Jay Chou (周杰伦; born 18 January 1979) is a Taiwanese musician, singer, songwriter, record producer, actor, and director.
In 2000, Chou released his debut album, titled Jay (2000), under the record company Alfa Music. Since then his music has gained recognition throughout Asia, most notably in regions such as Taiwan, Mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Korea, Japan and in the Asian communities of Western countries such as the United States and Australia. He has sold more than 30 million albums and has received numerous awards for his musical work. Chou has also written songs for other artists whilst working on his albums. In 2003, he was the cover story of Time magazine (Asia version), titled New King of Asian Pop, acknowledging his influence on popular culture. He has since held six world tours, performing in cities around the world to more than 10 million people.
Chou’s mother initially inspired Chou to become a music teacher, while Chou remained relatively clueless on what to do with his life. Chou’s parents divorced when he was 14 years old. According to Jay’s accounts of his childhood in interviews, his father had subjected his mother to daily verbal and physical abuse, often witnessed by traumatized young Jay. Once grown and starting to realize fame among southeast Asian singers, his difficult childhood experiences influenced the young artist’s penning of songs like “In the Name of Father” detailing the cruelty and brutality of the domestic violence he’d witnessed at his father’s hand.
Chou’s music has been a much-discussed topic across Chinese regions, because it differed greatly from mainstream popular Chinese music released at that time. His pieces combine ancient themes with futuristic ones, even including things like space ships, all while employing graphic storytelling skills to evoke vivid imagery to his audience.
Chou’s compositions are loosely categorized as pop music. While many of his works fall into contemporary R&B, rap, and rock genres, the term “Chou Style” has been popularized to describe his trademark cross-cultural music and his insistence on singing with slurred enunciation. Taipei Times once described the meaning of “Chou Style”: “In what has become the archetypal Chou style, Taiwan’s favorite son blends pop, rap, blues and a smorgasbord of esthetic elements of world music to create his dream-like never-never land…”.
Chou is considered more of a singer-composer than a lyricist. Chou began as a songwriter for other singers and continued this area of work even after he debuted his own career in singing.
Despite living under continual media scrutiny, Chou’s public image has changed little over the years as he emphasizes individuality as his “personal philosophy”. In his music, this is also evident as he fuses Chinese and Western styles and explores topics unconventional for a pop singer, which have been described as “authentic” and “revolutionary”. The media describes a hard-working perfectionist with clear self-direction who is occasionally regarded as competitive and a “control freak”.
Chou debuted his acting career in the film Initial D (2005); followed shortly by his role as the honorable son, Prince Jai, in the multi-nominated Mandarin Chinese epic, Curse Of The Golden Flower (2006). He has since ventured into many other movie projects, becoming known to western audiences when he made his Hollywood debut in 2011 with The Green Hornet, starring alongside Seth Rogen and Christoph Waltz. Chou also manages his own record and management company JVR Music. In 2016, he re-entered Hollywood to play a role named Li in the film, Now You See Me 2.
Although Chou is still far from being well known to English audiences, these movies have brought him international exposure.
In November 2014, Chou confirmed his relationship with model Hannah Quinlivan. A private wedding ceremony open to friends and family occurred on 9 February in Taipei. On 13 July 2015, Jay Chou’s agency confirmed that Quinlivan gave birth to a girl by Caesarian section.
Jay Chou became an Evangelical Christian as Hannah, his mother and some of his friends are Christians.