Mediacorp YES 933 DJ Zhong Kunhua would be a familiar voice for everyone who's ever tuned into the Mandarin music station. Having helmed the tentpole chart show, 'Pick of the Pops 醉心龙虎榜', since 2014, the amiable DJ is currently hosting the evening drive timebelt, 5-8pm on weekdays, which holds the track record for the highest listenership across all evening shows. He has also hosted an array of other programmes, such as Music Discovery and 16mm Tunes, a range that suggests that he is well-acquainted with Mandopop and the swelling diversity of genres and singers across time.
Below, he speaks to Hear65 about his favourite songs and artists, which range from classics such as 'Make You Feel My Love' to covers of acclaimed songs by burgeoning artists such as the Chinese singer Hua Chenyu (华晨宇), and curates a playlist of his top 10 local and international Mandopop hits.
What’s one album you still listen to from start to finish and why?
If we are talking about a recent album, it will be “A Star is Born” OST. In my opinion, the songs saved the movie. Simply love how Gaga delivers them. So many emotions and they just hit you hard. I’ve listened to many covers but no one sings better than the original.
How important is it to you to have music playing as you go about your day (outside of work)?
I’m someone who constantly needs music around me, whether I’m at home, at the gym or on the road. Music keeps me company, calms me down, and inspires me. Some people enjoy quietness during me-time, but my kind of quiet also requires music.
What’s one song that’s never gotten old for you?
Make You Feel My Love (Adele’s version). Adele’s rendition of this classic song never fails to make me feel loved. Well, it also brings back “memories”. Haha.
What’s one local song you really love?
Mavis Hee 许美静《带我走》. She may not be as active as she was, but no doubt Mavis is one of Singapore’s music icons. Her voice and the way she sings—no one can do it like her even till now. I love this song from head to toe. Every time the prelude starts, I get goosebumps. It is a Mandopop classic but doesn’t sound outdated.
Who’s one artist from whom you always look out for new music?
For now, it would probably be Hua Chen Yu (华晨宇). He has this amazing stage presence that has your eyes glued to him. A competent singer as well as a very compelling storyteller—I always look forward to see him perform.
What’s one song you’ve listened to recently that the world should know about?
我们 by 华晨宇. It was originally a song by Eason Chan, one of my 2018 favourites. When I thought no one can beat Eason in singing this song, Hua Chen Yu came up with his version. He blew me away totally. I still love Eason’s version the most but you have to watch Hua Chen Yu singing 我们, it’s just so heart-wrenching. I teared.
What is your current playlist of top 10 songs, including 3 local tracks?
Recently, Hear65 also took to the streets with Kunhua to ask Singaporeans about the local music they listen to. Watch the videos below to find out how much they know about our homegrown music.