Samuel Seow Beat Tanya Chua In A Singing Contest And Other Things You Should Know About The Headline-making Entertainment Lawyer
"I’m very insecure – I can’t put myself out there and let people talk about me."
You’ve probably read the news (and heard the audio clips) involving Samuel Seow, the Singaporean entertainment lawyer who has been accused of physically and verbally assaulting two former employees, one of whom is his niece.
Samuel has since apologised for slapping his niece but has denied all allegations made by the other former employee. “People can say what they want without any care for the truth. There are some irresponsible and despicable people out there who will take perverse delight in causing this. I am sorry to my family and friends for the worry this will cause. I am OK. Those who know me will know the truth,” he wrote in a Facebook post.
Samuel is the managing director of Samuel Seow Law Corporation and has represented celebrities like Michelle Saram, Tanya Chua, Sheikh Haikel and former Singapore Idol contestant Maia Lee in their legal cases. He also owns Beam Artistes, a management company which represents celebs like Paul Foster and Ase Wang, and in the past, Ch 8 star Shane Pow and former MTV VJ Utt. Beam also organises male beauty pageant Manhunt Singapore.
8 DAYS has spoken to Samuel a number of times over the years and has always enjoyed our chats with the flamboyant and very entertaining lawyer. Not one to mince words, he’s a walking soundbite, if there’s such a thing.
1. He joined the televised singing competition Chinese Talentime in 1991 (that era’s version of Project Superstar) when he was 18. “I came in fifth out of 1,000 people, so I’m like Chris Daughtry,” he told us in an interview. In case you’re too young to remember, Chris Daughtry, who will be performing in Singapore on July 11, came in fifth in American Idol in 2006.
2. He beat Tanya Chua in a singing competition before. “I came in first and Tanya came in second in the 1990 National Chinese Local Song Talentime,” he told us in 2008. "Why didn’t I pursue a career entertainment? I’m very insecure – I can’t put myself out there and let people talk about me. Plus, I’m very ugly. (Laughs) Which is why being in entertainment is a very good fit – I’m still in entertainment, but in a different capacity.”
3. He would later represent Tanya in a court case. On his website, he stated that he acted for the singer-songwriter in a dispute with her music publishers. “We successfully overturned the decision of the High Court and obtained the declaration that our client had validly terminated her contract with the music publishers due to their failure to properly account for the royalties.”
4. Representing Michelle Saram put him on the map. “The case that got me noticed was in in 2001, when Michelle Saram was sued by her Taiwanese manager for breach of contract,” he told us in an interview in 2008. “I helped her because she’s local. We solved her problems and brought her back, and she was signed by Hype Records and then got a role in Meteor Garden II.”
5. His most famous case in recent memory is the one involving illegal downloads of Dallas Buyers Club in Singapore. “What was most challenging about that was that it required a change of mindset for Singaporeans — they need to know that you cannot do things at home secretly and think that you cannot get caught,” he told us in an interview in 2015. “If you go to a diamond shop when it’s closed, you don’t steal diamonds and think it’s correct, right? But it was the first time in my career where people on forums were demolishing me as a person and talking bad about me. Someone actually said that after Amos Yee, I was the most hated person [in Singapore]. You can’t read these things and sleep at night. So after a while, I stopped reading [the comments]. You need to centre yourself and know what’s right and wrong. First of all, I’m not the client so I’m not the one suing, but I fight for justice.”
6. He studied in Anglican High School, Victoria Junior College, and studied law at NUS.
7. He critiques the fashion choices of his celeb friends. “I haven’t asked them for fashion advice, though sometimes if they look fat in an outfit, I’ll tell them,” he told us in 2015. “Once, Michelle Chong met me for high tea at Shangri-La in purple leggings. I asked her why she was wearing her clothes from filming to go out, and she said they were her own clothes. She was like, “Cannot meh? I think it’s nice.” I mean, who wears purple leggings? (Laughs)
8. Back in 2008, he was close to Kit Chan and Sun Ho. “Kit Chan – she’s a very fun and crazy girl in private. Sun Ho is my client too. I think she’s hugely misunderstood. She’s a very simple and likeable person. People think pastors need to act a certain way. It’s the same for me – some in the law fraternity think I shouldn’t be behaving the [flamboyant] way I do. I think people should be allowed to exist for who they are, and how they act.”