Saturday, September 27, 2008

David Tao

David Tao is a popular Chinese singer-songwriter. He is well-known for his signature R&B tunes and for having popularized this genre in the Mandopop industry.


Early life

David Tao was born in 11 July 1969 in Hong Kong , as Tao Xu Zhong , to parents who were considered famous entertainers in Taiwan. His father, Tao Da Wei , was an actor/singer/composer and his mother, Wang Fu Rong , a very well known Chinese opera singer.

David spent part of his childhood in Hong Kong . His parents supposedly eloped when his father could not get approval to marry his mother. David had his education in Taiwan from kindergarten to the junior high school level at the Bethany Campus of Morrison Academy in Taipei. Later, his father decided to pursue his dream of working for Walt Disney, and they migrated to the United States where David Tao Sr. realised his dream and worked as an animator in Disney Burbank.

His parents later returned to Taiwan where his father began his singing career, leaving David to complete his education in the United States. Left to fend for himself, David took on many jobs, including a stint as a policeman in the LAPD, without the knowledge of his parents. Eventually, he graduated with a bachelor degree in Psychology from UCLA.


Later working as a salesman, he was offered a job by reputed Taiwanese producer Wang Zhi Ping, when the latter found out who he was. So David went back to Taiwan, initially writing, and later producing songs for many singers before releasing his self-titled album ''David Tao'' in 1997. He has since released four more albums, a live concert recording and a compilation of his best songs. His works have influenced many singers to acknowledge his works more than the normal listener. Singers that actually listen to David Tao include Eason Chan, Jay Chou, Wang Lee-Hom, JJ Lin, , Bibi Zhou, etc.


His personalities are best described as "creative, subjective and nervous". He is a typical perfectionist. His hobbies are watching movies & dramas, visiting museums and reading psychology books.

David Tao is also an avid car enthusiast. When he is not working in Taiwan, he enjoys driving his 1970 Ford Mustang in LA.

David Tao is a firm believer of Christianity. He has written songs that have underlying Christian themes and references to them such as, ''Butterfly'', ''Dear God'', ''Rain'' and ''Sweet Hour of Prayer''. He also widely preaches in the concept of love, which is central to the Christian belief.

It would seem that his songs contains names of women, the reasons which is unknown. Among the more popular songs using the names of women are ''Catherine'', ''Katrina'', ''Angeline'', ''Angel'', ''Olia'', ''Melody'' and ''Susan Said''.

The Taiwanese media later uncovered the intention of the song 'Melody' which is named after one of David Tao's ex-girlfriend from LA. She also returned to Taiwan for a music career. Her song called "Love is Not Here" composed by David Tao is one of her most famous songs. She also had an opportunity to duet with Van in the song called ''Ya De Li Ya Hai'' .


David Tao

In 1997, with the help of Wang and another Taiwanese producer, Jim Lee, Tao released his self-titled first album , under an independent label called Shock Records, set up by Taiwanese pop singer Jin Ruei-yao, and her husband. This album set a record in Taiwan during the 9th Golden Music Awards, as the first album from a new singer ever, to be nominated for a total of 5 awards - Best Newcomer, Best Singer, Best Producer, Best Song and Best Album.

''Airport 10.30'' first caught people's attention, but it was the simply arranged, melodic ''I Love You'' that became one of Tao's signature tunes. The album also featured an a cappella song, Spring Wind, which was a new R&B version of a favorite old Taiwanese song. David sang all the vocals in this song, which still stands today, widely regarded as one of the best a cappella songs in .

''Airport 10.30'' was also nominated for the MTV Awards for Best Chinese Video in 1998 along with Coco Lee, who became the eventual winner.

Tao won two of the awards, namely Best Newcomer and Best Producer, becoming the first newcomer/singer to also win a Best Producer award. Tao's first album was notable for the excellent production which, remarkably, was done in Tao's home in entirely. The album also broke new ground in the music style and arrangement with its strong Western-influenced R&B flavor.

Tao shot to an unprecedented meteoric rise to fame following the release of ''David Tao''. Unable to cope with the sudden media attention, he flew back to Los Angeles soon afterwards.

Between ''David Tao'' and his next album, besides releasing a remixed Bastard Pop ep, writing and producing songs for various hit Taiwanese singers, notably a theme song which became one of Taiwanese boyband Tension's hit songs, ''I'll Be With You'', David was not heard on the Mandarin-Pop scene for a long while as he quietly disappeared into obscurity.

I'm OK

In 1999, two years after his first album, Tao released his second album ''I'm OK''. This album was claimed to be a best-selling album by breaking the previous record by selling 600,000 copies, yet various critics had claimed that the impact of ''I'm OK'' was not any stronger than his previous work in terms of style and arrangement.

Notable hits include:
* ballad ''Rain'', ''Angeline''
* Country-flavored ''Small Town Girl''
* R&B-influenced ''Regular Friends''
* ''Leave'', a soul number.
* ''Close to You'', a love ballad.
* ''Tuberose'', a catchy a cappella remake of a traditional Chinese song.

In this album, Tao attempted many musical styles, including, unsurprisingly, his favorite music. In fact, some critics have noted that each of his songs are different from one another, in terms of their style and music arrangement.

David was nominated for six GMA awards for ''I'm OK'' - Best Album, Best Producer, Best Singer, Best Video, Best Song and Best Song Arrangement. He only won the Best Producer Award on the GMA, but ''Rain'' later went on to win Best Chinese Video at the 2000 MTV Music Awards.

Black Tangerine

In 2002, Tao released ''Black Tangerine''. Some notable songs in this post-911 album, of which he derived much of his inspiration from:

* ''Black Tangerine'', a hard-hitting rock song.
* ''Moon Over My Heart'', an updated old Mandarin hit re-rendered in R&B style.
* ''My Anata'', a Japanese-influenced rock number.
* ''Angel'', a love ballad.
* ''22'', a catchy tune depicting the woes of a girl in crossroads.
* ''Butterfly'', an under-rated song which he penned about his relationship with God.
* ''Katrina'', a surprise demo he wrote and sang entirely in English.

What set ''Black Tangerine'' apart was the strong social commentary, including a track consisting of various actual Taiwanese news snippets of unrelated family tragedies and public incidents, placing the state of Taiwanese society in a somewhat negative point of view.

''Black Tangerine'' won various awards in Asia but was, incidentally, overlooked for the Golden Music Awards in Taiwan, where the album was originally intended for.

David has since held a series of successful concerts in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Malaysia and Singapore in 2003, having already won many fans over with his signature simplistic style.

The Great Leap 2005

In 2005, David Tao released his fourth album, ''The Great Leap 2005''. ''The Great Leap 2005'' is David's most successful album so far. ''The Great Leap'' had 4 nominations at "17th Golden Melody Awards" however he was only able to grab the "Best Album Award".
Notable songs in the album include:
*''Ghost'' , the first single of the album, showcasing an eclectic mix of 80's Disco synth with Linkin Park-esque Metal & Rap elements. The lyrical style, a continuation of the social commentary from the previous album, describes a person's fears among a mass media-driven society that is getting too close for comfort.
*''Susan Said'' , a track that combines Beijing Opera's unique singing accent and instrumental arrangement with David Tao's signature R&B style.

*''Love Can'' , An infectious sing-along ballad about love. A throwback to his signature tune, "I Love You" from his debut album.
*''Who Do You Love'' , The first ballad single off the album which had tremendous commercial appeal.
*''Art of War'' , nominated for Best Arrangement in 2006's Taiwan 17th Golden Melody Awards, this rock hit featured the "12 Girls Band" as David and co-arranger, Goh Kheng Long fused hard metal and traditional Chinese instruments into a song leaden with socially critical lyrics.


A fifth studio album by David was released on 4th August 2006. "Beautiful" was a successful album which had 3 nominations in GMA, being nominated with Best Song, Best Composer and Best Male Vocalist. Despite of David being a GMA veteran he never won Best vocalist and this time this was also no exception with David only winning Best Song with his ''Marry Me Today''. Among the more popular songs in the album are the title song ''Too beautiful'', another old song restyled into David's signature arrangement, ''Can't Get You Outta My Mind'', and a duet song with Jolin Tsai, ''Marry Me Today''. It has been rumored that during the filming of the MTV with Jolin on the song ''Marry Me Today'', he refused to hold hands with her, perhaps out of sheer shyness.


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