (天空), "Repeat Signs" (反覆記號), "I Really Miss You" (好想你) and "Eyes Half Shut" (睜一隻眼 閉一隻眼). During this time, Tsai rapped in the duet "真命天子" Destined Guy with fellow artist Show Luo, which was featured on his album Hypnosis Show. She performed that song with Show in his first solo concert at the Taipei Arena.
Late in 2005, Tsai released her J1 Live Concert DVD, presenting performances of hits from her albums Magic (看我72變) and Castle from a late-2004 concert in Taipei. Show Luo made a guest appearance in the performance of "Prove It". The DVD did not include Jay Chou's guest appearance in her concert, in which he danced together with Tsai. It was later placed in the DVD for her greatest hits compilation, J-Top.
In early 2006, it was announced that Tsai would be leaving Sony Music Entertainment (Taiwan), to join Capitol Music Taiwan, which released under the name EMI Music Taiwan. To prepare for her new album, Tsai worked to perfect her dancing and change her style again. She won the Style Award at the 2006 MTV Asia Awards, where she performed her new single "Dancing Diva" (舞孃) with elements of yoga and various props including a ball and a ribbon.
In May 2006, Sony released a greatest hits compilation album called J-Top, which included two CDs and a DVD with two previously unreleased music videos and a 70 minute documentary on Tsai's time at Sony. In one of the two music videos, Tsai looks back on all her previous music videos.
EMI Music Taiwan's label-Capitol Records (2006-2009):
After the release of J-Top, her first album with EMI Music Taiwan Dancing Diva was released 12 May 2006. This album became Tsai's biggest album yet, selling over 2 million copies in Asia. The album featured her released single "Dancing Diva" (舞孃) along with "Pulchritude" (玩美), "Mr.Q" (The music video for this song shows Tsai getting intimate with Hong Kong pop star Edison Chen.), and the bonus track "Attraction of Sexy Lips"(唇唇欲動) (a song she did as part of an endorsement deal with MaxFactor similar to Anita Mui's song "Hot Red Lips"). The album also featured two of the biggest hits in Asia during the year : the upbeat "A Wonder in Madrid" (馬德里不思議) and the love ballad "Pretence" (假裝). She collaborated with friend and label partner Stanley Huang on the song "Nice Guy" (乖乖牌), which he also helped to write. Tsai had some writing duties on the album, writing the lyrics for the song "The Prologue" (開場白), which many speculated was written about Chou. The album was re-released in July as the "Perfect Celebration Edition" with a DVD featuring music videos of all eleven of the songs on the album. She has done the same thing for Magic, Castle, and J-Game as well.
During the fall of 2006, Tsai began her Dancing Forever World Tour, performing concerts to sellout crowds in Asia and then to audiences in North America and Australia. The huge opening concert in Hong Kong, which took place on her birthday, featured many special guests, including one of Hong Kong's top male artists Eason Chan, Taiwan's rising pop princess Rainie Yang, and Show Luo. Show and Huang also made surprise appearances in other stops of her tour. In the most shocking moment of her tour, she kissed fellow Taiwanese star Elva Hsiao on the lips during one of her concerts. Tsai made guest appearances at her friend Stefanie Sun's concerts, while she and Singaporean male artist JJ Lin took turns appearing at each other's concerts.
Tsai released her third remix album, Dancing Forever (唯舞獨尊) in October 2006, which contained two CDs and a DVD. The first disc contained all new material, including the title track and theme for her tour "Dancing Forever", covers of songs by Chinese singers Sandy Lam and Faye Wong, and the duet "Marry Me Today" (今天你要嫁給我) that she recorded with her idol and mentor David Tao. In this album, she experimented with two other Chinese dialects -- Taiwanese and Cantonese (the Canto version of "Pretence" is on the album). Up to this point, she had only released music in Mandarin and English. The second disc included remixes of three dance hits from Dancing Diva, while the DVD featured the LUX-sponsored mini-concert she performed in the summer in Kaohsiung where Huang and Taiwanese boy band Energy also performed.
A month later, Sony released another two-CD compilation album called Jolin Favorite Live Concert Music Selection. This album consisted of remixes of popular songs Tsai recorded under Sony, as well as rare live tracks.
Tsai ended 2006 performing hits like "Mr.Q", "A Wonder in Madrid", "Pretence" and "Dancing Diva" at several New Year countdown parties in Taiwan. According to G-music, Dancing Diva became the biggest selling album of the year in Taiwan, while Dancing Forever reached #15 on the year-end album sales charts.Dancing Diva accounted for 4.26% of all Mandarin album sales in Taiwan for the year, ahead of Jay Chou's Still Fantasy, which accounted for 3.50%. Tsai's popular duet with Tao was considered by many lists to be the #1 song of the year in Taiwan . Singles like "Dancing Diva," "Pretence," and "A Wonder in Madrid" also won many song awards between 2006 and 2007.
On 8 June 2007, Tsai released her second DVD The Acquired Talent (地才), which featured performances from her latest world tour and documented her work in preparing for the tour. The DVD shows footage of her performing dance sequences with concert guests Luo, Huang, and Hsiao. The DVD opened at the top of the Taiwanese audio/video charts and stayed there for thirteen weeks.
On 16 June, Tsai won the Most Favorite Female Artist and the Best Mandarin Female Singer Award for the first time at the 18th Golden Melody Awards. Her duet with David Tao won the Best Song Award. Tsai's win for Best Mandarin Female Singer drew criticism from netizens and industry critics, who believed her voice was not as strong as the other nominees (A-mei, Sandy, Angela Chang, and Penny Tai). However, many said that she won due to her all-round talent, hard work, and universal pop appeal. Regardless of the controversy surrounding this award, she won the Most Favorite Female Artist award following a fan vote conducted for a few months prior to the awards show, beating out many other artists such as A-mei, Fish Leong, Hsiao, Sun, Twins, and Yang.
Just a few days before the release of Tsai's new album at EMI Music Taiwan, Sony released another compilation album, Jolin's Final Wonderland (Jolin夢綺地精選). This collection featured almost all the songs Tsai released during her time at Sony in three CDs (The songs were separated into dance songs, cute songs, and love ballads.), as well as a DVD with 22 music videos and a 52-page photo book.
Tsai's second album with EMI Music Taiwan, titled Agent J (特務J), was released on 21 September 2007. The album featured eleven new tracks - the title track "Agent J" (特務J), the ballads "Alone" (一個人) and "Fear Free" (怕什麼), the dance tracks "Bravo Lover" (愛無赦) (best known for its often-imitated dance steps) and "Tacit Violence" (冷‧暴力), and the bonus track "Let's Move It," which was used as a promotional track in commercials for Toyota. The deluxe version of the album contained a 3-part 70-minute music movie filmed in France, London, and Bangkok. The movie, which cost NT$50 million to film, stars Tsai as the leather-clad Agent J and features popular Korean actor Kim Jae Won and Hong Kong stars Stephen Fung and Carl Ng. During the filming of the movie, Tsai had to learn two new forms of dance in 10 days: aerial silk dancing and pole dancing. She almost paralyzed her right arm and fainted in the process.
According to G-music Taiwan, the album accounted for 45% of album sales and over 65% of Mandarin album sales in Taiwan in its first week of release. Since its release, the album stayed at the number one position for two weeks. Tsai released two more versions of the album: the Champion Special Edition (featuring 10 music videos, 4 dance instruction music videos, and a remix of Bravo Lover) and the No. 1 Special Celebration Edition (featuring the "Let's Move It" music video and her "Agent J" celebration concert with the best male artist at the Golden Melody Awards Nicky Lee from Taiwanese hip-hop group Machi).
Tsai then collaborated with Australian pop queen, Kylie Minogue in a song called "In My Arms", which would be included in the Asian version of Kylie's album X. Tsai was invited to the world premiere of Kylie's movie 'White Diamond', where Tsai presented Minogue with her newest album and a jade bracelet which Tsai personally picked for her.
Soon after, Tsai traveled to Hong Kong for Christmas, attending various functions and performing and winning three awards at the 2007 Metro Showbiz Music Awards, before returning to Taiwan. Tsai again ended off the year performing hits in Taiwan to celebrate the end of 2007. For the second year in a row, Tsai had the best-selling album in Taiwan. According to g-music, sales of Agent J accounted for 3.08% of all album sales in Taiwan and 5.96% of Chinese albums for the year, even higher than the numbers for Dancing Diva a year ago.Agent J also topped the year-end album charts according to Five Music, while The Acquired Talent was the best-selling music DVD of the year.
Like the previous year, Tsai also topped the Hito Top 100 Singles chart for the year. This time her song "Sun Will Never Set" was voted Top Song of the Year by over 340,000 voters.
In April 2008, Tsai incorporated newly learned skills such as flying rings and pole dance in addition to her usual multi-style dances in her concert in Beijing's Workers' Gymnasium.
Warner Music Taiwan (2009-present):
On 27 March 2009, Tsai released her 10th studio album Butterfly which was also her first release with Warner Music Taiwan.
Butterfly was Tsai's first experience with electronic music. The release of its first MV Real Man (大丈夫) featuring Nick Chou was played on the biggest screen of a shopping center in Taiwan and was greatly received by people. The album's 3rd single 'Butterfly'(花蝴蝶) displayed ballet dances moves which Tsai spent 3 months learning and making the hardest dance that she had ever learned. According to G-Music, Butterfly was also the Best Selling Album of 2009 with an accumulated sales of 130,000 copies sold in Taiwan alone. Tsai then announced the Butterfly School Bus Tour later that year to celebrate the success of the album. However, during the tour, she injured her thigh, scapula and re-injured her back due to over-training for ballet, so the company stopped her from dancing for two months. During the break, Jolin perform a one-night-only concert named The Slower, the prettier, an intimate concert in which all songs were soft rock or ballads.
Following the success of Butterfly, Tsai released her 11th studio album Myself on 13 August 2010.
Myself is a display of Tsai's love for pop music with 80% of the album made with fast paced electronic dance songs. The first single 'Honey Trap'(美人計) combined dance moves of Tsai's first experiment with Vogue attracted many people and thus launched a dance competition later that year. Myself peaked at number 1 for 3 consecutive weeks and went back on top again on its 5th week winning against Hebe Tien's first solo album, To Hebe on the G-Music Charts. Although Myself was not as successful as Butterfly, the album managed to sell 65,000 copies and landed 4th on the Best selling albums in Taiwan that year. Despite landing on 4th of the ranking, Jolin was still able to capture the best selling female solo artist of that year outselling Hebe Tien & Rainie Yang. Tsai later on announced her Myself World Tour which is her 4th concert tour with a total of 38 shows.
The following year, Jolin released her first book titled '蔡依林養瘦法' sharing tips on how to lose weight on a healthy diet basis. The diet book was well received and sold 30,000 copies in its first 2 weeks of release.
Jolin released her 12th studio album Muse worldwide on 14 September.
Muse gathered the combination of art, pop and music portrayed through on how a girl should act and stand out in our modern society. The album was also greatly recognized by people supporting gay pride with hit songs like Dr.Jolin and Fantasy(迷幻), both defining love should be equal.Muse was a commercial success selling 100,000 copies in Taiwan alone,becoming the best selling female album of the year. The album peaked at number 1 for 5 consecutive weeks upon its release and regained 1st place again during its 7th and 13th week on the Taiwan's G-Music Charts. This is also the very first time that Jolin collaborated with many artist like JJ-lin, Tanya and Peggy Hsu. The album's first single 'The Great Artist'(大藝術家) was greatly praised for the modernized MTV, Rap, fast paced rhythm and shoulder-like dance moves. Jolin was also nominated in Best Asian Act in the 2012 MTV Europe Music Awards which was also the first and only Taiwan artist nominated for the award.
Jolin Tsai also performed at Wembley Arena in London, England on 21 October 2012. This is the first time in Jolin's career to have a concert in the United Kingdom, or Europe.
Jolin also became the richest singer in Taiwan; even with an average of 40-day annual holiday, she still earns an average of NT$690 million (US$23.6 million), which works out to be NT$1.89 million (US$64,721) per day, which is far beyond Jay Chou, who took no days off, and Show Luo, who takes 10 days off. Rounding out the top 5 are Leehom Wang (a month off) and Elva Hsiao (a fortnight off). While A-Mei takes 130 days off, and still earns NT$300 million a year.
Upon the release of nominees for the 24th Golden Melody Awards, Muse was nominated 4 awards including Best Music Video, Best Mandarin Album, Best Mandarin Female Singer and also Best song of the year.
During the 24th Golden Melody Awards, Tsai's track, 'The Great Artist' (大藝術家) won Best song of the year, the first ever Mandarin pop song to win in the category.
Tsai is currently working on her 13th studio album which is set to release in October 2014.