Van Ness Wu connects with Filipino fans in first English-language album

·4 min read
Van Ness Wu in publicity photo for album Take A Ride.
Van Ness Wu in publicity photo for album Take A Ride. (Photo: Universal Music Taiwan)

We speak to Van Ness Wu in an exclusive interview about how his first English-language album departs in style from his previous music, and got a special message from him for his Filipino fans.

Van Ness Wu is releasing his latest album, Take A Ride, on July 22, and in a new direction for the singer-actor's career, it's his very first English-language album.

Wu has so far already released two singles from the album – Chill and It's On. The album is named after the upcoming third single called Take A Ride.

Yahoo Philippines spoke to Wu ahead of the album's release and chatted with him about how it departs in style from his previous music, and how he's managed to look like he hasn't aged a day since his breakout role in Meteor Garden 21 years ago.

Wu, who's now based in Los Angeles, started working on Take A Ride before the COVID-19 pandemic, so it's been years in the making.

Collaborating with producer David Lucius King, Wu recorded the 10-track album throughout the world, from a beach house in Malibu to a home studio in London, as well as in the mountains of Kyoto.

Having begun his showbiz career in Taiwan, the 43-year-old artist has released six Mandarin albums and two Japanese albums.

However, the American-born Chinese, who was born and raised in Santa Monica and Orange County, is now courting his native country with his first English-language album.

Van Ness Wu in a set photo for single It's On.
Van Ness Wu in a set photo for single It's On. (Photo: Universal Music Taiwan)

Although Wu got his big break in Asia as part of Taiwanese boy band F4, as well as with his role as Mei Zuo in the idol drama, Meteor Garden, he's glad to now make music in his native language, English.

The multi-hyphenate tells us that although it was acting that made him popular, one of the main reasons that he moved to Asia was always to pursue a music career. "I'm really grateful just to have this opportunity to release an English album, because it's been part of the dream. It's been part of the journey since I've started," said Wu.

Wu added that he had always received pressure from his labels to make his music "Asian-friendly", and to make it vibe with Mandarin-speaking audiences. However, for this album, he took the liberty of experimenting with a greater spectrum of musical styles.

There's rock, rap, as well as "boy band pop" in Take A Ride, says Wu – there isn't really a specific genre to the album. "I just call it good music – good listening, easy listening, feel good music. Fusion, if you will."

Wu said he found out that his label, Universal Music, would focus on marketing Take A Ride in the US only after he had begun work on his English-language music.

"I do feel like if I knew it was going to be specifically for a US market first, I would probably have been a little bit more creative or a little bit more experimental on certain things," said Wu. However, he noted that this would be a "nice little stepping stone" to explore more musical innovation in his next album.

Of course, with the album being in English, fans of Wu in the Philippines will be better able to appreciate his new songs. Asked whether he has a message for his Filipino fans, Wu thanked them for supporting his music all these years despite it not being in languages that are native to Pinoys.

"I'm so happy that I'm able to bring an English album to you so that we can connect even more on a deeper level," said Wu. "I just can't wait for you guys to hear the whole album."

Van Ness Wu in in publicity photo for single Chill.
Van Ness Wu in in publicity photo for single Chill. (Photo: Universal Music Taiwan)

We couldn't let Wu go without asking him about his skincare secrets – fans often comment about how he absolutely doesn't look like someone in his 40s.

The heartthrob says he credits his mother and sister, who are both aestheticians, for his age-defying looks. "They have their own skincare line that they're creating, that I've helped develop with them throughout the years," Wu said.

His mother, especially, loves to use him as a "guinea pig" for her skincare treatments. "Every time I come back, she's like, yo, when you coming in? It's time to get a facial."

However, Wu also chalks up his youthful looks to his childlike perspective on life. "I'm young at heart and exercise is always really good. Just finding joy in everything and being grateful for life really helps."

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