The name Melvin Sia may be unfamiliar to many Singaporeans, but going by Facebook popularity alone, the Malaysian actor-singer more than eclipses local household names like Adrian Pang and Kym Ng, with more than 23,000 likes to his 2,600 and her under 700.
He acts alongside the 2 in his big-screen debut in Singapore, a Chinese New Year comedy called Dance Dance Dragon.
While he is less experienced, he isn’t a newbie either, having appeared in 24 drama productions, 2 stage productions and 3 movies since 2003. In that time, he also won 3 Malaysian awards for acting.
It doesn’t hurt that his chiselled model features and 1.85m height make him a natural target for advertisers either.
From Architecture to Acting
The Malaysian Chinese, who graduated from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia with a degree in architecture, could never have predicted that he’d end up on the screens of households nationwide.
“I always thought I would be involved in architecture as a profession, or end up working as a professional,” the budding star shared.
His participation in Singapore’s MediaCorp talent hunt Star Search in 2003 marked the beginning of his showbiz career. Participating in the Malaysian division of the contest, Melvin Sia emerged in the top 6.
“I have never thought of becoming an artiste, but I decided to join Star Search 2003 for fun,” he recounted.
Although he didn’t win the competition, with Ng Hong Shen emerging as Malaysia’s male champion, the publicity won him enough attention to land him his first lead role as You Xiang Yang in Radio Television Malaysia’s Irama Remaja. Melvin explained that it was the exposure to acting that ignited his passion to perform and further his career as an artiste.
Melvin’s road to Stardom
From dramas and films to print advertisements and commercials, the public can’t seem to get enough of the 32-year-old.
Proving that he has critics in his corner as well, Sia also garnered nods for his acting, winning Best Actor and The Most Popular Actor in ntv7’s 1st Golden Award, and Best Male Newcomer in the 9th ADA Award for theatre achievements.
Melvin Sia made his debut in Taiwan last year, with a short film 你好。谢谢。 (Hello. Thank You). The film also featured his song titled “谢谢寂寞 ” (Thank You Loneliness). Signed under Halo Music, his photo book and DVD with the same title was also released last year.
Collaborating with label-mate Linda Liao in the movie, Melvin convincingly portrayed the difficulties and dilemma of a patient suffering from short-term memory loss, as he tries to remember the one he loves.
In a note to fans on his Facebook fanpage, the star humbly stated that while his vocal prowess may be debatable, he hoped they would still continue their support for him.
Burning Bright in Singapore
Local movie production Dance Dance Dragon marks Melvin’s big-screen debut in Singapore. You might remember seeing him as Fang Zhirong in MediaCorp Channel 8’s drama series The Beginning, in a collaboration between MediaCorp and Malaysia’s ntv7.
In Dance Dance Dragon, Melvin plays Loong Ah Long, the youngest of 3 children and only son of Mother Loong. Despite being married for more than 10 years, Ah Long is terrified of having offspring of his own, dashing the hopes of Mother Loong, whose only wish is to have a grandson.
Melvin’s role as Ah Long required him to perform the traditional Chinese Lion Dance, which the actor had never learned before.
“I only learned some basic moves a few days before filming,” he admitted.
The self-confessed amateur revealed, however, that he had some knowledge in the Dragon Dance, which he found easier to grasp.
Melvin’s career here seems to be a promising one, as he has already gained much praise from the movie’s director, Kat Goh.
“Melvin is an up-and-coming actor and singer,” Kat Goh said, during the press conference of Dance Dance Dragon. “He brings freshness to the movie and, of course, he is handsome,” she added jokingly.
Melvin, the Comedian?
When asked about working with experienced co-stars Adrian Pang and Kym Ng on the film, Melvin had only praises for their comedic ability.
“Comedy is very difficult for me,” the star revealed. In fact, during an interview with the Daily Chilli about his role in Malaysian sitcom TIME FM, Melvin had mentioned that comedy was never his strength. The actor explained in a blog post that for a frigid person like him, comedy seem to appear forced.
“From them [Adrian Pang and Kym Ng], I learned a lot about comedy, like how you can amplify situations in everyday life [for comedic effect].”
Having professed his limitations for funny characters, what would be a dream role for Melvin then? In an interview with Creative Home X, Melvin had said that he’d love to play a more extreme character.
“The roles I play now are just too mediocre; however, I do love playing the good guy – the sense of justice in being good is great. But sometimes, it just makes me tired,” he was quoted saying in the same interview.
Note to Aspiring Stars
It appears that the many years in the entertainment industry haven’t diminished his passion for performing, in the slightest bit.
“If you want to be an artiste, you must definitely love to perform. In everything you do, you must have your own spirit.”
“Knowing how to express [yourself] relies a lot on talent,” he added.
“You have to keep thinking and become the character… why does the character say this or do that? Basically, you have to communicate with the character,” he explained.
Looking into the Future
On his future plans, the actor affirmed that he doesn’t plan on going back to architecture.
“Performing is my passion and I find that I like it more than architecture,” Melvin explained.
When probed on whether working with babies in Dance Dance Dragon increased his desire to have a one of his own, the bachelor eagerly agreed.
“I wish to have a baby,” Melvin responded thoughtfully. “But I feel that a baby is a big responsibility, you can’t just have a baby because you want to,” he added.
Dance Dance Dragon opens in local cinemas on Jan 19.