On Unifying Message of ‘LINK’ Album – Billboard
Written by GRB on 14/07/2023
A-Lin Huang Li-Ling’s latest album LINK finally made her a winner for the Best Chinese Female Artist award at the 34th Golden Melody Awards earlier this month. When the list of finalists was announced, she was out shopping at the supermarket, unaware of the news. But when her cell phone began to buzz with messages of congratulations from her manager, company colleagues, and family and friends, she rushed online to confirm the news. Upon seeing her name, she couldn’t contain her excitement and began to dance with joy.
A-Lin has always had a special connection to her 18th, 28th and 38th birthdays. During the production of her album, A-Lin celebrated her 38th birthday. When she was 8 years old, she asked her mother a question that has stayed with her ever since: “When can I fall in love?” Her mother’s response was that when she grew up to 18, she would have her own business at 28, and by 38, she would have experienced a lot and have more unlimited possibilities.
On her 38th birthday, A-Lin gifted herself with the new album LINK. One of the songs on the album is aptly titled “38 a Flower.” The song is a reflection of her life and how she views the passing of time. A-Lin doesn’t let age define her; instead she embraces the changes with the same curiosity and enthusiasm she had when she was 8 years old. Time has given her the courage to take risks and explore her potential. A-Lin is the queen of her own world, never letting age limit her.
18 Years Old — Love Fearlessly and Spin Wildly
When A-Lin turned 18, she made friends and experienced the joys and pains of love. She was never told what to expect by her mother, but she learned a lot about love and growth through her experiences. Now, her daughter is at the same age and has started to dream of love. A-Lin wants her daughter to know that she will go through many highs and lows, but the most important thing is to learn to love and protect herself first. That way, she will truly understand what love and growth mean, and she should never be afraid.
The album LINK features the song “Turn,” a heartfelt tribute to her daughter. With its inspiring lyrics, A-Lin encourages her daughter to take risks and embrace the dizziness that comes with it.
When A-Lin was young, her love for music was crystal clear. From singing around the house to competing in music competitions, A-Lin was determined to pursue her passion. When an audience questioned her talent and looks, she was filled with doubt for a moment, wondering if she was really cut out for this path. But she refused to give up and kept singing bravely, determined to find someone who could appreciate her. She was affirmed in her decision and never looked back.
At 16, A-Lin had a unique opportunity to teach children to sing “Amazing Grace” who were affected by the 9-21 earthquake in Nantou, which left more than 2,000 dead and 11,000 injured in 1999. Despite not being a music student, she was determined to bring joy and hope to those who had just experienced trauma. Growing up, A-Lin was no stranger to the hardships of inadequate medical care. When her grandfather fell ill, he was not able to receive the treatment he needed. It was then that A-Lin decided to become a “music doctor” and use her songs to help the injured. This special experience would shape her life and career. It was during this healing process that A-Lin encountered someone who truly appreciated her and her music. This person would become a major influence in her life, inspiring her to continue to use her music to bring joy and hope to others.
A few years later, one of A-Lin’s sister’s best friends was singing at EZ5 restaurant in Taipei. One day, when A-Lin’s sister went to EZ5, she asked if A-Lin could join in and sing a song. After the song, the boss was so impressed that he asked A-Lin to come work for him. A-Lin immediately took the offer.
At EZ5, Huang Xiaohu and Peng Jiahui were already big stars in the prime time, and A-Lin was often arranged to sing before and after them. A-Lin, only 19 years old at the time, was so excited when she got off the stage, after imitating Huang Xiaohu’s voice. When she ran into Huang Xiaohu, who was preparing to go onstage, she asked eagerly, “What did you think of my singing just now?” After getting a positive answer, A-Lin was overjoyed. Back then, neither Huang Xiaohu nor Peng Jiahui had released any albums yet. A-Lin was not only longing for love, but also hoping to meet a scout.
A-Lin was singing onstage when she spotted a familiar face in the crowd. He made his way down to the front row and requested a ballad: “Amazing Grace.” A-Lin was taken aback — why not pick a song that would really get the crowd going? But then the man shouted out “sister, sister” and A-Lin realized who it was. Three years ago, when she was just 20, A-Lin had gone to Nantou to teach children to sing “Amazing Grace.” This man had been there too, telling her she had a beautiful voice and giving her a business card, promising to come back and see her again. Now, here he was — and A-Lin had finally achieved her dream of getting a record contract.
28 Years Old — When I Think of You, Golden Songs Are Next to Me
At 28, A-Lin was living a life that’s both fulfilling and exciting. She’s taking on new challenges and making her dreams a reality – all while making sure she doesn’t let anyone down, just like her mother said. A-Lin is an adult who takes charge and is determined to make her life a success.
After signing the contract, A-Lin’s career began to take off. Professional training was provided to help her prepare a new album. A-Lin had to practice many different songs every day when singing in restaurants, but in the recording studio, the teacher asked her to focus more on emotional processing and show more emotion. During the long wait, A-Lin felt nervous and worried that her age would affect her popularity. But all of her worries were put to rest when her first solo album Innocence of Broken Love was released and the song of the same title became a hit. At that moment, she finally believed that everything was the best arrangement.
As a rookie, A-Lin’s debut album was shortlisted for best newcomer at the Golden Melody Awards. Since then, she has been nominated for Best Chinese Female Singer at the Golden Melody Awards five times — and finally won for the first time earlier this month. Many people sent her a message when she went home empty-handed four previous times: “Why is it not you?” Despite the sadness of not winning, A-Lin remained optimistic and continued to work and live her life. To her, each nomination is a great affirmation, and getting invited to the Golden Melody Awards is no easy feat. No matter what, A-Lin knows that some people will appreciate her and some people won’t. But that doesn’t matter.
A-Lin’s father always wanted the best for her, but he had a different vision of success than she did. Growing up, A-Lin was often late for school because she was busy participating in singing competitions and performing at local venues. Her father was not pleased and eventually took her out of school dorms so he could monitor her whereabouts. As a policeman, he was always concerned for her safety and wanted her to pursue a more traditional career path after graduation. Despite her father’s wishes, A-Lin was determined to make it as a singer.
A-Lin and her father had a strained relationship for a long time. When A-Lin invited her father to attend the press conference of her first album, he refused. Little did she know that her father was actually very proud of her and was recommending her album to his colleagues. Eventually, her father began actively attending and supporting her at every event, even asking for autographed photos for his friends and colleagues.
In 2015, A-Lin took part in Hunan TV’s I Am a Singer Season 3. After her fourth performance of “Falling in Love With You Is Falling in Love With Lonely,” she was awarded second place by the audience. At 3 o’clock in the morning, A-Lin couldn’t contain her excitement and called home. She expected her mother to answer the phone, but it was her father who picked up. He asked her what was going on. A-Lin happily told him about her success on the show, and her father was equally delighted. She then suggested that they could sing together as a family next time, to which her father agreed without hesitation.
In fact, A-Lin’s father was the first to teach her singing and music theory. His initial resistance eventually became a driving force for A-Lin on her musical journey. With her father’s guidance, A-Lin was able to turn adversity into opportunity and use it to propel herself forward.
38 years old — My Moment, Comfortable and At Ease
A-Lin was determined to mark her 38th birthday with a special gift — an album of her own creation. She wanted to express her joy in the simplest way possible. Everyone has their own interpretation of what a gift should be, and A-Lin was not swayed by the opinions of others. An album has its own unique voice and expression, and that is the most important thing.
“No matter how much the world changes, music is always the best way to stay connected.” That’s the message A-Lin conveys through her album LINK. In the past two years, many of us have spent more time at home, with fewer opportunities to meet up with family and friends. Even concerts and performances were often watched online.
A-Lin, an Amis aborigine, celebrates the harvest with a festival every July to August. During this time, the Amis tribe gathers to sing and dance in thanks for the abundance of the past year and the wisdom and love passed down from their elders. When A-Lin relaxes at home, she looks through photos and videos from the past. She notices that, without face-to-face communication, relationships between people have become distant. To bridge this gap, she created the song “ROMADIW,” the first work on her new album. In the Amis language, “ROMADIW” translates to “singing.” A-Lin hopes her music will bring people together, filling each other with enthusiasm and warmth.
In previous albums, A-Lin’s voice was the focus of the song selection process, leading many to believe that she could only sing. But since the release of her first album, A-Lin has been creating her own music, maturing her craft and taking on the role of producer. With the release of LINK, A-Lin has full autonomy over her music. She follows her own logic, starting with the first three songs that explore her connection with the Amis people and ending with the powerful “For the Future.” This song speaks to A-Lin’s true state of mind, telling herself and her listeners to be generous, be strong and have faith in the future. Through her music, A-Lin is telling us all that we are worth it.
In the song “38 A Flower,” A-Lin sings about the queen’s new, shining dress. During the recording of Sisters Who Make Waves 2023, someone suggested that her look wasn’t quite right. A-Lin’s response? A gracious “thank you for your opinion, but I like it very much.” We all appreciate different things when it comes to beauty. A-Lin believes that comfort is key when it comes to fashion. Whenever she takes the stage, she has to feel good in her clothes — no matter how expensive or beautiful, if she doesn’t feel comfortable, she’ll ask for a change. After all, the stage is A-Lin’s moment to shine.
On the stage of Sisters Who Make Waves 2023, A-Lin finally achieved her dream of becoming a singer, dancer and even rapper. She is eager to explore even more, such as creating a hip-hop style work and writing a song in her own language. The biggest reward for her participation in the show was not the challenge itself, but the relationships she formed with her sisters. Each of them has unique strengths to learn from, especially the mutual understanding and encouragement during rehearsals. The spirit of perseverance and the silent understanding when everyone resets themselves to start anew as a group is truly inspiring.
During the rehearsal break, A-Lin asked actress Liu Yase: “Do you think I can act?” The actress replied with a hint of humor: “Then you can play a funny role at most.” A-Lin was determined to prove her acting skills, so she asked Alyssa Chia: “Do you think I can act in my own way?” She replied with encouragement: “Let us do the acting. Please sing well, you sing really well!” When A-Lin was shortlisted for the Golden Melody Award, Alyssa Chia and the other sisters sent their blessings and expressed their pride. A-Lin promised them all: “If I win the award, I will take the trophy to Changsha for you to touch.”
Lin’s life journey is one of unique beauty and strength. From early achiever to late bloomer, she has won special life trophies at every age. Music and years have endowed her with confidence and courage. Now 39, A-Lin’s 48-year-old journey ahead is still open with many possibilities. A-Lin’s words are a reminder to us all: Maybe you haven’t appreciated my beauty until now, but please don’t be influenced by someone else’s words. Appreciate your own beauty and strength, and look forward to the unknown possibilities that life has to offer.