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Edison Chen: 'I want to succeed'
That sex photo scandal was an ordeal by fire. Now Edison Chen tells us how he emerged from it to make a comeback
Last October, Edison Chen Koon-Hei announced in Shanghai that he planned to make a comeback, two years and eight months since he quit the entertainment scene following his infamous -- and pivotal -- involvement in a celebrity sex photo scandal. The Chinese-Canadian singer, actor and fashion icon recently returned to town to talk about how he has found the road back to the top.
- More on CNNGo: Asia’s top 5 celebrity sex scandals
Chen walks into the interview room, entourage of five people in tow.
Instead of a casual conversation, Chen carefully crafts the flow of the interview as well as he does his new-found image: questions had to be sent ahead of time for the approval of his Hong Kong management company, and any divergence from the questions is strictly forbidden by his manager, who kept a watchful eye over the interview.
A time limit was placed on our conversation, 15 minutes to get in everything we wanted to ask. Once the door behind us closed, the stopwatch started.
CNNGo: How does it feel to be back in the entertainment scene? How have you changed since you were here last?
Edison Chen: I’ve learn to have more respect for others and not be so hard on myself. I’ve also learned what makes me happy. I've found that the things that don’t cost much make me even happier than the things that do.
I try not to put myself under too much pressure as well. The more you pressure yourself, the harder it is to achieve some things. I’ve learned a lot from the past few years in the United States.
I've also come to realize how important family is. I enjoy sharing a meal with my parents, I used to feel that it was just an obligation.
People used to say that Edison Chen is all about appearances, but I hope that my fans can see that I am truly working hard.
CNNGo: Do you feel that you will continue to be plagued by memories of the scandal?
Edison Chen: The most important thing to me is to just be good person, because there will always positive and negative comments.
I wonder all the time about whether I will succeed and whether I'll get a second chance, but I know there are many people who stood by me through all this. I want them to know that I haven't given up because they haven't given up on me.
CNNGo: Do you feel insecure when facing the media, especially the Hong Kong media, now?
Edison Chen: Actually, I have a lot more to say about what I went through, but I don’t want to say it through the media. What’s most important to me now is my new album.
I'm more comfortable expressing myself through music and I hope that everyone can get to more accurately know who I am and what I’m thinking through this album.
CNNGo: Your new album is called, "Confusion." Will you be doing more promotional activities in mainland?
Edison Chen: Yes, the mainland market is very important to me. The album will be released and advertised in the mainland in a few weeks. It has been available in Taiwan and Hong Kong since last December. I’m eagerly awaiting its release here in mainland China.
I collaborated with many people on this project, including Hotdog and DJ Sam. I made a ton of new friends in the United States while working on this release, it's really a team effort, without them, my album would not be as good as it is.
I wonder all the time about whether I will succeed and whether I can still get a second chance after failing.
CNNGo: Did the album get its name from your feelings after the scandal?
Edison Chen: Yes, the whole experience left me feeling very confused. Though I think confusion is something many young people face too.
We are faced with new things and new problems every day, and the world is a mess. Confusion is something we all have to deal with, and I hope that my new songs will help to soothe my listeners.
CNNGo: What kind of songs do you like to listen to?
Edison Chen: I like listening to all kinds of music now. Five years ago though, I only liked hip-hop, but I’ve liked it for more than 20 years and it hasn’t changed much over that time. It can get a little dull. I’m currently looking for new types of music from which I can draw inspiration.
CNNGo: Your schedule must be packed since making a comeback. What are you working on these days?
Edison Chen: I’m planning to hold a series of global concerts this summer and I'm currently coming up with the contents of the show.
On top of that, I have just finished shooting a television series that will air at the start of May in Taiwan. I hope it can be screened in the mainland soon. It’s a lifestyle series called "Nameless."
CNNGo: Do you think you have any qualities that fans can learn from?
Edison Chen: I am quite self-confident. I really want to succeed and I work hard every day to do a good job on whatever I am working on. People used to say that Edison Chen is all about appearances, but I hope that my fans can see that I am truly working hard.
I want to tell them that if there’s something they want to achieve in life, you have to work hard for it.
When there’s a will, there’s a way. Look at me. I have been through a lot over the past few years, but I'm still able to sit here and take your questions today. Believe in yourself, and even if you’ve fallen down, pick yourself up and try again.
To read more about Asian celebrities in their own words, click on "Karen Mok: Single, happy and unashamedly 40. Pity about her cats" and "Exclusive interview with Wu Chun: ‘I'm a 7.5 of 10’"