JJ Lin Lets Us Into His Creative Universe
Esquire Singapore|May 2021
JJ Lin was never one to rest on his laurels. Since 2003, the Taiwan-based Singaporean singer’s star has always been on a rise. With 13 studio albums, a fashion label, the fulfilment of a life-long dream of performing for Disney, and managing an e-sports team… Lin is still checking off a seemingly unending list. So, the question for someone who is constantly working is: what’s next?
Wayne Cheong

First impressions are important. That initial meeting is an opportunity to set the field of how you’d want to be perceived by others. When Disney wanted to announce the arrival of its streaming platform Disney+ in Singapore, the House of the Mouse made it an event: a live broadcast on all the major local channels that included projection mapping on several iconic buildings around the Singapore River and a star-studded lineup of performers at the A Night Of Disney+ showcase.

The bill had local musicians like Nathan Hartono, Sing! China 2016’s first runner-up, croon-ing “You’ve Got A Friend in Me” from Toy Story; followed by Benjamin Kheng and Annette Lee singing various songs from Beauty and the Beast, Mulan and The Little Mermaid. The first two performances were filmed at the ArtScience Museum’s permanent exhibition space, Future World: Where Art Meets Science. But for the third and final act of the evening, JJ Lin took his place on the roof of the ArtScience Museum, belting out a medley of four songs (“A Whole New World” from Aladdin; “Can You Feel The Love Tonight?” from The Lion King; “Let It Go” from Frozen, and a self-composed track from Soul, called “Embark”).

Lin’d later call it a childhood dream fulfilled, having to sing and perform for Disney. As the drone films him overhead, the ‘petals’ of the museum start to look like fingers. Immediately the image of the Monkey King standing in the palm of the Buddha comes to the fore. If he was afraid, Lin didn’t show it. There was nary a glimpse of a safety harness or net and there was always the danger of strong winds. But if we were to hazard a guess, the only emotion that Lin was feeling at the time was glee. And why shouldn’t he? He’s the first and only artist to perform on the Welcoming Hand of Singapore.

He may be up there and all alone but Lin has left one hell of an impression.

Hours of planning went into the performance. I mean, you have to. More so when you’re placing one of Mandopop’s greatest commodities on the top of a building 60 metres tall. Lin had numerous practice sessions, both in the studio and on the roof of the ArtScience Museum but he managed to engage in some personal downtime. Prior to his appearance on A Night Of Disney+ showcase, Lin had returned home for Chinese New Year. No one knew he was flying back until he revealed it during his fortnightly live stream session, JJ’s Bloom n’ Tunes. Having been based in Taiwan for close to a decade, Lin occasionally shuttles back and forth between Singapore and Taiwan. “Taipei has become almost like a second home to me,” Lin says. “As much as I’ve become acquainted with the people and the culture of Taiwan, every time I’m back in Singapore, I’m reminded how much I’ve missed home.”

His Instagram offers snippets of his activities here: bicycle rides with the family; Chinese New Year visitations; hanging out with his esports team, Team SMG, which he manages; attending a concert at the Esplanade. He even visited friends, like the local artist Jahan Loh, at his new studio. “When I met Jahan, he was already very active in the street art scene,” Lin explains. “He was the guy who actually gave me a lot of insight into street art and introduced me to some of his peers.”

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