This book written and edited by Taiwanese lyricist Mr Chen Lo-Jung has been accompanying me for eleven or twelve years. From renting house to relocating back home until I have my own place, I still carried this book with me every time I was moving. Strangely enough, many things of mine including my favourite books were lost during relocation. What I didn’t lose were tens of very important books of my collection. I feel like there is a destiny that bonds books and their collectors. And this is the book always remains safely in my bookshelf.
Other than working on translation and copywriting projects, I have been through thick and thin in life upon graduation from NTNU. Whenever I feel like I need a stronger mental strength, in addition to swimming and listening to music, I am usually walking out of dark cloud by reading. Reading gives me strength to restart, especially books about writing written by writers—such as this book titled Me, a Lyricist by Mr Chen Lo-Jung.
I am always reading the interviews of Shi Yi-lang and Adam Hsu. Shi Yi-lang’s viewpoints often remind me of Faye Wong’s song Undercurrent: the prettier it is, the more untouchable it gets.
From her stories it looks like she finds her position in every matter appropriately. She was writing when her lyrics were well received by music labels, and it didn’t bother her if some of her works were not accepted. From my perspective as a reader, I find her posture to be elegant in business writing.
She also shared that she chose to read Finance and Taxation at Feng Chia University because she wanted to be able to ‘eat meals and enjoy flowers-viewing’, instead of opting to read Chinese Studies which might let her end up ‘eating flowers and viewing meals’.
Such is also a paradox that I have pondered for some years, but with no definite answer. This is because we can always learn new genres of knowledge when we are good at languages. The question is how much effort we put in after university studies.
Adam Hsu had a tough time during his formative years, and I can put myself in his shoes to imagine the role of a young man striving to achieve a breakthrough in life.
Mr Chen wrote in his book that he always thinks that Eric Lin was the lyricist with the best business mindset. I beg to differ on this point, for I think Adam Hsu knows the best about copywriting business.
My point of view is this: copywriting is never limited to lyrics writing, because lyrics writing—if there still is such an industry—offers fewer and fewer opportunities and the success rate of earning a living from lyrics writing is far too low.
If some copywriters are writing as good as Adam Hsu does, I believe they can earn more than a lyricist. Master Chinese language and another language to explore business opportunities in advertising and business proposals. That’s a good start for copywriting business.
Another interviewee Manting Li commented that “this circle is not able to have any great thing. Do you think you see great work in lyrics?”
What a powerful comment. For readers who once viewed lyrics as a very outstanding literary form, this is a shocking insight.
Despite her comment, I still think that it is fair to say that Taiwan’s overall lyrics writing is a comprehensive database of Chinese-language pop culture writings. Vincent Fang had similar viewpoints in the book, and readers who are interested can always read his interview.
The book also introduced Mr Chen’s blog. A quick search discovered that he is no longer using the old site. And now, he is blogging at https://fc.iwant-in.net/
Thank you, Mr Chen. I am inspired by your lyrics and blog writing.