E-Junkies: Celest Chong holding first concert in Singapore, 'blown away' people still listen to her music

Despite hailing from Singapore, Celest Chong's last solo concert was in Taiwan about 15 years ago.

She's also never held one in her own hometown, but that's about to change soon. The singer-actress is set to perform a small and intimate set at Livehouse on May 17.

Celest, who moved back to Singapore last November after 13 years in Canada, told AsiaOne in a recent interview: "When I came back, I really wasn't expecting anything."

She said she didn't know what was going to happen or what she would do, bar the realisation that she had to come home to take care of her ageing family members.

Celest couldn't bring her 15-year-old West Highland terrier Salt along due to her old age and still supports her care financially. But her Cairn terrier Shadow, eight, joined her on her journey back home, and has now bonded with Celest's 80-year-old mum.

"It's joyous, listening to my mother laugh and how much she loves my dog," she said.

"It's pretty incredible watching her and my dog becoming bestest friends and buddies and my puppy being truly happy that she has found my mum, her newest bestie and family member."

[embed]https://www.instagram.com/p/BncxbOcHeA1/[/embed]

Celest also told us that she believed the only thing constant in life is change, so when she met Michael Goh, the owner of music venue Livehouse Singapore, during a radio show, she took up the opportunity to plan her own concert.

"I'm actually pretty blown away. It's like the seeds that were sown for so many years before leaving have grown tremendously. People still listen to my songs," she said. "I've got about 38,000 people a month listening to me on Spotify now, which I didn't think was still going on.

"One particular song of mine has 50 million people listening on just one China website."

She is amazed that she could "keep people company for years and years" and get new audiences after all this time.

Celest is also working on a new album, having released English singles I Got Him, Go Slow and Masterpiece and Mandarin singles Choice, Red Orchid and Secrets in recent years.

She told us she has five other tracks ready, but doesn't know when they'll be released as she is in talks with different music companies currently.

'What's a journey without a couple of bumps?'

As an actress, Celest has also made a small mark in Hollywood - with guest appearances in Titans and The Umbrella Academy - and indie Canadian films like The Man in the Shadows (2015) and Moore's Void (2021), for which she won Best Actress at the Great Canadian Sci-Fi Film Festival.

Getting acting roles in Canada, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic, was a brand new experience for Celest.

"Instead of going into a room where you have your executive producer, director and your casting directors, now you have to do self-tapes. So you have to become self-tape savvy," she explained. "And it's very different, self-taping and auditioning."

She found landing a role using self-tapes "weird" because all she is given is a script and character breakdown, but said that she's become "so good at auditions" this way.

"It's up to you to create that character. So you decide, is she somebody who wears black or somebody who wears green? Is she somebody who has makeup? What are her quirks? So you decide for yourself, and then you go for it all the way."

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Despite facing tumultuous times during her acting career in Singapore and Taiwan, Celest said that the positive experiences she's had in local showbiz have outweighed the negatives, and she would love to resume acting here and be given another "baby" in terms of a new role.

"I always say this, what's a journey without a couple of bumps?" she added. "Yes, there are difficult things but it's part of the beauty, learning to overcome it, to become better and learn from it."

She also prides herself on never having given up "no matter how hard the journey is, or no matter how little I gained from it".

"If you're passionate about something, there's no longer a choice for you to give up or not give up - it's what you love," she said.

"And if you love doing what you do, then you are the most alive. And I want to stay that way, I want to be most alive in this life and whatever I have left of this life."

[embed]https://www.instagram.com/p/C4zaJdayyUo/[/embed]

Tickets to Celest's concert at Livehouse are available on her Peatix page.

To see more of our interview with Celest, including our little test of what she remembers about Singapore and what to expect from her upcoming concert, check out our latest episode of E-Junkies.

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drimac@asiaone.com

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