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Lee Wei Song, now an actor?

SINGAPORE — The names Lee Wei Song and Lee Si Song carry a certain weight in the Mandopop world. After all, the Singaporean twin brothers are a formidable songwriting duo and have penned tunes for the likes of Jacky Cheung, Sandy Lam, Na Ying and Jam Hsiao. They have also inspired and mentored legions of aspiring singers and songwriters to join their ranks — including, of course, Stefanie Sun.

SINGAPORE — The names Lee Wei Song and Lee Si Song carry a certain weight in the Mandopop world. After all, the Singaporean twin brothers are a formidable songwriting duo and have penned tunes for the likes of Jacky Cheung, Sandy Lam, Na Ying and Jam Hsiao. They have also inspired and mentored legions of aspiring singers and songwriters to join their ranks — including, of course, Stefanie Sun.

But now, Lee Wei Song can add “actor” to his resume. The 47-year-old revealed in an interview with TODAY that he will be starring in his first film role with veteran Hong Kong actors Francis Ng and Ada Choi in a Chinese movie.

“It was supposed to be a cameo role, but I suddenly have more and more scenes,” the bubbly songwriter laughed, explaining that he has been producing and composing more music for films in recent years, and that he took on the role to learn more about the process of film-making.

“When I am in the recording studio, I am the director,” he said. “But when I am on set, I have to see what the director wants. I have to learn how to be a student again, in an environment that is completely unfamiliar to me.”

But Lee admitted that he was not exactly enchanted by his new job.

“It’s not a lot of fun,” he confessed. “I like to take charge of things; I don’t like to be directed! In the recording studio, my word counts. But on set, I wait for half a day and in the end, I only get to say four words!”

Just in case you are wondering why Lee is making a movie in China when he could, perhaps, volunteer to play a domestic helper’s music teacher in Ilo Ilo, it is because he and his brother have been spending a lot more time in Beijing than Singapore — though he comes back for about a week every month to visit his family and handle matters at his music school here.

The Lees, who set up the Lee Wei Song Music School in Shanghai in 2006 and in Beijing in 2010, described the Chinese capital as the place to be for those in the Mandarin-speaking entertainment industry.

“Beijing is the centre for entertainment. There are always things happening every day,” he said. “There are so many press conferences and fashion shows to attend every day.”

He added: “Their sense of fashion is much more advanced. When I am there, I am very bold. But when I come back to Singapore, I have to tone down a little with my dressing. When I am in Beijing, I can wear skorts (shorts that look like skirts) with sandals. I am very fashionable!”

When he has time, Lee also tries to keep an eye out for the next Stefanie Sun. The brothers are the forces behind Singapore singer Ng Ling Kai, who made waves in China during her performance on the Chinese singing competition Sing My Song.

Lee also recently played judge on the Strepsils The Right Note singing competition, where 23-year-old live band singer Sarah Wong came out tops, after impressing Lee with her “vocal abilities and stage presence”.

But Lee acknowledged that it is now more difficult to stand out as a singer than it was only a decade ago.

“I think it’s better this way, so people won’t think it’s so easy to be a star. It’s not so easy to become famous,” Lee said. “Now, people who want to be popular have to be multi-talented because the audience have greater expectations.”

“Look at me, even I have to start acting!” Hon Jing Yi

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