SINGAPORE – Mention Van Ness Wu and images of him as Mei Zuo, his character in the Taiwanese drama series Meteor Garden (2001), may come to mind, cracking jokes and hanging out with university students, or singing sweet ballads as a member of a Taiwanese boy band F4.
But the 43-year-old Taiwanese-American actor-singer, based in Los Angeles, now lives a very different life – traveling the world, collaborating with music legends and writing music at his own pace.
Among his hobbies are playing the guitar and golf, which he says help him “relieve stress”.
Over the years, Wu has amassed a solid body of solo music – six Mandarin and two Japanese albums, and her first English album is due out in the coming months.
On April 7, Wu let the media listen to three tracks from the upcoming work – Chill, It’s On, and Take A Ride – and shared his thoughts on the new work.
Chill, released April 8, is a carefree summer single about dreams of a better day amidst life’s stumbles.
Wu said, “It carries weight today in this social climate. No matter what color our skin is, everyone should just relax and have more grace and love for each other.”
The number is a collaboration between Wu and British-German producer David Lucius King, who wrote songs for Irish rock band The Script.
Wu first met King in 2018 in Britain, where Wu was filming the film Ip Man 4: The Finale (2019). Although they were supposed to write two songs together in five days, they ended up writing five.
Calling King a “brother”, Wu said of the experience, “We did it in a way where there was no pressure. I hate putting pressure on myself. It was very cool and relaxed. …and he’s so generous with his talent.”
A similar approach has been taken for the upcoming album, which Wu has been working on for over three years.
In preparation for the work, Wu and King held writing and recording sessions in different settings, from a beach house in Malibu to a home studio in London to the mountains of Kyoto, Japan.
Looking at different landscapes, Wu said, really helped shape the sound, energy and atmosphere of the album. He said, “Creating this album is like finding my own direction as I come of age.”