at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa

Gary Cao 曹格

Born in Malaysia, 曹格 (Gary Cao, Cao Ge) did not intend on becoming a singer but considered becoming a teacher or landing a stereotypical job. It was only after listening to “Superwoman” whilst studying in Canada at nine years of age, that he began to be interested in music.

In 2002 Chaw left his home in Malaysia to go to Taiwan with hopes of joining the entertainment show business. He purchased a one-way plane ticket and brought with him only around RM1,600 (about HK$4,000). He tried to get into numerous record companies who criticised him harshly for being ugly and lacking talent. After many failures Chaw became an alcoholic, battled insomnia, unemployment, suffered from severe depression, loss of friends and confidence.He soon hit rock bottom.

One day he went out to Shilin Night Market and stumbled across a homeless cat with no owner. He took this cat home and raised it since they both were unwanted by society. He named it “Lin Lin” and wrote a song for the cat “The world’s only you” (世界唯一的你). From then on, his career completely changed. After three years of hard work, he signed with Rock Records.

After his move to Taiwan, he began composing his own songs, which were eventually well-accepted, not without hardships however. Many music producers criticized his style of music, stating that no artist would sing his songs. After monitoring the movement of various music styles, he slowly moved from a very western R&B style to what is now a mix of R&B and oriental style of music.He once commented during the course of music creation: “I started writing music because I wanted to sing songs that are beautiful and nice.” | Wikipedia