Nick and Stella initially feared the blue costumes they wore might not be well accepted by fans. They were proven wrong.
The siblings performing outside a temple in connection with the recording of their album.
The siblings with the actors and actresses from the movie The Worst Students shot in Bintulu.
The siblings showing their album during a road show in Sibu.
THE much-anticipated album of Chinese New Year songs, cut jointly by popular artiste Nick Chung and his younger sister Stella, has made a big splash on Malaysia’s music scene.
The siblings from Sarawak co-released their first festive album at the end of last year, and as brother and sister went on promotional road shows to various towns in Sarawak and other parts of Malaysia, their album titled A New Hope for the New Year were selling like hot cakes.
Nick, known to his fans as Chung Seng Chong, started cutting albums in 2002.
His first release titled You has made him a household name.
He had produced many albums before this, including other albums of Chinese New Year songs, co-released with other artistes.
Stella, a year younger, entered the entertainment scene four years after Nick, starting off with acting.
She had roles in a few Chinese TV dramas such as The beginning in 2008, Where the heart is and The Thin line in 2011 and Adjuster2 in 2012.
Before cutting the album last year, the brother-sister team also co-produced a song titled Knowing Me for their short movie made in Bintulu called The Worst Students.
The popularity of this movie caught them by surprise.
When they posted it on YouTube, it quickly picked up pace to register over 1.1 million likes.
In co-releasing the album to usher in the Year of the Wooden Horse, the siblings proved they could work together and succeed as a team.
During their recent road shows in Sibu, Nick and Stella said their parents, relatives, friends and fans had expected them to release their latest album (of CNY songs) a decade ago.
They had not given much thought to working together at first but when they got down to it seriously last year, their teamwork proved a winner.
And their album has received overwhelming response just like the song (Knowing Me) in their movie.
The album contains 10 songs – all about the anticipation of the biggest Chinese festival in Malaysia, the hope of looking forward to a better year and the prosperity and auspicious meaning of life that the Spring Festival brings.
The album is special because the eponymous song was composed by Nick.
“This is the first time we have worked together,” said Stella during an album promotion in Sibu and “I believe Sibu townsfolk are happy with our efforts.”
She said she was also singing Chinese New Year songs for the fi rst time and with guidance from Nick, had learnt a lot about show business.
“To sing New Year songs, I need to stay happy as an expression of goodwill,” she added.
Nick said the light and swift physical movements and the traditional Chinese attires they were wearing during the singing were important to their shows.
He added that they also learned about importance of coordination and teamwork.
While recording the fi rst half of the album, Nick said they were wearing blue instead of the auspicious red.
“We were initially afraid blue would not be well accepted by our fans but later, we found that they loved it.”
Nick said each time he returned to Sibu for a concert, the fans had warmly welcomed him.
“This makes me feel more at home. After all, this is where we come from.”
Nick, who loves singing and swimming, said he brought 1,000 copies of the album DVDs for their road show concert and they were snapped up in no time.
He revealed in his last concert, the DVDs he brought with him were not enough to go round.
Since starting his singing career in 2002, he said local fans had been very supportive.
He thanked them for “staying with me” until now.
On whether they would continue singing together, Stella, the only girl in a family of six siblings, said they would wait for their current festive project to settle down fi rst before deciding.
On recording of the festive album, Nick said they had to work really hard to beat the odds.
And he is happy with the outcome.
The album is still available in the market and with less than a fortnight to Chinese New Year, the siblings are look forward to the celebration – and the future – with hope and joy.