- For a Hong Kong entrepreneur, please refer to Vincent Fang (Hong Kong).
In 1997, he sent samples of his lyrics to record companies, hoping to find a new career that complemented his passion for writing. Record company owner Jacky Wu was impressed with his work and hired Fang to work with Chou, who had just started his songwriting career. In 2000, Chou released his first album (titled Jay) and since then produced albums in which Fang contributes the majority of the lyrics. Chou’s fame grew rapidly across Asia, pulling Fang into the limelight as well.
Fang's lyrics are noted for covering a wide of issues from family to war, beyond what is normally discussed in love ballads. He is known for using a writing style similar to traditional Chinese poetry, making frequent references to Chinese history and folklore.
Born in 1969, Fang grew up in Taiwan and was raised in what he calls a "blue collar family". In his youth, he gave very little effort in school and received poor grades. After graduating from high school, he entered Taiwan Army at the age of 20 to as is required of all male citizens. When he was off-duty, he spent his free time reading and watching movies, which triggered an interest in language and words.
After completing his military service in 1991, he has worked in 20-30 different jobs over the following 7 years, including newspaper deliveryman, electronics repairman, factory worker, security alarm serviceman, and truck driver. Despite taking these jobs and having no formal post-secondary training in linguistics, he was determined to shift into a writing career. In 1992, he decided that his dream job would be a movie scriptwriter, which he complemented by taking several relevant night courses. After a year, he was no closer to his goal. He planned an alternate path to enter the film business: establish his stature in the entertainment industry by first entering music field as a lyricist, then transit into script writing.
Entry into the music businessEdit
Over 2 years starting in 1995, he wrote more than 100 lyrics, hoping to use this collection to impress potential employers. To contact record producers, he searched the CD liner notes of popular Chinese singers for mailing addresses and sent his entire lyrics collection to them. Of more than 100 mails sent, only a single person replied: Jacky Wu, an influential television show host in Taiwan who was looking for new talent to join his record company. In 1997, at the age of 28, Fang signed the official contract to work as a lyricist. Wu arranged Fang to work with Jay Chou, a newly hired composer who just graduated from secondary school. Together they wrote songs for popular Chinese artists but neither acquired much fame. Fang’s talent was recognized after Chou began a successful singer-songwriter career that was partially attributable to Fang’s lyrics.
Collaboration with Jay ChouEdit
In 1998, Fang and Chou began to work together, initially using Fang’s collection of 100 lyrics. For their first song, Chou composed a tune for Fang’s "You are happier than before" which was placed in an album by Wu, their mentor. After several initial songs, it became habitual for Chou to conceptualize the song and write the melody first, subsequently to be filled by Fang’s text. When singers requested songs from them, Fang would personally deliver the demo tape to the interested parties. Over a two year period, their work was incorporated into various albums of hit singers and bands, such as Landy Wen, Valen Hsu, Leo Ku, S.B.D.W, and Jacky Wu. He also stars in Jay Chou's MTV "coral sea" 珊瑚海 where he played the protagonist of the story.
In 2000, Chou began his singing career with his debut CD Jay. Since then, Fang has been responsible for more than half of the lyrics in all Chou's albums. Despite Chou’s reputation as a "mumble rapper", the audience’s appreciation for Fang’s lyrics is not compromised.
Fang's lyrics have twice won Taiwan's Golden Melody Awards; he was nominated for 8 years straight.Fang has won more than a dozen awards in Asia for his lyrical compositions.