Local musician Derrick Hoh, 25, is undoubtedly a testimony to the phrase “change is the only constant in life”.

Taking to the stage at Ngee Ann Polytechnic on Feb 9 for his first local campus concert, Derrick, who we know as the sweet boy-next-door of 2005’s singing competition Project Superstar fame has now transformed into a grown man oozing with confidence.

Gone were the winsome smiles and floppy fringe. Derrick, who recently released his latest album, Change?, now sports charismatic glares and an edgy hairdo that reminds one of a Korean pop star.

The gig at Ngee Ann Poly marked the alumnus first return to his alma mater in years. Unable to hide his excitement, Derrick joked in Chinese, “I’m exceptionally nervous today because I’m back at my alma mater. I hope you guys didn’t prepare any videos of my school photos in the past!”

Missed the campus concert? Catch it here:

Video showcase: When I Know Both of You Are in Love (当我知道你们相爱), Empty Place (空位), Underground Pass (你走天桥,我走地下道), Pronunciation (咬字), Love Story (爱的故事), You. Me (你。我)

It’s been 2 years since Derrick’s 2008 debut album, Unclassified was released, and fans of the lad had certainly been waiting in eager anticipation for his return to the music scene.

Said Khor Si Hui, 19, President of Derrick Hoh International Fan Club (Singapore), “We received more than 100 email requests from people who wanted to attend the concert!”

The campus concert saw an overwhelming amount of participants, with some 400 fan club members and students packing the auditorium to overflow.

Clad in a pair of loud red-leopard prints pants and a grey long-sleeve shirt, the ex-president of Ngee Ann Poly’s Song Composing Club flaunted his stuff, serenading the crowd of mostly teenybopper females with past tunes and latest hits including recent self-penned track “When I Know Both of You Are in Love (当我知道你们相爱)”. At one point, the feisty singer even threw in a series of wacky impersonations of Donald Duck, Jam Hsiao and Show Luo.

The latter tune was particularly meaningful for the young star, who had remade the song based on Aaron Kwok’s same-title classic.

Affectionately calling the veteran singer as his “source of inspiration”, Derrick shared that he had written the song as a tribute to the multi-talented star.

With 8 songs out of the 14-track album composed by him, the budding musician is well on his way to become a full-fledged musician, and he wants fans to acknowledge his fruits of labour.

“I worked really hard for this album, putting my heart and soul into every song. I hope everyone will support me diligently,” said Derrick earnestly, as he addressed the seated audience in the auditorium.

Unlike his previous album, which focused on slow tempo and heart-wrenching ballads, Change? is filled with a wide-variety of music genres ranging from R&B to rap.

Said Si Hui, “We fans can really see the great change in him, right from his music genre to his appearance. We can see the effort he has put in and we’re very satisfied with his work.”

Claris Lim, 14, CHIJ St Joseph student who only took a liking to the singer after the release of Change? gushed, “He’s talented, cute and very friendly!”

Despite his rising popularity, the 25-year-old is not resting on his laurels. He hopes to conquer the bigger piece of recording industry pie in the Mandopop scene.

Ending the hour-long performance on a thoughtful note, he muses, “We should put our minds to pursue what we want. Since we’re still young, it doesn’t matter, let’s give it our all!”

All photos are courtesy of Jolin Ong.