Li Ronghao is doing his, we’re guessing, thousandth phone interview of the day when we finally get him on the line.
Our interview slot was pushed back twice before we hear his lilting accent (the singer-songwriter hails from Anhui, China) float over the phone.
We expect the singer, who's been dubbed the new King of Mandopop, to sound tired, cranky even. But Ronghao, who is performing this Saturday at the Max Pavilion at the Singapore Expo, was chirpy and relaxed.
It seems like nothing gets to him, not even when fellow singers like Yoga Lin tease him for his sleepy-looking eyes. “There’s nothing wrong with having small eyes,” Ronghao quips. “Huge eyes can be incredibly ugly.”
True enough. He didn’t need manga-like peepers to snag Taiwan’s sweetheart Rainie Yang as his girlfriend. Unsurprisingly, Ronghao’s minders had forbade us from asking questions about his love life.
But it only made us curious journos, well, curious-er. For the record, Ronghao dutifully says that he’ll get married “when the time comes”, sounding like a bored single cousin at a CNY family gathering.
But when an intrepid journo decides to probe further, asking if the couple has nicknames for each other, the cool cucumber’s boyish voice suddenly turns serious. “We’re just talking about my concert today, not my relationship!” he snaps.
But in the end, he relents: “No lah, we just address each other normally."
8 DAYS: You’re performing in Singapore for the first time. How are you planning to chill out here after the show?
LI RONGHAO: I’ll definitely eat! There are too many delicious things to eat in Singapore. (Guffaws) I’m already thinking of pandan cake. I like to cook too, simple homely dishes like pork ribs. Nothing fancy. Once I’ve settled my upcoming album and movie [Ronghao’s appearing in the Chinese comedy Duckweed], I’m thinking of opening a restaurant.
You’ve written songs for singers like Rainie Yang, Na Ying and Jeff Chang. Were there any songs you wish you’d kept for yourself?
Oh, no, no. (Laughs) Since the songs were written for other artistes, it’s more suitable for them.
What do you do when you get writer's block?
I don’t write if I don’t have inspiration. You don’t produce anything good when you’re stuck anyway, so I don’t waste time forcing myself! But I’ve writing songs every day since young, so it has become my lifestyle.
Li Ronghao’s An Ideal World Tour Concert, May 13, 7pm, The Max Pavilion @ Singapore Expo. Tix from Sistic.