Wei Li-An: From talent show to long-term artist
Denver Chang of Taiwan's Linfair Records first noticed singer-songwriter Wei Li-An when he was a performing competitor on the TV programme Happy Sunday.
The artist became the champion of the competition overall, and Chang felt he had the ability to develop a career in music.
"Wei Li-An wrote his own songs and was popular with the public. He needed our help to develop his music and market it to a wide audience, but we knew he had the potential for a long-term career."
Linfair Records put him in studio with its in-house producer who, over the course of a year, helped him develop his song writing and produce better quality recordings. At the same time, the label supported him in a series of live performances, hiring a professional band to support him. Linfair also worked with Wei Li-An to develop his website and build his presence on various social networks. They helped him put his improved demos onto the online blogging platform Streetvoice, which is very popular with independent artists in Taiwan.
It was felt that it was important to support his debut album with a significant number of videos, so the label paid for the production of five videos which it posted onto YouTube and other online platforms, as well as promoting to TV stations. The label also began to plug his music to radio stations.
Denver Chang says:
"TV and radio are still vital platforms to break an artist, even in the digital age. We placed TV and radio advertising to generate awareness of We Li-An's debut album to the widest possible audience, although we supplemented this with a huge online campaign targeting digital music services."
Wei Li-An's debut album was a commercial success and he won the Best New Artist category at the subsequent Golden Melody Awards.
Linfair promoted his music across other Chinese speaking markets, including Hong Kong, Malaysia, Singapore and mainland China. Denver Chang says:
"We have our own operating company in China that has the local expertise and contacts to help introduce our artists to the public there."
The artist went on to release a second album with Linfair, Someone Is Waiting, which proved another commercial hit. The artist and label have signed a long-term agreement to develop his career and Wei Li-An also now writes a lot of material for other artists on Linfair's roster.
Denver Chang says the story proves that labels can work with artists who come to prominence in TV competitions and develop their careers long-term. "But we should be clear that doing well in a TV competition is not a substitute for the necessary A&R and promotional work needed to break an artist. Even those with high profiles need the financial support and expertise of record companies to convert that early success into a long-term career in music."